Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • A cricket bat can be wielded as a sword or a shield - to attack the ball or to defect it.

    On another topic, as an ex-legal person, may I point out that in this country, judges do not 'hand down' decisions, they deliver judgments and pass sentences. And in a trial, evdence is given from a witness box, not a witness stand, while the accused sits or stands in the dock. Even our journalists, these days, tend to use Americanese, much to the disgust of the legal profession.
  • Sorry, that should have read 'deflect'.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    TBH, I don't understand (cross Pond) how anyone wields a seemingly unwieldy cricket bat--especially with such a short handle.

    And yes, I know it's used differently than in baseball.
    While on this side of The Pond many of us don't understand why you have grown men playing a version of a game that over here is played by girls, especially those under 12.

    As for a cricket bat being "unwieldy"!!! You have a large, flattish surface to hit a big, shiny red ball: as people on the West side of The Pond might say "what's not to like?" It certainly beats trying to hit a small, grey ball with a round, elongated wooden milk bottle such as this.


  • Golden Key wrote: »
    TBH, I don't understand (cross Pond) how anyone wields a seemingly unwieldy cricket bat--especially with such a short handle.

    And yes, I know it's used differently than in baseball.
    While on this side of The Pond many of us don't understand why you have grown men playing a version of a game that over here is played by girls, especially those under 12.

    As for a cricket bat being "unwieldy"!!! You have a large, flattish surface to hit a big, shiny red ball: as people on the West side of The Pond might say "what's not to like?" It certainly beats trying to hit a small, grey ball with a round, elongated wooden milk bottle such as this.


    Indeed. Rounders (as we call it; it's essentially the same thing) is an almost impossible game to play for that reason. In my experience only the most athletic can actually hit the ball; I certainly never managed it.
  • I could never mange to hit the ball in rounders either: did mange to whack a teacher with the bat though. He was off work for the rest of the week 😁
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    ... This article might help that all make sense, but I offer no guarantees. ...
    And people claim cricket is mysterious.
    My experience leads me to believe that baseball and cricket are mutually mysterious.

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    TBH, I don't understand (cross Pond) how anyone wields a seemingly unwieldy cricket bat--especially with such a short handle.

    And yes, I know it's used differently than in baseball.
    While on this side of The Pond many of us don't understand why you have grown men playing a version of a game that over here is played by girls, especially those under 12.

    As for a cricket bat being "unwieldy"!!! You have a large, flattish surface to hit a big, shiny red ball: as people on the West side of The Pond might say "what's not to like?" It certainly beats trying to hit a small, grey ball with a round, elongated wooden milk bottle such as this.


    Indeed. Rounders (as we call it; it's essentially the same thing) is an almost impossible game to play for that reason. In my experience only the most athletic can actually hit the ball; I certainly never managed it.

    Is that why girls play it?
  • Lyda wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    TBH, I don't understand (cross Pond) how anyone wields a seemingly unwieldy cricket bat--especially with such a short handle.

    And yes, I know it's used differently than in baseball.
    While on this side of The Pond many of us don't understand why you have grown men playing a version of a game that over here is played by girls, especially those under 12.

    As for a cricket bat being "unwieldy"!!! You have a large, flattish surface to hit a big, shiny red ball: as people on the West side of The Pond might say "what's not to like?" It certainly beats trying to hit a small, grey ball with a round, elongated wooden milk bottle such as this.


    Indeed. Rounders (as we call it; it's essentially the same thing) is an almost impossible game to play for that reason. In my experience only the most athletic can actually hit the ball; I certainly never managed it.

    Is that why girls play it?

    I have no idea. I never thought of it as a girls' game; it was more offered to the less sporty or e.g. cub and brownie packs as a fun activity; why I don't know considering how incredibly difficult it is to actually play.
  • In my yoof we didn't have a bat for rounders - we used the flat of our hands - usually with a tennis ball or something like that.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Having been the one always chosen last for the rounders teams, I am incredibly impressed by people who can not only hit a baseball with a bat which is narrower than a rounders bat, but make it go where they want it to go.
    And when teaching, with the year group I worked with, I started them off with the flat of the hand and a tennis ball. They got on to the bats at a greater age.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    I have only recently had time to spend on this thread, which I have enjoyed tremendously. But it has meant that where I have thought "Oh, I could post that", I haven't been able to, because it is months past when the subject was raised.
    However, something reminded me of my Grandad, who spoke good Sussex, a type of speech now seldom heard, since Sussex has become a dormitory for London. He had a book on the hymenoptera, which he pronounced as "Aunts, Bees and Wassps.
    And something else reminded me of a book by Diana Wynne Jones, called "Archer's Goon", which was made into a TV programme, and which I therefore bought for my class book corner. To my horror, though it is set in a British environment, it was full not only of American spellings, but American usages, and I had to go through with Tippex and a very fine pen getting rid of tires, trunks, sidewalks, curbs and similar things not suited to a British educational environment.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Wynne Jones was a UK author. Had you got a US edition?
  • While on this side of The Pond many of us don't understand why you have grown men playing a version of a game that over here is played by girls, especially those under 12.

    Because (a) it's fun, and (b) we're not sexist shits?
  • And c) it's a deep part of our US mythos. (See the film "Field Of Dreams". Really good.)
  • I know Wynne Jones was UK. And the publisher was UK. Goodness knows why they had sent out to UK bookshops something so blatantly US.
    I did get hold of a US edition of the book called in the UK "Wilkin's Tooth", for comparison. In Wilkin's Tooth, the swearing of some of the children was shown by using colour words, such as blue, indigo, purple. In "Witch's Business", the US version, it was shown by using offal words such as liver, stomach - can't remember exactly. This meant that when the author had described the air turning blue as the gang came down the road, which was left for the US, it didn't work nearly as well as in the UK edition, where it is an expression which has been used more generally.
  • This happens a lot on Kindle, and annoys me. Narnia with American spellings? Pass me my sal volatile!
  • Because I have read a lot of science texts, spelling sometimes pass me by - color, traveler and such like. But terminology doesn't.
    After the Archer's Goon episode, I had a look at some American authors in books available over here, and found that they had been adapted for us. I can't remember why Judy Blume referred to aluminium, but she did, not aluminum.
    (That was supposed to be a quid pro quo in sorting out science terms, so we switched to sulfur, but the corresponding change was not done, so I understand.)
  • When the Harry Potter books were first being published I ordered all of mine from England. No one was going to make Americans of us residents of Hogwarts.

    (Well, of course I had them delivered by fellow mail owls!)
  • In Canada the publisher of Harry Potter books was Raincoast. A Canadian publishing house. The general understanding is that we didn't get Americanized editions.
  • If the first book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, it was the original. If it was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone it was the American edition.
    :angry:
  • They changed lots of things in the American edition of the first novel. It is my understanding that by the end of the series they had toned it down. Still, I'd rather have the original.
  • I actually don't object (much) to changes, if they aid clarity for the reader, but - genuine question - any idea why a sorcerer's stone was thought to be more easily understood than a philosopher's stone? (I haven't read the books, so there may be an aspect of plot or something that I'm missing).
  • Kittyville wrote: »
    I actually don't object (much) to changes, if they aid clarity for the reader, but - genuine question - any idea why a sorcerer's stone was thought to be more easily understood than a philosopher's stone? (I haven't read the books, so there may be an aspect of plot or something that I'm missing).

    Good question. I would say the phrase "philosopher's stone" is all but unknown in young America. Is it better known by British youth? Then again "sorcerer's stone", a neologism, meant nothing at all to anybody (before the book).
  • The explanation I was given was that Americans wouldn't know what a philosopher was ...

    Thoreau and Emerson anyone?

    I suspect that was a gross calumny.

    I'd be surprised if da yoof on either side of The Pond would know what a philosopher or a sorcerer were ...

    There's also the story that 'The Madness of King George III' was retitled 'The Madness of King George' for US audiences because otherwise they would have thought it was a sequel and wondered what had happened to films (movies) I and II ...

    Again, a gross calumny I am sure ...
  • Then why repeat them?
  • On a more serious note ...

    I've heard that the echoes of Elizabethan and Jacobean English in Appalachian speech has been exaggerated, but that the links are certainly there.

    I think it is possible to detect elements of some UK accents in some regional US speech - notes of Ulster and Western Scotland, some West Country English too ... and this may be because those accents retain more elements of 17th and 18th century English.

    I've heard that the Pitcairn Islanders sound a bit like Kiwis, but also have elements of 18th century English passed down from The Bounty mutineers.

    I do wonder whether some of these echoes are coincidental?

    For instance, it's sometimes noted that some Aussies sound as if they are from Norfolk. Was East Anglia that much of an influence on early settlers and convicts? Why isn't there more Irish influence on Australian accents given that a lot of early settlers were Irish?

    Perhaps there is, but it became morphed somewhere along the way. I can hear Cockney and East Anglian influences on Australian accents, but not Scottish or Irish ...

    With the US, of course, there's were also Dutch, German and other European accents in the mix, but from what I've read, most of the colonists in 1776 wouldn't have sounded much different from their cousins on this side of the Atlantic.

    They reckon the process was far quicker in New Zealand where the settlers' original accents had all but vanished within 70 years to be replaced by the distinctive NZ accent.

    I'm no expert but am intrigued by such things. There does seem to be a difference between what we might call Northern Hemisphere English and Southern Hemisphere English - or am I imagining that and it's simply a case of 'continental' variations - North America and its subdivisions, Anglophone Africa and its subdivisions, India, South East Asia, the Antipodes ...
  • I'd be surprised if da yoof on either side of The Pond would know what a philosopher or a sorcerer were ...
    Can’t speak about British youth, but even prior to the publication of the first Harry Potter book, I’d be surprised if an American youth didn’t know what a sorcerer was.

    Scholastic asked permission to change the name of the book because they thought American kids would associate “philosopher” with old, boring academics, not with magic.

  • Sure. I was thinking of pre-J K Rowling ...

    I'm sure your explanation is the right one.

    Mind you, hearing a tour guide at Laycock Abbey interrupted during her spiel about Fox Talbot and early photography by a US tourist who merely wanted her to show him 'where they filmed Harry Potter', merely served to confirm my misgivings about the novels and the films ...

  • That was a confusing post I made ... shouldn't post when tired and stressed. 'I agree with Nick,' is what I meant to say.

    (and without the connotations that carries for UK readers)
  • Wasn't there something about sweaters and jumpers that had to be switched for Americans?
  • We had an author to talk to the children at school about his books, and he told about a discussion with his American publisher in his American house at which the subject of the milkman who was a key character was mentioned. He was told he would have to change it as the American children would not know what a milkman was. At which point a characteristic sound as of milk bottles being carried in a metal holder was heard to approach the front door, and then retreat. Despite the obvious reaction to this, the publisher didn't shift. Milk deliveries did not happen across all states.
  • Wasn't there something about sweaters and jumpers that had to be switched for Americans?

    Yes, I believe that was one of the changes.
  • A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.
  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Wasn't there something about sweaters and jumpers that had to be switched for Americans?

    Yes, I believe that was one of the changes.

    I was amused by an incident in the last book -- Hermione refers to washing Ron"s pants, which causes him to react with horror since no teenage boy wants a girl anywhere near his used (under)pants. In the US version that falls flat. Or did they change "pants" ?
  • A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.

    We don't say "boiler" we say "furnace".
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Wasn't there something about sweaters and jumpers that had to be switched for Americans?

    Yes, I believe that was one of the changes.

    I was amused by an incident in the last book -- Hermione refers to washing Ron"s pants, which causes him to react with horror since no teenage boy wants a girl anywhere near his used (under)pants. In the US version that falls flat. Or did they change "pants" ?

    No, but in a later book she tried to make it up by saying "Y-fronts" not realizing that that doesn't work in America either.
  • What do you have if you don't have Y-fronts?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.

    We don't say "boiler" we say "furnace".
    Some furnaces are boilers. They heat up liquid (often a mix of water with something like glycerol) and circulate it through a building to radiators. They are an alternative to forced air furnaces; forced air furnaces being much faster to heat up an area are used in colder climates, and also offer the possibilities of controlling humidity and to use the same ductwork for airconditioning (cooling). We see boilers in older buildings mostly here and in apartment buildings.

    Re coverall, it is always coveralls here, never singular. Similarly we never hear the singular version of dice, pliers, scissors. It's a "pair of pliers" or scissors.

    What do you call screw driver heads or other bolt turning equipment? Here: robertson for square head, phillips for plus sign, allen (or allen key) for hexagonal, torx for star. A monkey wrench refers to what are also called crescent wrenches (I think from a brand name - adjustable for nuts and bolts.

    [tangent]
    Being in Canada, where metric is mostly used, but next to USA where imperial is mosty used, we end up having to have 2 of everything for tools: metric and imperial. I have wrenches and socket sets for both. Also allen keys. Though some cross-over is possible, e.g., 1/2 inch bolt can be turned by a 13mm wrench.
    [/tangent]
  • A monkey wrench refers to what are also called crescent wrenches (I think from a brand name - adjustable for nuts and bolts.

    Isn't an adjustable wrench a "spanner" in British English? And doesn't an unforeseen problem throw a spanner in the works?

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I’m used to multiple spanner sizes in the U.K. too, especially with older (classic) vehicles. Do you have Whitworth, B.S.F and SAE/A.F sizes?
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    A monkey wrench refers to what are also called crescent wrenches (I think from a brand name - adjustable for nuts and bolts.

    Isn't an adjustable wrench a "spanner" in British English? And doesn't an unforeseen problem throw a spanner in the works?

    wrench <-> spanner, and so adjustable wrench <-> adjustable spanner

    @Robert Armin I think what Brits call y-fronts, Americans call briefs. I don't think they need a name to distinguish the various possible kinds of opening.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.

    We don't say "boiler" we say "furnace".
    Some furnaces are boilers. They heat up liquid (often a mix of water with something like glycerol) and circulate it through a building to radiators.

    Yes, thank you for the plumbing lesson. Nevertheless, they are still referred to as "furnaces" and a workman in the US is vanishingly unlikely to turn up at the door and say "I'm here to fix the boiler" no matter what form your furnace takes.

  • mousethief wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.

    We don't say "boiler" we say "furnace".
    Some furnaces are boilers. They heat up liquid (often a mix of water with something like glycerol) and circulate it through a building to radiators.

    Yes, thank you for the plumbing lesson. Nevertheless, they are still referred to as "furnaces" and a workman in the US is vanishingly unlikely to turn up at the door and say "I'm here to fix the boiler" no matter what form your furnace takes.

    We're in different countries which is what this is all about eh? If someone here asks for a furnace repair, the repair person may say that didn't know it was a boiler. They licence people separately for them.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.

    We don't say "boiler" we say "furnace".
    Some furnaces are boilers. They heat up liquid (often a mix of water with something like glycerol) and circulate it through a building to radiators.

    Yes, thank you for the plumbing lesson. Nevertheless, they are still referred to as "furnaces" and a workman in the US is vanishingly unlikely to turn up at the door and say "I'm here to fix the boiler" no matter what form your furnace takes.

    We're in different countries which is what this is all about eh?

    Yes which is why I said "In the US" (handily cast in italics above).
  • mousethief wrote: »
    A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.

    Being in Canada, where metric is mostly used, but next to USA where imperial is mosty used, we end up having to have 2 of everything for tools: metric and imperial. I have wrenches and socket sets for both. Also allen keys. Though some cross-over is possible, e.g., 1/2 inch bolt can be turned by a 13mm wrench.
    [/tangent]
    Dangerous territory here. Please don't put a 13mm socket on a half inch hex; you might wreck it. (19mm on a 3/4inch hex is fine). To confuse things more, you will also find a tool called a spanner wrench, which has two protruding pins to engage holes on either side of a circular nut, bolt head, or similar device. The name must be due to the fact that it spans the fastener, as on some bicycle bottom bracket nuts.

    Diverting a little, this can be an enjoyable subject. In the workshops of a large manufacturer of flying machines located in Quebec, the predominant language is French, of course, but in spite of official prodding, it will be le washer, le nut and le rivet and so on that hold the planes together.
  • Why 'furnace' in the US? A boiler boils things, a furnace burns them. Think Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Only they didn't get burnt.

    I've got the boiler man coming to fix mine this week. If he was coming to fix my 'furnace' I'd think I had some kind of incinerator somewhere.

    A furnace in UK parlance tends to refer to something that burns things to ash, not something that heats things up a bit.

    I'm trying to think of industrial processes involving furnaces which don't involve molten metal or things being heated up so much that they lose their consistency.

    What do you call kilns? Are they furnaces too?

    Of course, you can call boilers and furnaces and other equipment involving heat processes whatever you wish, but I'm genuinely puzzled by this one.

    It sounds rather hyperbolic and apocalyptic to refer to a standard central heating boiler as a furnace ... rather like calling a pocket pistol a cannon ...

    I suppose though that the term 'boiler' may have been understated in UK English when the term 'boiler suit' was coined for overalls (or 'coveralls' it seems in North America) worn in the bowels of steam-powered battleships.

    It's interesting. I tend to think of a forge as a place where metal is worked, a boiler as something that heats water to create steam and a furnace as something where items are incinerated.

    At what point did this change or have we always been out of synch?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    A few years ago a friend asked for some help with a car job or something like that, and I said - Yes - I'll just get my boiler suit on. Eh? says he. That would be a coverall to a North American, who is presumably unaccustomed to working inside boilers like the rest of us.

    Being in Canada, where metric is mostly used, but next to USA where imperial is mosty used, we end up having to have 2 of everything for tools: metric and imperial. I have wrenches and socket sets for both. Also allen keys. Though some cross-over is possible, e.g., 1/2 inch bolt can be turned by a 13mm wrench.
    [/tangent]
    Dangerous territory here. Please don't put a 13mm socket on a half inch hex; you might wreck it. (19mm on a 3/4inch hex is fine). To confuse things more, you will also find a tool called a spanner wrench, which has two protruding pins to engage holes on either side of a circular nut, bolt head, or similar device. The name must be due to the fact that it spans the fastener, as on some bicycle bottom bracket nuts.

    Diverting a little, this can be an enjoyable subject. In the workshops of a large manufacturer of flying machines located in Quebec, the predominant language is French, of course, but in spite of official prodding, it will be le washer, le nut and le rivet and so on that hold the planes together.

    Thanks to Reagan, we are still using a modified Imperial system of measurement while the rest of the world has gone metric.

    This means things get a little complicated here for mechanics. Most modern cars are put together using the metric system, cars made in America before Reagan were Imperial.

    We are still trying to catch up.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    'Furnace' and 'boiler' are two different things here, as are 'spanner' and 'wrench'. A 'furnace' is a contained fire, the emphasis on the fire, e.g. as for smelting. A boiler uses heat to boil water, as for washing. As most central heating systems here use hot water in pipes and radiators, the same boiler usually deals with hot water and central heating.

    Spanners either come in sizes or are adjustable and unscrew nuts. Wrenches, basically wrench. Googling 'monkey wrench' reveals what I'd call an adjustable spanner. Again, using google, I think what I mean by 'wrench', often a 'mole wrench', may be called locking pliers in North America.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    In Scots a spanner is often a ‘key’ and an adjustable one is a ‘shifting key’.
  • Why 'furnace' in the US? A boiler boils things, a furnace burns them. Think Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Only they didn't get burnt.
    Probably because heating systems that rely on heating water and circulating that water or steam through radiators are found only in old building here that haven’t gotten around to replacing them with a different system. At least in the part of the US where I live, radiator heating, especially in houses, is very rare. Until the days of heat pumps, most heating systems relied on burning fuel of some kind; my furnace burns natural gas.

    I assume that because the majority of heating systems here since the mid-20th C, if not earlier, were furnaces (as in devices that burn things), furnace became the generic, understood term.


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