It’s not just the different words or even the strange array of British accents that befuddles many Americans moving to London. It’s also the nuances in speech that many expats struggle with. If you are planning your relocation to London then you might want to tune into British television so you’re attuned when you arrive.
It cannot be said that the English speak “better English” than Americans. Just a quick listen to the array of accents in London and the amount of slang used, puts paid to that theory in an instant. They do however speak a language that is filled with slight nuances and differences in meaning.
If you’re moving to London as part of a relocation jobs package, you may have to spend some time figuring out what your colleagues are trying to tell you. The British tend not to be as direct as people from other countries. They don’t tell you what you need to know in short sharp sentences and they very rarely get to the point precisely.
Some call it eloquence, others call it irritating…
Self-deprecation is another aspect of business life that you’ll have to get used to after your relocation to London. People in the business world tend to downplay their contributions. This means that grand boasts and “blowing your own horn” is considered uncouth in the business environment in the UK.
For all the British sense of decorum and reserve, the one thing you will have to get used to is the sarcasm and even the use of swear words in casual conversation. Don’t wither and fade into the background if you’re the recipient of a sarcastic comment. What you consider hurtful and even offensive, may just be part of some light-hearted office banter.
As a foreigner, moving here is not just about organizing a home or finding your way around the city by tube. It’s also about immersing yourself deeply into the life and the culture of the country. You don’t have to lose your own culture, but fitting in and adapting your style of English usage could help you out quite a bit if you’re starting a new job after your relocation to London.