The great divide

The Atlantic Ocean is not the only thing that separates us from our American friends.
We may be able to understand each other but we don’t speak the same language. I’m not referring to the simplistic misunderstandings of different pronunciations. We all know that a tomato is a ‘tom-ah-toe’ in England but is a ‘tom-ay-toe’ in America and aluminium in England is pronounced ‘al-yu-minium’ but Americans say ‘al-oo-minum’ but what happens when we delve into the languages, especially when written in books, newspapers, and on the internet.

Can you tell which side of the Atlantic these two examples originate from?
‘Son, don’t ride your bike on the sidewalk, stay on the pavement.’
‘Son, don’t ride your bike on the pavement, stay on the road.’
Pretty easy to spot the difference isn’t it but you can see why we might get confused.

I write in English, not American English. I wouldn’t insult the intelligence of my readers by trying to write in American. I am English and my stories are written in my native tongue.

I have no objection to reading a novel by an American author. In fact, I enjoy the diverse terminology. The language transports me to the country and I can experience the differences in our two cultures through the author’s mind.

I suspect that many Americans don’t feel the same sense of adventure when choosing books written by English authors. My opinion is based on the sales of my work in both countries. Less than 1% of my total sales come from readers in the USA. Is the language barrier the only reason? If you know something I don’t, please let me know.


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