Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Happened to 'U'?

How do you attempt to get a job in a new country?  That was my dilemma.  I knew I could do it, but it was so incredibly frightening.  What if I can’t?  What if they don’t like me?  What if I screw up so badly that I will never get a job?  Can I go home…. Please??  (*sad face*)  After a fruitless couple of months looking, one thing was becoming exceedingly clear to me – Americans LOVE the English accent!  Every person I spoke to, every interview I went to, everyone - without fail - said “I just love your accent”…. Oh joy!   

So, I was finally able to convince someone to give me a job.  And then a whole new frustration started.  New country, new job, new …. Language?  What the?  American English is not English English.  I had to learn to spell all over again.  It seemed like every single word had a different spelling than I was used to.  We all know the “U” is missing from almost every word in the US.  In fact, the American keyboard only has 61 keys instead of the 62 on a UK one.  I presume it’s because the U is hardly ever used. 

‘Our” becomes ‘or’; “re” becomes “er”; “ogue” becomes “og”; double “L” becomes single; or then again single “L” becomes double; “ise” becomes “ize”; “ce” sometimes becomes “se”….good grief.  And on top of all that, the bloody keyboard is arranged differently.  What is a girl to do? 

SPELL CHECK – Spell Check is Your Friend.
That was my mantra for at least a couple of years.

I think I’ve got it now, although for my own purposes I still use all the “U’s” I can.  I refuse to conform. I will not write American English.  So there Noah Webster, you and your silly new fangled American spelling dictionary!  Trying to get us all to change because you were too lazy to write the whole word!



  1. Hi, I hear you on the frustration. I'm an American living in the UK and I have the same frustrations about British English! And of course British culture and the British way of doing things. I do try and adapt and fit in where I can though because I have children in British schools and I need to support them and be 'on their side'. I love telling them how it's done in America though and share my own experiences and background. This gives them the best of both worlds. I think it's important to make an effort and be opened minded and accepting of other cultures even if it can be frustrating and even infuriating at times :-)

    1. Oh, don't get me wrong, I am open minded - it was just a huge culture shock! My children were in school here, so they also had to adjust to a new life - it seems much easier for them.