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BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions

MGM·Lion 10 Jul 11 - 01:56 AM
Ebbie 10 Jul 11 - 02:02 AM
Gurney 10 Jul 11 - 02:11 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Jul 11 - 02:14 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Jul 11 - 02:16 AM
autolycus 10 Jul 11 - 02:33 AM
VirginiaTam 10 Jul 11 - 02:52 AM
Will Fly 10 Jul 11 - 04:19 AM
GUEST, topsie 10 Jul 11 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Elfcall 10 Jul 11 - 04:38 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jul 11 - 06:54 AM
Will Fly 10 Jul 11 - 07:05 AM
Leadfingers 10 Jul 11 - 09:49 AM
Murray MacLeod 10 Jul 11 - 10:09 AM
BrooklynJay 10 Jul 11 - 10:29 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Jul 11 - 10:54 AM
Ebbie 10 Jul 11 - 02:30 PM
artbrooks 10 Jul 11 - 02:39 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 02:41 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jul 11 - 02:49 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 03:04 PM
michaelr 10 Jul 11 - 03:06 PM
artbrooks 10 Jul 11 - 03:28 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM
BrooklynJay 10 Jul 11 - 04:00 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 11 - 04:19 PM
GUEST, topsie 10 Jul 11 - 05:21 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 06:20 PM
Gurney 10 Jul 11 - 07:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jul 11 - 08:51 PM
Donuel 10 Jul 11 - 09:03 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 09:38 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 09:39 PM
YorkshireYankee 11 Jul 11 - 12:59 AM
YorkshireYankee 11 Jul 11 - 01:02 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jul 11 - 01:12 AM
BrooklynJay 11 Jul 11 - 02:18 AM
Joe Offer 11 Jul 11 - 02:22 AM
Ebbie 11 Jul 11 - 02:38 AM
Michael 11 Jul 11 - 05:45 AM
Lighter 11 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM
Will Fly 11 Jul 11 - 08:04 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jul 11 - 08:50 AM
artbrooks 11 Jul 11 - 09:07 AM
Lighter 11 Jul 11 - 09:22 AM
Bill D 11 Jul 11 - 10:48 AM
Bill D 11 Jul 11 - 10:53 AM
Dave MacKenzie 11 Jul 11 - 10:57 AM
Bill D 11 Jul 11 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 11 Jul 11 - 12:17 PM
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Subject: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 01:56 AM

I once started a thread, about 18 months ago, called Transatlantic Folk Flak, about how usages could lead to misunderstandings as to precise meanings. This predictably drifted into one about such differences, not just in songs &c, but generally: not entirely a new topic, but one of which I am reminded by the two current, recently OP'd threads, on Sloppy Language and Can You Call Your Doctor's Office?...

... which lead me to point out that, over here, our doctor's don't have 'offices', they have 'surgeries' ~~ which might lead you over there to believe that if you enter they will cut you up with a scalpel ~~ which, however, we would not call performing 'surgery' but doing an 'operation' ~~ which I believe would mean to you-lot something military...

Oh, the joys of this old 'divided by a common language' thingie...

Luv 2U all justa-same

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:02 AM

"Luv 2U" Another language but one in common, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:11 AM

Too common now, Ebbie. That is all that the kids seem to be able to write, in some cases. In a couple of cellphone generations... Who knows?
As opposed to headmistresses, though. When I received missives from my son's school, I had to use a Dictionary of Business English to understand them!


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:14 AM

Right-on, Ebbie, dear.

To refine further [o, wot-the-hell, why not!], if we spoke of the doctor's office, we would mean that room in his surgery where his receptionist would take phone calls to make appointments for patients to visit the surgery................


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:16 AM

What is a 'cellphone', Gurney? Do you mean a mobile?

:)

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: autolycus
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:33 AM

I've had a bit of a think about the gulf lately.

I don't thin the problem is just about language.

I think it's also about our relationship to language.

It's also about our respective psychologies.

As to the first, I think us Brits have a somewhat more formal attitude to our language whereas Americans are more freewheeling in their use.

Regarding the second, The Brits are more down-to-earth, dour and phlegmatic. The Americans are more emotional in their use of language and often don't take well to be taken to task rationally.


Btw, I do i fine line in sweeping statements. Makes for interesting discussions [he said defensively]


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:52 AM

And when one goes into the theatre here in the UK, one might well be going in for an operation. Whereas in the US one might be going to see a movie. What one in the UK would call a film and go to the cinema to see.

Visits back home (US) are quite interesting with my tongue wobbling back and forth between British english and American english.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:19 AM

More trans-oceanic than trans-atlantic:

Ros, a Tasmanian girl who was working as a temp in the BBC in the 60s, called across the office to me, "Can you pass me the Durex?"

So I passed her the Sellotape and then the other girls took her on one side and explained...

How she blushed. How we laughed. Wherever you are, Ros, I drink to you!


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:27 AM

I know someone who was working for an American company in London, and was told in no uncertain terms that what she was using was an "eraser" annd she was NOT to call it a "rubber".


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: GUEST,Elfcall
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:38 AM

I have recently been working on a sales team that dealt exclusively with the US. I would often have occasion to give our customer service number which began 888 - I started by saying 'triple 8'or 'treble 8' until several of the callers said how British this phrasing was. So I went to saying '8-8-8' - not another comment.

Elf


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:54 AM

You mean haight-haight-haight?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 07:05 AM

You could have said "Three fat ladies"...

Well, perhaps not.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 09:49 AM

Two nations divided by a common language !

I am wild about my flat - Please explain !

And IF you are in New York , DONT hump a suitcase across the city !


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 10:09 AM

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago, when I performed Grant Baynham's "The Wine Song" for some American visitors, and forgot to explain that "pissed" in the UK = "drunk" , not "angry" .


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 10:29 AM

Leadfingers: And IF you are in New York , DONT hump a suitcase across the city !

Reminds me of when, so many years ago, I first heard Eric Bogle's And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. The line "To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs" conjured up an image that... well, I figured it just couldn't mean what I initially thought it meant! (And it didn't.)

Lately the word "flat" has come into much more common usage here in the States - at least in the New York City region where I live.

Have to admit that after reading earlier posts in this thread, it took Google to educate me as to just what "Durex" is!

Jay


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 10:54 AM

Durex

So how did it come to mean sticky tape in USA. I really do want to know?

I mean, if it is made by a company of similar name, why doesn't google say so? &, if not...

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:30 PM

Durex=Sellotape=scotch tape?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: artbrooks
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:39 PM

I have never heard the word Durex before, in any context, although google says it is a brand of condum. People in the US generally call sticky tape scotch tape; Scotch is a principle manufacturer. I'm confused about "hump". Doesn't that mean carry? Does it have a different meaning in the UK? Or in New York, which is a foreign country I've never visited.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:41 PM

Hump in the US = ah, er, well, fuck.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:49 PM

Ebbie ~ yes, Sellotape or Scotch tape. What I want to know is why it is called Durex in US, leading to so much linguistic flak, as over here it is a leading make of contraceptive. Google doesn't seem to mention the Scotch-tape connotation at all ~ or not on 1st page or two, anyhow.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 03:04 PM

Google durex tape.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: michaelr
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 03:06 PM

Shouldn't that be cellotape, as in cellophane?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: artbrooks
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 03:28 PM

"Hump a ruck" = carry a backpack. Over the hump = over a hill or (in a psychological context) well beyond halfway on a project. Speedhump = an obstacle across the road to force slower driving. Hump = fuck? Must be local dialect in the NE US.

BTW, I asked my wife (who is from the Eastern US). She has heard hump in that context, but she has never heard of Durex tape.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM

Well, ya usually don't use tape when ya hump... but I am SURE there's a website for that.

Now, here's a "hump". At my alma mater, in men's residence waaaaayyyy back when they existed, when somebody was a "hump" and said something stupid or did something stupid the cry would go out : "HUMP!" and lads from as far as the call could be heard would race to join in... one after another they would jump on the pile with the "idiot" on the floor on the bottom of the pile. And they would hump up and down. Not in a sexual way, of course. It was in a "you might get your ribs broken for being so stupid way so don't act like an asshole again eh?" kinda way.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:00 PM

The sexual definition of "hump" in the United States is not just limited to the NE region.

Slight drift here: Way back in 1955, a new translation (by Marc Blitzstein, I believe) of The Threepenny Opera opened off-Broadway in NYC. It enjoyed a healthy run. One song had a reference to "humping," which was (along with lots of other "adult" lyrics) thoroughly sanitized when the cast album was recorded.

Seems we just weren't ready for "humping" on vinyl in 1955.

Jay


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:19 PM

I have often wondered what "uptown" and "downtown" mean. Do those words have meaning and if so what?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:21 PM

Durex means sticky tape in Australia, not America. It was mentioned in a post about a girl from Tasmania. How many of you posters don't know where Tasmania is?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:20 PM

topsie... not me.

Richard... uptown is swanky and downtown is where I prefer to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 07:40 PM

"He stood on the corner with a fag in his mouth..." Both English meanings of 'fag' are different to (or from!) American.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 08:51 PM

While youve a lucifer to light your fag,
Smile, boys, that's the style.....

Fag has many meanings, look in the OED.
Many have become uncommon in recent years as new slang expressions have taken over.
Fag for a cigarette- earliest quote is 1888 in the Saturday Review (English). Americans picked it up in WW1 from the song about Pack Up Your ,,,,, and it was common in the US for many years, but 'cig' seems to have replaced it. Fag, meaning to tire, is used both sides of the water.
One that is UK only is the cricket meaning.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Donuel
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 09:03 PM

English bassoon
Italian fagotto


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 09:38 PM

Both are blown.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 09:39 PM

Both wind instruments, of course. Would a rose by any other name????


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 12:59 AM

VTam, I know exactly what you mean. Am back in the US now & trying to remember to say "cellphone" instead of "mobile", "gah-RAHJH" (rhymes with "barrage" instead of "GAER-ej" (rhymes with "carriage"), "bathroom" instead of "loo", "vest" instead of "waistcoat", "sidewalk" instead of "pavement", "back yard" instead of "back garden","thank you" instead of "ta", etc.

I can get away with saying "trousers" instead of "pants", 'cos even though people rarely say "trousers" here, they do understand what it means...

More examples, and a parody what I wrote about US English vs UK English (tto "My Favorite Things" called "Don't Know the Words for My Favo(u)rite Things") here on the thread BS: English To English Dictionary

Also, "Keep your pecker up!" has a rather racier meaning in the US than in England, where your "pecker" is your nose... and you had better refer to that little bag you carry on a belt around your waist/hips as a "bum bag" in the UK, unless you want to get everyone laughing nervously.

Although, for the most part, it seems to me there are WAY more "innocent"(?) words in the UK that have a second, racy meaning than there are in the US: "knob", "baps" (too tired to think of more at the moment, but there are LOADS).

Even the way people swear is different; the first time I heard my (English) husband swear ("bastard!"), I looked to see who he meant -- in the US we use it as an adjective rather than a simple exclamation. Nor do we tend to exclaim "shite!" (unless you delete the "e" on the end) or "bollocks!"

Then there's the UK's two-finger salute, which would get you a blank look (if it was even noticed) in the US. Likewise, UK-ers don't seem to "flip you the bird".

I find this stuff fascinating, but I'll stop here.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:02 AM

MGM, sorry -- have just re-read your OP and realised my previous post isn't really sticking to your original subject. Apologies...


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:12 AM

Yes it is ~~ near enuff, certainly. Fascinating post. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 02:18 AM

Many years ago, we happened by chance on the website of one Chris Rae. I believe Mr. Rae is from Scotland, but my memory isn't what it used to be.

Anyway, I see he still has his website; lots of very useful and interesting information about our "common language" and its divisions.

Click here.

Jay


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 02:22 AM

Hmmm. I wouldn't think "triple 8" to be unusual. After all, the American Automobile Association is known as "Triple A." But then, I have an unusual heritage.

-Joe Offer, Born in Detroit, raised in Wisconsin, living in California-


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 02:38 AM

I just looked up 'treble'. I have never heard it used in referring to three times something, but the dictionary gives it as the first meaning. I have used it only in the musical meaning.

Triple 8 or whatever is fairly common, I think.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Michael
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 05:45 AM

UK road sign indicating the presence of (anti)speed bumps; 'Hump in road 50 yards'.
And in 'Tramps and Hawkers' "I've done my share o' humpin with the dockers on the Clyde"

Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM

All my life Americans have had "operations" for medical reasons. Then about twenty years ago they began having "surgeries" instead. It isn't worth whining about, because "surgery" is, after all, more precise.

What's this "you-lot"? Can it also apply, like "y'all," to just two people?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:04 AM

My favourite UK road/ad signs include:

Potatoes please pull in.
Giant plant crossing
Hidden dips ahead (I always imagine a lake of guacamole or taramasalata suddenly appearing) in the road...)


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:50 AM

===All my life Americans have had "operations" for medical reasons. Then about twenty years ago they began having "surgeries"===

Much longer than that, Lighter. My sister-in-law, who died in Chicago earlier this year at 72, had an operation there about 50 years ago. Her neighbour rang my wife to tell her that her sister had just had "surgery".

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: artbrooks
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:07 AM

As far as I can remember, the two words have been synonymous in the US - but there are great regional differences in word usage in addition to our regional dialects. Our friends across the pond complain about "Americanisms" creeping in through television, but a similar process happens here. TV has given us a national accent, if that is the proper term, that combines the worse of Midwest bland and California obnoxious.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:22 AM

In my experience, one commonly could have "surgery" (the procedure), but it wasn't ordinarily pluralized to designate specific instances, as in "She needed three different surgeries."

The most frequent term, at least outside of medical circles, was always "an operation."


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:48 AM

In the US, "mobile" is usually an adjective. I have noticed with trepidation in recent years the trend toward turning verbs into nouns, adjectives into nouns, nouns into verbs... and similar eccentricities.

The other thing I notice, shown in this thread, is the habit of using 'local' (meaning region or country) commercial product names as generic names... and being surprised when 'furriners' don't recognize them. A few years ago, there was brief confusion when someone referred to 'Araldite', which is a registered trademark, not a descriptive term for a class of adhesives.

Companies, of course, are delighted when their product..(Kleenex, Jello in the US) become synonymous with a class.... but I do wish people would make more effort to learn the distinctions.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:53 AM

*grin*... and after I posted the above, I opened the "day of the week" thread to find my post about "trash & recycling pick-ups" had been followed by a reference to the "bin lorries".

Now, I ask you... which would be more universally understood?


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:57 AM

Glad you understood me, Bill. The English don't always.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 11:03 AM

Well... a few years here in conversions WITH those from the UK, and both 'bin' and 'lorries' are not totally uncommon.


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Subject: RE: BS: More on transAtlantic distinctions
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 12:17 PM

Mind you, going back to the top of this thread. Certainly the general public including politicians and newspapers talk of having operations but the medical word does use the term "performing surgery."

I love how many words went from here in at the UK to America a few hundred years ago and became unused here, and then we complain when they return as "Americanisms creeping over here.". Bill Bryson has written quite a bit on the subject. Garbage and faucet are two that spring to mind.


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