We Speak a Different Language

By Veronica Smith – 22 Comments

With the exception of the obvious dialects around the world, the language our forefathers spoke, we all speak another language to each other but can actually understand each other. As far as spoken language I am only versed in English, toddler, and teenager – for those of you without toddlers and teenagers, believe me, they speak a different language.

As I write these stories each week I write in English, or more precisely, Australian. After I have finished my writing I then go over it all and make it American. Rachel prefers me to write in American. You would be surprised how many words are different.

For example, just the tip of the iceberg:

US                Australia.

pavement         footpath

sweater            jumper

diaper               nappy

pacifier              dummy

flip-flops             thongs

mom                  mum

aluminum           aluminium

Also expressions is another thing, I have to be very careful what I write because some expressions are just really Australian so I really don’t expect anybody else to get them. You can search for other words and phrases on the internet, some fun ones are here http://www.fionalake.com.au/other-info/other-references/rural-words/australian-american-words

I am also assuming that all you folk from yet other country’s scratch your head no matter if it is written in Australian, US or UK “English”.

Anyhow, US terms are different to UK and Australia terms in crochet. I am not sure what the rest of the world uses so maybe you can enlighten me. I would love to know. I have included some conversion charts below for those interested.

What I like about all of this is that no matter which terms you are used to it is still relatively easy to read and manufacture an item written in “the oppositions” language. Even if you have to sit down and with a pen cross out all your dc’s and make them sc’s, or whichever way you are going, it is still do-able.

Actual language that we were all taught by our parents / guardians is a different matter. I don’t care how much I’d love to read a book or watch a movie that is in German for instance, it is just not happening. I can however crochet an ‘American’ thing.

There is also symbol crochet, something that still eludes me mostly because I haven’t devoted time to it. I really need to get a good grasp on it as I have a lovely pattern that is only in symbols – maybe that should be my next task – learn another language, “symbol”.

It is said that love transcends all bounds. I do think crochet does the same thing.

UK Needle (mm) Stitches per 10cm(4″)

2/3 ply

Light fingering
2/3 ply
1.5 – 2.25
33 – 40
4 ply
4 ply
2.25 – 3.25
27 – 32
5 ply Sport
5 ply
3.25 – 3.75
23 – 26
8 ply
Light worsted
8 ply
3.75 – 4.5
21 – 24
10 ply
10 ply
4.5 – 5.5
16 – 20
12 ply
Triple knit
5.5 – 8
12 – 15
14 ply
Super bulky
Super chunky
8mm +
6 – 11





Steel Aluminium
Boye Boye Susan Bates
0.75 14
0.85 13
1.00 12
1.10 11
1.30 10
1.40 9
1.50 8
1.65 7
1.80 6
1.90 5
2.00 4
2.10 3
2.25 2 B
2.75 1 C
3.25 0 D
3.50 00 E
3.75 F
4.25 G
5.00 H
5.50 I
6.00 J
6.50 K
7.00 L
8.00 M L
9.00 N M
10.00 P N
11.50 P
15.75 Q
19.00 S


Abbrev American Abbrev English
ch chain ch chain
sl st slip stitch sl st slip stitch
sc single crochet dc double crochet
hdc half double crochet htr half treble
dc double crochet tr treble
triple crochet
dtr double treble
double treble
double triple crochet
triptr triple treble
trip tr
tr trc
triple treble
triple triple crochet
quadtr quadruple treble

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  1. wendy says:

    Actually, pavement is British English, the Americans say sidewalk.

    I can crochet using either UK or US terms, what annoys me is when the pattern doesn’t state which it is and I have to go through to find the telltale “sc”. if there aren’t any, then I have no idea and have to give up!

  2. Caitlin says:

    Australia definently has alot of slang, I was just there for the last 4 months. I myself am from Canada so I found the slang alot easier to understand compared to the Americans I was with since I’m exposed to alot of british slang on Canadian tv (Australia uses alot of british slang). I found by the end of my time there I was using some of the slang myself! I now say “heaps”, “bin liners” “chooks” and the word “as” when making a statement ex. That’s cheap as! I thought the slang was great there.

  3. marinahunny says:

    i’m from malaysia which is situated in asian region 😉

  4. Marieta says:

    I live in Spain and for me there is a difference of American, British and Australian, at least in that Scripture refers. Not to be to speak directly with them. I don’t want to bother anyone.

    It refers to the hook, each naming is different, French, English or Spanish.
    I adapted to me I try to do according to the pattern. Anyway recently I do crochet
    Thanks for the explanation
    Best regards

  5. Tracey says:

    Ahhh, I feel your pain. I am an Aussie living in the US….I often need to translate….. even during a normal conversation.

  6. Natalie says:

    Ah yes! I understand this dilemna! One of my students said, “may I borrow your rubber?”. Well rubber doesn’t mean eraser here in the states. 🙂

    Thank you for the translation chart! Very helpful!!!!

  7. Kristina says:

    This has been very interesting. I am in Amman, Jordan, and finding supplies is not so easy. The hook chart explains a lot of the confusion that I had about trying
    to find a certain hook in US online suppliers or then here in shops. Some sizes just
    aren’t (easily) available here or there. Usually, though, a shop owner specializing in
    crochet/knitting supplies firmly states it doesn’t exist. I am happily using a 3.00 mm hook easily available here, but not a standard US one; I use it with German cotton that is about 18 WPI which is close to fingering weight I think.

    Due to the history of Jordan, I have gotten used to the British English terms. I am originally
    from the US.

    Finally, I am also determined to get instructions for crochet diagrams so that I can make a lovely pattern from a Japanese book. Our neat craft shop brings those here to Jordan.

  8. Kristina says:

    Now I am trying to figure out a hook from here in Jordan with German
    and Indian supplies. Hook is steel with “4” on it. The hook end matches
    a 4mm hook i have. But handle is very thin and shorter than other hooks.
    Any ideas on why the shape is this way?

  9. Gisela says:

    Hi Veronica,
    Very interesting post! And I feel your pain too, my first language is Spanish, and as you may know we too speak a different language :), but is a lot of fun!! An example, sl st (slip stich) in Spanish: punto raso, punto enano, punto deslizado, punto muerto, punto arrastrado, punto pasado, etc, see? And you should give it a try to symbol crochet, it is so easy, plus you will be able to read patterns in different languages ;).
    Take care!

  10. Lori says:

    We lived in Melbourne Australia for a year. I still say “postie” for mail carrier, “wheelie bin” for a garbage can with wheels – especially the ones you put out on the street on collection day. I miss meat pies, the butcher shop and the bakery shop I fell in love with. I also use “good on ya'”, and probably a few other phrases. We also knew enough to be affronted when an Australian friend’s teen-aged daughter told my husband to “get stuffed.”

    For those of you who may have the money to travel, I HIGHLY recommend an Australian vacation. The food and water are clean and safe. I have a sensitive system, and if the food is even a tiny bit off, I will get sick. I did NOT get sick in Australia. The medical care, should you need it, is also top notch – I still miss my doctor, too – and you can read the signs to take public transit. In Melbourne and Sydney, at least, the buses and trains are co-ordinated and actually go to within a few blocks of anywhere you want to go.

    I better stop, or Rachel will surely find a way to cut off my commenting privileges! :-/

  11. Heather says:

    I looked at the list of American and Australian words and I don’t think they know American English too well. My family has always used bedside table, pocket knife, etc., though of course some people do say pen knife and nightstand, but I have never heard anyone use “frypan” for “frying pan” or say “lick of paint” (if you said that I wouldn’t even know what you’re talking about).

    Some of them they did get right – we use cotton candy instead of fairyfloss.

  12. Darlene says:

    To me a footpath is a single file, undeveloped path/trail found in rural areas. I use flip-flops and thongs interchangeably. I know thongs also refers to a type of panties (panties probably need translating also) a type of woman’s undergarment for the lower region! I find symbol crochet frustrating although I can sort of read them if they are not too complicate. Thanks for the translation charts especially the yarn conversions. I’ve seen the others but not that one. I live in the US. We also use a quadruple treble (four wraps around the hook and I have also seen five wraps also I guess it would be a quintuple). I suppose you could just keep going. I know when I was a child I saw a pattern of my mother’s that referred to a ‘pineapple stitch’ that was described as 14 wraps around the hook worked off 2 at a time! Wish I had a copy of that pattern now just for fun! I am in my 70s so that was a long time ago.

  13. Heidi says:

    I still call Flip flops thongs and get yelled at for it and reminded that a thong is underwear. It is funny to read the list on the site you sent us to. I guess it all depends on what generation your parents were growing up in. Most of those terms are not uncommon. In fact I was told on many occasions that I was going to get a swat on my bum if I did not knock it off!

  14. Sandie says:

    I am in the U.S. but I enjoy hearing and learning about other languages so it doesn’t bother me if you speak “Australian” English or “British” or “American”, it’s interesting to me. However, I have had people write to me in their native language – French, Spanish, Italian. And I don’t speak those languages. LOL Google translate has become a good friend of mine. I hope it is doing a good job on translations!

  15. crafty-grandma says:

    Ah language!!! I live in suburb Montreal where the spoken language is French recently moved away from the city where life was a melting pot of languages Italian, Arabic, Spanish,Korean, Chinese etc. throw in some broken French mixed with english. Being raised with two predominate language, the words come out half English half French ie waleau would be water +eau (French for water). Took me a while to figure out what my grandaughter wanted!! The company I worked for was bought by our Australian friends and when they came to visit, we finally all got along except for those that didn,t speak any English and of course those from Australia spoke no French…I would have loved to be a fly on the wall. Throw in a few Americans from Salt Lake City, and a few from France a good time was had by all. Crochet and knitting is a complete other language where to add to the measurements of US or European there is Canadian! Wouldn’t it be easier if the needles were one size internationally. To top it off, I have inherited crochet needles which are labelled with letters of the alphabet J being quite big. What I do is wing it…language…whether soken or craft…got to love it!

  16. John Hablinski says:

    I was a bit surprised when I learned the site was based in Australia. I hadn’t even considered the thought another English speaking country might choose to write in “American” but that certainly explains my initial surprise. I have always been a reader and the old head pretty much does the translating of dialects without thought. When I learned you all were Aussies I wondered in which form i.e. British or American the patterns might be written but apparently not enough to make an effort to find out. That statement alone tells everyone I haven’t bought a pattern or made one of the freebies, but there is more to crochet in the age of the internet than a hook and some kind of string (some of that string is very nice!) there is a community of crocheters from all over the world and we need to visit and exchange ideas.
    There is one great idea which should make us all very happy and that is the International, more or less, Standard crochet symbol renderings of patterns. I realize we are all different and we learn differently and some folks look at the design drawings, place a hand to either side of the head and do their very best imitation of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” as they run from the room. People, don’t let these things frighten you; they can take away all the confusion of a written pattern. I honestly think, given a symbol diagram and a written pattern, there is no crochet design, no matter how complicated or advanced which I wouldn’t tackle and it would be a snap. In fact I have made several patterns with only the stitch chart because either a written pattern wasn’t available or they weren’t in English. They Don’t Bite! Almost every magazine, crochet book or modern pattern, where the symbols are given has a “Key” telling you what each symbol means. One has only to find the numeral “1” on the rendering and make each stitch one at a time. With both written and symbol drawings about the only thing the words are used for is to tell me how many chain stitches are made between other stitches because that way I don’t need to count them. Though each chain will be shown, who wants to count 15 little oblong little circles when the pattern says chain 15. One works each stitch in the drawing called for on line 1 of the pattern then you go to line 2. Each stitch in the chart is placed above the stitch into which it is to be worked, or positioned between two stitches if that is how they should be worked. It really is that easy. There are many tutorials available online which I’m sure do a better job of explaining these things than I have but the important thing is to not fear the symbols they are a great help if you will only let them. I promise!

  17. Veronica Smith says:

    Greetings John,
    This site is run by Rachel and she is – I believe – somewhere in America. I am in Australia and just doing submitting articles via the good old Web system. I does seem however that Australia is represented on this site by quite a few! The patterns are all written in “American”

  18. Ros says:


    I’m sure it wouldn’t always be easy translating your words – American Veronica.
    I am also in Australia.
    Initially I didn’t realise America used different crocheting stitch terms until the day I came across a pattern for a hat. As I was proceeding along making it, I was thinking mistakes had been made – printed pattern…it wasn’t looking the same as pictured either…lol.

    I found the symbol patterns easy to learn…a good one to begin with – http://www.grannys-garret.com/symbol_crochet/symbol_crochet.html

    Thanks for the conversion charts 🙂

  19. nommyzmommy says:

    Rachel’s in the US – not terribly far from me IIRC (southeastern PA).

    I had to laugh RE the “rubber.” The first guy I ever dated was from Hong Kong & had learned British English in school. We’d only been dating for a couple of weeks when he asked me if I had a rubber he could use. Shy little 17-year-old me just about fell through the floor! We did have a good laugh about it once we got our terminology straight. After that, US vs. UK slang was a running joke.

    Other than that I’ve never had much trouble going back and forth between US/UK English. Maybe all the British TV I watch has something to do with it. I do love the Beeb!

    As for Aussie…well…sometimes I still need a dictionary. I think one of the funniest things I’ve ever read was the Annunciation story from the Aussie Bible. I couldn’t help ROFLing because I kept hearing Matt Frewer or Crocodile Dundee reading it aloud in my head.

  20. Beth says:

    When we had our first son, we were still in college and an older friend was granted the honor of being a surrogate grandfather to our baby. He is from Australia. One day he was visiting and the baby was fussy. He offered to “nurse” the baby. You should have seen the looks on our faces! It only took me a few seconds to realize what he meant. He was offering to comfort, or cuddle the baby to calm him down.

  21. Moonfire says:

    I do find it interesting when people use different words for different things, I consider myself quite bilingual when it comes to crochet patterns – knitting patterns are a different matter, I always seem to revert to US.
    Best one that my teenager cringes at when I say it, ‘fanny pack’ (US) for ‘bum bag’ (UK) lol

    Pants(US) Trousers (UK) Trews (Scotland)

  22. Tina K says:

    Beth and Natalie very funny stories lol!

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