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Divided by a common language

11 Aug 08 - 04:33 PM (#2410931)
Subject: Divided by a common language
From: SussexCarole

Had fun chatting to KT a couple of nights ago - we found lots of English expressions KT hadn't heard before. So just to help you all over the pond to understand us Brits here's one of my favourite books which has now been put on line    Enjoy


12 Aug 08 - 04:35 AM (#2411277)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: pavane

They do seem to have missed a few though, particularly the ones where the Puritans censored the language:

Cockerel = Rooster
Tits = Chickadees (Small birds)
Cockroach = Roach

and so on


12 Aug 08 - 07:38 AM (#2411361)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: kendall

An American went into a pub in London and didn't know what to order, so the bar maid, observing that he was an American, suggested "Would you like a cocktail"? He said, "Sure, heard any good ones lately"?


12 Aug 08 - 07:41 AM (#2411366)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: MartinRyan

Which brings us back to that most efficient of jokes:

Woman goes into a bar and asks barman for a double entendre - so he gives her one.

Regards


12 Aug 08 - 07:55 AM (#2411373)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: GUEST

Colin Hume's advice to Americans (specifically, callers) coming to England: http://www.colinhume.com/american.htm


12 Aug 08 - 05:47 PM (#2411956)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

I never could keep straight what 'half-six' (or whatever half-) meant.
5:30 or 6:30.?
Still can't remember. One of those blind spots in my brain.


12 Aug 08 - 07:33 PM (#2412057)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: kendall

"He couldn't organize a pissup in a brewery."

"He threw all his toys out of his pram."

I learned these from Morticia. Thanks Luv.


12 Aug 08 - 08:42 PM (#2412110)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Uncle_DaveO

Q, from my study of German many years ago there was
"halb sechs" (half six), which it seems to me meant 5:30. But my aging alleged brain may be mistaken.

Dave Oesterreich


12 Aug 08 - 09:03 PM (#2412120)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: kendall

As you know, I live with a Brit. I'm teaching her American English (Oxymoron) and she's teaching me the old tongue.
Will I be bi lingual?


12 Aug 08 - 09:47 PM (#2412142)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: The Fooles Troupe

"she's teaching me the old tongue"

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Leaving now...


13 Aug 08 - 12:01 AM (#2412212)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Gurney

Here in godzown we have to know both, plus our own and oz patois.


13 Aug 08 - 12:13 AM (#2412216)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: katlaughing

Another Mortee one: Doesn't that just get on yer tits? (And, she doesn't mean chickadees!)


13 Aug 08 - 04:22 AM (#2412311)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: lady penelope

Unlike the germans (for whom we owe much of our language) when a Brit says "half six" they are actually contracting the phrase "Half past six" which equates to 6.30.

Actually, from my hazy recollection of german lessons, I believe that it's a similar contraction on the part of germans, only from the other direction...(half before six) *G*


13 Aug 08 - 09:51 AM (#2412455)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Alice

Americans all commonly use the words cockroach and cocktail. I wonder why you think we don't.


13 Aug 08 - 12:06 PM (#2412565)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

In American English, cockerel applies to the young male (Webster's Collegiate). The OED also applies it to the young. Thus it is not strictly equal to rooster, an adult male.

Forgotten is H. L. Mencken's "The American Language, An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States." First published in 1919, I have the 4th ed., 1937; haven't checked to see if there were later editions. At the time it was fairly comprehensive.

Of course the two languages developed many more words, mostly slang, as time went on, but now, with TV and ipod and all that, newer words are picked up in UK, Canada and U. S., etc., pretty much at the same time.
I doubt that any scholars now seriously speak of two languages.

Many Americans and Canadians listen to the BBC news on cable television. One distinction is the treatment of certain collective nouns:
English- Army are, American- Army is. Etc.


13 Aug 08 - 06:29 PM (#2412963)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Rowan

One distinction is the treatment of certain collective nouns:
English- Army are, American- Army is. Etc.


This prompted a memory of an historian, (from South Carolina?) interviewed in Ken Burns' "Civil War" series, who asserted that this linguistic idiosyncracy was an important part of the recovery after that conflict. He ventured that, before the Civil War (or insert your favourite euphemism) the expression was always "the United States are...." whereas after that conflict the expression was always "the United States is...."

And, as Gurney implies, in Oz we're so inundated from both sides of the Atlantic pond that we're expert translators.

Cheers, Rowan


13 Aug 08 - 06:36 PM (#2412968)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T

""Americans all commonly use the words cockroach and cocktail. I wonder why you think we don't.""


We don't actually get to hear what ordinary folks in the US say. The TV programs we see are heavily larded with redneck colloquialisms, or perhaps what the producers perceive as such.

So we are most likely to hear roach, and cocktails are almost invariably referred to by name (Manhattan, Harvey Wallbanger, etc.)

In fact, until you posted, I for one WAS unaware that cockroach was in common use.

Don T


13 Aug 08 - 06:45 PM (#2412974)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Alice

Please.... American television has nothing to do with real Americans! It is show business and fantasy, folks!


13 Aug 08 - 06:48 PM (#2412975)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Alice

Cocktail - also a well known American movie made in 1988 by Touchstone Pictures


13 Aug 08 - 07:59 PM (#2413022)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Alice

the first cocktail party was held in the USA, the year 1917, the city St. Louis, Missouri, according to wiki
click


13 Aug 08 - 08:08 PM (#2413026)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Jim Dixon

It's true that you hear the term "cocktail" a lot less often than you hear the name of a specific cocktail. In fact, "cocktail" has a kind of old-fashioned sound to me (no pun intended, but there is, in fact, a specific cocktail called an "old-fashioned"). I'd say the term "mixed drink" is more common. "Cocktails" is likely to be seen as a neon sign in the window of a bar that (1) is old or old-fashioned, and (2) is (or was when the sign was new) trying to attract a more upscale clientele than those who merely drink beer.

Also, liquor laws vary a lot from state to state, and in some states there are two (or more) classes of licenses. There could be one that allows the sale of beer only, one that allows beer and wine only, one that allows beer and wine but only with a meal; and one that allows the sale of beer, wine, and distilled liquor. So a bar that displays a sign saying "cocktails" might be trying to inform you that they're NOT just a "beer bar." Alternatively, the sign could say "liquor," and I think that, in fact, is more common.

Which reminds me, I was once highly pleased when my British host asked, "Would you like a drink?"—and then disappointed when I realized he was proposing to make a pot of tea. In America "drink" used that way usually implies alcohol, if not liquor. I don't know why, but "Would you like a drink?" has an entirely different connotation than "Would you like something to drink?"


13 Aug 08 - 08:18 PM (#2413029)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Micca

For a real difference between the two languages try the word "momentarily"
American Momentarily= in a moment, so signifys a brief absence
British Momentarily= for a moment, signifys a brief presence


13 Aug 08 - 10:26 PM (#2413099)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Alice

Well, Jim, it's a big country, so what might be common where you are many not be common in another state.
You can also just go to cocktail.com to see that the term "cocktail" is still alive and kicking. Or any of the other many cocktail sites like... cocktails.com, kitchenandcocktail.com, kingcocktail.com, talesof thecocktail.com... that last one is a food and cocktail festival in the French Quarter of New Orleans, held in July.


13 Aug 08 - 11:11 PM (#2413131)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: KT

Hey Micca, I use momentarily the British way.

It was fun, Carole. Thanks for educating me. It's blowin' a hoolie here tonight!


14 Aug 08 - 12:25 AM (#2413170)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

When someone says cocktail, I think of a drink served in a stemmed glass, a cocktail glass, which ain't necessarily so.

When I was in college, I used to ruin good sour mash bourbon by mixing it in a whiskey sour-
Put cracked ice (about 6 cubes worth) in shaker
Add 2 jiggers (or measures) whiskey
Add 1 jigger (measure) lemon juice
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a cherry

(Put here to show how ignorant I was then)


14 Aug 08 - 07:07 AM (#2413334)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Mr Red

"Will I be bi lingual? "

Kendall the answer to that is cunning if you are a linguist.

OK OK someone had to say it.


14 Aug 08 - 08:30 AM (#2413400)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Bert

The misuse of momentarily to mean soon, when it really means for a short time, is not American it is ignorance.


14 Aug 08 - 10:26 AM (#2413518)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: clueless don

I encountered one recently that I had not seen before: Earlier this year J. K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, wrote a short "prequel" involving James Potter and Sirius Black, after they had left Hogwarts but before, obviously, James was killed. Early in the story, she used the expression "riding pillion", which apparently means riding on the seat behind the driver on a motorcycle (though possibly applicable to a horse as well??) I am American (USA, that is), and I had never, ever encountered that expression in all of my 58 years.

Don


14 Aug 08 - 10:56 AM (#2413552)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work

Now we've sorted out half six what's quater of six? 5.15 or 6.15?


14 Aug 08 - 11:01 AM (#2413558)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Paul Burke

Quarter of 6 is 1.5. Quarter to 6, quarter past 6 for time. I'm planning to get pissed tonight.


14 Aug 08 - 12:04 PM (#2413633)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: lady penelope

Again the "Quarter of six" is more likely a german phrase and would probably mean 5.45. As Paul has said, we're more likely to say quarter past six (6.15) or quarter to six (5.45).

Yes, riding pillion can be applied to horse riding, that's where it comes from. If you don't ride pillion on motorbikes in the states, what do you do?! *G*


14 Aug 08 - 03:47 PM (#2413929)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: dick greenhaus

The hours I once spent wrestling with British automobile shop manuals prompted me to start (although I never finished) a English/American automotive dictionary. Y'know An American wrench is an English Spanner,
a fender is a wing, a trunk is a boot, a choke is a strangler, a venturi is a choke etc. My favorite wia the English "straightforward" which translated to "bloody impossible"


14 Aug 08 - 05:19 PM (#2414020)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Pillion - From Webster's Collegiate- 1a. a light saddle for women consisting chiefly of a cushion; 1b. a pad or cushion put on behind a man's saddle chiefly for women to ride on. 2. chiefly Brit: a motorcycle or bicycle saddle for a passenger.
Now what does a Hell's Angel call the seat he puts his squeeze on?


14 Aug 08 - 05:28 PM (#2414030)
Subject: RE: Divided by a common language
From: kendall

Automatic is a French word meaning you can't fix it yourself.