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BS: Separated by a common language

John MacKenzie 11 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM
Peace 11 Mar 09 - 09:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Mar 09 - 09:45 PM
Peace 11 Mar 09 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,heric 11 Mar 09 - 09:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Mar 09 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 11 Mar 09 - 10:05 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Mar 09 - 10:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Mar 09 - 10:35 PM
GUEST,marks (on the road) 11 Mar 09 - 10:54 PM
artbrooks 12 Mar 09 - 12:26 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Mar 09 - 12:29 AM
GUEST,Ingrid the Crafty 12 Mar 09 - 01:13 AM
Spleen Cringe 12 Mar 09 - 04:15 AM
Acorn4 12 Mar 09 - 05:18 AM
Spleen Cringe 12 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM
Michael 12 Mar 09 - 05:45 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Mar 09 - 07:14 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Mar 09 - 07:56 AM
Micca 12 Mar 09 - 08:11 AM
Stu 12 Mar 09 - 08:44 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Mar 09 - 09:53 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Mar 09 - 10:02 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Mar 09 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,heric 12 Mar 09 - 10:40 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Mar 09 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Mar 09 - 10:52 AM
Mr Red 12 Mar 09 - 11:20 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Mar 09 - 11:23 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Mar 09 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,heric 12 Mar 09 - 11:43 AM
HuwG 12 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM
CarolC 12 Mar 09 - 12:25 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Mar 09 - 12:37 PM
Megan L 12 Mar 09 - 12:46 PM
Bill D 12 Mar 09 - 01:20 PM
bubblyrat 12 Mar 09 - 02:46 PM
VirginiaTam 12 Mar 09 - 03:06 PM
Peace 12 Mar 09 - 03:15 PM
meself 12 Mar 09 - 03:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Mar 09 - 03:39 PM
gnu 12 Mar 09 - 04:01 PM
meself 12 Mar 09 - 04:03 PM
gnu 12 Mar 09 - 04:10 PM
CarolC 12 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM
Peace 12 Mar 09 - 05:19 PM
Al 12 Mar 09 - 05:31 PM
Rowan 12 Mar 09 - 05:45 PM
Azizi 12 Mar 09 - 07:56 PM
M.Ted 12 Mar 09 - 10:14 PM
Ebbie 12 Mar 09 - 11:00 PM
John MacKenzie 13 Mar 09 - 07:06 AM
Stu 13 Mar 09 - 07:14 AM
Azizi 13 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM
Azizi 13 Mar 09 - 09:58 AM
Ebbie 13 Mar 09 - 11:02 AM
gnu 13 Mar 09 - 01:41 PM
VirginiaTam 13 Mar 09 - 05:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Mar 09 - 09:50 PM
CarolC 14 Mar 09 - 01:33 AM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 08:06 AM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 08:28 AM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 08:34 AM
TheSnail 25 Oct 09 - 09:01 AM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Oct 09 - 09:17 AM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 10:16 AM
Jos 25 Oct 09 - 10:16 AM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 10:17 AM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 10:35 AM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 09 - 11:20 AM
s&r 25 Oct 09 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 25 Oct 09 - 11:34 AM
gnomad 25 Oct 09 - 11:37 AM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 12:39 PM
meself 25 Oct 09 - 01:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Oct 09 - 01:59 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 09 - 02:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Oct 09 - 02:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Oct 09 - 02:27 PM
meself 25 Oct 09 - 02:33 PM
meself 25 Oct 09 - 02:37 PM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 02:42 PM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 02:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 09 - 03:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Oct 09 - 04:07 PM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 04:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Oct 09 - 04:58 PM
Mo the caller 25 Oct 09 - 05:23 PM
TheSnail 25 Oct 09 - 05:36 PM
Jos 25 Oct 09 - 06:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 09 - 06:06 PM
Rowan 25 Oct 09 - 06:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 09 - 06:55 PM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 07:26 PM
Azizi 25 Oct 09 - 07:30 PM
Ed T 25 Oct 09 - 07:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Oct 09 - 08:01 PM
gnu 25 Oct 09 - 08:12 PM
Ed T 25 Oct 09 - 08:29 PM
Ed T 25 Oct 09 - 08:43 PM
Rowan 25 Oct 09 - 08:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 09 - 08:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 09 - 09:06 PM
Rowan 25 Oct 09 - 11:14 PM
Penny S. 26 Oct 09 - 04:27 AM
mandotim 26 Oct 09 - 05:37 AM
Bryn Pugh 26 Oct 09 - 06:43 AM
Ed T 26 Oct 09 - 07:24 AM
Mr Happy 26 Oct 09 - 07:47 AM
Ruth Archer 26 Oct 09 - 08:29 AM
manitas_at_work 26 Oct 09 - 08:58 AM
meself 26 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 09 - 12:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 09 - 12:58 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Oct 09 - 01:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Oct 09 - 01:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Oct 09 - 02:25 PM
Ruth Archer 26 Oct 09 - 02:28 PM
Peace 26 Oct 09 - 02:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Oct 09 - 03:02 PM
SharonA 26 Oct 09 - 03:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 09 - 03:48 PM
Ruth Archer 26 Oct 09 - 04:01 PM
meself 26 Oct 09 - 04:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Oct 09 - 04:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 09 - 04:34 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Oct 09 - 04:36 PM
meself 26 Oct 09 - 04:55 PM
Peace 26 Oct 09 - 04:58 PM
Bill D 26 Oct 09 - 05:00 PM
Ed T 26 Oct 09 - 05:05 PM
Peace 26 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM
Rowan 26 Oct 09 - 06:03 PM
Peace 26 Oct 09 - 06:09 PM
Peace 26 Oct 09 - 06:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 09 - 06:57 PM
SharonA 26 Oct 09 - 07:35 PM
Ruth Archer 26 Oct 09 - 07:48 PM
Jack Campin 26 Oct 09 - 08:57 PM
Ruth Archer 26 Oct 09 - 09:21 PM
Peace 27 Oct 09 - 12:36 AM
kendall 27 Oct 09 - 08:01 AM
mandotim 27 Oct 09 - 09:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Oct 09 - 11:10 AM
Ed T 27 Oct 09 - 11:53 AM
meself 27 Oct 09 - 01:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Oct 09 - 01:32 PM
mandotim 27 Oct 09 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 27 Oct 09 - 02:05 PM
meself 27 Oct 09 - 02:45 PM
Jim Dixon 27 Oct 09 - 04:02 PM
Ed T 27 Oct 09 - 04:02 PM
Ed T 27 Oct 09 - 04:07 PM
mandotim 27 Oct 09 - 05:18 PM
Ed T 27 Oct 09 - 05:40 PM
Rowan 27 Oct 09 - 05:57 PM
Bill D 27 Oct 09 - 07:42 PM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Oct 09 - 07:44 PM
Rowan 27 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM
Lox 27 Oct 09 - 08:18 PM
Peace 27 Oct 09 - 11:02 PM
Peace 27 Oct 09 - 11:07 PM
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Subject: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM

The more I look at the threads by Mudcatters from different sides of the pond, the more amazed I am that we are bothe members of the same species.
We laugh at different things [mostly] we are offended by different things.
Maybe that's why all the various UK attempts at Oprah style TV programmes fail miserably. Certainly Kilroy was a disaster, and there have been others, which were so forgetable, I can't remember their names, even to hold them up to ridicule.
I'm not denigrating anybody, I'm just curious. What do others think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:30 PM

About what?






























I HAD to do that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:45 PM

Peace, you don't read the books on Oprah's list?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:46 PM

LOL

Good one, Q.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:54 PM

You can't possibly be suggesting that the joke about the priest, the rabbi, and the ten year old boy in a lifeboat wasn' funny. . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 10:03 PM

Did the 10-year-old boy have to jump off the lifeboat to save his skin? Or his ....


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 10:05 PM

Press 'one' for English....


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 10:14 PM

I don't know quite what you mean by "Oprah style". What do you consider to be unique about her style that differs from British chat shows? There are some successful British talk shows, aren't there? What about Graham Norton? (I get him on BBC America, a cable network, Sunday evenings.) Sure, he's not much like Oprah, but every chat show is different, according to the personality of the host. Is there an American style that differs from the British style?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 10:35 PM

'various UK attempts at Oprah style TV programmes fail miserably.'

I don't know what to respond to this, because I've never watched Oprah, and not one person I know, either friend, family or acquaintance, has ever mentioned watching Oprah.

In my doctor's office, there is usually a TV going, and rarely does anybody look at it. (I see the same thing in airports.) In fact, people are usually at the other end of the waiting room from the TV.

I suspect there are only about 1000 people left in America who actually watch TV.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,marks (on the road)
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 10:54 PM

We watch Okra in our garden every year. It really grows well. All it takes is//////////er//////////never mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: artbrooks
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:26 AM

I see Oprah on the cover of tabloids occasionally - usually something about her weight gain or loss. I can't say that I've ever seen her TV show. Does she endorse books?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:29 AM

John, I think this thread got off on the wrong foot. People at mudcat mostly do not watch Oprah.
I remember that long ago there was a Kilroy (was here), but I know nothing of the show.

I watch British mysteries and suspense, I find them very good. Some of the older dramatic shows, like Jewel in the Crown, Brideshead Revisited, The Le Carre spy dramas, Upstairs,Downstairs, I consider classics of television, and I have bought DVDs of some.
As Time Goes By I consider excellent; perhaps I will buy the DVDs.
There are other series that I could watch again.

The "Eastenders," running on a BBC-Canada cable channel, doesn't hold my interest. Perhaps it is this type of situation drama that doesn't appeal in USA-Canada.

On the U. S. side, I watch almost none of the current shows. The old U. S.-produced westerns I liked very much. U. S. comedy, as far as I am concerned, has died. Where is a Ralph Cramden, Burns and Gracie Allen and other greats of earlier television?   I don't like the late night shows. Leno leaves me cold.

Graham Norton is sometimes good, but I don't go out of my way to watch. We get two cable "BBC" channels (plus BBCNews), but the selection of English shows is not very good.

I am a poor one to get comment from; I almost never watch anything on the regular TV channels except some sports, and some news and comment shows (mostly PBS and BBCNews).


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,Ingrid the Crafty
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 01:13 AM

Are you referring to the different meanings we seem to have for the same words? Like Randy? In America its a boys name, in England its his condition.

Ingrid


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:15 AM

I don't know if as many of the Americans suffer from Victor-Meldrew-in-my-Daily-Mail-hell syndrome as the Brits do. They have their own problems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Acorn4
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:18 AM

I've never really appreciated American humour, with one or two exceptions. I think the Simpsons is wonderful, and used to love the series "Cheers", set in a Boston bar, and "Roseanne", starring Roseanne Barr - never really got into "Friends" though - not sure what it is that sets some US humour apart - then again , it's all a matter of individual taste.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM

For me, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has to be some of the best American humour out there - it treads a fine line between laugh-out-loud funny and too-excruciatingly-painful-to-watch funny. A bit like a darker, more grown-up Frank Spencer without the slapstick.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Michael
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:45 AM

I think that this discussion is based on a false premise, It isn't so much UK v US as me against thee, or (to risk a generalisation) Mudcatters against the world. I like, and find funny, certain things on TV. You like, and find funny, certain things on TV.On some points we agree, on some we don't.

On the whole, reading previous posts, we all appreciate the same humour.
And we all dislike the same programmes(I said "on the whole").

There is good and crap TV on both sides of the pond.


Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:14 AM

It's not so much the TV aspect as the cultural differences which are evinced by the things which amuse and annoy us.
For instance, the only transponder I can remember getting upset about the BNP threads on Mudcat was Peace, similarly the unlamented Jade Goody thread aroused a lot of ire in the UK, but none in the US.
Now you have your social misfits and misanthropes in the US, but I can't remember any prurient threads on the lady who had the octuplets for instace. Just general disapproval.
You have the KKK and the John Birch Society, and they seem to be largely ignored by US Mudcatters.
Could it be that the comparative sizes of the two countries is a factor. With we Brits living in each others pockets,figuratively speaking, and while a plane is required to get across the USA, we can drive from one end of the country to the other on less than 24 hours?
It's difficult to quantify what I mean on this one, but basically it's my view that in spite of the number of non US residents posting on Mudcat,it still remains an American website, with the commensurate values attached thereto.
I await the brickbats.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:56 AM

The main reason I don't get upset about Jade Goody is that I don't have a clue who Jade Goody is! Never heard of him (or her?) except by seeing that name in a Mudcat thread title.

Similarly, I have only a vague idea of what the BNP is, and what I know, I know mainly from seeing them mentioned in Mudcat threads.

Such things simply aren't mentioned in the US media.

I'd say Brits seem to know more about Americans than vice versa; but Brits can be misled, too. You mention the KKK and the John Birch Society. At least you've heard of them, but I have a hunch you overestimate their importance. Americans (not just Mudcatters) mostly ignore them because they really are a tiny segment of society, and they are much less significant today than they were in the past.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Micca
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:11 AM

The big difference I've noticed is Irony, it seems a lot less common in the US than in the UK especially on TV. Many, if not most, of the mudcatters I have met both on here and in 3D seem to be possesed of a well developed sense of Irony, and in many cases its "companion" skill the ability to laugh at themselves and not to take themselves too seriously, it is, I believe, these that seperate Most Mudcatters from the "common herd" and may appear to be the difference between US Humor and UK Humour, In this respect, for example, Maine, wwhich has a unique style of sort of self-deprecatory humour is much closer to the UK than to the rest of USA IMHO When Kendall performed at Sharps FC here in London the ENTIRE audience where with every nuance and change of direction in his stories and were laughing so much it hurt. I thought the guy next to me was going to have a seizure during the "Hunting for Winter" story (If you havent heard this gem, Buy, beg, borrow or steal a copy.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Stu
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 08:44 AM

The Americans can do quality in a way we don't here in the UK, although the production values are beginning to seep down into our own programming. Hack

Doctor Who is living proof that good scripts and high production values like those seen in US show like the X-Files etc make for excellent entertainment.

As for humour, Americans must see Father Ted as it's a work of genius, listen to I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue to gain insight into our sense of humour, and have a listen to Count Arthur Strong to hear we can still do brilliant original comedy.

I love US comedy, and as far as I am concerned Curb is brilliant but the jewel in the crown is Arrested Development - the funniest show ever, possibly. Certainly up there with Fatty Owls, Ted, Mr. Brent and Del boy.

Also, the US gave us Twin Peaks, the best television series ever. Something like that would never be made in the UK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 09:53 AM

Somewhat subjective Jack, but then all personal preferences must be so, by nature. However it';s not really about the relative merits of our respective TV programmes.
The reason I brought up Oprah was as an example of a type of programme, not the programme itself, although the programme would be yet another Jerry Springer genre thing, were it not for the personality and style of Oprah herself.
It's the public self examination aspect I was trying to convey. Brits aren't comfortable airing their foibles and freaks on TV, whereas it would appear to be more common in the USA.
I find this at odds with Americans I know personally, who on the whole, do not like taking about themselves. This might account for the reputedly high number in analysis ;)
Micca is right on the irony front, although it is all to often the given reason for differences in what makes us laugh. I think there are other, and deeper reasons, but I'm not sure what they are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:02 AM

I thought this was more about language and why I got some funny looks when I told a waitress in Chicago that I was going out to roll a fag...

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:33 AM

Why not lay the table as an encore?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:40 AM

I heard an Italian tourist demanding of a waitress: "I wanna two fokella on da table!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:48 AM

Things sure are complicated now that we have cable TV.

Curb Your Enthusiasm was produced for HBO, which is considered a premium channel on cable TV. In other words, it's an optional channel (or group of channels) that you have to pay extra for, over and above the basic cost of cable TV. I get something like 120 channels, but I don't get HBO, so I've never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm.

I suppose I could rent a DVD, or request it from Netflix, but I haven't done so.

How do you get it in the UK? Is it free?

I've never seen Arrested Development, either, unfortunately.

By "Fatty Owls" do you mean "Fawlty Towers"? That wasn't obvious to me at first. I did see, and love, Fawlty Towers.

The idea of having nicknames or abbreviated names for TV shows is a custom that hasn't caught on here, either, to my knowledge. Maybe you have to watch a lot of TV, and discuss it a lot, for that to appeal to you. I don't do that much, and neither do my friends. At least, we don't often discuss "entertainment" shows. If we discuss anything about TV, it's likely to be news and documentaries.

I am very interested in comparisons between British and American culture, and maybe that's why British TV shows appeal to me more than they do to most Americans, and why British TV shows often appeal to me more than similar American TV shows. I appreciate the insight and information they give me about British customs. For instance, I might never have heard of Eurovision if it hadn't been for Father Ted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:52 AM

'You have the KKK and the John Birch Society...'

I haven't heard of the John Birch Society in years, and the KKK is almost dead.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:20 AM

have a nice day................

we laugh at that in the UK. While rolling on the floor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:23 AM

John Birch Society, still extant it seems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:35 AM

Went looking for the KKK too, and found this instead.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:43 AM

Well yeah they're here but so is every other weirdo group under the sun, so most fall of the general public's radar (unless some magazine or TV show decides to change that.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: HuwG
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM

To the best of my knowledge, the German hi-tech engineering firm of Kulhne, Kopp und Kausch are far from dead.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:25 PM

I've had heated arguments with some of the BNP types who have posted here at times. I just didn't use any expletives while doing so. I'm pretty sure there were other people from this side of the Atlantic who also argued with them. I don't think the lack of insulting language should be construed as a lack of disapproval.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:37 PM

Sorry Carol should have included you, but I did say 'the only one I could remember was Peace' but I'm an old man you know, and we forget things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Megan L
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:46 PM

Carol he is so auld and decrepit Historic Scotland are thinking o pittin a preservation order on him


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 01:20 PM

"...the US gave us Twin Peaks"

I had almost forgotten that... it WAS exceptional, but even here it got only a cult following. You really needed to see all episodes in order to follow the plot...much as I guess it is with "Doctor Who". I have friends who follow THAT fanatically, but I never was able.

John is correct that 'humor' and cultural norms differ widely in various areas of the US, and advertising on TV shows is often contrived and changed for the same program in different parts of the country. I simply could not live in parts of the Deep South.. I know HOW to avoid certain issues and jokes, but it's too much strain to do every day.

I see very few American comedy shows that I consider really funny any more here...they are either totally based on sexual innuendo or aimed at stereotypes so blatant that they are painful. The UK has sent us several that were truly 'different', and several that were just UK versions of stereotyped running jokes..("Are You Being Served")
The shows which depend on knowing the accent, vernacular and slang of the UK go right by me.

Yes John, it IS amazing we are able to communicate at all!


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: bubblyrat
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 02:46 PM

I am still unable,at the age of 62,to understand how ANYONE,but especially Americans,could possibly find Lucille Ball even REMOTELY funny. I thought Vincent Price in "The Fall of The House of Usher" was funnier than Lucille Ball------The best thing about her show was Gale Gordon doing a cartwheel--now that WAS funny !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 03:06 PM

UK attempts at Oprah style TV programmes fail miserably
What a blessing that is. Trisha Goddard is still driving the burberry bus on Five and occasionally being vilified on comedy game/panel shows. I bet the original plan was that she would be the UK's answer to Oprah. Be grateful that didn't happen.

British comedy is so much richer, darker just better quality than American. Brass Eye, Coupling, Black Adder, One Foot in the Grave. That Mitchell & Webb Look, Bremmner, Bird and Fortune. I could go on and on. Very little in the US compares. God! Even Red Dwarf and Keeping up Appearances beats out Friends and Seinfeld and other embarrasingly, flaky, candidates for the analysts couch, unfunny 'comedy'.

I will give on Simpsons. It is simply brilliant. Maybe my problem is I have not been exposed to much American comedy, especially since moving to UK. When I lived in US, I had little time or energy or interest in TV, except what I found on PBS on Saturday nights (namely excellent British comedy).

Think I will watch some Python, Black Adder or Coupling tonight. I need a good laugh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 03:15 PM

"The big difference I've noticed is Irony"

Something at last I understand.

"The grenade exploded near his leg and now his leg is very irony."


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 03:28 PM

And how do we feel about puns?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 03:39 PM

Some of the routines by Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball, on TV years ago, I still recall. Most of the shows did suffer from poor scripts, however.
"The Honeymooners" was great comedy, with great characters.
"Fawlty Towers" was excellent English comedy with a master at the helm. Another British hotel series is running now on cable, but I find it very second-rate. Can't remember the name.
"Last of the Summer Wine" was a British show I really enjoyed, but I don't know anybody else who liked it.

"The Vicar of Wakefield" is running on both PBS and BBCCanada at the moment- a few good bits, but not a show I go out of my way to watch.

To comment on something posted earlier, randy is common in U. S. as well as UK. A very old word, 17th c.
The main differences I see are the English uses of the plural- Army are, or Chelsea are, rather than Army is (American and most Canadians), and the placement of the main stress in some polysyllabic words.

Did the "Beverly Hillbillys" show in England? If so, what was the reaction? I thought it was rather tired comedy, but so much on TV is (was).
Is "Eastenders" popular all over the UK?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: gnu
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:01 PM

Wingfield. I had some great chuckles last night. Bravo TV. Two half hour shows. Wednesday. 10PM ASDT.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:03 PM

Hey, but that's Canuckian. Not sure how that fits into this. But I agree, a great show.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: gnu
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:10 PM

How? I don't really care. It's better than most. Just a head's up for our buddies far and wide.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM

Canadians are, of course, the funniest of all (as compared to USAns and UKs).


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:19 PM

"And how do we feel about puns?"

IMO, if she has nice puns we feel about them gently . . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Al
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:31 PM

When I watch a DVD movie with British actors, I almost always have to turn on the English subtitles to understand them.
Al


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:45 PM

Peace, I never knew you were really a New Zealander. Well, well.

Cheers, Rowan
also from the other side of the rather larger lake.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:56 PM

Here are some comedy videos that I like:

Sinbad stand up comedy about his mother

(If you can, ignore Sinbad's 1970s or so outfit which is worth some laughs all on its own).

**

Bill Cosby---Grandparents

**
These two segments harken back to the days when storytelling-especially telling tall tales (exagerrated stories) used to be one of the main forms of entertainments.

Nowadays it seems to me that there's much less stortyelling in stand-up comedy, and comedians rely on putdowns, cursing, and raunchy jokes to get laughs.

Tommy Davidson is a contemporary comedian who can be dirty, but who also has some funny, dramatized/storytelling aspects to his stand-up acts.

Here's a link to one of his shows:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=738t_x56WBY&feature=related

**

**
Here's another comedy video I think is funny:

Eddie Murphy- James Brown/Hot Tub

**
I think that the humor (humour) in these videos transcend racial and national lines. I'm curious if you agree.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:14 PM

Personally, I have two problems with those trans-ponders who allegedly share a language with us. First, they shoot, stab, and rob each other and say, "This is the sort of that would happen in America." Second, Benny Hill.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:00 PM

I agree, M'sieu. Nor do I understand - or appreciate - the vicious attacks on each other here on the 'Cat that they call repartee. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 07:06 AM

It's my partee and I'll cry if I want to.


Ebbie, there is quite a tradition in Scotland generally, and in the central belt particularly (Edinburgh-Glasgow),of friendly insults.
I would say they are of the same degree of fun poking as the yo momma jokes.
MeganL and I being both Glaswegians by birth, indulge in this quite a lot eg
Whit like ye auld bauchle how's yer bahookey fur blackheeds
Nae sae bad laddie, ah see ye're still wearin' the monkey's bahookey fur a face. Fancy a kick up the erse?


With apologies to anyone that doesn't believe people actually talk with an accent like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Stu
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 07:14 AM

Have any f our American brothers and sisters ever seen Rab C. Nesbitt? Genius.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM

John, I like your play on the word "repartee" in your "It's my partee and I'll cry if I want to"

Kudos!

Yet people who don't know that pop song might not understand your remark at all, and/or might not fully appreciate how witty it was.

Which brings me to a point that I've been thinking of-it seems to me that knowledge about the culture from which the joke comes is often needed in order to really understand (or "get") the joke.

For example, I know that I don't know Scottish culture/s. So when you and MeganL have your exchanges, I "get" that you are engaging in "friendly insults", but I don't understand-and I admit that I don't try to fully understand-what it is you two are saying.

And it occurs to me that some of the references in the comedy videos that I posted, and the way that the comedians go about setting up their joke also depends on cultural knowledge-in these cases-knowledge about American popular culture in general, and aspects of African American culture in particular. To use a somewhat retired slang term, if people aren't "hep" to either of these cultures, then they can't fully appreciate the jokes and the skill of the comedians in making them.

Which refers back to the "separated by a common language" theme of this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 09:58 AM

Here are some other points I would like to make:

With regard to your comment, John, that Glasgowian insult exchanges are like the friendly insults of the dozens, I want to mention that 'dissin people' or "rippin on people" (two terms for "dozens like" insulting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) isn't always friendly.

In addition, it occurs to me that American mass media (movies, television, and recorded music videos in particular) are Americanizing or (to coin a phrase) "hiphopizing" culture to the extent that many people throughout the world may think they are hip to what is goin down in the 'hood (meaning in some assumed to be real urban Black neighborhood), but in reality their understanding of real Black culture/s is weak & faulty.
(I mean "weak" in the standard and the hip-hop meaning of that word-though in hip-hop languaging the word used would be "wacked").

I'm concerned about more than whether people in the United States and throughout the rest of the world fully understand the words to rap recordings, or whether people "get" the jokes that are part of BET television, and part of certain American movies. I'm concerned that new versions of old stereotypes are being spread and are becoming embedded in the people's psyches as a result of those videos and movies. One aspect of this that is particularly concerning to me is the view that African Americans (and perhaps also other people with Black African descent) really have chip on shoulder "attitudes" and go around insulting people like folks see in those videos and other material from the mass media.

I believe that a faulty view of "Black people with attitude" is unconsciously being spread via contemporary playground rhymes which have been disseminated through movies and other media sources such as television and the Internet. I've noticed that a lot of the contemporary English language playground rhymes that have been posted or performed by children & teens who are White (by their own identification and/or by my observance) contain lyrics and are performed in the "in your face" aggressive attitude style that appears to me to be modeled after the stereotypical view of what rappers are like. My concern is that young children may grow up thinking that this is how all or most Black people actually act in confrontational situations. For example, see the first video "ABC Hit It" that I feature this month on my Myspace page.

These-dare I say-stereotypical views about how African American interact have been spread to children throughout the world and are reinforced by the popularity of these American movies:
Bring It On cheerleader movies (which feature some "in your face" cheers that a White cheerleader squad learned from a Black cheerleading squad)

and

Dickie Roberts-Former Child Star

(particularly the highly popular "in your face" insult rhyme "Brick Wall Water Fall" which I've been told is also chanted in one of the Bring It On cheerleader movies.)

For those interested in reading some examples of "Brick Wall Water Fall", you can visit this page of my website Cocojams-School Yard Taunts .

**

What I'm trying to say is that I'd rather for us to that we are separated by a common language and perhaps also sometimes by different (real or put on) interaction styles than to think we know how other people live, move, and have their being, but our knowledge is not only incomplete but dangerously flawed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 11:02 AM

Ah, Giok, it's not the skelpin' I refer to. I enjoy those exchanges


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: gnu
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 01:41 PM

Then, there's a Canuck who moved to Britain from the US...

Stuart Francis


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 05:38 PM

Ahh yes. Canadian comedy very good too. Second City TV, the Red Green Show.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 09:50 PM

Who remembers "Canadian Air Farce"? Still occasionally on the marginal cable channels in Canada. I don't think it was heard in the U. S. or UK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: CarolC
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 01:33 AM

And the best of the best: This Hour has 22 Minutes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuY3oLmzkjE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_BLcap6qao

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ6D1nHgO2c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CptXVdqprE


22 Minutes' Shaun Majumder (this one's very funny)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxTyuFBPJsk


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:06 AM

I'm refreshing this thread because of some questions that I still have about comments I didn't understand that were made on the BBC Question Time show with Nick Griffin. I asked some of those questions in this thread thread.cfm?threadid=124461&messages=213#2751123 but don't want to distract from the serious nature of that thread by asking more.

[I should note that I don't mean to imply that particular thread wasn't serious when I asked those questions. I partly did so to "lighten" the mood a little. And I might have gotten one phrase one. I asked what was a "Whip up" but maybe the correct phrase that an audience member on that show used was "whip around".]

**

Here are the other questions that I have from that show:
Is the BBC referred to as "auntie"? I ask that because the moderator of that show asked Griffin if he considered being on that show as an early Christmas present from auntie. If that reference does refer in general to the BBC, why is that nickname used?

**

During that show, Bonnie Greer said something to Nick Griffin that I interpreted as "toot toot", but which I read in an online article as
"2:2". I gathered that it referred to the number of years a person attended a college or a university. Is that correct?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:28 AM

Also, I've received a number of examples from readers to my website on children's playground rhymes that include the word "bum" (meaning "butt") and I realized that because of that I automatically made the assumption that those contributors weren't African American, but I also jumped to the conclusion that they were British. But I'm curious whether the word "bum" meaning "butt", "behind", "hiney", "ass", and "booty"* is used colloquially among Anglo-Americans, Canadians, and people from Australia.

I'm curious about this because I think it points to the fact that populations within the same nation can be separated by a common language.

*Two other words in the USA that mean the same thing as "bum" does in the UK are "bottom" and "backside". When I used to go around to pre-schools and kindergarten classrooms to tell stories, I've heard White teachers say "Sit on your bottoms" to their classrooms of students. But few African Americans (including African American teachers) use the word "bottom". I'm sure that the children learned what "Sit on your bottom" means, but I don't think "bottom meaning "butt" is a word that they had heard prior to going to school. And I doubt that "bottom" is used that way in most African American homes. The word "backside" is more likely to be used.

"Booty" is a colloquial term that is mostly used in dance songs and children's handclap rhymes and cheers (as in "shake your bootie"). A "booty call" means a person who calls another person for some sex.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:34 AM

On another recent Mudcat thread, some one mentioned "redd up". This is Pittsburghese for cleaning up your home. That phrase probably comes from the word "ready" as in making a home "ready" for company/guests.

However, in my experience few African Americans who live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and its surrounding communities use the term "redd up." I think that this is a prime example of how different populations within the same city at the same time may be "separated by a common language".


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 09:01 AM

Azizi

Is the BBC referred to as "auntie"?

Yes. Not absolutely sure why. I think it is meant to imply a kindly but rather prim and proper manner.

During that show, Bonnie Greer said something to Nick Griffin that I interpreted as "toot toot", but which I read in an online article as
"2:2". I gathered that it referred to the number of years a person attended a college or a university. Is that correct?


University degrees are awarded at either Pass level or with Honours. Honours are subdivided into First, Second and Third class. Because most people get a Second Class degree, this is further divided into 1 and 2. Hence the possibilities are 1, 2.1, 2.2, 3, Pass. People with a 2.1 look down on people with a 2.2 probably to make them feel better about not getting a First.

A 2.2 is also known as a Desmond. Say it out loud.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 09:17 AM

Bum, bottom & backside are all traditionally used in Australia, however
butt is also in use along with other Americanisms, but I don't know how long butt has been used here.

andra


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 10:16 AM

Thanks for your responses TheSnail and Sandra.

Here's another response that I got by pm which explains why the BBC is referred to as "Aunty":

"This quote from wiki is probably the best description of how the Aunty Beeb got her name :)

'The following list of songs banned by the BBC is an alphabetical list of songs that the BBC has at one stage or another, considered controversial enough to ban...

As the United Kingdom's public service broadcasting corporation, the BBC has always felt some obligation to standards of taste and decency, to varying levels, at different times in its history. Its "auntie knows best" attitude earned it the nickname of "Auntie BBC" or "Auntie Beeb".'

A 2;2 is a university degree - probably one of the most common awarded
First Class Honours (First or 1st)
Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2:1)
Second Class Honours, Lower Division (2:2)
Third Class Honours (Third or 3rd)
Ordinary degree (Pass)


In recent slang such a degree (quite a common leval of achievment) is referred to as a 'Bishop' after South African Bishop TuTu who, incidentally, is held in very warm affection in most of the UK."

-snip-

And The Snail, I understood why you used bold font for my name :o)

[It's kinda an inside joke but anyone who has been reading this thread will get it.]


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jos
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 10:16 AM

'Having a whip round' is when everyone present makes a small contribution, whatever they can afford, to help someone out financially.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 10:17 AM

We crossed posted. Thanks for that info, Jos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 10:35 AM

And by the way, Snail, when you wrote "Say it out loud" after the name Desmond in your post, was that a clip from the this James Brown hit record?

And in that context does that phrase mean that those who achieved that level should also be proud?

If so, kudos on your wit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 11:20 AM

"Redd" is originally Scots - still current in south-west Scotland, though I've hardly ever heard it in Glasgow or Edinburgh. It's thought of as a Pittsburghism, though people from south-west Scotland must have settled in many other parts of the US.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: s&r
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 11:27 AM

Arse is a vulgar word for posterior. Ass is sometimes pronounced by southerners as arse. Recently the phrase 'could'nt be arsed' has crept into the language meaning couldn't be bothered.

The American ass has become more common of late, along with other words like elevator and apartment.

Stu (UK)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 11:34 AM

'Arse' is pretty much in use in Ireland. 'Get your arse off of that'.
And there's ofcourse 'Hole', slightly more vulgar probably, for same


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: gnomad
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 11:37 AM

Regarding the various names for what you sit on we understand a wide range of terms in Britain, but mostly use a smaller range, choosing our word to suit the tone of the conversation. Thus:

Bottom - safe, and almost universally accepted as inoffensive.

Bum & Backside - More colloquial, but only likely to offend the most
squeamish. Bum very slightly naughty, to children for example.

Butt & Ass - Not much used, though increasing. Regarded as Americanisms, thus popular with those aping American ways, unpopular with those shunning them. Ass seen as not quite saying arse, but sharing some of its risqué qualities.

Booty & Hiney - Might well not be understood, especially by older persons. Hardly any usage.

Derrière, Gluteus Maximus - Largely unused except by those meaning to be humorous. Non-offensive.

Arse - Utterly unacceptable to some, quite inoffensive to others. Understood widely (universally I should think) but not a term to be deployed without being sure of your audience.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 12:39 PM

Some people posting to this thread or reading this thread might be interested in the discussion here
and here about the use of the word "lady" in the UK and in the USA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 01:19 PM

Canada here, adding 'rear' and 'rear-end' to that much-named part of the anatomy. Also, 'rump'.

Back in my school days, we had an Irish teacher who would occasionally have occasion - completely innocent, I assure you - to refer to one's 'sit-upon'.

Oh yes, 'seat' is another. Don't think I've heard that one for some years now, though. Perhaps derived from 'seat-of-the-pants'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 01:59 PM

A distinctive geature of much American TV comedy (and other drama) that hasn't been mentioned so far is a tendency to move from time to time into a warm family values mode, in a way you don't seem to get with the equivalent shows from over here.

Form example with a show like My Name is Earl, or the Simpsons, every now and then the message emerges that, beneath the lunacy, these people are really basically OK and love each other on some level.   You don't get that with Father Ted. You might get to love them, but they don't love each other too much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:10 PM

Some people posting to this thread or reading this thread might be interested in the discussion here and here about the use of the word "lady" in the UK and in the USA.

[the "heres" being towards the end of the same immensely long thread about British fascism - you might be in for a long wait if you click on those links]

"Lady" has such a multiplicity of connotations you are not going to get the simple answer you seem to be looking for. It would be quite possible to imagine very similar contexts in present-day British usage where one use would be insulting, another grovellingly sycophantic and another neutral, and you'd need to know quite a bit about the speaker and the person spoken about to figure out which was which.

But there's no correlation with race involved, except in the very indirect sense that there haven't been many non-white women entitled to claim formal modes of address reserved for the peerage until recent decades (probably the first would have been the wives of bishops of the Church of England). Those modes of address only account for a tiny fraction of the occasions when the word is used.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:20 PM

You can do pretty well the same with a whole range of expressions, by adjusting the tone of voice etc. Man, boy, sir, mister, him, her, you...
..................

"Who was that lady I saw you with last night?"

"That was no lady - that was my wife."

(The joke being based in the fact that the questioner was using 'that lady' in the sense, then current, 'lady of the streets'.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:27 PM

Actually, on thinking it over, it's the person asked the question who took the term in that sense, rather than the questioner.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:33 PM

I always assumed the questioner was using 'lady' in the neutral sense - but the joke works out the same (the other giving 'lady' its connotation of 'class' and virtue).


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:37 PM

Hmm - seems we're still separated by a common language - I always took the reply as the husband's put-down of his wife, rather than a defence of his wife.

Or is the original notion that he is not thinking at all about the connotations, but makes a reply that 'comes out wrong'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:42 PM

Jack, for what it's worth, my "here"s are hyperlinked directly to two relevant posts from that long thread about the Question Time program.

**

Here are the two points that I was trying to make about two meanings of the word "lady":

1. Some degree of progress has been made in that nobility titles have been given to (I suppose some are given and not inherited, right?) Women of Color and Men of Color.

Jack, your comment that "there haven't been many non-white women entitled to claim formal modes of address reserved for the peerage until recent decades" although I'd use the term "Women of Color" instead of "non-white" as that is the accepted term in the USA. We believe that there is an important difference in these terms as the term "non-white" makes white that which all others peoples are defined by, and People of Color does not.

2. In the 19th century and earlier, neither of those two Women of Color who were on that Question Time panel would have been given the courtesy of being called a "lady" (meaning a respectable woman).

Prior to my reading the comments by The Borchester Echo, I wasn't aware that feminist in Britain have problems with the referent "ladies" for them and for other women. Maybe American feminists have the same issues with that word. But that's not true of all women in the USA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:47 PM

I meant to say Jack, your comment is another way of saying the same thing that I said.

(In the scheme of things, this really isn't all that important. However, I thought it was one smalle indicator that some progress has been made in the areas of race and class). And since this was on a program that included the leader of the racist organization, BNP, I wanted to share that thought.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 03:31 PM

meself, some of the old jokes have shifted meaning with time.
My grandfather would have understood 'lady' as referring to a prostitute or 'lady of the streets'. My children would assume the other meaning; a downgrading of 'the little woman' (as she was known in the past.
This is the case with many words used in the slang sense; they go in and out of popularity.
'Bum' or whatever is a bad example because so many other referrents are in wide usage wherever English is spoken. Mostly they are understood without the need for explanation.

BBC and "auntie"- In the 1930s the 'Beeb' issued a list of banned songs. Some types of songs were banned for no firm reason except whim. The English slang expression for a code of behaviour- "auntie knows best," referring to the older generation or a prissy aunt's opinions- was applied to the BBC and it stuck. At this time, they claim to ban no recorded songs (but I doubt this is 100% true).
----------------------------
In England, and supported by the Oxford English Dictionary, the word enquiry is almost universally used. In the U. S. (and mostly in Canada because of proximity), inquiry is the accepted spelling. (Perhaps this has been mentioned before).
----------------------------------
Has 'bumff' (spelling varies) spread to beautiful downtown Pittsburgh? First applied to tons of paper generated in the English civil service, it spread to Canada, and eventually to junk mail, etc. I have now heard Americans use it. Is it now widespread in the U. S. or very local?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 04:07 PM

Short for "bum fodder".


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 04:34 PM

Sorry, Kevin. I've never heard or read the word "bumff" except in your post.

Thanks for the compliment about my adopted city. Although it's off-topic here's some Pittsburgh Pennsylvania photos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 04:58 PM

That was Q, not me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Mo the caller
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 05:23 PM

I've come to this late. But Azizi referred to 'Whip up' and 'whip round' which in the UK mean completely different things (no idea what, if anything they mean in the US).
You can 'whip up' hatred, or enthusiasm. Like a cook might whip egg white or cream to make it bigger.
You 'have a whip round', or 'pass the hat round' to pay for something, contribute to a joint present, or help someone out financially.
I had heard The Snail's Desmond (2.2) but not the Bishop variant. I'm out of date, just when I thought I'd caught up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 05:36 PM

Sorry, Azizi, but you are over interpreting. I fell in to a convention a while ago (probably borrowed from somebody else) of putting the name of the person I was quoting into bold and the actual quote into italics to try and make it clear what and who I was quoting and what I was saying in response.

Nice James Brown clip but, no. At least not intentionally although it may have been lurking in my subconscious. I was simply saying that you had to say Desmond 2.2 out loud to get the joke. Your pm friend is right that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is held in very warm affection in most of the UK. He comes over as an utterly delightful and wise human being.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jos
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:05 PM

Some people (including at least one publisher) make a distinction between 'enquiry' = a polite question, and 'inquiry' = a more thorough investigation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:06 PM

Tutu- reminds me that as kids if I said Joe wore a tutu, it was an invitation to a fight.

And what happened to the remark, "Too too and very very"? I haven't heard it for years. I guess it has gone the way of "too much sugar for a dime."
------------------
Mo, let's whip round to the bar for a drink.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:07 PM

Most of the UK understandings of the phrases mentioned above seem to have transferred to Australia almost unaltered, although I've yet to hear a Second Division, Second Class, Honours degree referred to as anything other than a 2.2 or (among much older people no longer connected to universities) a 2B.

The national broadcaster here (the equivalent of Britain's BBC) is the ABC and shared similar attitudes and came to share the same "Aunty" nomenclature. Some of the prohibitions now seem incomprehensible. One that comes to mind (an applied to commercial broadcasters as well) forbade broadcasting more than 25 consecutive minutes of opera; this lasted until about 1966.

You can 'whip up' hatred reminded me of a more recently-used term in Oz politics. When a politician (elected or self-appointed) makes a comment that is designed to appeal to racists but avoids overt expression of racism (you can be assured it is designed to "'whip up' hatred") it is referred to as "dog whistle politics". It relies on the popular understanding of those sorts of whistles that can be heard by dogs but not by people. When racism is deployed as an argument here it is referred to as "playing the race card".

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:55 PM

'Playing the race card' is heard in American politics; haven't heard the 'dog-whistle' expression in U. S. or Canada, but it is a good one.

(The ABC- Australian Broadcasting Corp., a public corporation, must not be confused with the ABC- American Broadcasting Company, a private company. The latter still is very restrictive; don't know about the Australian)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 07:26 PM

My apologies to Jack for jumping to conclusions, and to Q for crediting his words to Kevin.

**
The Wikipedia page for dog whistle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics defines them as "a type of political campaigning or speechmaking which is employs coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has a different or more specific meaning for a targeted subgroup of the audience. The term is invariably pejorative, and is used to refer both to messages with an intentional subtext, and those where the existence or intent of a secondary meaning is disputed."


-snip-

The author/s of that page indicate that the phrase "dog whistles" as defined above originated in Australia. Examples are included on that page about the use of coded references or "dog whistles" in Australia, the United Kingdom, and in the USA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 07:30 PM

Oh, I did it again.

My apologies to The Snail and not to Jack, who may not know jack about what I'm talking about, but I doubt he'd jack me up because of my mistake so I guess I'm cool and the gang.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 07:53 PM

Sometimes we do speak a different language, even have a different sense of humour. But, we can still enjoy ourselves telling the same jokes or singing the same songs...but m,aybe interpreted a bit differently.

This well sung song is on here somewhere else, but clearlyt makes my point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUJVT5oUM8c

Ac Canadian Country-folk local eastcCoast folk singer once sang (about mining (Inco) town Sudbury Ontario:
"The songs that we'll be singing, they might be wrong but they'll be ring'ing,
When the lights of town are shining bright, and we're all tight,
We'll get to work on Monday, but tomorrow's only Sunday,
And we're out to have a fun day for it's Saturday tonight"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkHhx3y__9w


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:01 PM

You can whip up support as well. It's what Whips in parliament are there for.

And the distinction between "enquiry" and "inquiry" Jos pointed to is pretty standard in the UK at least - when did anyone ever hear about a government setting up a "Public Enquiry"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: gnu
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:12 PM

Stompin Tom Connors! MARGO!


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:29 PM

Try these out, if you think we speak a different language....all Stompin Tom Connors....and yes east Coast Canadians can understand it all:)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNrszjqK76s&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4GkO1eKmbM&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wCyVjWQx5s&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yd6eoYAflM&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7ryZG3qTlg&feature=related


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:43 PM

Sorry about all the Stomp"in Tom music....I forgot, this is a discussion site, as Joe often says Or did I get it backwards:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:45 PM

Parliamentary Whips, while capable of whipping up support, seem more often to be used to keep unruly backbenchers "in line". Similar to how bullockies used their whips to keep the team moving in the right direction; a good bullocky could do it without the whip actually touching any member of the team, but focussing attention by cracking the whip near a miscreant's ear.

"Fair crack of the whip" has now been replaced, it seems, by "Fair suck of the sauce bottle".

And the Americanism "Step up to the the plate" seems to have replaced both "Step up to the crease" and "Step up to the mark"; even "Toe the line" seems to have gone out of favour.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:59 PM

Toe the line and toe the mark used to be common in the U. S., but do seem to have vanished with the "Rover Boys." Perhaps because the starting block has taken over.
"Crack the whip" common, but lacks "fair."


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 09:06 PM

An old southern expression for adding spices, etc. to a bland dish- "hire it up." Equivalent in UK? Use outside of the South?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 11:14 PM

My experience of "To crack the whip" in Oz is that it means to exert pressure on a person or group to achieve a goal desired by the one cracking the whip. "Fair crack of the whip" can be used as a riposte to the whip cracker by the one(s) being pressured; it is almost the equivalent of "Fair go, mate."

As it happens, whip makers among us would also know that the short and extremely flexible attachment to the end of the fall of the whip (ie., the bit that exceeds Mach 1 when the whip is cracked, thus making the "crack") is called the "whip cracker".

I'm a little surprised that "the mark" featured in US usage,as I've always thought of "toeing the line" as associated with boxing (and thus common wherever it featured as an activity) whereas I'd thought of "Stepping up to the mark" as associated with archery and common in British usage but less so in US usage.

I learn something every day.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:27 AM

I had the impression that "playing the race card" was used in the sense of someone who could be seen as a possible victim of racism claiming racism when criticised for something else.

By comparison, when I was a prefect at school, there was a badly behaved girl who had calipers because of polio. When asked to stop talking in the lunch queue she would plead that she was being picked on for her disability.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: mandotim
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 05:37 AM

Bill Bryson (in scholarly mode rather than jokey travel writer) wrote a cracking book on this very subject; warmly recommended. Made in America
Tim


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 06:43 AM

Whoever said "arse" was improper ?

It's a good old Anglo-Saxon word to describe

(i) the posteriors ;
(ii) someone to whom, if you were a ghost, you wouldn't give a fright.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 07:24 AM

There are some that say an important feat the USA was to take a "stuffy" English language, improve it (for example as in Kwik Kopy) , make it the language of business....and spread it around the world.....seems like a good point to debate?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Mr Happy
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 07:47 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Arse


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 08:29 AM

"There are some that say an important feat the USA was to take a "stuffy" English language, improve it..."

If you consider lazy imprecision an improvement, I guess you might have an argument. Having lived about half my life in the UK and half in America, I find spoken UK English far more colourful, varied and interesting than American English. People seem to take more joy from language in the UK.

I would be interested to know whether there have ever been any sutdies regarding the average number of words typical of the British vocabulary vs that of its American counterpart. My guess is that that the typical spoken British vocabulary is far more extensive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 08:58 AM

" Recently the phrase 'could'nt be arsed' has crept into the language meaning couldn't be bothered"

When I first heard it it was "can't be asked", which I think is far more meaningful but I suppose most people can't be asked to get it right...


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM

"the average number of words typical of the British vocabulary vs that of its American counterpart"

What does this mean?

Confused colonial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 12:55 PM

""Step up to the the plate"   I've never heard or for thatmatter read anyone using that here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 12:58 PM

The same goes for "Step up to the plate"...


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 01:13 PM

McGrath, in my experience "step up to the plate" refers to baseball, where the next batter moves up to home plate, ready to take his turn at bat.

By extension, some person makes an affirmative motion (literal or figurative) to exercise his active part in an endeavor; he assumes responsibility for the welfare of his cause. To me, this carries an overtone of undertaking a somewhat disagreeable duty.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 01:19 PM

Arse first appeared c. 1000 in AElfric- by the 1300s, common usage although spelling varied, ars, etc. Oxford English Dictionary.
Probably older in the Germanic languages.

Ass has entered seaman's lingo before 1860- H. Stuart, Seaman's Catechism Also OED. Refers to the lower part of a block or pulley receiving the splice (Apart from American usage).

American usage of ass for arse- Both common 1860-1880 in the U. S.; gradually 'ass' took over. Ass (meaning fundament) entered American speech sometime before 1850. These from Lighter, Historical Dictionary of American Slang
"I will burn his dam'd ass off with tar..." Eliason, 1853, Tarheel Talk

"An English upstart... whose face reminds me forcibly of a baby's spanked ass." 1863, Jour. Ill. Historical Society.

Frederick Remington- "Making a frame of their ass and the saddle for a landscape." Selected Letters, 62, 1888. (Remington was an artist noted for his Western paintings and sculptures).

In the song "Mademoiselle from Armentieres"-
We shot the Boche with mustard gas
And put some blisters on his ass.
(Carey, 1918)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM

I know about "step up to the plate" - but I'd question whether it has ever come into general use East of the Atlantic. Even though baseball actually originated back here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 02:25 PM

This thread reminded me that I wanted to do some further research on the meaning and origin of "feck"—so I did, and posted the results in BS: The Etymology of 'Feck'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 02:28 PM

"the average number of words typical of the British vocabulary vs that of its American counterpart"


By this, I meant the number of words the average person uses in their day-to-day speech. I suspect that a British person uses substantially more than the average American, as conversational speech in the UK is, in my experience, more colourful, descriptive and precise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 02:36 PM

Average word use: the phrase has little utility because it cannot be define as it would pertain to many individuals.

"Richard Lederer, a lion among linguistics, tells us that English is the most cheerfully democratic language in the history of mankind. It has 616,500 entries in the Oxford English Dictionary. This compares with a vocabulary of about 185,000 words for German, 130,000 for Russian, and 100,000 for French. Yet the average English speaker possesses a vocabulary of 10,000 to 20,000 words, Lederer observes, but actually uses only a fraction of that, the rest being recognition or recall vocabulary."

IMO, as is the phrase IMO, it's a matter of opinion, level of 'education', etc. In some ways I see it as being about as pertinent as IQ to measure 'smarts'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 03:02 PM

True, Peace.

Some years ago, I forget his name, a well-educated Englishman commented on the lack of diversity in language as he crossed the country. By this, he was referring to the lack of variety in regional speech compared with England, where each area had usages that distinguished it from others.
This has changed, as regional usages and dialects are lost in England.
In each area, however, the number of words commonly used is limited; thus no more words are used by an 'average' Englishman than the 'average' North American.

One area of difference is in the use of sounds like "Hmmm;" depending on intonation, an Englishman can convey many more meanings than a North American, from agreement to provisional acceptance to complete rejection; from amazement to disgust.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: SharonA
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 03:06 PM

Hmmm????

Hmmm!

Hmmm......


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 03:48 PM

an Englishman can convey many more meanings than a North American, from agreement to provisional acceptance to complete rejection; from amazement to disgust.

I very much doubt if that is true. There are an awful lot of varieties of North American after all, from round about the Yucatan peninsula up to above the Arctic circle.

But it would be an entertaining thing to research.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:01 PM

"In some ways I see it as being about as pertinent as IQ to measure 'smarts'."

My gambit is, I admit, purely anecdotal, but my observation (having lived in various parts of both the US and the UK) is that, conversationally (and I stress this because I don't think the phenomenon is nearly as pronounced within written English as it is in spoken conversation), British people tend to be more articulate, with their vocabulary both more precise and more diverse. The thing I think is particularly interesting is that, with Americans, even well educated and "well bred" people have a similarly casual approach to language. I think it is amongst the upper and more educated classes that the differences are, if anything, more pronounced.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:05 PM

Hmmm ... as an nth-generation Canadian, I am quite familiar with all those interpretations and usages of "hmmm", and use them all myself ....


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:14 PM

By North American, I meant Canada and the U. S.
Sorry, Mexico and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:34 PM

North American, I meant Canada and the U. S.

A bit like people who say "Britain" and mean the South of England.

But "Canada and the U. S." contains just about all the varieties of peoples that you'd have in the whole of North America anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:36 PM

Uh, Mexico is part of North America.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:55 PM

Hence Q's heartfelt apology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:58 PM

Hi, Ruth. I hope I didn't seem bitchy when I said that. When I speak with Brits, I miss lots of what they say due to accent, dialect or regional variants of terms. Of course, I've had that happen in some areas of the US and maritime Canada. As Q noted, once ya get north of 60 it's a whole new world with back formations, accents and 'milk language' of the English speaker.

I heard/read many decades ago that an average English language speaker can get along splendidly with about 4,000 words. Churchill was estimated to have a usable vocabulary of 50,000 words.

My grandparents were both from England and they used many terms with which I had no familiarity--"stop being so bloody daft" is one example. Heck, even the word 'daft' is seldom used in the parts of NA I have visited or lived in.

Anyway, have a good day, y'all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 05:00 PM

" I find spoken UK English far more colourful, varied and interesting than American English.

Oh, indeed it is. That feature also makes it harder for an American to follow some of the more 'colorful' interchanges.
   If one makes a practice of following closely some of the English comedy shows, I suppose it gets easier, but I confess to needing closed caption at times to deal with unfamiliar phrases and pronunciation together.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 05:05 PM

"....spoken UK English far more colourful, varied and interesting than American English. People seem to take more joy from language in the UK.....
...... "My guess is that that the typical spoken British vocabulary is far more extensive.

Well, have an unusually large number of words for snow....that's another topic (maybe, like French, of interest for the arts). I suspect that's not the reasons for the success that "made in USA, (and lesser so in Canada) changes have had in making English the international language of business....or more so than others.

As to vocabulary, US versus British English.... recent British language assimilation taken into considerstion....I suspect USA is lower. But, again a clear advantage for international useage. I suspect that a formerly non- English speaker (of the US variety) can function with a smaller vocabulary than with most other major languages.....a great advantage to make US of A English (fewer words, simplified spelling and less rigid useage) in the world of business (putting bread on the table) ....that matters much more than the benefits you mention.

I recall that inuit have about a dozen words for snow....does that make the language "far more colourful, varied and interesting" for a person living in a land with no snow?   Maybe yes. maybe no.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM

To 'back up' Ed, and before anyone makes reference to the hundreds of Inuit-language words for snow, please read this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 06:03 PM

I know about "step up to the plate" - but I'd question whether it has ever come into general use East of the Atlantic.

McGrath, as I gave the original example, from Australia, I'm wondering whether we're East of the Atlantic. And your comment about origins of the game "went straight through to the keeper", another expression in common use here.

the use of sounds like "Hmmm;"
Four decades ago I was one of the six Melb. Uni Mountaineering Club climbers to complete the full Arthurs Ranges traverse in SW Tasmania; from recollection we were the fourth group to do so in a time when there were no maps. It took us three weeks and, about half way through, we experimented with using "Hmmm" as our only verbal communication for the next day's effort.

Making meals, striking and making camp, reaching navigational decisions, admiring the view, cursing the weather, taking scroggin stops, "Hmmm" managed it all; a most versatile vocalisation.

On the matter of vocabulary sizes, I forget the exact source but, when I was teaching first-year biologists, it was understood that a university matriculant with no formal biology education would have a useable vocabulary of about 10,000 words. By the end of their first year, successful biology students would have doubled their vocabulary. As Peace has observed, many would be "recognition or recall vocabulary"; even so, the technical "jargon" becomes part of their working vocabulary while they practise in the field.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 06:09 PM

Hi, Rowan. Aussie English: now THAT really is a whole other world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 06:12 PM

The following was just posted on the Somali Pirates thread by my good buddy, Gnu.

"Well, me zon, me zon.... ain't no torpedoes required nor advised if ya sends in da lads see? Fact is, two Newfs in a dory could innocently row up alongside and surround the buggers. Screwed as a June bug at dawn on a lone spruce in a bog them buggers."


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 06:57 PM

An awful lot of people in England seem to sort of communicate mainly by grunting, and dispensing with consonents almost entirely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: SharonA
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 07:35 PM

"....spoken UK English far more colourful, varied and interesting than American English. People seem to take more joy from language in the UK.....
"My guess is that that the typical spoken British vocabulary is far more extensive."
"...my observation... is that, conversationally... British people tend to be more articulate, with their vocabulary both more precise and more diverse."

I think that, on the whole, the two nations take different kinds of joy in the language, not necessarily more joy or less joy.

I know that the two nations use different vocabularies.

I also know that British people tend to be more articulate in the way they speak, though not necessarily in the words they speak. Brits tend to enunciate their words more than most Americans do. The British speech pattern is more clipped while the American speech pattern is more drawn out or, in some states, drawled out.

As an American, I find it amusing when our British Mudcatters refer to American language, culture, etc., when there is so much cultural diversity here from state to state and even within each state. Folks, we 'Merkuns don't even understand each other here half the time!


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 07:48 PM

Sharon, I'm talking about vocabulary. As I say, this is purely based on my own observation, having lived for about 20 years in the US and approximately the same time in the UK. I've lived in NY, London and LA amongst other places.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 08:57 PM

Most of the relevant articles on the web are on news or JSTOR sites I can't access, but googling for "harpin boont" should nail the idea that Americans can't be linguistically creative.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 09:21 PM

"should nail the idea that Americans can't be linguistically creative."

That's not what I said, Jack. I said that conversational vocabulary (as opposed to written, where the differences tend to be less pronounced) in America is more general, less precise and specific, than in the UK, and I wondered whether any studies have ever been done which quantify the typical number of words USED (not simply known by) Americans in everyday conversation as opposed to the British.

But if no one knows of any studies which have examined this issue, that's fine - my experience will remain anecdotal and just an opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 12:36 AM

The word 'icicle' brought to us by the OED.

hyse-hykylle, icecles, ice-ickel, ice-schokkill, ice-schoklis, ice-seekles, ice-seskel, ice-shackle, ice-shockles, ice-shog, ice-shoggle, ice-shogle, iceshogles, ice-shoglin, ice-shokle, ice-sickel, icesicles, iceycel, iceycle, icicles, icikle, isch schoklis, ische-schokkill, ische-shackle, ische-shockle, ische-shog, ische-shoggle, ische-shogle, ische-shoglin, ische-shokle, isch-schokkill, isch-shackle, isch-shockle, isch-shog, isch-shoggle, isch-shogle, isch-shoglin, isch-shokle, ise3kille, isechele, isecle, ise-sickel(s), ise-sickle, ise-sicklels, ise-yokel, isickles, isicle, isikle, isykle, izekelle, ycicle, yese-ikkle, ysckeles, yse sycles, ysekele, yse-schokkill, yse-shackle, yse-shockle, yse-shog, yse-shoggle, yse-shogle, yse-shoglin, yse-shokle, yse-yckel, ysicles, ysse-ikkles.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: kendall
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 08:01 AM

I haven't seen anything funny on American tv since Barney Miller.
Give me reruns of Monty Python anytime.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: mandotim
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 09:17 AM

Can we just get one thing straight; there is no such thing as 'British English'. The language I use most of the time in England is 'English', the native language of my country for a very long time, originating here. Other nations may wish to qualify the language they speak by adding their nationality, but in the case of residents of England this is redundant.
Harrrummphh!
Tim


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 11:10 AM

What about Geordies?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 11:53 AM

Many folks found Seinfeld funny.

Unlike current latin, languages evolve, as English has....from many sources and cultures.

There are many accents, but that doesn't make a significant change in language. But, many different words, grammar and useage does,....especially when they become broadly used vs local.

Currently, I see that the USA is the hot-pot for the emergence of new English words and useage, not Britain. Some will remain local. But, many especially those influencing music, movies, fashon and youth (future) through the internet are catching on.

A visit to the Urban Dictionary will unearth a few....though some will remain local, and some would be considered offensive to some.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 01:15 PM

"Can we just get one thing straight; there is no such thing as 'British English'", etc.

I don't think we can get that one thing straight. Unless I start calling the language I speak "Canadian", and acknowledge that Americans speak "American", etc., and decide that any similarities among them are purely co-incidental.

Sorry, mandotin, but as far as many of us are concerned, the version of English that you use "most of the time" is just one more variant on this language, and in international discussions of the language, its name does need to be qualified. We will not, nor should we, assume that the term 'English' refers to the language only in the form(s) in which it appears in England. However, we can use the term "English-English" if that is preferable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 01:32 PM

And French-French?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: mandotim
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 01:56 PM

Sorry, 'miself'(see, I can misspell handles too) but the name of the language I speak is English, and has been for a very, very long time. What you speak may be Canadian, Canadian English, American English or whatever, I don't really care; but my native language is English, not 'British English' or any other variant. Your argument about 'international discussions' is utterly specious, as a distinction can easily be made by referring to my language simply as 'English' and then qualifying any comparator language.
You have clearly misunderstood my point; I didn't say that only the language spoken in England can be referred to as English. You can call your own language English if you want, again, I don't care. My point was that there is no such thing as 'British English'.
Incidentally, many Americans I know believe that the language they speak is 'American'.
In support of your argument you refer to 'many of us'. Many people believe that aliens abduct people, and that toads can cure warts. Doesn't make it true or right. English is not 'one more variant', it is the original language from which so many variants have sprung.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 02:05 PM

I don't know about it being used in conversation, but "step up to the plate" is appearing just about daily in Brit newspapers and mags now.

I suppose somebody got sent on a management course a couple of years ago and it's spread, like Japanese Knotweed. What's wrong with stepping up to the wicket?

("Touch base" seems to be falling out of fashion over here though.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: meself
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 02:45 PM

"And French-French?"

Sure, why not? Although in Canada, we usually use the term "European French" (rather like the apparently-objectionable "British English").

Mandotim (a thousand apologies for misreading and subsequently misspelling your handle - please don't lash me with the cruel whip of your sarcasm again): sorry to inform you of this, but you speak a variant of the original language "from which so many variants have sprung". In fact, it's probably inaccurate to speak of AN original language at all. English has always been, and continues to be, a rich mix of languages, and dialects. Perhaps you speak a dialect that gained some kind of extraordinary status because it was spoken by the rich in a certain part of England. I, and, yes, many of us, do not acknowledge that special status. If you don't like that, to borrow a phrase from your post, I don't care.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 04:02 PM

I wonder if some of the Brits who use the phrase "step up to the plate" don't even realize it comes from baseball.

I agree that, if they wanted to use a sporting metaphor, "step up to the wicket" would make more sense in a purely British context.

Maybe they're thinking of dinner plates, but then wouldn't they say "sit down to the plate"?

I guess it goes to show you don't need to be familiar with the origin of a saying in order to find it useful.

Another example: "the whole nine yards." Nobody really knows where that came from, although there have been a lot of theories kicked around. Yet it became very popular among people who didn't have a clue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 04:02 PM

So, to be clear, there is no Pidgin English...its just English...or pidgin based English (Pidgins derived from English). Correct?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English-based_pidgins


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 04:07 PM

Newfoundland Pidgin English?


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: mandotim
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 05:18 PM

Meself; I am fully aware of the rich and varied origins of my language, thanks; and if you were, you wouldn't persist in using near-tautologies like 'British English'. Near-tautologies, because of course the Scots, Welsh and Irish inhabitants of these islands might have a view on this as well.
I note that you have chosen not to address the central point I was making, which was that the term 'British English' is a redundant term, and is unnecessary when discussing linguistic differences. If you want to compare, it is perfectly possible to say 'She is from England and speaks English, whereas he is from the USA and speaks American English'.
You are right when you imply that there are many variants and dialects within England, but these have the right to be called simply 'English' because they have grown and developed here. I don't speak English with an RP accent as you suggest, but my speech is recognisably English. I don't acknowledge that the language of the rich and aristocratic has any special status either - far from it - what I object to is the misuse of English to describe the language I speak. I'm not trying to tell you what to call your language; I'm just asking you to respect the correct name for mine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Ed T
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 05:40 PM

If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur. Doug Larson


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 05:57 PM

Without going back through the thread I suspect I was the miscreant who introduced the term British English into the conversation. I make no apologies for that, as I was (and still am) writing on an international forum to an international audience where there are some who write as though their own local experience is universal; we all do that some of the time. As one who is writing from what many in Britain and the USA think of as the outer periphery of existence it seemed logical to attach descriptors so that the readers found it easy to understand what it was I was trying to communicate

Mandotim may not care what others think but it seemed to me to be the best idea at the time and it seems most who've subsequently posted understood. Many (some, even, from different parts of England) have acknowledged that their own locality has particular expressions and variations on a theme; I suppose most would understand that "London" usually refers to a British locality, although Mudcat has hosted discussions indicating that such an understanding is far from universal.

Of course, if I were trying to be deliberately offensive I could probably put an argument that the English spoken in the British Isles is probably the oldest and most widespread of the various pidgins and creoles spoken around the world and is probably the language that is most rapidly changing, as we speak. So the English English that mandotim identified with yesterday or last week is probably different from the one spoken last year.

In a discussion that centres on the colloquial but requires various technicalities to be understood, I regard it s helpful, rather than "redundant", to use specific descriptors. But I may well be mistaken.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 07:42 PM

There is accuracy and then there is practicality when it come to naming languages and variations.
When installing a spell-checker, they ask you is you want American "English" or UK "English"...or even Australian "English".
This type of distinction is common. You can argue with it, but there are reasons for employing it.

   I have always referred to myself as an English speaker. I know very few people who would say they speak "American". American is used as an adjective to name other things, usually.

If asked, I would admit that MY form of English is derivative and altered in many ways.....but many of the variants spoken IN England are also.


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 07:44 PM

I have neither "a dog in the fight" nor "skin in the game", as I'm an American (UnitedStatesian, if you like) but I tend to dislike the expression "British English" because there are at least two other "British" Englishes, to wit from Scotland and from Ireland. I won't go into the Isle of Man or Guernsey. Nor Wales. "British English" is not specific enough to be enlightening, methinks.

On the other hand, there are enough "English" dialects in the world that it's confoozeling. The Indians speak "English"; Americans speak "English"; Australians speak "English"; Canadians speak "English"--and so do the English. English can best be thought of as a great family of separate streams of language (there's a mixed metaphor for you). And if it is relevant and one intends to specify which dialect (or really, "set of dialects") one refers to, then it is useful to speak of Indian English, American English, Australian English, Irish English, Scottish English--yes, and English English, just to make the distinction clear. I understand Mandotim's wish to maintain the trademark for England, so to speak, but to say only "English" in a context where one would specify "American English" or "Indian English" is inconsistent, bad style, and confusing. But to use the expression "British English" can be nothing but fuzzy.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM

I hadn't meant to offend, Dave.

But, from where I sit and aware that I could identify (aurally) at least eight versions of US English and almost as many versions of English in Britain (perhaps I should use "UK"?) as there are counties in England, Scotland, NI etc, I'd thought "British English" was an adequate gloss for the purposes of the conversation. I'll try and be more sensitive in future.

Bill is correct about how versions of English are described by spell-checkers; it's just that Micro$oft seems to think that Australian English is the same as US English. It isn't. But at least we get a mention; I've never seen Canadian English or Indian English offered as a spell-checker's dictionary.

Jim, have you heard "step up to the wicket" being used? I ask because I had thought "step up to the crease" (which was the usual expression in my youth, when fronting up for a particular and slightly onerous responsibility) was the cricketing expression being replaced by "step up to the plate".

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Lox
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 08:18 PM

Too say that Americans don't understand Irony is wrong.

New york is soaked in it, and new york music and comedy is intoxicated with it.

however It seems to be the case that there simply isn't room for it in LA and even friends I have from the UK and Australia seem to lose their sense of Irony after they have been there a while.

But the USA is too big and varied to compare it to the UK.

And besides, neither of them are French ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 11:02 PM

Canucks understand irony.

"A grenade exploded near my leg and now my leg is very irony."


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Subject: RE: BS: Separated by a common language
From: Peace
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 11:07 PM

Influences on the English language.


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