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An Argentine or Mexican tourist in Madrid, or A Brazilian tourist in Lisbon, will certainly hear phrases he has never heard before and may find some of them offensive. I myself have a list of Portuguese colloquialisms which may embarrass an uninformed Brazilian during his first trip to Lisbon. Likewise, there are slang words and phrases that may embarass or sound offensive to a native speaker of the English language visiting another country, if he has never heard them in such contexts. e.g.

  • A California girl to an English lady: "Oh, shut up!"
  • A Londoner to a young man in Kansas: "Will you have a fag?"

I don't expect swearwords or an exhaustive list, and I don't mean the knowleadgeable and well-informed tourist either. This type of person certainly knows most foreign colloquialisms.

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  • It is very unlikely you will cause genuine misunderstanding to a British person by using a common American colloquialism, as most Brits are aware of them through the international scale of American culture. Examples would be "fanny" (not buttocks, but vagina), "pissed" (drunk, not angry), and so on. "Ass" is another odd one: in BrE there are two completely different words, "ass" meaning a fool (or donkey) and "arse" meaning a cad / brigand (or buttocks). Very unlikely to cause confusion, as everyone in the world understands American, even Brits, but occasionally amusing. – Dan Sheppard Sep 12 '14 at 23:28
  • @DanSheppard My cousin was born in Southern California, she married a Canadian and they both live in Toronto now. She told me that after they had been married for a couple of months he asked her not to say "Oh, shut up" anymore and that it had been bothering him for some time. She explained it to him then. – Centaurus Sep 12 '14 at 23:34
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Matt E. Эллен Sep 16 '14 at 7:47