31 August

What your English boss or colleague is really thinking

When it comes to expressing criticism, the English don’t exactly have a reputation for telling it like it is. 😉  A pretty indirect style of communication with lots of downgraders (a little, slightly, sort of) and understatement helps to soften the blow … and can obscure the message completely. Here’s a light-hearted look at what you might […]

7 May

Don’t call it a beamer!

The German word Beamer may sound pretty English, but in fact it’s a classic false friend (a word which looks or sounds the same in both languages, but actually has completely different meanings). The English word for Beamer is projector. The word Beemer (with double e) is used to talk about a BMW. False friends […]

3 April

What it can sound like when the English disagree

You must be joking! Rubbish! Nonsense! Oh, come off it! After you’ve given an opinion, you may hear any one of those from an English friend or a colleague you know well. And, of course, the message is completely clear: your friend or colleague disagrees with you. Now imagine that you express your opinion or make […]