How To Talk Like An American

Hello friends, how are you today?

A common question I get asked by my Swiss friends is how I get along with the language.

My answer will usually be, I get along well except for the odd moment where I’ll be searching for a very specific word. In Switzerland we get taught British English (if I remember correctly, it’s been a few years) so I wanted to dive into how you can start talking American English (if that is something you are interested in, if you aren’t I TOTALLY understand). Let’s get started, shall we? 

Instead of going through all the (real serious) details I recommend you going over to wikihow to read the article related to this topic here. If you’re interested that is. You’ll find my favorite recommendations according to wikihow down below with my added comments.

American phrases you “should” know*

  • “Awesome” and “cool” -> used to describe something great or used as a positive reaction to something someone tells you.
  • “What’s up?” or “Sup” -> used to ask someone what they’re doing, how they are, and as a general greeting. It’s fine to use casually with friends. It’s most often used by young men (haha, the last part made me lol).
  • “Hanging out” is spending time somewhere or with someone. It’s a phrase often used by teenagers to describe how they pass time and socialize, often without one particular activity or aim (again, major lol moment).
  • “Y’all” is a contraction of “You all”, the second person plural mode of directly addressing a group of people. It is used primarily in the Southern States, but is acceptable in other regions.

Say it loud, say it proud

“Try to speak a ‘little’ louder when you’re talking to someone in America. It’s perfectly acceptable over in the States, and it creates an atmosphere of congeniality.” I really had to giggle a little when I saw that.

Use ‘like’ in (almost) EVERY sentence

I’m like don’t do that, she was like no way am I going to that party. And so on. You get the gist.  It’s called the “quotative like,” and over the last 25 years, it’s become one of the language’s most popular methods of talking about talking. Yes, that’s a thing. 

Are you all ready to speak American English now after this thorough introduction?

Have a great day!

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