Posted by: Andy | October 30, 2013

Going to America – Learning a new language

Two Fridays ago I was sitting in Turkey having dinner with my crew from S.Y. Gweilo. I was due to leave the next morning for ten days holiday in Britain before starting a new job in Tahiti on a billionaires motor yacht. Deservedly so, I had been getting a lot of abuse for going to the dark side, motor boats! I didn’t really want to go to motor yachts but having applied, unsuccesfully, for over twenty jobs on sail yachts I couldn’t turn down a promotion, pay rise and three year South Pacific adventure. We were tucking into the usual Turkish culinary “delights” aka overly dry mixed grills without dips after a starter consisting entirely of dips. For me, what really made the restaurant was the waiter hoovering the table between courses. Yes, you read that correctly.

Meal in Turkey

Waiter hoovering the table between courses in Turkey

And then my phone rang. It was an unknown American number so I excused myself and went outside, well we were already outside, so I paced a few metres away. Just minutes later I returned to the table having just been interviewed by the Captain of a 42m sail yacht in Rhode Island who had just appointed me as mate and I was to start on Monday!

My new abode

My new abode

It is always exciting going to a new country. I don’t include Hawaii or being in transat at various US airports as visiting America so everything was going to be new for me. Last year I was the only non American aboard a yacht , S.Y. Aphrodite, so I already knew what I had let myself in for. As with any new country, there is always a language barrier. Luckily, I came prepared with a few useful words which enabled me to effectively communicate with the locals. For anyone planning on going stateside, it would be wise to get adept at using the following:

English English                                                            American “English”

hello                                                                                 hey buddy

hi                                                                                       yo

bye                                                                                   have a great day

how are you?                                                                whats up?

good                                                                                awesome

great                                                                                awesome

fine                                                                                   awesome

ok                                                                                     awesome

pleasant                                                                         awesome

terrible                                                                            sucks

average                                                                           sucks

disgusting                                                                      sucks

appalling                                                                        sucks

unpleasant                                                                    sucks

If you need to address a group, I have been assured that the American “English” collective noun for people is “y’all”, which is usually preceded by “hey” e.g. “hey y’all.” This important lesson was taught to me by my good Kentuckian friend Kaelin who is, ironically, an English teacher.

By being super enthusiastic about everything, whether it is awesome or sucks, and using the correct vocabulary I am sure most people will have no major communication breakdowns. Do get involved with flaunting your new found skills and really embrace the American enthusiasm for everything. Today, whilst receiving my change at the gas station, sorry petrol station, I exerted a cheery AWESOME to which I got a high five over the counter from the cashier. I love the energetic disposition that everyone has here, by comparison, British service sucks.

Thanks for reading, I hope y’all have a great day!


  1. Your English has really come a long way. Y’all should come through ‘my ol’ Kentucky home’ while you are so close

  2. I would love to swing by Jack but we are fairly flat out and leaving for Bermuda and the Caribbean soon, will let you know if I get some time off!

  3. Hey buddy. What’s up? Life for you sounds awsome. Just discovered your blog and pictures – awsome! Weather here down south in UK sucks. Have a great day.

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