Languages across the pond, and zombies

zombiesI just stumbled across an excellent blog, Separated by a Common Language, about the differences between British and American English by an American linguist living in the UK. A lot of it is quite technical (although very interesting for people interested in linguistics), but it is very interesting.

One post that reminded me of my childhood was bags, dibs, shotgun. It talks about the way that people (mostly kids) lay claim to something. In the US, dibs is common, e.g., “I call dibs on that!”. In the UK, bags or bagsies is used, e.g., “I bags that!”

The post also talked about the word shotgun, which is used in the US specifically to call dibs on the front passenger seat in a car. It can sometimes be misinterpreted by non-Americans to just mean claiming something. I did use it in the American sense when I was growing up in New Zealand, though, so it may just be unclear to Brits and people who don’t watch a lot of American films.

Finally, the blog post quoted Twitterer @downrightcreepy:

I bet Zombies don’t call shotgun on roadtrips.