I have a small group of close author friends and we occasionally have a discussion/debate about usage of certain words in the England language - which no-one but myself seems to understand.
This came out of a comment from my editor (although English, I work for an American publisher) on my latest edits asking me to change the word ‘scarpered’ (as in ‘to run away quickly) as they stated that it was a term not widely used outside of British English. And it turned out my fellow author friends (European as well as American) had never heard of this either. *sigh* I feel like I am speaking a foreign language sometimes.
Other words some fellow authors haven’t heard of included ‘tutted’ as in 'to make a sound of disapproval', and ‘by dint of’ in other words ‘by means of’.
The other things I have had to consider since starting writing for an American publisher is to change the spelling of words, eg, colour to color, realise to realize, dived to dove. If I try to use 'whilst' they automatically change it to while.
Similarly, the need to change to American idioms, eg, take-away to take-out, lift to elevator, taxi to cab, knickers to panties. I haven’t had any of my characters referring to the bottom-most floor in a building but in England we would call that the ground floor – I believe I’d have to change that to first floor? One non-American author was told that the swear word ‘bloody’ was too English and to change it as her story was set in America.
I objected when they removed the dash in the word co-worker. Without it (coworker) I felt it read like cow worker – so I changed it to colleague! That's what I get for working for an American publisher.
Of course, even within my own country we have our regional words. I am a southern living in the north of the country and get confused when someone says they are having their dinner – when it is the middle of the day. To me that is lunch. Dinner is reserved for the evening meal – which to the northerners is tea!!
And so by dint of the fact that I have now finished, I scarper through the ground floor of my house to the kitchen (as I don’t need to take the lift) to tidy away the remains of the take-away having realised I failed to tidy up yesterday, before anyone (in particular a co-worker) starts tutting. Whilst I am there I put away the washing. (I dived to pick up some knickers, which had fallen to the floor, the colour of which are red). And then had some tea (and I don’t mean the evening meal!). All of this before the bloody taxi arrives to take me to work.