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BS: Transatlantic Idioms

Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 01 - 03:09 PM
Hollowfox 11 Apr 01 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 11 Apr 01 - 03:19 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 01 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Wavestar 11 Apr 01 - 03:32 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 01 - 03:38 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 01 - 03:40 PM
MMario 11 Apr 01 - 03:46 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 01 - 03:53 PM
Bert 11 Apr 01 - 03:54 PM
Chicken Charlie 11 Apr 01 - 03:57 PM
gnu 11 Apr 01 - 04:10 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 01 - 04:17 PM
Chicken Charlie 11 Apr 01 - 04:23 PM
Bert 11 Apr 01 - 04:24 PM
Bedubya 11 Apr 01 - 05:22 PM
mousethief 11 Apr 01 - 05:37 PM
Bert 11 Apr 01 - 05:41 PM
Les from Hull 11 Apr 01 - 05:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Apr 01 - 06:14 PM
Sorcha 11 Apr 01 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Les B. 11 Apr 01 - 06:29 PM
mousethief 11 Apr 01 - 06:31 PM
Amergin 11 Apr 01 - 06:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Apr 01 - 06:43 PM
catspaw49 11 Apr 01 - 07:14 PM
Sorcha 11 Apr 01 - 07:29 PM
Chicken Charlie 11 Apr 01 - 07:29 PM
Ebbie 11 Apr 01 - 07:32 PM
Bill D 11 Apr 01 - 07:32 PM
catspaw49 11 Apr 01 - 07:33 PM
Seamus Kennedy 11 Apr 01 - 07:34 PM
artbrooks 11 Apr 01 - 07:38 PM
Kim Hughes 11 Apr 01 - 07:56 PM
Irish sergeant 11 Apr 01 - 08:08 PM
Sorcha 11 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 01 - 08:29 PM
Sorcha 11 Apr 01 - 08:41 PM
sheila 11 Apr 01 - 10:07 PM
alison 11 Apr 01 - 10:23 PM
Sorcha 11 Apr 01 - 10:29 PM
Amergin 11 Apr 01 - 10:39 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 11 Apr 01 - 10:48 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 11 Apr 01 - 10:59 PM
Sorcha 11 Apr 01 - 11:57 PM
Gervase 12 Apr 01 - 07:25 AM
kendall 12 Apr 01 - 07:30 AM
Les from Hull 12 Apr 01 - 08:12 AM
JudeL 12 Apr 01 - 08:13 AM
Gervase 12 Apr 01 - 08:20 AM
alison 12 Apr 01 - 08:34 AM
Grab 12 Apr 01 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Wavestar 12 Apr 01 - 08:59 AM
JudeL 12 Apr 01 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Rana 12 Apr 01 - 09:24 AM
Gervase 12 Apr 01 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Mr Red @ Library 12 Apr 01 - 10:29 AM
JudeL 12 Apr 01 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Rana 12 Apr 01 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Wavestar 12 Apr 01 - 12:07 PM
kendall 12 Apr 01 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Rana 12 Apr 01 - 12:53 PM
katlaughing 12 Apr 01 - 01:04 PM
Metchosin 12 Apr 01 - 01:11 PM
Les from Hull 12 Apr 01 - 01:16 PM
Maryrrf 12 Apr 01 - 01:34 PM
mousethief 12 Apr 01 - 01:53 PM
artbrooks 12 Apr 01 - 02:07 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Apr 01 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Rana 12 Apr 01 - 02:36 PM
Chip2447 12 Apr 01 - 03:36 PM
Amergin 12 Apr 01 - 03:50 PM
Mike Byers 12 Apr 01 - 04:06 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Apr 01 - 05:24 PM
bill\sables 12 Apr 01 - 06:00 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Apr 01 - 07:14 PM
kendall 12 Apr 01 - 07:51 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Apr 01 - 08:24 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Apr 01 - 08:44 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Apr 01 - 09:14 PM
Jon Freeman 12 Apr 01 - 10:25 PM
Bill D 12 Apr 01 - 11:15 PM
katlaughing 13 Apr 01 - 12:23 AM
Peg 13 Apr 01 - 12:32 AM
Bert 13 Apr 01 - 01:10 AM
Amergin 13 Apr 01 - 01:22 AM
mousethief 13 Apr 01 - 01:37 AM
Metchosin 13 Apr 01 - 03:36 AM
Metchosin 13 Apr 01 - 03:48 AM
mousethief 13 Apr 01 - 03:52 AM
Metchosin 13 Apr 01 - 04:48 AM
okthen 13 Apr 01 - 05:52 AM
Fiolar 13 Apr 01 - 08:32 AM
gnu 13 Apr 01 - 08:56 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Apr 01 - 09:23 AM
gnu 13 Apr 01 - 10:14 AM
Bill D 13 Apr 01 - 10:42 AM
Jim Dixon 13 Apr 01 - 11:16 AM
Murray MacLeod 13 Apr 01 - 04:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 01 - 05:12 PM
Murray MacLeod 13 Apr 01 - 05:28 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Apr 01 - 07:29 PM
bill\sables 14 Apr 01 - 06:07 PM
katlaughing 14 Apr 01 - 06:26 PM
Ebbie 15 Apr 01 - 01:17 AM
katlaughing 15 Apr 01 - 01:26 AM
Bert 15 Apr 01 - 01:49 AM
Mudlark 15 Apr 01 - 02:22 AM
Gervase 15 Apr 01 - 06:35 AM
kendall 15 Apr 01 - 06:52 AM
gnu 15 Apr 01 - 08:28 AM
Long Firm Freddie 15 Apr 01 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Wavestar 15 Apr 01 - 11:11 AM
Metchosin 15 Apr 01 - 12:36 PM
gnu 15 Apr 01 - 12:43 PM
kendall 15 Apr 01 - 01:40 PM
The Walrus 15 Apr 01 - 05:13 PM
Terry K 16 Apr 01 - 04:20 AM
kendall 16 Apr 01 - 08:21 AM
Burke 16 Apr 01 - 10:12 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Apr 01 - 11:24 AM
Jon Freeman 16 Apr 01 - 11:53 AM
Snuffy 16 Apr 01 - 06:07 PM
kendall 16 Apr 01 - 07:38 PM
Snuffy 16 Apr 01 - 07:59 PM
Jon Freeman 16 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM
ChaosCat 16 Apr 01 - 11:26 PM
ChaosCat 16 Apr 01 - 11:30 PM
Edmund 17 Apr 01 - 01:24 AM
katlaughing 17 Apr 01 - 01:50 AM
Jon Freeman 17 Apr 01 - 01:57 AM
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Subject: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:09 PM

I know there have been previous threads on Mudcat about British and American linguistic differences and I don't want to rehash all of this, BUT, I would like to know, what the most persistent home-grown usages are , both for Brits in America, and even more interesting, (for me at any rate) for Americans in Britain.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. I have just about got a grip on the American language. I walk on the "sidewalk", I buy my groceries at the "store", and I put "gasoline" in my tank". So far so good. All these usages are second nature now.

But the one thing that is not second nature is the American use of "rent", where the British would say "hire". Now, I am well aware of the difference, but the other night, I was discussing having my carpet cleaned, and I was saying I would hire a cleaning machine and the other person was saying, No, you can do it yourself, and for thirty seconds we were talking at crosspurposes until the penny dropped..

(For the benefit of British Mudcatters, Americans "rent" cars, tools, carpet-cleaning machines etc. etc.) . They only "hire" labor.

For the benefit of American Mudcatters, in the UK we only " rent" land or property. Tools, cars and machines are "hired".

All this preamble brings me to my question. For those of you who have lived transatlantic, what has been the most difficult "foreign" linguistic usage to adjust to?

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Hollowfox
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:14 PM

Just curious, Murray, do they rent people in the UK?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:19 PM

Don't ask an American if you can bum a fag or ask him how the craic is.

And don't be too shocked if you hear that the American has his keys in his fanny pack.

p.s. petrol and lorry used to throw me...instead of gas and truck...oh so do some items of clothing, like a 'pull' when its cold out


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:25 PM

Hollowfox, Conservative MP's have been known to "rent" youths, but we don't really want to go there .......

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Wavestar
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:32 PM

I still trip over them all the time, Murray, but the one that has caused me the most trouble over all, I'm sure, is pants / trousers. For those who don't have the trouble: Pants, in America, are the divided clothes on wears on the bottom half - underpants, panties, or underwear are the more intimate garments you'd rather your boss didn't see. Trousers are... archaic and formal. In Britain, trousers are outer wear, pants or all types are not to be shared on the streets.

Cookie and biscuit are also a problem, but don't earn the surprised looks. Also school/college vs. University.

Simplest things cause the most trouble.

-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:38 PM

I hear you, Wavestar. A; tose were problematic at first. Actually, can you explain in more detail, exactly what does an American think when he/she hears the word "trousers"?

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:40 PM

= "All those " .....


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: MMario
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:46 PM

I suspect most people in the US rarely, if ever, hear the word "trousers". Pants or slacks are much more commonly heard. I suspect trousers appears a bit more frequently in print - but not much more frequently.

In fact - I remember having to explain to some people what we were talking about after having sung "Donald where's your trousers"


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:53 PM

Actually, now that I think about it, while we are on the subject of gent's apparel ("Suits you, Sir ") I still don't quite have "suspenders " in my subconscious just yet. Well, I do , but not in the American sense.......

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bert
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:54 PM

and 'vest'


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 03:57 PM

Dear Murray--

Trying to be polite to Empire Loyalists, I will say that you chaps seem to count the floors of a building somewhat oddly. I get the impression that the "first storey" of a building in London is the first floor above street level, whereas the "first story" of an American building IS the street level. And the American million/British million is just stupid; whichever one of us is responsible for that one ought to be ashamed. Funniest, to my jaded mind, is "Knock me up some time," given the fact that in somewhat archaic American, that would mean "Get me pregnant," rather than "Come see me." You would say, "Directly he came in, he sat down," as opposed to our "Directly after he came in, he sat down." The only ones that have given me personal problems was (1) getting told off by the boss for using a perfectly good British spelling [judgement with an e] inadvertently, and (2) trying to jam with an Aussie and being unable to decide whether the key of "oi" was the key of A or the key of E. Had just tune him out and watch his fingers.

God Save this Thread!

Chicken Charlie


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: gnu
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 04:10 PM

Chicken Charlie... the key of "oi"..... excuse me, I have to get some paper towel to wipe my tea off the screen. Thanks. I needed that laugh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 04:17 PM

CC , I laughed too, but, getting into pedantic mode, here, and NOT having my OED handy, I take issue with you that "judgement" is the accepted British spelling. "Judgment" methinks. Still, I have been wrong before .....

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 04:23 PM

Murray, you may be right, now that I look in my pocket Webster's. Judgement is an 'alternative' spelling, but not necessarily British. Oh, well. So much LABOUR lost.

C.C.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bert
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 04:24 PM

Jewellery is one that still gets me. I can't get used to saying joolree.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bedubya
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 05:22 PM

Okay.

Somebody from the Eastern side of the Atlantic help this poor dumb Yank out on this one.

"Shrubbery" as used by the Monty Python guys in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" when the evil knight says, "We want a shrubbery!" Is this accepted usage or a joke? In the States we would never say "a shrubbery" to indicate a single plant. We would say "a shrub". A mass planting of shrubs would just be "shrubbery", or a specific mass planting would be "the shrubbery", but never "a shrubbery".

Cheers,

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: mousethief
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 05:37 PM

The one I was always puzzled by was the use of "presently" to me "in just a little bit now." In America, "presently" means RIGHT NOW (in the present).

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bert
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 05:41 PM

You're right Alex, Americans however seem to misuse "momentarily" to mean soon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Les from Hull
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 05:41 PM

Yer losts of shrubs = a shrubbery. Although for some reason lots of rubs is never a rubbery.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 06:14 PM

Generally English speakers on the right side of the Atlantic understand most of the American idioms which have been mentioned, even when we don't use them. Well, we see enough American films and telly to keep us fairly bilingual in such matters, and able to manage most American accents without needing subtitles.

The other way round I gather is a bit more of a problem. Nothing quite so parochial as a really big country, which is big enough for the inhabitants to fall into the habit of thinking it's a whole world. (cf China)


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 06:14 PM

Ahh, shades of Ghallagher!! Around here, (way out West in US of A) "trousers" is only used if you are buying a suit or renting (hiring) a Tux. Otherwise, it's pants,slacks, or jeans. We never use "denims" to mean jeans pants. "Denims" and "Leathers" imply that you are dressed head to toe in that fabric.......no specific item implied.

I guess I have read too many British novels, because I have always used "braces" instead of "suspenders". Mind you, we have fancy elastic suspenders with alligator clips instead of button loops, and if you want brace buttons on your trousers, you'll probably have t sew them on yourself. Fancy meaning, wide rainbow stripes; red, white and blue with stars, etc. We also have the more sedate plain, narrow blue/brown/black with button loops but you have to look harder for them.

"Knickers" is becoming more common everywhere in the US. Of course, sometimes it still means "plus fours" or pants that stop just below the knee.... As a result of (probably)way too much Mudcatting, I now use "bonnet" and "boot" more than "hood" and "trunk". Come to think of it, British novels and Mudcat are also responsible for my asking the bartender to "pull me a pint".........ain't international communication wonderful?!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 06:29 PM

When I lived in a British colony the differences between American and British word usage & spelling were just the spice of life, I thought.

What did make me scratch my head were the brand name and regional words I'd never heard of: - Brawley, Biro, scrumpins, burk - (spellings ??) and the old British monetary system, which I could never figure out in American dollars & cents: -- tuppence, shilling, crown, etc.

Then there was the British habit of combining a statement and a question; "Well, you didn't remit the full amount, did you ?", which I thought was "cheeky" at first, but came to realize was just everyday usage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: mousethief
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 06:31 PM

What does "momentarily" mean on your side of the pond?

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Amergin
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 06:40 PM

Hey, Scorch, I'm with you there....I have realised the other day that I have taken to calling folks Mates......oh well...

I got a friend who grew up in Switzerland, and in school there learned British English....well, she came to the States to go to a Christain College.....Well, in class one day, she asked a male classmate if he had a rubber she gcould borrow.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 06:43 PM

Momentarily = right at that moment. "I was momentarily lost for words, but I quickly recovered, and had plenty to say."


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:14 PM

One of the great joys of this joint is just this thread Murray. Before this my education was one way and now sharing is so much more fun. From the comedies and "Britcoms" to actually dealing with understanding the differences as we converse here is a big leap......and a fun one, although I have made the occasional joke that someone felt they should explain to me! I remember saying that it would be hard to imagine some 250 pound redneck named Bubba saying, "Gimmee some uv them bangers and some scones."............Didn't go over too big and it was stated to me that perhaps if Bubba had grown up calling them by those names.........Anyway, I really enjoy this part of the 'Cat!!!

I started riding British scoots (Beezers and Trumpets) when I was 14 and that was an early intro to the language we "don't share." Carbuerettor?? Hmmm, must be a Carb.......and it says I'm supposed to "tickle it"..............Okay....Never heard one laugh, but I'll tickle its ribs if I can find them............"Spring Dampeners" huh?........Hmmm....look like a shock to me but............

Later on I worked as a mainly English car mechanic and reading the manuals was always a treat.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:29 PM

Oh god, Alex, borrowed rubbers!! Used or unused?? But even in Brit, rubbers has two meanings.......overshoes and erasers.....What is British for condom? I feel like I have heard it/should know, but can't remember.......

and Spaw, that is so right!! "English" from around the world.......even American English has too many words for motorcycle--bike, scooter, hog, bitch-ride (a rather new one, I gather) that it's hard to keep track.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:29 PM

Getting under the bonnet were you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:32 PM

In 'Dictionary of American Usage and Style', it says, "Judgment: This is the preferred form in AmE and in British legal texts, even as far back as the 19th century. Judgement is prevalent in British nonlegal texts."

You learn something every day- I always assumed that in Great Britain it is always with that extra 'e'- guess I've not read many British legal texts.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:32 PM

being an older country with far more history and sustained local language varieties, the UK has, it seems to me, a lot more idioms and colloquialisms than the USA with its mixed population and disdain for 'custom'...

I have to say that some expressions from the old country make more sense (i.e., petrol instead of 'gas'),,,but it's what you are used to)...but some, like 'knickers' don't mean anything to me...trousers would not be mis-understood here, but 'pants' are a simple word...and 'panties' as diminutive 'pants' just seems to follow.

What really amuses me is the words people use for intimate & sexual terms....another country's idioms just don't have the built in 'charge', and we will say things using the other country's slang/idiom that we would NOT say out loud in our own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:33 PM

Of course CC, til Colin decided to put a hatch behind the cockpit where the boot had been.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:34 PM

Americans! Attention! When in Ireland or Britain, never compliment a lady on her "fanny."

All the best.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: artbrooks
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:38 PM

On a more important note, draft (draught) beer in the States comes in regular (12 ounce) and tall (22 ounce). You rarely get it in a pint, which is only 16 ounces here, anyway. I wondered why I got fuzzier on two or three glasses in Ireland than I did at home...then I stopped caring.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Kim Hughes
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 07:56 PM

Well, the ones that I bumped into the hardest were were "anorak," "kagool" (sp??), "dandy brush" (that's for horse types), and the inwardness regarding "tea" as something you drink or a meal. I also had difficulty with stores that didn't "do" something, (e.g., "Oh, we don't do milk,")and (in Ireland) items that were "all," (as in, "The sugar is all," meaning "the sugar is finished, there isn't any more."

I could go on and on, but will refrain.

Kim


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 08:08 PM

Great thread Murray! I misspent a summer in Antigua in the very early 1970s and started to learn to speak the Queen's English there. Later I learned that proper usage in the U.S. until shortly before the turn of the century (Meaning 1901) was British usage. At least as far as spelling was concerned. SOme of my favourite British Terms; Loo for Lavatory. Lorry for truck Lift for elevator. I could go on but you get the drift of it George Bernard Shaw was right, We're two people separated by a common language. Have a lovely day all, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM

Strangely enough, the only unacceptable word that I can think of for a lady's back side in the States is "ass".....bum, butt, fanny, rear, be'hind, cheeks, are all more or less acceptable. But not ass.......in Spain you can say "cula" at the dinner table, it's sort of like "bum", but not in Mexico or Cuba. There, it's far worse than "ass", more closely related to "cunt".

Oh, and I forgot "vest". In the US, it's always vest, unless you are talking a tuxedo. Then, it is "waist-cot"--pronounced waste-kot......never weskit. When I say "weskit" I get a lot of strange looks. Ladies never wear waistcots/weskits, they are always vests......

and, the British system of numbering floors has always made more sense to me. Why can't we just all call the ground floor the Ground Floor, and the first floor above that the First Floor? More and more elevators (lifts) are offering "G" instead of "1" as a choice.......therefore, "1" is the first floor above "G" or Ground Level.......same for basements.......1BG (or 1B, 2SB) meaning Below Ground or SubBasement.......

Is an "attic" always the very top (usually unfinished/uninsulated) floor? What about garret?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 08:29 PM

Kim, isn't a "dandy brush" universal, at least in racing stables? Maybe not .....

Sorcha, I had no idea you had become so Anglicized. Bonnets and boots, indeed ! Do the garage mechanics in Wyoming understand you ? And talking of mechanics, this is the very place to clear up something which I have wondered about for a long time.

Back in the sixties an acquaintance of mine, a plasterer by trade, claimed to have seen an advertisement in a USA newspaper which read : "Plasterer wanted, must be first-class mechanic". He found this incomprehensible, until I ventured a suggestion that "mechanic" in the USA might just be their word for "craftsman" or "tradesman". (In Britain of course, a mechanic is a motor mechanic.) Now, was I right? I remember in some movie (Five Card Stud, maybe ) hearing a card-sharp referred to as a "good mechanic".

Vive la difference

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 08:41 PM

Card sharps are referred to as mechanics---as in manipulating the cards, but I don't understand the plaster/mechanic thing either. Generally here, mechanic means car/auto/vehicle fix it person......son is mechanic, hubby is full time Cop/Bobby (Sgt) and part time auto mechanic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: sheila
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 10:07 PM

sorcha -

"Is an "attic" always the very top (usually unfinished/uninsulated) floor? What about garret?"

Loft is often used for the under-roof area.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: alison
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 10:23 PM

sorcha in the UK they are called condoms.. but were more commonly known as "durex" (the brand name)..... in Oz Durex apparently was a brand of sticky tape (cellotape).... ouch!!!!!

and don't make the mistake (as I did) of telling an Aussie that I had been "rooting around in a cupboard".... same problem asking the best "route"(pronounced "root") to somewhere..........

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 10:29 PM

Loft in US usually means a higher than main floor space, often an open or half walled sleeping space. A loft could be an entire flat/apartment, or a higher space in the flat near the roof meant for sleeping. "Main floor" usually meaning street level or ground floor.......lofts are usually found in converted warehouses (in large cities) or in log cabins in the woods.

In the latter case, they are usually half floors.....a one room place with a foot ladder to the loft/half floor. The entire room has a Cathedral ceiling with a half floor covering half the floor (which is actually Air) space. A railing is required for these. Clear as mud?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Amergin
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 10:39 PM

Well as clear as Scorch.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 10:48 PM

I'd already been in England a year when I was transferred to RAF Lakenheath, and I got used to thinking, "let's just wait and see what he means" For instance, Knocking up is "Waking up" Makes sense when you realize (realise) that each little villiage had a professional "Knocker upper" who worked on subscriptions. You paid him and told him what time you wanted to be awakend and he knocked on your bedroom window, with a long padded pole at precisely the time that you had stipulated. A lot morereliable than a clock.

Needed some alligator clips once, sent into an electronics parts store( shop) took a moment to think about what I would ask for, remembered that Britts were more familiar with crocodiles than alligators. Asked for "crocodile clips. It worked.

But, the one that really almost took me aback was when my friend Terry Wood of Leicester was going to spend a weekend with us at Lakenheath, he called u p and said that he couldn't make it that week, "Because Granny is having a blow job" A guy was coming over that weekend to burn the paint off her cottage walls with a blow torch.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 10:59 PM

I now live in a city (Newport Rhode Island) where the main street is named Thames St, and is pronounced by the locals exactly as it's spelled. Britts kind of do a double take when they hear this, but we, very politley, don'e even flick an eyebrow when they pronounce it Tems. Est Greenwich is , East Green-witch. Warwick is, you guesed it, War-wick and Stockholm Street is, Yup, Stock Hollum st. but Stockholm tar is still Stockholm tar. Go figure. South Baptist st. is on the other end of town from North Baptist st., and to make it even more confusing to visitors, they both terminate n Thames St. Emmanuel Episcopal Church is on S. Baptist St.

All this is quite normal to us, and you can keep your smart remarks to yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 11:57 PM

LOL, Yankee! That's the way to handle them Brits! Nathan, I'll scorch you for that. After all, it was clearer than mud........(wasn't it?)
My personal favorites are still Cholmdomley (chumley) and Worchestershire (Wost-te-shr)......of course we don't have any of these in the US.......
Ar-kan'-sas vs. Ar-kan-saw'
bag vs sack
cattle gaurd vs auto gate
kill, as in hunt--bag or get
And we have two Washingtons to boot.......
(and where did "to boot" come from, anyway?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Gervase
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 07:25 AM

Condoms were always Johnnies when I was too young to use 'em. That or the euphemism "a packet of three" when they were sold in barber's shops and the question "Would Sir like anything for the weekend?" was posed.
Heck, that takes me back: The barber's shop window full of pictures of matinee idol models with impossibly neat hair and a glowing red neon "Durex" sign, and me sitting on a plank across the arms of the chair for a short back and sides. Then back via the chippy for a bag of scraps...
I think I'm getting old. I remember when this place was all fields!


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: kendall
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 07:30 AM

Do you British types universally mis- use "hopefully?" do you mispronounce: particularly? jewelry? nuclear? regularly?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:12 AM

Us British types don't misuse or mispronounce anything. After all, it's our language. You should be paying us royalties everytime you speak or write! I'm sure it would be different if instead of the Queen's English it was Microsoft's English. (Actually that's getting too close for comfort - so that's why they brought out that Encarta Dictionary)**BG**

But seriously, we can't agree among ourselves how to say things. Don't get started on regional variations.

You American types do what you like with the language. It's broken beyond repair anyway. And there's a lot more of you than there are of us.

Cheers, Les


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: JudeL
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:13 AM

so what does route/root mean to an aussie?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Gervase
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:20 AM

It's what the wombat does - "The wombat eats roots, shoots and leaves". Jammy little bugger!


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: alison
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:34 AM

bonk, shag, screw, etc..............

lol

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Grab
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:35 AM

How do you misuse "hopefully", kendall? "Hopefully it'll be sunny tomorrow" = "I hope it'll be sunny tomorrow". What's to misuse?

CC, I think we both share the same million - 10^6 - but the billions (and subsequent numbers) are different. The use of "billion" for 10^9 is a purely American invention - there's a perfectly good English word "milliard" (although not used much these days) for that quantity. Both "million" and "milliard" come from French, and the French still use "milliard" for 10^9.

"Berk" (also spelled "burk" or "burke" occasionally) is an abbreviation of the Cockney rhyming slang "Berkshire Hunt", for c*nt (although it's interesting that "Berkshire" is pronounced "bark-shire"! :-) It's lost the Cockney root, though, so "berk" is a fairly common mild insult.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Wavestar
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:59 AM

Ah yes, all of the old favourites. Trousers in America might refer to very fancy pants, the lower half of a tux or suit, as someone else pointed out. Vests are waistcoats of all sorts - that one gets me into trouble too. Fortunately I don't tend to use suspenders. If you still have questions about that one, I'll explain, but I think Sorcha was pretty clear :) Rubbers - that one only comes up occasionally, but I still blink when asked for an eraser here :)

Regarding Momentarily, Hopefully, etc - We ALL misuse them. Just about every example made on this thread has been a misuse, but then common usage is taking over for what they actually mean. Momentarily means 'just for a moment' - so McGrath's usage was appropriate, but his definition was not. Hopefully means full of hope - "I am hopeful that it will not rain tomorrow." and subsequently, one can say something hopefully - "She looked up hopefully and said, 'Mom, can I have a puppy?'" But using it to start a sentence, as above, is not technically grammatically accurate. If I'm wrong, hit me with a dictionary.

And DON'T get me started on the floor labelling system. The ground floor is the first one I walk into, why can't it be the first damned floor? Arrgh. (REALLY don't get me started on why Brits still mostly use two taps, so that one can either get freezing water or scalding water, but not warm.)

-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: JudeL
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 09:13 AM

to call someone "fancy pants" over this side of the pond is a mild insult and refers to the person rather the clothing


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Rana
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 09:24 AM

I was going to bring up differences within the UK - Les beat me.

Spent my first year organic chem labs not understanding my lab partner - a Geordie.

Remember listening to an elderly couple in Netherton near Dudley and not understanding a word of the Black Country dialect (maybe RtS can help).

Also I would keep altering spelling at school - on writing "nothing" I would want to alter it to "nothink" 'cos that was the way I pronounced it and heard it around me.

One thing that has always bugged me (and it is irrational) is the pronounciation (not always) of route as "rout" (like what an army may do) instead of rhyming with "root" on th west side of the pond. Also the interchangability of "bring" and "take". But then again these rules were probably invented to keep the teachers of English employed (don't take me seriously on that one, please!).

Cheers Rana


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Gervase
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 09:31 AM

I love the Black Country accent - I had a colleague from Doodle-Eye and she could make a shopping list sound sexy!


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Mr Red @ Library
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 10:29 AM

Murray MacLeod
What you refer to was put succintly by an American Author of a book on the New Zealand language.
eg UK has haberdashery and Kiwi's have manchester!
anyway the author called the ambiguous ones "false friends".


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: JudeL
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 10:45 AM

Rana: Another one that my English teacher objected to, was saying, "different to" rather than "different from", or using "best" instead of "better" when comparing 2 items.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Rana
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 11:00 AM

Hi JudeL,

My supervisor, when I was at UBC, who was from England, would try and correct me on the use of split infinitives. I pointed out that these were now considered acceptable. Was this due to Startrek? "To Go Boldly" does not seem to have the same impact as "To Boldly Go".

Rana


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Wavestar
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 12:07 PM

Rana: They may be considered acceptable in everyday speech, but I'll still catch it if I proofread your paper, and on the occasions that I miss on, my tutor will likely notice. On the other hand, I exist in an obscure corner of academia that doesn't touch the real world.

-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: kendall
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 12:44 PM

Grab, because a word is commonly mis used does not make it right. My dictionary says it is considered "loosely" used. Hopefully, I wont hear this abomination more than a dozen times today. Another thing that drives me nuts, so many people butchering the language, such as (notice I didnt say LIKE) ..me and her went to the show...first prize was given to her and I.Even AOL has that idiotic voice that says "You've got mail"! American english is a poor substitute for the real thing. Why, people outside New England put an "R" in words such as Barn, and Park. In the midwest, they put an "r" in wash.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Rana
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 12:53 PM

Actually Wavestar, I first heard about it being acceptable (split infinitives) from an "academic source" and not everyday usage - unfortunately I can't remember where from. However, I'll still try and avoid it when writing (and I haven't had a paper rejected yet because of this).

Now I will go boldly back to work!

Rana


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 01:04 PM

Sorcha, everyone back East says "root" for "route" (rout). On my sons's SO's first visit to Colorado, she was telling a ghost story from New England around a campfire one night. It included some "route" something or other. Everytime she mentioned it, one of the Coloradoans would look kind of funny. Finally he leaned over to me and asked what in the hell she was talking about, some kind of weird plant or what?!

Also, if you hear any of the BritComs on BBC America, you will hear they put a different accent on condoms than we do. we say "kahn dums" and they say "cawn dawms" with the accent on the second syllable instead of the first. It almost sounds like "gendarme" in the way that it rolls off in a rather slow fashion, rather like unrolling one of the things!

I've always loved British English and tried to use it as much as possible when I was a child. My grandfather was a very proper English-American gentleman. I was thrilled to find so much of it on the Mudcat and to be able to hone my skill at it. One of the nicest compliments I ever received from a Brit was when he told me how delightful it was to visit with me because he didn't have to constantly explain the idioms he used.

As for regional dialects, there are some BBC programs for which I almost wish they would provide subtitles! I work hard at catching it all because I love to hear and learn new dialects and language usages but some of them are almost unintelligble!**BG** I am sure the same could be said about parts of the US, too.

Great thread, Murray. I am hopeful there will be more!*smile*

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Metchosin
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 01:11 PM

Rana, I don't think I have heard many Canadians pronounce route as "rowt", but that is about the only word of which I can think that has not become Americanized on the west coast in recent years. Although, perhaps a roof is still a roof (as in moo) and not a ruf, for which you need a per'mit in Canada to reinstall and not a per mit'. Come to think of it, there seems to be more eastcoast-westcoast differences in Canada than there seems to be north-south differences on the west coast of North America, although I still drink beer, not bear, as a friend in LA does.

Upon taking a friend from New Zealand for a tour (pronounced on the west coast of Canada as "too er" unlike in the east , where it sounds more like tore) in the ("kawr" not "kehr") of local farms, she was surprised to see such a large number of "killers" in a herd of sheep. They all looked pretty placid to me, until she explained that the black ones were "killers". Right. I explained that I thought the reason for a larger number of "killers" here than in NZ flocks, might be to supply the local "Indian Sweater" market. I think we were communicating fully that day, but who knows?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 01:16 PM

Kat - Can you get 'The Archers' (BBC Radio 4) over there? It's possibly the world's longest-running 'soap' - over 50 years and counting. I suppose you can get it through the computer - I tend not to do that because I would have a huge 'phone bill. It would be like ringing up the radio station.

How do you manage with the accents, particularly the less gentrified characters?

Les


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Maryrrf
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 01:34 PM

Years ago I worked with an English woman. Out of the blue she asked me "Do you have a rubber?". "No", I mumbled. (I didn't know her very well, so I wondered why in the heck she was asking me.) She continued "Well do you know where I could get one?". I said "Couldn't you stop at the drugstore on the way home?". "But I need it right now!" she replied. I thought "Oh my god she must be headed for the boss's office to screw him !" (He was the only male around). I was thinking the affair must pretty hot and heavy if she needed a rubber so badly and just couldn't wait, and was thinking neither one of them seemed like the type. My boss was about 65 and she was 24. After a few minutes I realised she was talking about an eraser.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 01:53 PM

"Hopefully", according to some language pundits, ought to mean, "full of hope." For instance: "As the winning numbers were read, Tom clutched his Lotto ticket hopefully."

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: artbrooks
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 02:07 PM

I'm not at all sure that there is a "standard" American way to pronounce the language, although Midwestern flat is probably the one most often heard in the media (except for evening television shows that use an objectionable California dialect that is rapidly spreading to everyone under the age of 22). I have been told that "standard" British pronunciation derives from the English public (which to us means private) school system. I'm reminded of a story that my mother tells. She claims that she thought my father's first name was Otto until she saw it on their marriage license. His given name, like mine, is Arthur and his cognomen is also Art. However, since he is from Providence (Rhode Island), he pronounced Art as "Aht". Go figure. We also have towns in the US called Cairo (kay'-ro), Pierre (peer), Berlin (ber'-lin) and Prescott (pres-kit).


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 02:31 PM

Artbrooks:

I'll see your CAY-ro, Illinois and PEER South Dakota, and raise you Milan (MY-lun), Indiana and Lafayette (Lay-fee-ett), Indiana and Brazil (Bray-ZILL), Indiana. Oh, also Peru (Pee-roo), Indiana.

DAve Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Rana
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 02:36 PM

Metchosin, you're correct - "rowt" seems to be much more common in the US (I think only one Canadian I've met pronounced it that way, though he studied in the States.

Les (and hence Kat) - BBC Online will allow you to pick up the Archers.

Rana


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Chip2447
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 03:36 PM

Versailles Missouri...pronounced...Ver' sails.

I realize this is a bit of a drift... One mouse, two mice. One house, two hice? Goose, geese. Moose, meese. Drive on the parkway, park on the driveway. Lead the way and let's get the lead out, I want to see a horsefull carriage and someone I can touch with a 10 foot pole...


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Amergin
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 03:50 PM

Yeah, I think you're right about our regional dialects, Katdarling.....Those sorry folks in Wyoming (for example) are in dire need of speech lessons.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Mike Byers
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 04:06 PM

I think if you went into a restaurant in the US and said, "Do you have spotted dick?", you might be in for some odd looks. Not to mention toad in the hole, bangers and blood, etc. Of course, all I know about this comes from BBC shows on PBS...maybe it's all fast food everwhere in the world these days.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 05:24 PM

One of my favorite topics! Although I have never lived in Britain, I have visited there many times, spending about 5 months total. Whole books have been written on the subject of our language differences, and I have about three of them-I will look them up if anyone cares.

Here's a question that has puzzled me: Brits say "Christian name" where Americans would say "first name" and "surname" where Americans would say "last name," - for example, when bureaucrats are filling out a form. It's easy enough to understand what you mean, but-how do you address a Muslim? Wouldn't it be offensive to ask him what his "Christian name" is?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: bill\sables
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 06:00 PM

I was once with Max in a West Chester pub and he said he liked the look of the bartender. I began to wonder if he was gay till I realised that he meant the Bar Maid.
Bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 07:14 PM

Britain and America seem to be growing more alike.

When I first visited Britain 15 years ago, I remember discussing language differences with my Irish-British brother-in-law, who was already pretty well informed about Americanisms. I asked, would a Brit understand my using the expression "bullshit"? He said, "They would know what you mean, but they would also know you were American." (The equivalent British exclamation seems to be "ballocks!")

On a more recent visit, I read a copy of "Private Eye" and found "bullshit" used about a dozen times!

By the way, for an American reader, Private Eye is the most incomprehensible publication I ever ran across. It is supposed to be a humor magazine, with a lot of political commentary and satire. Most of the time, I couldn't even figure out what they were talking about. And the rest of the time, I still didn't have a clue why it was supposed to be funny.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: kendall
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 07:51 PM

Jim, if you meet a Muslim, just ask his/her given name. Same thing.It also works for Jews.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:24 PM

Jim D, I agree that "Private Eye" must be a mystery to Americans. It is also incomprehensible to most Brits withour a college (university) education. You really need to be an ex-public schoolboy (British variety) to understand it. Personally, I find it hilarious, used to have all the back numbers.

Kat, do the British really accentuate the second syllable in "condoms" ? I always accentuate the first, but it might be a thespian affectation to stress the second syllable. Must listen out for that. Also, interesting sentence in your post illustrating the different usage of "visit". In Britain, we "visit someone", in America, we visit "with" someone.

And I agree with everything said about "hopefully" but that is universally misused on both sides of the pond, as is "between you and I".

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 08:44 PM

Murray McLeod said:

Also, interesting sentence in your post illustrating the different usage of "visit". In Britain, we "visit someone", in America, we visit "with" someone.

I must respectfully disagree with your American attribution. If I go to someone's home, I visit him. If I sit for a while and we talk, I visit with him.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 09:14 PM

But that is my point, Dave, In Britain we would never visit "with" someone" whatever the duration of the visit.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 10:25 PM

Jim, the term "Christian Name" is becoming less used in the UK. It is preferable to ask for "First Name(s)" or "Forename(s)".

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 11:15 PM

there is a very useful term in German...die 'umgangsprache'...which refers to the sort of 'default' dialect used in movies and on the national news programs.

Most countries have an equivalent of this, and it would be useful if people would learn to approximate it when not in their social 'in group'..Yes, *grin*, that implies forcing yourself to pronounce those Rs at times! Lots of folks can switch between local dialect/idiom and the 'common' language when necessary...many African-Americans do it every day. Sure, there is usually a residual, identifiable lilt, but it can be VERY useful to be aware of those parts of one's speech which are idiom, slang and dialect and to know the 'common' versions.

(I can't help but grin when a friend of mine from refers to a certain chanty singing group..."The Boarding Party".....as "The Bawding Potty"...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 12:23 AM

Murray, I think I used "with" because it was never in person. It's all been online, both in text and verbal. I agree with Dave. I do say I visit someone, but if I talk to them on the phone etc. I visit with them.

I hadn't heard the condoms things until we got BBC America, so maybe it is a thespian affectation, but I do love it...sounds so droll, in a way.

Les, thanks for the info on the Archers, I will look for it (thanks, Rana) and give a listen (how's that for an idiom?**BG**) How do I manage the dialects...I don't if you mean some of the Brit ones I mentioned before...oh I catch enough to figure the gist of what they are saying, BUT, as I said before, subtitles would be good!**BG**

Amergin, could you, would you spell that out for me? You Idahoans all sound like your mouths are full of taters!**BG**

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Peg
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 12:32 AM

In the film "My Beautiful Laundrette" one character referred to a condom as a French letter...of course he was saying something looked all shrivelled, like a French letter. I think I was the only person in the theatre who laughed...and maybe one of the only people who got it..is this obscure term still in use?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bert
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 01:10 AM

It was when I was last in England ('81) as also was 'Dunkie'. 'Sports gear' and 'Packet of Three'


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Amergin
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 01:22 AM

Well, Katdarling, I would spell it out for you....but I have yet to hear of any Wyomingfolk who could read....


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: mousethief
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 01:37 AM

It's 2 different meanings of the word "visit" -- to call on, and to speak with. Thus I might visit you so we could visit with one another. Maybe they don't have the 2nd meaning in Old Blighty?

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Metchosin
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 03:36 AM

Not an idiom and trivial for sure, but something that has been bugging me lately, particularly during tax time, is the order of dates. In Canada it used to be no problem....day/month/year..or 12/04/00, but in the last few years, when I've had to sort receipts by date, there no longer seems to be any consistancy and a receipt of 12/04/00 could be the 4th of December or the 12th of April 2000. Does the US use a different date order than Canada and this be the lack of consistancy lately?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Metchosin
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 03:48 AM

Oh, and when you tell someone that the wharf they just built or their boat is "skookum", if they don't come from the Pacific Northwest, you just get a blank look.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: mousethief
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 03:52 AM

Customary in USA is mm/dd/yy. Except in the military, where they put the month in the middle, but usually spell it out (e.g. 04APR01). On the continent, I was taught to do it dd.mm.yy. With periods instead of slashes.

So I foolishly figured if it has slashes it starts with the month, and if it has periods it starts with the day.

Nothing is ever so easy.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Metchosin
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 04:48 AM

For me, putting the month first (although both ways seem to have their own logic) is almost as disruptive as trying to drive on the left side of the road in North America. Fortunately it just causes chaos in my bookkeeping and not mayhem and death.*BG*


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: okthen
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 05:52 AM

So, having substituted "root" for "rowt" for many years in films (movies) it has only just struck me that Chuck Berry sings "root" 66. If this has been mentioned before, I missed it.

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Fiolar
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 08:32 AM

Guys - you'll never get to the end of the differences in the way the meanings of words have changed over the years. Don't forget that many English words in the States still mantain their original meanings and date back to Elizabethan and Jacobian times whereas in Britain the language has changed a lot. Also many other immigrants to the USA have brought their own words. By the way I'm surprised no one has mentioned "ginger nuts" yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: gnu
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 08:56 AM

SI = Systems Internationale ( = Metric System, partially ) time is now, on my watch, 2001.04.13.09:55:52ADST


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 09:23 AM

gnu, I may be wrong but I don't think that dates form any part of SI.

A standard for dates is International Standard ISO 8061. Some details can be found here

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: gnu
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 10:14 AM

Perhaps my memory fails me, but when I began my engineering studies in 1975, we were issued an SI document which had this standard.

Anyway, it's easier to file and search starting with the broadest definition and narrowing it down from there, so I have, since 1975.09.??, used the ymd convention. Of course, I don't care what anyone else uses - makes no nevermind to me. Just don't call me late for dinner.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 10:42 AM

the date thing seems to be a prickly thing for some...I wonder--when you tell someone a date while speaking, how do you say it? I'd say I was born on 'May 20th'...thus, it is natural to write 05/20...if your speech says something like "I was born on 20 May", I can see why you'd prefer it the other way. We in the US just 'mostly' say December twelveth, June eighteenth...ect...although sometimes it IS " the third of July" ....no easy answer, hmmm?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 11:16 AM

I agree that if we were to adopt an international standard for dates and times, the most logical sequence would be year/month/day/hour/minute/seconds/fractions-of-seconds. The largest units go farthest to the left, just the same as when we write other kinds of numbers. (Feet and inches; pounds, shillings, and pence; whatever.) Depending on the context, you could drop units from either end of the string if they aren't meaningful.

In the meantime, to avoid confusion, I think we should write the year as 4 digits, and write the month as a 3-letter abbreviation. Then, regardless of whether you write 13-Apr-2001, 2001-Apr-13, or Apr-13-2001, the meaning is always clear. But I digress from the original topic of this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 04:00 PM

Alex, you have cleared up my puzzlement regarding "visit". I didn't really understand Dave O's and Kat's postings until you astutely put your finger on the nub. And yes, you are right, we would visit someone, but we would not, while there, be visiting "with" them.

We might be talking with them, gossiping with them, socializing (sorry, socialising) with them, but in Britain we would not describe ourselves as having "visited with" them. FWIW, I think "visiting with" is actually a very useful term, and one that Britain might do well to adopt.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 05:12 PM

"First name" runs up against the problem that Chinese people typically have the given name last rather than first. But to confuse matters further, to be polite and avoid confusion they will often reverse the order of their names.

So "given name" is preferable. But I'd automatically use "Christian name" when talking about myself or people for whom it was the natural term to use. Do other religions and cultures have equivalent terms?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 05:28 PM

Another question has occurred to me. It is common knowledge, I assume, that Americans use the word "neat" where Brits would use the word "nice". "Neat shirt", "Hey , really neat guitar-picking" (I can only speak from personal experience, you understand. In Britain, "neat" means "tidy", "well-ordered").

What I don't know, however, and would dearly love to have explained, is the exact connotation that Americans put on the word "nice".

Looking forward to elucidation.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Apr 01 - 07:29 PM

On my last trip to Britain I was surprised to see the off-color jokes and puns that worked their way into the names of some businesses. I saw a hamburger restaurant called "Burger Off" and a shop that sold brass hardware for doors called "Knobs and Knockers." A guy up the street from my in-laws had apparently named his house "Far Corfe" (i.e. f**k off).

I love it. Of course, Americans make jokes like that, too, but they're unlikely to put them into print in the form of a big sign hanging on a building. We wouldn't want to risk offending someone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: bill\sables
Date: 14 Apr 01 - 06:07 PM

Ladies hairdressers in the UK have a habit of using puns for their Salons, A few I have seen lately are "Kurl up and Dye," "Cut and Dried," and "Cutting Room Floor,"
Bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Apr 01 - 06:26 PM

They don't care about offending out here in the West, Jim. In Colorado and Wyoming, we have convenience stores which have huge signs with their name:

Kum and Go

LOL! I couldn't believe it the first tiem I saw one!

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 01:17 AM

Murray, speaking only for myself, I remember as a girl, when we said of a boy that he was 'nice', it usually meant that he was respectful and not too exciting!

Nowadays, I suppose I still use it somewhat the same way. In other words, if it's a person I want to know better, I'll say, So and so is 'interesting'- I won't use the word 'nice'.

On the other hand, we might say something like, He comes from a nice family- that, I think, connotes respectability.

I wonder how other people see the term?

Of course, nice has moved from its original meaning of fastidiousness or meticulousness. I've never heard it used that way.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 01:26 AM

Nice, to me, would usually mean pleasant, esp. a person who is nice is pleasant to be around/spend time with. If we had a nice time, it was a pleasant time.

Sometimes, one of will use NICE, with an inflection, a kind of drawing it out, so that is almost two syllables, as in Nye-ahs. That would be as a comment, i.e. someone telling us the won the lotto and one of us saying "Nye-ahs!!!" meaning sweet, great, wow, etc.!


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Bert
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 01:49 AM

And in England 'gross' means 'big'


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Mudlark
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 02:22 AM

Language I can usually make out from context, but.....the whole English school system remains Greek to me. I've had it explained several times but can't seem to equate it with US education, especially of the higher variety.

I don't care, being an autodidact myself....

nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 06:35 AM

Oh, the word "sweet" used to curdle the blood of any British male. If you were described as "sweet", it meant "inoffensive, quite nice, but certainly not shaggable - the sort of person you could introduce to your granny but wouldn't want to swat spit with.."


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: kendall
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 06:52 AM

There is another abomination in our language which has surfaced recently. More and more often these days I hear, interspersed in their ramblings.."know what I'm saying?" Does this piece of verbal crap come from Steven Sagal movies?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: gnu
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 08:28 AM

Kat... Nye-ahs is slang around here for Nye-ass, but is pronounced Niiice in mixed company. What about Brit slang for Nye-ass ? Not the (c)rude ones. I'm thinking more along the terms like "pretty" rather than "ieedat".

Kendall... eh ?

PS... Steven doesn't make movies, he makes abominal crap, know what I'm saying ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 08:39 AM

Sorry, this thread had got to 111 postings and I was uncomfortable standing on one leg.

LFF


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: GUEST,Wavestar
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 11:11 AM

Kat - My father just came home from Colorado and happily told me he'd been able to buy gas at his favorite filling station- you guessed it! I think he was as amused as you.

When I first came to Britain I went into the University stationary shop, and I glanced at the cards - boy was I shocked! The humour here is so casually obscene! The attitudes to sex may be more victorian, but you wouldn't know it.

Besides, they have a town called Twatt.

-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Metchosin
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 12:36 PM

Gee, did the people there emigrate to Dildo in Newfoundland?


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: gnu
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 12:43 PM

Mets - oh oh. This thred could go on forever if you start on Newfie placenames.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: kendall
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 01:40 PM

In Scotland there are three towns named, Tongue, Lick and Bun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: The Walrus
Date: 15 Apr 01 - 05:13 PM

Jim,

In the UK (and assume Ireland, thanks to a shared history), bullshit does actually have more historical roots, but, it seems that it refers to "physical" nonsense rather than verbal. "Bullshit" as far as the military were concerned, was the apparently pointless cleaning, polishing or the "time wasting" jobs found for squaddies and matelots (do these terms count as idioms?), my late father (called up in July 1939)used, occasionally, when engaged in the odd boring job, be heard to sing a ditty including the lines:
"... How green is my Blanco,
How sqare is my kit
That's how we win wars
With all this bullshit..."
(I regret that I never learned the song). Bullshit was usually shortened to the more socially acceptable "bull" (indeed, in some places, giving something that extra - often not strictly necessary - clean/polish is still called "bulling")

Good luck.

Walrus


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Terry K
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 04:20 AM

Long Firm Freddie - don't even start to explain the Nelson!

Momentarily was mentioned earlier. In the US it means "in a moment" whereas in UK it means "for a moment".

For me it's a hoot to hear the announcement in the 'plane "we will be landing momentarily" - implying to me that we will merely touch down and then go straight back up again.

Cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: kendall
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 08:21 AM

When I was in the service, we used the word "Chicken shit"


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Burke
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 10:12 AM

The usage of neat as in 'neat guitar picking' is relatively recent. I remember being taught it was slang & not proper. Along the same lines as cool. I think the term I hear from teenagers now is wick-ed.

The British usage that always throws me is referring to the taste of food, or maybe it's just sweets, as lovely, beautiful or even gorgeous. Gorgeous chocolates. We only use these for how something looks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 11:24 AM

I have picked up at least one word that is common in Britain but rarely heard in America: "disused." It means, as I understand, "no longer used for its original purpose (although it might be used for a different purpose)." For instance, you might say, "Squatters were living in a disused warehouse" or "a disused power plant was turned into an art gallery."

Americans use a variety or words to convey this idea. We might speak of vacant apartments, abandoned buildings, cast-off clothing, obsolete equipment, broken-down machinery, surplus materials, and so on, while Britons might call any of these things "disused." And there are certain situations where only "disused" fits. What else should I call the rowing machine in my basement? It's not obsolete; it's state-of-the-art. It's not surplus; it's the only one I have. It's not abandoned; I still claim ownership. It's not derelict; it's in perfect working condition. It's not unused; that would imply brand-new. It's just that I don't use it any more, therefore, it's disused.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 11:53 AM

Jim, here is my British take: disused means no longer used (as) and I think implies a final condition.

A vacant appartment is still used as an appartment but is currently unoccupied. If it is no longer used or formaly used as an appartment, it is disused.

Obsolete equipment and suplus material may still be used or perhaps sold, in which case it is not disused.

Broken down equipment is presumably awaiting repair...

I would not use disused when reffering to clothing.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 06:07 PM

"Former" will replace most instances of "disused".


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: kendall
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 07:38 PM

Sean Connery, in the film Medicine man called a condom a sheath.


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 07:59 PM

So do lots of Brits, Kendall. Or a rubber, or a johnny or too many more to mention


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM

...or even a rubber johnny. I'm sure I'm not the only John/Jonathan who at school used to get plagued with "can I borrow your rubber, Johnny?"

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: ChaosCat
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 11:26 PM

Don't even talk to me about place names... I grew up in the southwest and Colorado, and am now a Washington, (Northwest, not DC,) transplant. Everything here seems to be named in Tlingit. It took me years to get my mouth around Cle Elum and Puyallup and Tulalip, and I still can't properly pronounce Oyehut!

I have recently accepted defeat in my attempt to re-introduce the proper use of 'nauseated', 'nauseous', and'nauseating'.

Is anyone else a little disturbed by the vicious trend of using letters instead of numbers, and excessive phoneticism? Maybe our kids were a little too hooked on phonix. Frankly, it gives me the creeps!


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: ChaosCat
Date: 16 Apr 01 - 11:30 PM

~Blushing~ apparently, in my fervor, I transposed letters and numbers myself. I meant using numbers instead of letters, eg; "that's really nauz-E8-ing..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Edmund
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 01:24 AM

During World War I (that's right ... one) my father had a difficult time in a London department store, once, attempting to buy a spool of thread. As Dad would tell it, that the clerk (clark) mulled over the phrase a bit mutterring "a spool of thread ... a spool of thread. Oh" he exclamed, you must mean a reel of cotton!"
Edmund


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 01:50 AM

Wavestar, glad to hear the "filling stations" are still there!

ChaosCat, where in Colorado? Anywhere near the Western Slope?

Burke, now that you mention it, neat was from the 50's beatnik era, wasn't it? As in "neato, daddio?" (Did anyone really say that?!)

I used to drive one of my sister's nuts in the late 60's when I would used the exclamation, "Man!" She was always telling me to stop it. Of course, I'd say "No way, man, you're not my mother!"**BG**

I grew up with momentarily being used both ways. And, people used to say rubbers over here, too, although I don't hear it as often now.

Do you in the UK have the equivalents to: "You make a better door than a window? Close the door, were you born in a barn? Couldn't hit the broadside of a barn?

katstilllovin'thisthread


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Subject: RE: BS: Transatlantic Idioms
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 01:57 AM

This thread is well over the 100 and getting slow to load click here for Part 2

Jon


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