Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

1252628303133

Comments

  • Backing up a bit ... I must admit I was gratified to read that it is customary to thank bus drivers and so on in Watford and other points south - I'd always assumed that within the UK such things were only practiced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the English Midlands and the North. I was under the impression that such pleasantries and courtesies ran out the closer you got to That London.

    Mind you, some Londoners might consider Watford to be suspiciously far north ...

    In fairness, I've found Londoners to generally be polite and friendly away from their home turf or if you actually make the effort to engage them, particularly out in the suburbs. That said, they can be rude, abrupt and discourteous as indeed Parisians and New Yorkers are said to be.

    I knew a bloke from The Potteries (Stoke on Trent for non-British posters) who worked in London for a while. He found himself regularly sitting near to the same chap during his morning bus trip into work. One morning he engaged the fella in conversation only to be curtly dismissed with, 'Do I fahrking know you?'

    Grrrrrrr ...
  • In the West Country they can be friendly, unless you are clearly a 'grockle' or an 'emmott' - but there you have to watch that they aren't trying to lure you out the back and ask you to step inside an intriguing and ingenious Wicker Man ...
  • Yes, come to think of it, I didn't notice a bidet there. Perhaps this was an ingenious alternative to be deployed when sitting on the john / bog / loo / ...

    I've never used a bidet. But then, I've never done a dump in a shower either as the French are rumoured to do. One man's fish is another man's poisson.
    This may be intended as humour. You'd realize it's not appropriate if you substituted "French" for a specific other group, say gay people.
  • And 'Murricans get very confused when you show them to a bathroom and it doesn't have a water closet.

    and I suppose when someone asks for the smallest room, you take them to the pantry?
    No - to the smallest room, which happens to be the boot room.

  • In fairness, I've found Londoners to generally be polite and friendly away from their home turf or if you actually make the effort to engage them, particularly out in the suburbs. That said, they can be rude, abrupt and discourteous as indeed Parisians and New Yorkers are said to be.

    I knew a bloke from The Potteries (Stoke on Trent for non-British posters) who worked in London for a while. He found himself regularly sitting near to the same chap during his morning bus trip into work. One morning he engaged the fella in conversation only to be curtly dismissed with, 'Do I fahrking know you?'

    Grrrrrrr ...

    Unfortunately, the New York Times allows limited view unless you subscribe. But every Sunday they publish "Metropolitan Diaries," a short collection of vignettes about life in the Big Apple. Most of them are stories about the kindness of strangers, often on public transportation. Many are humorous; others cause my eyes to leak a bit.
  • If you leave the page, delete cookies, and reload, do you get additional views? They are tracking you that way or they've finger-printed your browser, or both. Thus: delete cookies or use a different browser, or both.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    I've never used a bidet. But then, I've never done a dump in a shower either as the French are rumoured to do.

    I've never proclaimed my specific ignorance of hygiene and then proceeded to take a xenophobic shit on a discussion, but maybe Heaven is just edgier than Hell these days.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    But that opens a new and interesting topic:

    Euphemisms for going to the toilet

    Already mentioned was powder my nose. We also spend a dime, and see a man about a horse. Guy I knew in Chicago used to say "wring a kidney."

    We spend a penny and see a man about a dog...
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    edited October 15
    All right, folks. I'm not sure why it is that language threads seem to require more policing than anything else in Heaven, but here goes:

    Once again, this thread is for discussion of variations in regional/national usage of language, and should NOT descend into personal attacks, bad-tempered sniping, or sweeping generalizations about nationalities or ethnic groups. Several people have danced much too close to the line on this one, so this is a general warning.

    Now, for two specific warnings: @mousethief , you have frequently pushed the boundaries of this discussion away from the Heavenly and towards the Hellish, or at least unnecessarily personal and peevish. Please rein it in.

    @Gamma Gamaliel , I am not sure what to say about you stating, as though it is common knowledge, that French people routinely defecate in the shower, but that is an entirely inappropriate statement to make about an entire nation of people, and has no place in Heaven.

    Cease and desist.

    Trudy, Heavenly Host
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    One man's fish is another man's poisson.

    My favourite car is an Avions Voisin.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Trudy, apologies if I transgressed. I read Gamma's post on the previous page and clicked reply etc. Then found yours when my post appeared.
  • A difference that I saw mentioned recently on another discussion forum is the American (and I think Canadian* as well) habit of omitting 'street' (or 'avenue' or whatever) in street names.

    It's said that this has led to transatlantic visitors asking for directions to Edgware Road in central London being sent on long Underground journeys to the distant suburb of Edgware, and those wanting Oxford Circus (even more central) being directed to Paddington which is the main line railway station for trains to the city of Oxford.

    *In Montreal it means you can address letters without making it obvious which language you're using by choosing 'X street' or 'rue X'.
  • One doesn't dare omit "street" or "avenue" from the name of Seattle streets (or avenues) because in large parts of the city (and surrounding county) they are numbered, and there could be the same number standing for a street and an avenue, and they could be miles apart. Although it may be even trickier right around where they intersect.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Same in the Capitol Region of New York. Except here, there could be a Washington Ave, a Washington Drive, and then a Washington Avenue Extension.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Here in Queens in New York City with numbered streets there could be a street, road, and avenue, directly next to each other, or not. Very confusing.
  • Also in the burbs you can have a 4th avenue and a 4th court adjacent. And in Pierce County (which I currently call home) we have these weird things called Avenue Courts and Street Courts -- which indicate a stub or cul-de-sac.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    One doesn't dare omit "street" or "avenue" from the name of Seattle streets (or avenues) ...
    It wouldn't work in the part of Belfast where we used to live either: our house was in Orangefield Road, but there's also an Orangefield Grove, Parade, Avenue, Drive, Lane and Gardens, and they probably all have the same postcode ...

    I'm another Brit who finds the expression "two times", meaning "twice" a bit peculiar - I'd not come across it until I moved to Canada.
  • It would totally ruin that Doors song if it were "Love me twice, I'm going away."
  • San Francisco, ditto: numbered streets AND avenues. Plus fun things like the city of South San Francisco, which is NOT the southern part of SF.

    Oh, and we don't have a 1st Ave. It's Arguello Blvd.
  • Seattle's streets are a mess because the downtown was platted by three different "pioneers" and each one wanted the streets to run parallel to the shore, so they do, meaning where the plats join up, it's a mess. So "north on 2nd Ave" is truly north if you're south of Yesler, makes a partial left to kind of north-northwest between Yesler and Stewart, makes another partial left at Stewart so it's running pretty much northwest until Denny Way, when it turns and goes north again. Ending up about one mile west of your starting longitude.

    And if you want to know why you can say "Yesler" (without Way) and "Stewart" (without Street) but not plain "Denny" ("Way" is required, and there are no other Dennys), I have no idea.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Back to the bog: when people need to use the facilities it's because "nature calls"
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    What exasperates me is when there is a new build and the developers decide to brand (as they doubtless think of it) every part of it. There is Buckstone in Edinburgh, where, having run through Road, Avenue, Gardens, Crescent, Bank, Loan etc they are driven to whimsies like Dell, Howe, Shaw and Crook.

    How to be universally loathed by delivery drivers.
  • And don't forget, Firenze, that very close by there is Buckstane Park,(the name of a street !)
    It took me once, when on church business, ages to locate this street. I searched all over Buckstone road,Buckstone Wynd,Buckstone Loan etc. before on another occasion finally finding where Buckstane Park is.

    One of the Catholic churches in Glasgow is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes and the name of the street is Lourdes Avenue. The parish priest was insistent that the street name should be indicated as Lourdes Ave.
  • edited October 17
    mousethief wrote: »
    Also in the burbs you can have a 4th avenue and a 4th court adjacent.

    When I first came up here (northern England) I was surprised by the number of 'streets'; but not only (say) 'Hope St.' but also 'Back Hope St.'. These are not usually back-alleys running between Victorian terraces, originally provided for the - ahem - night soil man's horse and cart (and which go un-named), but often full-on roads of their own. One I know well has a favourite pub on it.

    We also get 'Bury Old Road' and 'Eccles New Road' (for example), which took a long time before I stopped hearing them as odd. (In case born-and-bred northerners think I'm being snobby about coming from somewhere near the posher-sounding 'Eastern Avenue', I have to tell you that posh, it 'aint :smile: )

    On the subject of toilet euphemism, some of the civil engineers I currently work with have some ripe phrases. One which springs to mind is 'drowning food babies.'
  • In Virginia I once lived on Cherry street, the next street over was Cherry place, which was a one way street and two blocks north was South Cherry street. We prayed the place never caught on fire. Friends visiting for the first time required long driving instructions. About the same time as we were moving there were discussions on renaming the streets, that was over 50 years ago never checked to see if it was accomplished.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    In Kansas City, it's numbered "streets" and "terraces." I couldn't remember whether my uncle and aunt - longtime residents on W. 26th one-or-the-other - lived on the street or the terrace, so I just sent it to their house number on W. 26th. After a month, it was returned to me: too much trouble to look up, even though it was on the same postal carrier route.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    I used to think that a "restroom" was something like the waiting room at a railway station

    Do Americans say "railway station" or "train station" ?

    I'd guess that to most Brits it's just the station.
  • Russ wrote: »
    I used to think that a "restroom" was something like the waiting room at a railway station

    Do Americans say "railway station" or "train station" ?
    Train station.

  • Russ wrote: »
    Do Americans say "railway station" or "train station" ?
    Either one, or possibly "railroad station." Simon and Garfunkel said "railway station." "Train station" doesn't scan.


  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    We say train station in New England and environs.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    Do Americans say "railway station" or "train station" ?
    Either one, or possibly "railroad station." Simon and Garfunkel said "railway station." "Train station" doesn't scan.

    Of course Simon lived in England for some time, perhaps even wrote that song while he was there.
  • Paul Simon said he got the words while waiting at Widnes railway station.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    'Train station', unfortunately, seems to have become naturalised in the UK, at least on the media. Snappier and more up-to-date, I suppose, also fewer keys to press when typing.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    Do Americans say "railway station" or "train station" ?
    Either one, or possibly "railroad station." Simon and Garfunkel said "railway station." "Train station" doesn't scan.
    I don't think I ever hear "railway" except in a British context or a musical/poetic context like the example cited. The norm here (American South) is "train" or "railroad." It's pretty much always going to be "train station," but I hear "railroad tracks" as often as "train tracks," maybe more often, even.

  • An interesting twist on this is that some years ago when some American companies with 'railroad' in their names became bankrupt, they were reincorporated as a 'railway' with a name that was otherwise the same, presumably to preserve their name recognition.
  • Paul Simon said he got the words while waiting at Widnes railway station.

    When I get something right, it's likely to lose me. It's apt to confuse me.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    ...because it's such an unusual sight ?
  • I am currently dabbling in learning crochet. The problem is that most videos on the internet are made by Americans, and their terms for stitches are offset against the English ones, so it gets very confusing.
  • Pendragon--

    Maybe look for a conversion table online?
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    It's not really that sort of problem imo. I've opted to go only for British patterns - admittedly in print rather than online.

    But then I think single crochet is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited November 1
    Pendragon wrote: »
    I am currently dabbling in learning crochet. The problem is that most videos on the internet are made by Americans, and their terms for stitches are offset against the English ones, so it gets very confusing.
    I happily use both, but it is not always obvious in the pattern which it is - it helps if there is a reference to single crochet somewhere in the pattern so I know that it is US terms (UK not using a single crochet term but double instead). But luckily most patterns tell me which it is.
    But I’ve seen US crocheters turn up on UK crochet blogs and tell the designers they have got all their stitches wrong. Presumably that happens the other way round too.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    Pendragon--

    Maybe look for a conversion table online?
    That only works if you know which the pattern is written in, as the terminology overlaps. For instance, if the pattern only uses the stitch ‘double crochet’, this will mean a different stitch in UK and US terms but you won’t know which it is unless they’ve told you.
  • There's a bit of non verbal language where America has definitely conquered. Watching a YouTube clip from the 70s I was surprised to see one man giving the Vs to another. It used to be the standard insult over here but it's a long time since I've seen it. The middle finger now rules.
  • Have you met Auntie Doris? May NSFW

    https://youtu.be/SLU4O5YqpQc
  • There's a bit of non verbal language where America has definitely conquered. Watching a YouTube clip from the 70s I was surprised to see one man giving the Vs to another. It used to be the standard insult over here but it's a long time since I've seen it. The middle finger now rules.

    "Giving the Vs"? What is this?
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    "Giving the Vs"? What is this?
    In Britain, you must never, ever, hold up your fore and middle finger, to someone so that they see a V and the back of your hand. It is extremely rude. The gesture is usually given with the right hand. It is always done with the back of the hand towards them. It's often accompanied by a flick of the wrist, so as to convey a stronger sense of dismissal.

    Don't do it.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    All you ever wanted to know about the V-sign
  • BroJames wrote: »
    All you ever wanted to know about the V-sign

    Boy is that encyclopedic.

    I have never heard of the palm-inwards variety and unless it's regional I doubt an American without friends in the Commonwealth would know it was insulting.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    The “of” serves to indicate possession of whatever the object is that’s being taken off the person, I think. It’s superfluous since the mere act of removal indicates possession, but makes a certain degree of linguistic sense.

    One that bugs me is coupons that offer "X% off on your purchase..." I can see how that happens, but it's much simpler to leave out the "on," I think. Happily, it's not that common.
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    Eirenist wrote: »
    The current equivalent of 'bon appetit' (good appetite) in popular British eateries at the moment seems to be 'There you go!' (where?), or, in slightly more upmarket places 'Enjoy!' (I'm not sure if this is intended as a command.) Is there a North American version?
    Those, and "Does everything look delicious?" I can't quite bring myself to respond.

    There's also "Here you go," as well as "here/there you are."
    Eirenist wrote: »
    'Train station', unfortunately, seems to have become naturalised in the UK, at least on the media. Snappier and more up-to-date, I suppose, also fewer keys to press when typing.

    What's unfortunate about that?

    Around here (Detroit), we have a famous train station (as most of us call it) that's famous for having been empty (not quite abandoned - someone always owned it) for over 25 years: the Michigan Central Station, which is the name I've heard and seen most often. But it's also often called the Michigan Central Depot, and sometimes the word "Train" gets inserted before "Station" or "Depot." Anyone into urbex should know this station; but it was recently purchased by the Ford Motor Co., which is renovating it and will use it for office space for its technology (e.g., driverless cars) department, rent out some office space, and have retail on the ground floor, which will be open to the public. Yay!

    ("Michigan Central" was the name of the major rail line that ran through the station, and both were originally owned by the same company as New York's Central Station. There had been another rail company with a depot downtown Detroit as well, and the rail line still exists, and might be used by Amtrack. That station was called the Union Depot, or the Detroit Union Depot, or the Fort Street Union Depot, and its rail line was, not surprisingly, the Union line. I suspect people started calling Michigan Central "Depot" due to confusion between the two stations.)
  • I know about "giving the V's" mainly from watching various late 70's punk rock footage and documentaries.
Sign In or Register to comment.