雞同鴨講 —— Flossing喺英國解作用牙線，去到美國就變咗「曬命」？│A Chicken Talking To A Duck By Chatterbox
I remember watching an American variety show some years ago. In the show the female host invited a famous British actor to have a face-off by playing a game of American slang versus British slang. It was absolutely brilliant and typically put the spotlight on their cultural discrepancies by calling attention to each of their own colourful slang words. Both seemed pretty clueless and left speechless when they had to guess the meanings of their opponent’s common colloquialisms.
First off, the host asked her guest what flossing meant. In Britain, it simply means cleaning your teeth with dental floss. Quite straightforward, isn’t it? But, of course, it means a totally different thing in the US. And naturally the British actor had no clue and couldn’t even come up with a made-up answer. He appeared unconvinced when told it meant showing off.
Other odd American slang words that put this highly intelligent British actor’s lateral thinking skills to the test included “ba donka donk” and “shawty”; to be totally honest, I myself had never heard of those two phrases before. The American host revealed that the first one is used to describe the curvaceous behind of a female while the latter means a young kid or a woman. Pretty strange, if you ask me.
If you are feeling adventurous, let’s unearth a few more strange and confusing American slang phrases. How about “John Hancock”? If someone in America asks to have your John Hancock, don’t worry, they are not asking you to surrender anything personal or anyone, it simply means they want your signature. This expression comes from the man himself, who was one of the 13 signees of the Declaration of Independence and who left the most stylish and prominent signatures on the famed document.
Now for those of you who are rather fond of the abundant subtlety of British slang phrases, knock yourself out. Here are some of the best to raise a few eyebrows.
“Don’t throw a wobbly”. Translation: don’t throw a tantrum. What about “Don’t get your knickers in a twist”. Translation: don’t get confused or too excited over something. Shamelessly descriptive, don’t you think?
It gets even more interesting with words such as “pissed” which means completely drunk (although it means something else entirely for Yanks). “Knackered” means utterly exhausted and “skint” means in financial difficulties.
Moving onto a more positive note, there are some British slang words that should be adopted in our daily English use immediately because they are simply awesome, see for yourselves.
One just can’t resist words such as “gutted” to describe the most negative emotion of feeling utterly devastated. “Blinding” may first appear literal to mean causing blindness but it actually means excellent or superb.
It gets even better with this truly British expression: “gobsmacked” which means to be shocked beyond belief; just the sound of it triggers shockwaves.
How about “scrummy” to describe something totally yummy. “Hunky-dory” to describe a situation that is normal and under control while “all to pot” is the opposite.
OK mate, hope you are pretty chuffed with what we have discussed. Cheers and see you next week.
另一個把這英籍聰明演員的橫向思維功能弄得陀陀轉的美國俚語有：「ba donka donk」和「shawty」。老實說，我自己也從未聽過這兩句話。美籍主持人開估道，前者指女子充滿曲線美的臀部，後者則指小孩或女人。嗯，其實我也覺得很奇怪。
如果你喜歡這個「冒險」遊戲，就再發掘一些奇怪和令人困惑的美式俚語吧！「John Hancock」是甚麼意思？如在美國有人要求「to have your John Hancock」，別擔心，他們並非要你邀交任何私人物品、或交出任何人──只不過是要你的簽名罷了。這個俚語來自John Hancock本人，作為美國獨立宣言的13個簽署者之一，他當年就在那著名文件上簽下最突出、時尚的名字。
「Don’t throw a wobbly」──譯作：別發脾氣。「Don’t get your knickers in a twist」呢？──是「別對一些雞毛蒜皮的小事而煩惱或生氣」的意思。這句仔細的敍述句相當不害躁呢，對吧？
再者，「scrummy」可形容非常好吃的食物，「hunky-dory」是目前情況一切都還不錯，但「all to pot」則有相反意思。