“Anglotopia” – the name conjures up images of patchwork fields, tea cakes and thatched cottages. If you haven’t heard of it before then you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s the leading website for those who love all things British. For many years, Anglotopia has been doing its bit to help boost the British tourism industry by providing Americans with up to date information about the “old country.”Site owner Jonathan Thomas has now taken things a step further with the release of a new dictionary. Anglotopia’s Dictionary of British English is a humorous, highly accurate and rather useful tool for anyone planning a trip to the UK.
The dictionary begins with 50 pages of commonly used British words and U.S. English translations. You may recognize some of the words from shows such as Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs but truth-be-told those shows are deliberately written in a sort of transatlantic, ageless version of English that the average Russian or Swahili speaker could probably understand. This book focuses on the kind of language you used to hear on Eastenders – before BBC America gave it the old heave-ho. It contains a shed-load of useful adjectives that are used across the whole UK. It also has colloquialisms that are unique to certain regions such as Scotland, Yorkshire, London and even the West Country.
A dictionary such as this could prove a life saver. Next time you walk into an English pub decked out in full Manchester United gear you’ll realize it’s time to leave when the local “chavs” and “hoodies” refer to you as a “git” a “sod” or even a “prat.” You’ll know you came to the right pub if a “bit of awright” offers you a nice bacon sarnie and a packet of crisps. This book also helps you realize that in England things that sound bad are good and vice versa. If something is the “dog’s bollocks” then it’s rather good. Snogs are usually good – depending on the snogger and snogee, smegs are bad, and you’ll soon “suss” out that somethings are universally bad such as Speedos.
While this book is aimed at American folks heading to the UK I think it’s a dictionary that could prove to be just as popular on the other side of the Atlantic. In college, I had a room mate from the West Country and 90 percent of the time I had absolutely no idea what he was banging on about. Now I come to discover that saying “alright my luvver” to your mates is perfectly acceptable in that part of the world. As a Brit living in the US I plan to bring a copy of this to my workplace so that my colleagues can translate their Yankee phrases into Queen’s or at least cockney English before they disrupt my afternoon tea. The Dictionary of British English is available for I-pad and Kindle and you can buy it through Anglotopia or Amazon.