language and culture

Why are British billions and trillions sometimes different to US?

Sometimes when the British talk about billions, they actually mean what we Americans would call trillions. It's important to get clarification on which billion they're actually using in their figures because both methods are still being used. There is also a historical difference between billions, trillions and so forth. Americans use billion to mean one thousand million (1,000,000,000), whereas in the UK, until the later part of the 20th century, it used to mean one million million (1,000,000,...

A Guide to Pancake Day Events in 2013

Here is your cut-out-and-keep guide to some of the events being held on Pancake Day in 2013.

Scottish Speech Recognition a Wee Problem for Siri, Really

The Apple iPhone 4S launched in October 2011 with its voice recognition innovation feature Siri. Siri allows users to operate the device with voice commands to create text messages, emails, notes, reminders, searches and make calls. Siri was designed to understand normal speech, but Scottish users have found Siri is struggling to understand the Scottish accent.

Separated By A Common Language

Observations on British and American English by an American linguist in the UK England and America are two countries separated by a common language. --George Bernard Shaw

The Septic's Companion: A Dictionary of British Slang

An A-to-Z dictionary of British Slang words and phrases, written by a Scotsman living in America.

Language and Accents

There are as many, if not more regional accents in the UK than there are in the US. The history of the English language is quite interesting once you start to dig.

UK dialects 'strong and varied'

Regional dialects in the UK are holding their own in spite of fears the South East accent, or Estuary English is taking over, a BBC survey suggests.

Language tops 'Britishness poll'

Speaking English is the most important British characteristic, a survey finds. From the bbc site...

Polite, eccentric, aloof, patriotic free spirits

''Fifty years from now,'' [Major] said, ''Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pool fillers and – as George Orwell s
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