Saturday, December 12, 2009

English-English versus US-English

I've noted many differences between English as spoken in Britain and her former colonies, and the language spoken in the USA. American-English is rather different in many ways.

One of the most noticeable is the expression 'to suck'. In the US, if something sucks, that's a very negative description. On the other hand, I've seen vacuum-cleaners advertised overseas with the slogan 'Nothing sucks like Electrolux'. Clearly, such an advertisement wouldn't go down well in the USA!

I was pleased to find an illustration of this in a Chinese advertisement for Electrolux vacuum-cleaners. Here it is.

A funny slogan to Americans, and an amusing advertisement for all of us!



skreidle said...

Dyson neatly sidestepped the "sucks" / "doesn't suck" dilemma for vacuum advertisements by declaring that their vacuums "never lose suction". :D

Mikael said...

I wonder if there's similar commercials for leaf blowers... "It really blows!"

Tamara Kelly said...

Ahaha! Nope! The term "It sucks" is a very negative in Australia & England too. We appreciate the play on words - the double meaning really tickles us. The triple meaning is even funnier - that sexual connotation provoking images of some bloke with his penis caught in the hose.

Mikael...there are plenty of ads here with double ententre and ironic references.

Old NFO said...

The double and triple ententres are what usually get us in trouble overseas... WE know what we're laughing at, but the host doesn't... Sometimes even after an explanation, they still don't.

Anonymous said...

I've had to correct my friends for some time. They say "That sucks'", to which I reply "That good, is it?"
"Sucks" is always good. "Bites" is bad.