That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us

Erin Moore. Gotham, $25.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-592-40885-6
As an American expatriate and book editor who lives in London, Moore is in an ideal position to see the truth to the longstanding joke that British English and American English are different languages. In this witty book, Moore delves into specific linguistic differences, unpacking what they say about our respective cultures. She groups her essays around individual words, using them to spin off into topics as varied as parenting (via "knackered," a state of exhaustion usually parental in nature), snacking ("bespoke," a word the English use to describe, among other things, sandwich bars), and relationships ("partner," a descriptor more inclusively used in the U.K.). She also delves deeply into nuances like how "Yankee" is defined —which differs both between the U.S. and U.K. (where all Americans are Yankees) and between different regions of the U.S. Moore manages to create a text that is eminently readable, clever (in the sincerely-intended American sense) and thought-provoking, gently breaking down some of the cultural stereotyping that plagues both Americans and British. The end result is something readers can readily share with friends on both sides of the ocean. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/2015
Release date: 03/24/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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