Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

1303133353685

Comments

  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    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.
    Actually, they will TOTALLY do this in the Midwest if you have a boiler system, like the one we had when we lived in the parsonage, which had steam heating with radiators along the walls etc. And I have at least one friend who has a similar system for her home. So it may be a regionalism.
  • 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.
    Actually, they will TOTALLY do this in the Midwest if you have a boiler system, like the one we had when we lived in the parsonage, which had steam heating with radiators along the walls etc. And I have at least one friend who has a similar system for her home. So it may be a regionalism.

    That may well be. We tried to get someone in to look at the boiler in our house and had to make multiple phone calls until we found somebody who worked on them -- a plumbing company, not an HVAC company. Although even here "boiler" might be the wrong term since we have a forced hot water system, not a forced steam system.
  • I
    BroJames wrote: »
    In Scots a spanner is often a ‘key’ and an adjustable one is a ‘shifting key’.

    Another tangent... In a certain Scottish village garage where the young mechanic couldn't find a metric key for my car's oil drain plug, I innocently asked him if he had a metric shifting spanner. "Na", he said, "Dinnae have one o' them".
  • "Jumper" vs. "Sweater":

    In the US, a jumper is a sleeveless dress, usually worn over a blouse. Sweaters come in many forms. I think a UK jumper would be a pullover, here.

    There's also an item of baby clothing known as a jumper, IIRC.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    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?

    We had a furnace repair guy out last week to fix the steam furnace at the cathedral. Note: explicitly called a furnace, even though it’s a boiler. The guy’s van also said “Furnace Repair” Although I agree it is strange, I’ve never even heard my elderly friends refer to furnaces as boilers.
    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.
    Actually, they will TOTALLY do this in the Midwest if you have a boiler system, like the one we had when we lived in the parsonage, which had steam heating with radiators along the walls etc. And I have at least one friend who has a similar system for her home. So it may be a regionalism.

    I vote regionalism. Steam heating is still common enough in New England, but I’ve never heard it referred to as anything but a furnace.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    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.


    We had hot water radiators in our first house in South Dakota. It was an old turn of the 20th-century house. While it was a really inefficient system what I liked about it was that it kept the heat pretty level throughout the day. We turned it down at night, so when we turned it back up there would be a lot of clanging as the pipes and radiators expanded.
  • I
    BroJames wrote: »
    In Scots a spanner is often a ‘key’ and an adjustable one is a ‘shifting key’.

    Another tangent... In a certain Scottish village garage where the young mechanic couldn't find a metric key for my car's oil drain plug, I innocently asked him if he had a metric shifting spanner. "Na", he said, "Dinnae have one o' them".

    Possibly because we call them adjustable spanners.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Names persist even after reality changes. We ate off delf and china long after our plates and cups no longer came from the Low Countries or the far east.
  • 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.

    I'm always a bit worried when I hear them called "tighty whities". Sounds most uncomfortable.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    That may well be. We tried to get someone in to look at the boiler in our house and had to make multiple phone calls until we found somebody who worked on them -- a plumbing company, not an HVAC company. Although even here "boiler" might be the wrong term since we have a forced hot water system, not a forced steam system.

    The UK usage of 'boiler' is misleading, because the common domestic devices are not actually boilers, just water heaters, and no steam is involved. Power stations and railway locomotives have real boilers.

    In UK engineering/railway usage, a 'boiler suit' is jacket and trousers (mostly but not inevitably bib-and-braces trousers), and 'overalls' is a one-piece garment.
  • 'The rest of the world has gone metric'? Try telling that to a Brexiteer! Thanks to the pusillanimity of successive governments, we in the UK are stuck most uncomfortably half-way.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Eirenist wrote: »
    'The rest of the world has gone metric'? Try telling that to a Brexiteer! Thanks to the pusillanimity of successive governments, we in the UK are stuck most uncomfortably half-way.

    I had a foot in both camps but gone over to metric for cooking because of baking with kids. Still measure mountains in feet and distances in miles. But I'd not lose sleep if beer started coming in half litres - more concerned that it's proper cask conditioned ale.
  • Signaller wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    That may well be. We tried to get someone in to look at the boiler in our house and had to make multiple phone calls until we found somebody who worked on them -- a plumbing company, not an HVAC company. Although even here "boiler" might be the wrong term since we have a forced hot water system, not a forced steam system.

    The UK usage of 'boiler' is misleading, because the common domestic devices are not actually boilers, just water heaters, and no steam is involved. Power stations and railway locomotives have real boilers.

    In UK engineering/railway usage, a 'boiler suit' is jacket and trousers (mostly but not inevitably bib-and-braces trousers), and 'overalls' is a one-piece garment.

    Perhaps it is regional usage around the UK. I first heard the term from my father, and when I worked in Scotland myself, the one piece overall was always a boiler suit, and I assumed that was because you didn't want to be wearing separate items when squeezing through, say, a locomotive firehole. We may have to declare a truce on this!
  • I'm always a bit worried when I hear them called "tighty whities". Sounds most uncomfortable.

    A few days ago one of our late night pundits (I think it was Stephen Colbert) referred to Mike Pence as a tighty whitey.
  • Amen to proper cask conditioned ale, but I'd feel uncomfortable if we ever ditched the pint - which I only found out recently differs in volume slightly from the US pint measure.

    Meanwhile, who says that the Ship isn't educational? I hadn't realised that there were regional US variations in central heating systems and nomenclature.

    On the word 'furnace' again, I've only heard the word used in relation to heavy industrial processes such as smelting.

    Even those heating systems here which involve burning fuel of some kind wouldn't be called 'furnaces'. Stoves or fires but never furnaces. I wonder whether 'twas ever thus or it's another example of UK usage changing from what would have been universal usage on both sides of the Atlantic at one time?

    Mind you, they wouldn't have had oil or gas fired central heating systems back in 1776 and all that any more than they had aerodromes - whatever the current POTUS has to say on the matter.

    I'm intrigued by Nick Tamen's observation that radiators that use heated water represent old technology in his part of the USA. Over here they were a very welcome development from old oil-powered systems and erratic hot air systems - and they are heated by North Sea gas.

    Combined cooking and heating systems as found in many farms and cottages and increasingly the preserve of the well-heeled tend to be known by their brand name - Aga.

    My grandparents had one in their cottage long before these things became trendy - it was the only way they could heat the water. I used to drop things into it to watch them burn - I hope I didn't drop ants and spiders in there but I may well have done I'm afraid ... :(

    The bit that did the actual burning was always known as the 'stove', never a 'furnace'.

    I'm intrigued as to why and how the divergence came about.

    I am old enough to remember when most British homes had coal fires which were prepared the night before and which were lit early in the morning in order to provide warmth and to heat up the water.

    Instant hot water was a luxury that came later. I remember 'storage heaters' and hot air systems - which were always very dry and dusty - and fierce but feeble electric fires and those paraffin heaters and the bulky calor gas heaters on castors that you could trundle around. As a student and afterwards I lived in a number of houses with no heating whatsoever other than a potentially lethal gas or electric fire in the living room. Indeed, I was nearly gassed in one place, nodding off from the fumes emitted from an unserviced gas fire. Fortunately I came to and turned it off in time. I had a chimney sweep in to remove it, sweep the chimney and then reconnect it - but I wish I'd let it revert to a coal fire. I like setting the coal and wood fires going in my mother's hearth - although she does have central heating too, of a very rudimentary and outdated kind.
  • On boiler suits ... perhaps there are differences in terminology between industries as well as regions. I've always thought of boiler suits as one-piece garments, a form of 'overall' ('coverall), and Churchill famously used to wear one in the War Rooms and around the house even though he wasn't scrambling through oily fissures or tweaking valves.
  • re measurement.

    In Canada (in my generation and prairie area) height and weight of people are usually feet/inches and pounds (lbs) but increasingly I'm hearing kilos for weight. Longer distances are always kilometres and more frequently that's said as "clicks" or Ks (like the letter). If kilometres is said it's "kuh LAWM mi'turz". e.g., I live 12 clicks (12 Ks) away.

    The weight of things in stones is lost on me.

    We do say things oddly in the inbetween way though. We'll drive 100 km and say it metric, but also describe someone as 10 feet away.
  • I've enjoyed the tools discussion - Mole Grips, adjustable spanners and all. Did you know 'Mole' was the name of the company who originally made them - I didn't until some old ones came my way. 'Footprints' are a little similar, made by a venerable Sheffield tool firm who just about still exist. In Poland, rather insultingly, an adjustable spanner is called an 'Englander' - perhaps the neighbouring Germans tend to the ze korrect ringenspanner - and the Russians use...a hammer and punch :smile: Talking of butchers implements, I wonder if US readers know what Stillsons are?

  • Stillson? No, they don't, as I found out the usual way. They really don't like the term 'American screwdriver' for a hammer, though to be fair, I've also heard 'Glasgow screwdriver' for that, and watched a friend hammer in wood screws and use a screwdriver for the last couple of turns.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I can sort of cope with metric - but they never seem like real measures to me.

    I got laughed at by my fish van man for ordering 50g of prawns when I meant 500 - but I was born into the world of oz and lb and cwt (coal came in cwts), £.s.d. wasn't something you dropped, 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard, 1760 yards in a mile.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    I was born into the world of oz and lb and cwt (coal came in cwts), £.s.d. wasn't something you dropped, 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard, 1760 yards in a mile.

    Post Brexit we're getting it all back. Fact.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    From this morning 's Sydney Morning Herald (which in days gone by was a good, even great at times, paper, despite it's then conservative politics:

    Australia's supply of cheap rental homes are being eaten up....
  • The Mole Wrench used to be manufactured in Newport in South Wales. Newpo't. I can just about remember the signs on roads leading into the town which proudly proclaimed, 'Welcome to Newport, home of the Mole Wrench.'
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Eirenist wrote: »
    'The rest of the world has gone metric'? Try telling that to a Brexiteer! Thanks to the pusillanimity of successive governments, we in the UK are stuck most uncomfortably half-way.

    Oz went metric for currency on 14 February 1966 - those of us of a certain age will never forget the advertising jingle. For everything else, the process seemed a bit spread out over a year or so in the early 70's. The changes in speed limits, road distances and weather forecasts were the most noticeable. Complaints were met with the comment that the change to metric would help exports, a worthy aim with the UK ditching traditional trading partners to join the EEC. I don't know if we exported many new highways, but certainly our now-metric weather reports are sent to many more countries than in pre-metric days.
  • The US government authorised the use of metric units in 1866, so it seems odd that they still like a system that the rest of us call 'Imperial'. When I was much younger, I was told the resistance was due to the influence of the oil industry, and their enormous use of pipe and pipe fittings. It makes some sense when you think of the inventory of materials that they need to hold or obtain quickly. I've had plenty of occasions of my own where the difference has held up a job, or even wrecked a component that was discovered too late to be of the other persuasion. For the record, I much prefer metric fasteners.
  • On boiler suits ... perhaps there are differences in terminology between industries as well as regions. I've always thought of boiler suits as one-piece garments, a form of 'overall' ('coverall), and Churchill famously used to wear one in the War Rooms and around the house even though he wasn't scrambling through oily fissures or tweaking valves.
    Wasn't Churchill's called a Siren Suit?
  • Interestingly (for an anorak :smile: ) BSP and BSPT are still current standards for pipe fittings in the UK and Europe, though they're called something else ('G') to cover up the fact. And yes, GG, I see on my old Mole grips it says 'Self-grip wrench, Newport, Mon., Gt Britain'.

    (On a railway bridge over the Mumps roundabout Oldham it used to say 'Welcome to Oldham, home of the tubular bandage'. That was just next to Williamson's, a great place for a set of BA nut spinners or an Aldis lamp off a battleship - only recently gone, and much missed.)
  • On boiler suits ... perhaps there are differences in terminology between industries as well as regions. I've always thought of boiler suits as one-piece garments, a form of 'overall' ('coverall), and Churchill famously used to wear one in the War Rooms and around the house even though he wasn't scrambling through oily fissures or tweaking valves.
    Wasn't Churchill's called a Siren Suit?

    Gosh ... I never knew. Again, the Ship proves its educational value ...
  • Interestingly (for an anorak :smile: ) BSP and BSPT are still current standards for pipe fittings in the UK and Europe, though they're called something else ('G') to cover up the fact. And yes, GG, I see on my old Mole grips it says 'Self-grip wrench, Newport, Mon., Gt Britain'.

    (On a railway bridge over the Mumps roundabout Oldham it used to say 'Welcome to Oldham, home of the tubular bandage'. That was just next to Williamson's, a great place for a set of BA nut spinners or an Aldis lamp off a battleship - only recently gone, and much missed.)

    Wakefield used to have a sign on a railway bridge for W2 Shirts. I think it was 'W2' ...

    Local legend had it that the sign-writer missed out the 'r' on the first attempt.
  • 'In came the dollars and in came the cents,
    On the 14th February 1966.'

    We were £10 Poms and I remember that from just before we sailed home.

    My parents split up over there and I remember him waving us off at the quayside. He returned not long afterwards and they got back together for a while.

    'Louis the Fly ... Straight from rubbish dumps to you ... spreading disease with the greatest of ease ...'

    I remember that one too.
  • GG, Louie the Fly has popped up occasionally over recent years, in a much enhanced animation, but the same jingle.
  • 'In came the dollars and in came the cents,
    On the 14th February 1966
    something that could only approach rhyming status in an Antipodeal accent! (Although actually I think it would probably be a better rhyme for the Kiwi accent)

  • The song was, “In come the dollars, In come the cents,
    To replace the pounds, the shillings and the pence.
    So be prepared when the money starts to mix,
    On the 14th of February, 1966.” I may have some of the words wrong - it was before I was born- but those were the rhymes. As I recall, the accent was pretty RP, as were most TV accents back then.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Spot on Athrawes
  • Beer comes in kegs here, not casks. Lots of small breweries around. You can take in a growler and have it filled. A growler is a reusable glass bottle usually 1 L or 1½. Bottles of beer are measured in metric in Canada (or cans of beer), typically 340 or 341 ml which is 12 ounces, and 568ml which equates to 20 oz.

  • Ok. Anno Domini has marred my memory of the lyrics, but not the tune ... an old Australian folk tune if I remember rightly. I'm sure we sang it at school later on with the original words.

    I can't remember those but at the risk of an ear-worm epidemic a kind Aussie shipmate may be able to provide a link ...

    I don't remember the accent sounding particularly RP, but it may have done to Aussie's born and bred rather than to Ten Pound Poms. I remember it as mildly Australian sounding but certainly not a strong accent.

    Perhaps it was sung in a more RP sounding way to signal the passing of an era ...?

    The Louie the Fly jingle was sung in a more pronounced Aussie accent if I remember rightly.

    I'm tempted to ask what it tells us about a nation whose outstanding cultural icons consist purely of an animated health warning, Barrie Humphreys, R*lf H*rr*s, one hit wonders Men at Work (cracking hit though), Sidney Nolan and the late and very much lamented Clive James ...

    But I hope to return to Australia for my first visit since 1966 sometime in 2020 and want to ensure I receive a cordial welcome ...

    (Seriously, if I do get there I'll very much look forward to seeing how much it accords with my hazy memories - skinks, blue-tongue lizards, big spiders, gum-trees and wallabies, bungalows and clapboard houses with water-butts. I've heard the town we lived in has expanded and has seen better days.

    If I do go I'll be in the Adelaide area staying with relatives and then going over Melbourne way. If Shipmates have any recommendations of places to go and things to see near either place then let me know. Whether I'd be able to get up to Queensland to see a cousin remains to be seen.)
  • Ignorant American: What does an accent sounding RP mean?
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    Ignorant American: What does an accent sounding RP mean?
    Helpful American: Received Pronunciation

  • Thank you, Helpful American. I salute you.
  • A "stove" burns things. Funny. Nearly every American calls the appliance upon which we cook our meals a stove. Once in a while, the term "range" is used.
  • I tried to find out why a cooking stove is sometimes called a range. In so doing I came across this list of the top ten words of the year that Americans had to look up.
  • Beer comes in kegs here, not casks. Lots of small breweries around. You can take in a growler and have it filled. A growler is a reusable glass bottle usually 1 L or 1½. Bottles of beer are measured in metric in Canada (or cans of beer), typically 340 or 341 ml which is 12 ounces, and 568ml which equates to 20 oz.

    I think the usual growler here (SW Ontario) would be 1.9l, or half a US gallon, and I have mine filled at the local brewery. It's usually from an aluminium keg and tap under gas pressure, but once in a while it comes from a wood cask when the brewer can be persuaded to run a cask conditioned ale. Liquid happiness!
  • Amen to proper cask conditioned ale, but I'd feel uncomfortable if we ever ditched the pint - which I only found out recently differs in volume slightly from the US pint measure.

    Slightly? A US pint is 16 ounces. UK pints are 25% bigger.

    For those of you wanting slight differences, I invite you to consider the difference between the standard foot (0.3048 m) and the US survey foot (1200/3937 m, a whopping two parts in a million longer). The difference almost always doesn't matter, which just makes it all the more likely that someone will get it wrong when it does.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Ok. Anno Domini has marred my memory of the lyrics, but not the tune ... an old Australian folk tune if I remember rightly. I'm sure we sang it at school later on with the original words.

    The tune was "Click go the shears". The RP description of the pronunciation is correct as long as you read that as received in Oz not England (not even UK).
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Beer comes in kegs here, not casks. Lots of small breweries around. You can take in a growler and have it filled. A growler is a reusable glass bottle usually 1 L or 1½. Bottles of beer are measured in metric in Canada (or cans of beer), typically 340 or 341 ml which is 12 ounces, and 568ml which equates to 20 oz.

    Dead, lifeless beer, often pasteurised and filtered to remove any remaining signs of life, comes in kegs and is dispensed with added CO2. Live, real ale with its own natural life comes in casks.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Mixing up your Imperial (English) and metric measurements can come expensive. Witness this Mars mission: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/1999/09/english-metric-miscue-doomed-mars-mission
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    A "stove" burns things. Funny. Nearly every American calls the appliance upon which we cook our meals a stove. Once in a while, the term "range" is used.

    We call our cooker a stove - I believe that Stove was an original make of cooker
  • I'm tempted to ask what it tells us about a nation whose outstanding cultural icons consist purely of an animated health warning, Barrie Humphreys, R*lf H*rr*s, one hit wonders Men at Work (cracking hit though), Sidney Nolan and the late and very much lamented Clive James ...

    But I hope to return to Australia for my first visit since 1966 sometime in 2020 and want to ensure I receive a cordial welcome.

    Good to see it’s not just pond wars you try to start.

  • @Gamma Gamaliel "Yield not to temptation..."
  • Zacchaeus wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    A "stove" burns things. Funny. Nearly every American calls the appliance upon which we cook our meals a stove. Once in a while, the term "range" is used.

    We call our cooker a stove - I believe that Stove was an original make of cooker

    Not so.
Sign In or Register to comment.