Monday, 19 May 2014

Chips, Cookies and Pants: American, British and Dutch

Meghan of Bringing up Brits recently wrote a post about the conflict in her house about the use of British and American English. Whilst reading it I realised that a few Americanisms have slipped into usage in our home, despite the fact that no one from the USA lives in our home. The few American English words managed to slip in anyway. They just snuck in the back door and it dawned on me that some of them are because the Dutch is sometimes very close to American English.

Chips, Fries or Frites?
Chips: this is the Dutch word for what we call crisps in Britain. It is also the American word for crisps. So my Dutch husband often says chips even when he is speaking in English to me. To my utter confusion because chips in Britain are the fried potato variety of snack which the Dutch call frites and the Americans call fries.

Biscuits, Cookies or Koekjes?
Photo Credit: Bev Lloyd-Roberts

Koekjes: this is the Dutch word for what we British call biscuits. Cookies is the standard American word. You see where this is going don't you? So when my three small Dutch sons ask me for a biscuit, they follow their father's word use and say "Cookie?"

And I am also guilty of letting an Americanism sneak into our British/Dutch home when I yell out into the garden,

"Put your pants back on!"

Thankfully for the neighbours I'm talking about trousers and not underpants. And I'm talking to my children, not my husband.


  1. American cartoons are the reason why my kids talk about the "trash" instead of the "bin" and I hate it...

  2. Yes, my kids usually hate it when I use American terms instead of British ones. And they think I spell words that have a u in them in British spelling the wrong way. My daughter says her teacher tells them that words like color and humor are spelled incorrectly. So, you see what I'm up against!