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BS: American English usages taking over Brit

WalkaboutsVerse 09 Oct 19 - 03:24 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Oct 19 - 09:37 AM
Jack Campin 08 Oct 19 - 09:10 AM
BobL 08 Oct 19 - 02:47 AM
Mrrzy 07 Oct 19 - 09:47 AM
JennieG 07 Oct 19 - 02:54 AM
robomatic 06 Oct 19 - 10:10 PM
Joe_F 06 Oct 19 - 09:24 PM
Charmion 06 Oct 19 - 09:22 PM
Jack Campin 06 Oct 19 - 06:40 PM
keberoxu 06 Oct 19 - 05:19 PM
Lighter 17 Oct 13 - 06:45 PM
Uncle_DaveO 17 Oct 13 - 06:08 PM
JennieG 17 Oct 13 - 05:09 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Oct 13 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 17 Oct 13 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Eliza 17 Oct 13 - 01:39 PM
Lighter 17 Oct 13 - 11:49 AM
Nigel Parsons 17 Oct 13 - 11:36 AM
Gibb Sahib 17 Oct 13 - 11:24 AM
Nigel Parsons 17 Oct 13 - 11:06 AM
Nigel Parsons 17 Oct 13 - 10:54 AM
Lighter 17 Oct 13 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Eliza 17 Oct 13 - 09:57 AM
Lighter 17 Oct 13 - 09:00 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Oct 13 - 06:23 AM
Gibb Sahib 17 Oct 13 - 02:30 AM
Backwoodsman 17 Oct 13 - 01:51 AM
Gibb Sahib 17 Oct 13 - 01:07 AM
Lighter 16 Oct 13 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,yokel 16 Oct 13 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,Eliza 16 Oct 13 - 05:58 PM
JennieG 16 Oct 13 - 04:47 PM
Lighter 16 Oct 13 - 12:31 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Oct 13 - 12:11 PM
Penny S. 16 Oct 13 - 09:45 AM
Lighter 16 Oct 13 - 09:12 AM
Mr Happy 16 Oct 13 - 07:57 AM
Manitas_at_home 16 Oct 13 - 07:22 AM
Backwoodsman 16 Oct 13 - 03:59 AM
Gibb Sahib 16 Oct 13 - 02:43 AM
Gibb Sahib 16 Oct 13 - 02:28 AM
Backwoodsman 16 Oct 13 - 01:57 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Oct 13 - 01:52 AM
Gibb Sahib 16 Oct 13 - 01:47 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Oct 13 - 12:36 AM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Oct 13 - 06:12 PM
Nigel Parsons 15 Oct 13 - 05:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Oct 13 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,ED T 15 Oct 13 - 04:35 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 09 Oct 19 - 03:24 PM

My poem, from WalkaboutsVerse, on this "For Better Or Worse"


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Oct 19 - 09:37 AM

"No more than British ballet dancers dance a step-of-two"

Yebbut they do it in tutus...


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Oct 19 - 09:10 AM

Do British websites have biscuits?

Look at what this one says:

https://www.englishcathedrals.co.uk/

Shouldn't it be "accept wafers"?


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: BobL
Date: 08 Oct 19 - 02:47 AM

No more than British ballet dancers dance a step-of-two, British musicians perform a sounding-together, or British cooks use a garnished bouquet.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Oct 19 - 09:47 AM

Do British websites have biscuits?


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Oct 19 - 02:54 AM

Come to Oz, you biscuit and cookie loving people......they're all called "bikkies" here, no distinction as to soft or not!

Language is a living growing thing which is continually evolving. While we might not love the direction it's taking, you can bet it won't be long before it takes another turn - and that's what makes it interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: robomatic
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 10:10 PM

It's been going on for a long time and is not merely one-way. I've especially noticed over the past few years the phrase "no worries" which when I was young was only heard from the antipodies (Australia and New Zealand). Now I hear it from the local young.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Joe_F
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 09:24 PM

H. W. & F. G. Fowler, in _The King's English_ (1906), have a section titled "Americanisms", in which they complain, "Mr. Rudyard Kipling...and his school are americanizing us." So long ago, and under such eminent auspices!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Charmion
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 09:22 PM

As a Canadian, I use both "cookie" and "biscuit". A cookie is soft, and usually made with some kind of inclusion -- raisins, nuts, or cream filling. A biscuit is crisp and may have icing or sprinkles on it. So a Jaffa cake is a cookie and a Hobnob is a biscuit. Shortbread and gingersnaps are biscuits. Sandwich-type confections (e.g., the Oreo) are cookies -- the filling, you see. And those things with chocolate chips in them -- cookies. Soft.

It's easy. Well, easy for a Canadian. Your mileage may vary.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 06:40 PM

Going back a few years to the comments about "bathroom" being a euphemism for "lavatory" - it wasn't when I was in New Zealand, and wouldn't have made sense. NZ houses generally had a separate roomlet for the toilet, with a separate entrance from the bathroom. "Bathroom" meant a toom with a bath in it. (This may have been reinforced by Maori concepts of hygiene, which prohibit washing and shitting in the same place).

My pet hate Americanism is biscuits in the UK being sold as "cookies". British cuisine doesn't HAVE cookies. They belong to an alien taxonomy of foods.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 05:19 PM

Refreshing this elderly Mudcat thread
because the question was raised,
pertinent to the coming US Presidential elections,
about the origins of the word
"Kibosh."

I'm shocked to discover that Charles Dickens used the word
in a short story, "Seven Dials,"
printed in 1836 --

of course, he spelled the word "kye-bosk."
We live and learn!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 06:45 PM

And they advertised "toilet water" (cologne) too!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 06:08 PM

As a midwest American, two weeks shy of 83 years, I can tell
you that I've NEVER heard "Yo" used in general speech, other
than in the US Army in 1953, '54, and '55, and then only
as a response at roll call or mail call, as in, "Smith!"--"Yo!" (meaning, roughly, "Here I am!")

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: JennieG
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 05:09 PM

My etiquette book, originally published in 1885 and reprinted in facsimile in 1982, has "Chapter XXXII: The Toilet: Importance of neatness and cleanliness, etc" and "Chapter XXXIII: Toilet Recipes: To remover freckles, pimples and sunburn, etc".

Both chapters make very interesting reading!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 04:33 PM

'"toilet" (as I may have noted years ago) is that in the US has come to mean, specifically and unambiguously, the porcelain fixture used for defecation, etc., and not the room.'
.,,.
Originally, of course, it meant neither. The original meaning was the *process* of washing, arranging hair, (for a woman) making up, &c, prior to dressing and presenting oneself to company; either in the morning on rising, or later in the day before a meal or going out.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 03:15 PM

for those of us who would get their mouths washed out with soap for swearing or cursing... "dang or dang it" was the only way to express ones self safely.

"But, Mom.. I didn't say #@*&." Saved by a technicality.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 01:39 PM

Ah now, 'fries' to me is the correct word for those ghastly rock-hard little matchstick bits of potato you get with a MacDonald burger. The word 'chips' refers to the delicious, tasty and more-ish piano-key- sized fried potatoes you have with a bit of cod or haddock. Soft inside and crispy outside, they absorb vinegar like a dream, taste gorgeous and that's why I'm so fat! I'd never call them 'fries'!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:49 AM

Words no good, yo. Do psychic contact.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:36 AM

Fries & ketchup?


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:24 AM

Yo Nigel - What's good with it?


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:06 AM

Oh look! a blank post.
It should have been:

The things that get to me:

When I ask "How are you?" and get the reply "Good". I'm asking after their health, not their morals!

Or, if someone beats me to it, they may say "How are we?". I tend to respond "I'm fine, but I cannot speak for you."


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 10:54 AM


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 10:35 AM

> 'good to go', 'in back', a 'heads-up', 'raincheck' etc make me feel very old and out of touch

Cheer up! All but "good to go" were common (even indispensable) in my NYC childhood.

I first heard "good to go" in the build-up to the 1991 Iraq War. It caught on instantly. We primitives used to say, "Ready to go."

For the past ten years I've heard people saying "It's all good." Before then it was, "Everything's fine," "It's OK," etc.

Why the switch, trivial as it is? Who knows? What's interesting is there's no obvious reason why they shouldn't have been saying it in Shakespeare's time.

But they weren't.

Not logical, psychological.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 09:57 AM

Oh Lighter, I remember that song, "...they ought take a rope and hang me..."
I find expressions such as 'good to go', 'in back', a 'heads-up', 'raincheck' etc make me feel very old and out of touch. I have to have them explained to me, which is tedious for the speaker. It could be that I don't watch much TV and so am not exposed to the changing language. I don't resent the changes, but I find it hard to keep up with them. It's sheer ignorance on my part I admit.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 09:00 AM

The reason we don t say "toilet" (as I may have noted years ago) is that in the US has come to mean, specifically and unambiguously, the porcelain fixture used for defecation, etc., and not the room.

The OED seems not to realize just how fully synonymous in the US are "toilet" and "lavatory bowl or pedestal" (as they so prudishly phrase it). When I was a lad, the Palmolive company still advertised "toilet soap" on TV. For your complexion! If you were five, it was beyond hilarious!

Eventually they got wise.

Americans do not call a "rest room" a "toilet," because "I need to use the toilet" is a bit too graphic for most of us. Hence the desperate need for a euphemism.

"Dang" has been around forever. Submitted for your approval, from Thomas Morton's West-Country comedy smash, "Speed the Plough" (1800):


"ASHFIELD. Dang it, I ha' gotten it all in my head; but zomehow--I can't talk it. ... Dang it! never be down hearted. I do know as well as can be, zome good luck will turn up."



(Pedants will note "gotten." Others may remember Roger Miller's 1964 CW hit, "Dang me!")


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 06:23 AM

"Toilet" & "Lavatory" originally meant the place one goes to wash [see Susan Coolidge's "What Katy Did at School" for an example of the latter use]; but became unusable for such meanings because they became euphemisms for the shithouse

([or, perhaps still slightly euphemistic] water-closet; earlier jakes, on which Shakespeare punned regarding the name of a character in As You Like It; or privy [ie private place]; or latrine [generally a hole-in-ground earth closet]; or, idiomatic, bog);

to be succeeded by words of similar meaning like washroom or bathroom; or, even more evasively, restroom. Or the U [in the Nancy Mitford sense of Upper-class] loo, of disputed etymology, perhaps from French l'eau, or the odd 0-0 (supposedly a pun on deux-eaux = two waters), preceded bu definite article before vowel l'.

Some day I suspec wet might run out of available euphemisms & have to return to good old shithouse, eh?

Appropriate, perhaps, to quote here: "These are deep waters, Watson."

LoL [or LoO?]

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 02:30 AM

Hmm, so is it "false prudishness" or actual prudishness? :)

You missed the part where I said it is *not* being *used* as a euphemism (though I understand why it may sound that way to you)? The true euphemism is "darn"! "Dang" just has a special flavor to it. (Speaking in the present, not historically.) The same person may say (and excuse my prudishness for apologizing for the following language!:) "Dang, that bitch is fuckin' hot!"

I realize the toilet thing was already discussed here, though it was maybe years ago so:

"Bathroom" is used for both home facilities and public ones. I see it as more a case of using the same word for the "same" thing. I agree that it is euphemistic, but so is "toilet", to an extent. Bathrooms in public contain toilets, urinals, and sinks for washing. You might go their to blow your nose, for example. The lack of any "bath" in public leads the change, in official language, to "restroom"!
In Canada (or some parts at least) it's a "washroom."
In North India, it's a "bathroom" (using English loan word)...or sometimes "washroom" (where Canadians have had their influence), and also "toilet!" However, in Hindi-Urdu it is "ghusal-khaana," literally "bathroom" - except in some rustic areas, where (in coarse Punjabi for example) it is "TaTTiaan" = "shitters". I recall once asking, on behalf of a female fellow traveler in Pakistan: "oe, zanaanian diaan tattian kithe hagiaan ne?" - "Yo, where are the ladies' shitters?" It felt kind of silly, given my "sahib" status!
A "public toilet" seems to me to be the *official* term, in Europe, for something that generally does not exist in the USA...it's like the yard vs. garden thing. And "toilet" shortens that.
In short: the reading of the level of cultural prudishness from these terms seem premature to me.

Indeed, since everyone knows what "bathroom" is, and what one does there, it no longer (if it ever did) functions as much of a euphemism - it's just the word one uses. Now: Euphemisms are:
1) Go to the library
2) Go to my office
3) Pay the water bill
4) Go to download some stuff (cyber-euphemism)
:D


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 01:51 AM

Nobody says "Dang" in the UK - that always smacks of American false prudishness, a bit like your daft refusal to describe public toilets (i.e those not in the home) as the toilet or lavatory, and instead call it the 'bathroom' or 'rest room' -even though there's nowhere to take a bath or have a rest!

Very strange, bearing in mind that USA-Ian's seem to pride themselves on their straight-talking, no bullshit manner! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 01:07 AM

I just caught myself in another supposed Americanism: "Dang".

Is this heard elsewhere? On the surface, it would seem to be a euphemism for "damn", but people who say it often (e.g. I) have no fear of "damn"...it's just that we like to say "dang."

"Hot dang!" has a silliness to it, but is even uttered ever once in a while!

***

My latest "favorite" greeting is one I heard in Long Beach (California) a couple years ago. LB is a city (unlike many places in the Northeast US, for example) where, rather than passers-by putting their heads down and ignoring each other while quickly scampering along, most people walk more slowly, greet strangers, and make conversation on the street. Just comments like, "Hey man, I like that shirt! Where you get that at?" It's a fun place to be if you're gregarious and not "scared" of strangers.

Anyway, a guy came up to me and said, "What it do, bra-bra?" I felt very old and behind-the-times, as no doubt the expression has been around a while. And like the more popular, "What's good?" I wasn't sure quite how to answer! ("It do good"? "Nothin' much"?)


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:03 PM

> implied a lack of respect.

Because they were heads of state.

If they'd been homies on a B-ball court, no prob!

("Yo, G!" would have been even better.)


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: GUEST,yokel
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:59 PM

Yo is hjardly a respected word in Canada, or anywhere


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 05:58 PM

Didn't Bush greet Tony Blair at some conference with "Yo, Tony!" ? I remember at the time it annoyed many Brits as it implied a lack of respect for Blair on his part and demonstrated their poodle-and-master relationship which resulted in our following along into War.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: JennieG
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 04:47 PM

Here's one woman who says "yo". When I answer my mobile (cell phone, for the Canadians and USAans among us) it's my standard greeting.

Unless I feel like putting on the dog, then it's "Yes?"


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 12:31 PM

> Answering when one's name is called.

> To get attention, when loud voice is needed: [someone far away has just dropped his wallet without noticing] "Yo!!!"

Those are the only uses that would come naturally in my speech, and even the second still sounds creepily newfangled. (When our names were called in grade school in a huge Northeastern city, we still answered "here.")

> To halt an action in progress: "yo yo yo"

Only "Whoa whoa whoa" works here for me. Or "Hold on!" (Note presence of "o" sound in all three choices>)

For some of the others, "Hey!" or "Hey man!" (certainly not "Hey, you!") is the utterance of choice.

In a "quieter setting," it would be "Say, Michael..." Or "Mike" back in the days (I mean "day") when men usually went by the conventional nicknames.

When a car runs over my foot, I say "Owwww!!! &@##@&%%!!!" Not "Yo."

No sentence-final "yo" for me. It would have to be, "OK?" or "man."

And it's just one single-syllable interjection, people! Nobody said language was simple!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 12:11 PM

I don't think English/ Australian "Oy!" has anything to do with Yiddish "Oi!"

I don't either. Was making a segue!

So ladies don't say "Yo"?

*Canadian* ladies! Kidding around. Though, come to think of it, there may be a gendered aspect of it.

Have Brits started using "yo" at the end of sentences yet? I began noticing it about a dozen years ago.

This is along the lines of what I was also wondering - but was afraid to ask for fear it would lead to a confusing Internet back-and-forth. i.e.: if Britons are using "yo" like in America, or if the word exists in more limited use.
In "my" use, Yo is:
To get attention, in quieter setting: "Yo Michael!"
To get attention, when loud voice is needed: [someone far away has just dropped his wallet without noticing] "Yo!!!"
Greeting: "yo, what's up?"
To halt an action in progress: "yo yo yo"
Answering when one's name is called.
Reaction to a slight: [a car runs over my foot, or, someone cuts in line/queue] "yo...wtf?!"
Sustain someone's attention (?), at the end of sentence: "Don't be trying to bother me 'cause I gotta lotta work to do yo."

I realize most of that is the same as "hey," and not very remarkable! But it would be interesting (to me) if people in UK had adopted *all* the uses.

I don't (often) listen to Rap, so my primary association is not as a Rap-based "slang", but rather just an American word. Is it used consciously with "American" connotation, in UK?


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Penny S.
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:45 AM

Going back a bit, I thought the sort of toast made by toasting a thick slice, splitting it, and then baking the result so it curled was called Melba Toast, not French toast. and I think that what I had as a child by the name French toast wasn't pain perdu (eggy bread) but buttery toast from left overs.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:12 AM

I don't think English/ Australian "Oy!" has anything to do with Yiddish "Oi!" The meanings, AFAIK, are distinct.

> I am also interested in how this on-the-surface very offensive usage manages to survive and, to a degree, thrive. That is, it survives in spaces where something like "Jew post office" or "Black post office" could not.

But how "thriving" is it? I've never encountered it, and I used to take note of such things. At any rate, the word "Polish" in itself isn't considered offensive, as is "Jew" used in place of "Jewish." Presumably anybody imagining "black post office" would have not have used "black." So "Polish" gets some slack (as we Yanks say)that the other two do not.

> the most "American" word I use is "yo." I think the ladies kind of like it though.

So ladies don't say "Yo"? Why the self-imposed sexism, ladies?

Have Brits started using "yo" at the end of sentences yet? I began noticing it about a dozen years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 07:57 AM

British English!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 07:22 AM

It depends where you are. Certainly in East London although the use of Yiddish words is diminishing as the centres of Jewish population move to north London.


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 03:59 AM

"Yo!" seems to have arrived with Rap music. I was a Youth Worker when Rap first hit the UK, and I think I picked it up back then.

I guess "Oi!" Is a pretty common exclamation here, usually to attract someone's attention (in a rather impolite way!) or as an expression of surprise.

No we don't generally use the Yiddish-sounding expressions you mention, we have one or two - 'shyster' for instance - but there isn't a big "Yiddish" thing going on here. Maybe because we don't have such a big Jewish population here? Those terms do sound very "American" AFAIC.

Disclaimer: I'm speaking with regard to language usage out in The Lincolnshire Backwoods. Others, who may reside in the North or Dahn Sarf, may have different experiences of language usage!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 02:43 AM

Also, speaking of "oi"... Do you guys ( = modern, non-gender-specific, plural form of "you" in Northern US!) use much of the German/Yiddish-like terms?

e.g. mainstream ones: schtick, spiel, schmear, schmutz, schlock, shyster, putz, schlepp...?
Or do these sound very "American"?


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 02:28 AM

Haha, nice! Or should I say: legal!

Whenabouts did it come and go (aside from yeo-heave-ho's)?

The Englishmen of my fantasies say "oi!"


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:57 AM

"On an unrelated note, I've been told by Canadians that the most "American" word I use is "yo." I think the ladies kind of like it though. Britons: beware this word doesn't invade your land!"

Too late, mah man, it's already here! Mrs. Fenswoman and I use it all the time to greet one another!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:52 AM

Yo! It's been and gone, Gibb. Esp among folkies (and ho-hos and bottles of rum!).

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:47 AM

Sorry to belabor the "Polish" thing - doing a bit of indulging in the "heres what people from my part of the world say" thing. Anyway, what I find interesting (and probably few others do, much less relevant in any way!) is this use of "Polish" more generally - outside of dumb jokes.

The jokes have had their day (for the history of which, thanks Lighter), and as others have pointed out, various stereotypes can fit the same "slot" in those type of jokes. The regional (Northeast US) slang usage I'm talking about has no precise (local) equivalent that I'm aware of. "Polish" means a things is "backwards" not just "dumb" and put together or performed in an illogical way. Say you go to one post office and they have a strange system where you have to wait in line for a long time, etc. Then there is another post office on the other side of town that runs more efficiently. The inefficient one might get dumbed "the Polish post office."

I am also interested in how this on-the-surface very offensive usage manages to survive and, to a degree, thrive. That is, it survives in spaces where something like "Jew post office" or "Black post office" could not.

My aunt is Polish...she hosts a Polish-style Easter and Thanksgiving (!)...and I have heard her construe the Polish "side" of the family in wacky terms. And so therefore is my cousin (part) Polish (and Irish). I lived with that cousin for a year, and we joked often about "Polish" this and that -- low brow humor to be sure (but isn't that the point?), but we had a lot of fun trying to image what the "Polish" version of something might be...it's almost like a game. My nephew is Polish (his father's name). My sister works for an entirely Polish-run company (she is the only non-Pole), and she reports her co-workers' frequent self-deprecatory banter. A have heard the same from some Polish co-workers I've had in factories and a machine shop.

There seems to be this "space" where the derogatory "Polish" concept exists, where it is "fair game." It's neither total self-deprecation (because others outside Poles participate), nor is it an outsider's denigration. This may sound silly, but it is almost like a gesture of solidarity between Polish and non-Polish Americans of the area. How such a ridiculous and unflattering thing could be a bond is strange to contemplate...the logic of it all is, in a word: Polish.

I don't know how common this is in USA, though I do know I have not seen it during my years in California. Such a usage just "wouldn't fly," and I am not sure if I could explain to people why it's OK because, naturally enough, they are thinking "Bad word. Stereotypes bad." Some friends of mine from Canada (western side) can't even come close to understanding the concept (or at least *my* version of the concept!) of using language in such a paradoxical way. And it's at those moments when I wonder if there really isn't a different way of thinking (broadly speaking) between, say, most peoples of the Northeast those of the West, and probably other areas.

On an unrelated note, I've been told by Canadians that the most "American" word I use is "yo." I think the ladies kind of like it though. Britons: beware this word doesn't invade your land!


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 12:36 AM

And sometimes they aren't racially based at all: like blonde jokes, or, esp around these parts, banjo-player jokes.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 06:12 PM

In Minnesota, "up on The Range" (the iron range, in far
northern Minnesota) there's a large population of Finns,
(or Finnlanders, as we said in "Minnesotish" in my youth).

For a long time after the passing of the Polish joke fad
the very same jokes were "Finnlander jokes."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 05:04 PM

Q:
If you're going for vampiric songs as parodies, might I suggest the one about the (literary & film) family of 'vegetarian' vampires who move into the television show "Under The Dome" ...

Chester song at Twilight :)


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 04:55 PM

Ongoing argument as to where this type of fried potato originated, France or Belgium. The early Belgian reference seems to be fictional.

The name French fried first appeared in an English cookbook, 1856.

Thomas Jefferson ate them, whatever the name, in 1802.

Polish jokes remind me of the Ukranian jokes often heard in Alberta a couple of decades ago. Many Ukranians and some Poles settled homesteads in central Alberta, starting in the 1890s but mostly in the 1920s.
Typical joke- How many Ukranians does it take to replace a light bulb?
Twenty-one. One to hold the bulb and 20 to keep turning the house around. I'm sure that this joke is as old as the light bulb.

The Hutterites of Alberta (with their own language at home) are a source of many jokes heard in the province.

I liked one I heard at the Smoky Lake Colony.
The vampires held a convention in Venice. The fish in the canals sang: "Drained wops keep falling on my head."


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Subject: RE: BS: American English usages taking over Brit
From: GUEST,ED T
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 04:35 PM

There are many dead languages, like latin, which are mostly used for laying out draft brochures.

Thjere are many dead-end local languages with little broad influence.

English is a living and evolving language- that is one reason why it has taken hold in a broad way.It is a patchwork, with many influences. The USA has had it's time to influence the Language, with it's past influence in global economics,movies, advertizing and TV. I suspect this influence is waning today, as it was for awhile with England.

So, what's the problem with being a major player in a growing and popular language- beyond being "stuck in the mud"?


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