Learn English as an Intermediate Student with The Haunting of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor is one of the best horror series you will watch this year on Netflix. It doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares or gore to impress and spook you. Quite the contrary, you’ll find the pace is quite slow until it takes off with chilling encounters and unsettling revelations. And let’s not forget the ghosts!

Now, watching a Netflix series like The Haunting is not only great for relaxing but also for learning languages. If you are trying to become fluent in English, for example, this show can be a brilliant opportunity to take your skills to the next level. With a bit of patience and attention, you’ll soon pick up new vocabulary, get used to different accents and learn more about British and American culture when watching the show.

In the Haunting of Bly manor, characters have different nationalities: English, Scottish and American. While all of them speak the same language, there are certain differences in accent, lexis and culture that cannot be overlooked. Keep on reading and discover how you can learn some English with the Haunting of Bly Manor this Halloween!

Learn More About English Accents

There’s no such thing as a “UK accent”, as every region has its own variations. This is obvious in the series, where many characters have different origins. Jamie, the gardener, is from Northern England, and she pronounces the words with “u” in a different way from Dani, who’s American. For example, Jamie doesn’t say “sun” or “but” with an /a/ as in “just” but with /u/ as in “good”. Plus, instead of saying “hand”, most of the times you can hear a word that resembles “and”, as she tends to drop the /h/.

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

Meanwhile, Oliver Jackson-Cohen plays Peter Quint, a Scottish conman who plays everyone living in Bly and ends up dead, killed by the ghost that haunts the mansion. His accent sounds really different from the other characters’ because the Scottish variety is rhotic, which means speakers pronounce the “r” at the end of words, such as when he says “others” in this scene (careful, there are major spoilers!). This is different from the RP (Received Pronunciation) variety commonly spoken in London, which is non-rhotic (so the “r” in “others” is not be pronounced).

Differences in Vocabulary

While American and British English share most of their vocabulary, they also use completely different words to refer to the same thing.

  • Cake mix vs batter. During one of the spookiest nights at the mansion, Owen, the chef, decides to make a cake to distract the children from their ghost stories. Before baking it, he asks everyone to taste the cake mix. Flora and Miles suggest it needs more lemon while Dani, the American au pair, says the “cake batter” is delicious.
  • Wool vs Yarn, Jumper vs Sweater: Miles and Flora love to play games and tell stories to Dani and the rest of the staff. One night, they perform a play about a kitten unravelling “wool” (instead of American “yarn”), which originates in a “jumper” (and nota US sweater).
  • Lift vs Ride: in the second episode of the series, Henry Wingrave offers Dani “a lift” (UK) to Bly Manor so she doesn’t have to take a taxi. She accepts and thanks him “for the ride” (US).

These are only a few of the many differences in US and UK vocabulary you can find when watching this spine-chilling series. Were you able to spot more? Let us know in the comments section below.

Differences in Culture

The afternoon tea in Great Britain is a real tradition the protagonist, Dani Clayton, finds hard to understand. In fact, during her interview with Henry Wingrave for an au pair position, she claims she hasn’t “mastered tea yet. I’m used to it coming in a pitcher, full of ice cubes”, making reference to the popular iced tea of the USA.

Photo by Barbara Webb from Pexels

Another cultural difference that makes Dani feel like a stranger is the fact that the British drive on the left side of the road. When Flora falls sick, she says she cannot go and fetch the doctor because she is “afraid she might crash, I’m so used to driving on the right”. If you ever plan to visit the UK, keep this into account to avoid accidents!

Halloween is just around the corner and there’s no better way to celebrate than watching amazing, spine-chilling movies and TV series like the Haunting of Bly Manor. And why not take advantage of this opportunity to increase your language skills? Grab some snacks, get under the covers and prepare yourself to be spooked while you increase your English proficiency!

Do you like horror films and series? Let us know about your favourite ones in the comments below!

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