Writing with an English accent-miscommunication or writer’s style?
After reading an interesting post by fellow blogger, ronovanwrites, I am presented with an interesting dilemma. Should I adapt my writing style in order to communicate better with my readers who are more familiar with US English or retain my British accent. As ronovanwrites points out, many words in UK English have very different meanings in the US. We discussed the fact that chips are called French Fries in the States and that crisps are called chips. Also the difference between a biscuit and a cookie. I wonder how much miscommunication is going on.
I am reminded of the occasion ,when arriving at a hotel in The Caribbean, with a party of English travellers. At reception we were informed that, while the dress code for dinner was informal, the men would be required to wear pants. Much hilarity ensued until the male guests were reassured that they only needed to wear long trousers and that nobody would check to see if they were going commando. We wear pants and knickers and vests under our clothes.
While on the same trip I was intrigued when I heard an American mother ask her son whether he had his fanny-bag, HIS WHAT?! I was very relieved when I observed that a fanny-bag was a small pouch attached to a belt which rested on his bum, what we would call a bum-bag! Here in the UK only females have fannies and they are situated at the front, not at the rear. I’m used to the idea that in the US cars have hoods and trunks while here they have boots and bonnets and no one over here would dream of putting jelly in a sandwich, we prefer jam. Not many British men would admit to wearing suspenders, but would keep their trousers up with braces, in Britain suspenders go with stocking tops (naughty!). When it rains here (and it rains a lot!) I put on a mac and wellies instead of a raincoat and galoshes ( now that’s a lovely word).
So to return to my original dilemma, should I adapt my writing to prevent misunderstandings with my international audience or should I retain my British accent as part of my writing style? and don’t even get me started on spelling!
With thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org for the inspiration for this post.