English: US vs. British

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by leopold, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    The Yanks also drive on the wrong side of the road

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    Which reminds me of a major crash I herd about recently, a Frenchman was over here on holiday and was driving the wrong way down the freeway and crashed into a young family
     
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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Err, not quite: we use the phrase "go to college" to refer to attendence at a university or at a college. "Going to college" refers to the general act of undergoing tertiary education of any kind - if referring to a specific institution of higher learning, we'd still refer to them as "a university" or "a college."
     
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  5. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    I'm quite sure we drive on the right side of the road.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    We get the same thing over here, Japanese businessmen on business trips. Nobody drinks like they do and they forget where they are.
     
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Some Australians may pronounce "ladder" and "latter" similarly, but many do not (myself being one example). It's probably a bit of a class marker.

    While many Americans are unfamiliar with Australian accents and so guess they might be British (among other things), I suspect that few, if any, Brits would mistake an Australian for an American. Britain has quite a bit more exposure to Aussie culture. And no Australian would ever mistake an American for a Brit or vice versa.

    In Australia it's tyoon and nyoo. Skedule/shedule differs from person to person.

    In that context, "pick you up" is used, as in "I'll pick you up around 8 pm."

    Those electric cars are called trams where I live, not trolleys.

    I find that quite strange. I've read elsewhere that the closest equivalent in Australia/England would be something like "scone".

    We have those too, but the generic term for candy is lollies.

    Not true.

    I travelled (not traveled) through some less-travelled parts of California a few years ago and a lot of Americans tried to guess where I was from based on my accent. Quite a few thought I was English. But at least one guessed that I might be from Sacramento. The only guy that nailed it first up was a waiter in a restaurant in San Francisco, who had been to Australia.

    Same in Australia, though it's not a word you hear very often.

    I'm not clear on the distinction between a "traffic circle" and a "roundabout". I've never heard of a traffic circle. You say they have traffic lights? How does that work?

    One thing that struck me in America was the number of four-way intersections with no traffic lights. I found that drivers were actually very polite in giving way at such intersections. In Australia, it would be a total mess, which is probably why we don't have them.
     
  9. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    James, that could be because of our insistance on traffic lights and roundabouts. After all when you think about it a roundabout is just a 4or more (for most part) intersection and most people use them correctly
     
  10. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    A biscuit here is like an unsweetened scone, only fluffy...unless you don't know what you're doing...

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    Scones-at least the ones I've had here, are like very solid cakes baked in triangles. A biscuit is fluffy and porous.

    That brings something to mind:

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    We call the above an English Muffin. It's actually somewhat close to our biscuits, not yours, in character, except it's yeast-raised.

    Do they have English Muffins in England? If not I shall find that hysterical.
     
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    I've got one difference between the poms and the Aussies, pudding is not a generic term for any dessert, it is a specific TYPE of dessert
     
  12. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    Scones arnt triangular. This is a scone (best served with jam and cream and Earl grey tea)

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    Oh and BTW its JAM, jelly is a dessert made using gelatin and sets hard
     
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Biscuits are generally crisp, not fluffy.

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    The technical difference (according to HMC&E) between a biscuit and a cake is that biscuits go soft when stale, and cakes go hard.

    I guess what we call biscuits are what you call "cookies"... presumably because they had to be... er... cooked. Although I always think of a "cookie" as a fairly soft-doughy type of biscuit, dotted with chocolate pieces.

    The solid cakes that you had are possibly "rock cakes", which are similar to scones... but not the same... as they're... um... more like rocks.

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    English muffins are just called muffins in England.
    The obese cakes that you can now buy that are also called muffins are generally accepted (afaik) as being the American muffin.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I see. Do people who use R.P. call themselves English instead of Australian?
    When I lived in Chicago in the 1940s and 50s the older people still called them trolley cars, although the younger ones just called them streetcars.
    A scone is a stone with one letter changed--at least the ones I got in Canada, which have since become popular down here. An American-style biscuit is soft enough to be eaten.
    It seems like the basic difference between American and British/Australian spelling is that you use more letters.

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    It doesn't help at all that many of the Australian singers who have become popular here sound like Americans, and a few such as Keith Urban even sing country music and sound a little like Southerners. I went to see The Church a few weeks ago, a band from the 1970s, and they sound Australian.

    Even if the waiter hadn't been to your country, Sacramento is the capital of California, the largest American state (37M), so people from all over the world come there to speak with people in the state government. I worked there for six months and found it very cosmopolitan for its modest size (less than half a million).
    What's amazing that it works at all. I suppose you could envision it as a freeway interchange with no grade and no cloverleaves, so all the lanes intersect instead of passing over and under each other. If you're going west and want to turn left, you take a right exit onto a connector which curves around and crosses your original road on the far side of the roundabout. There you will encounter a red light. It will turn green when the people coming south on the cross road get their turn to move. After you've gone counterclockwise (anticlockwise to you, remember we rotate in the opposite direction over here) for 270° your "off-ramp" becomes an "on-ramp" and you merge into their lanes. If you had wanted to make a right turn you would simply have taken a different connector which would have merged you onto the northbound lane, with no stops required but a yield to traffic from the south. If you had wanted to go straight you would have either simply proceeded through a green light while the folks on the north-south road (or you, in the alternate scenario, on the 270° connector) were stopped at their red light; or waited for a red light to change as all those other people were allowed to cross your road from the north-south highway or the various connectors.

    I suppose if I had interchanged right and left it would be easier for you to understand, but I doubt that I could have done that without making at least one error.
    The law is that the first car to arrive has the right of way. If two arrive at the same time, the one on the right goes first. If it's a busy intersection and cars are backed up, we settle into a rhythm where one set of north- and southbound cars go, then one set of east- and westbound, etc. If somebody wants to make a left turn, of course this messes it up and people might get throttle-happy. I would imagine that in New York City this would be bedlam, but in the rest of the country four-way stops are one of the few aspects of life in which we emulate the overly polite British. I've seen two drivers hold up their lanes by insisting, "After you, sir." "No, ma'am, you first." You can tell that we Americans live in our cars, it's the only place we have any manners.

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    Yorkshire pudding is not a dessert. It's a side dish served with the meat. My mother learned the recipe from my father's English mother and it was one of her best dishes. Although hers came out crispy and I understand that it's actually supposed to be soggy, but leave it to the Brits to not even be able to make their own recipes come out well.

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    Over here jelly is a clear, smooth type of fruit preserves whereas jam has bits of fruit in it. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the favorite lunch of American children. (Well I suppose now it's pizza, which has become our national dish since most Italians won't claim it.)

    The only dessert with jelly as an ingredient is a jelly-filled doughnut, and the jelly is gooey and drippy, not hard. It is almost impossible to eat one of those things without getting jelly all over your hands and clothes, but we all do it because they are so delicious.
     
  15. superstring01 Moderator

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    *Kiwi*cough*Kiwi*

    Edit: Wiki gives him a dual identity.

    What is his accent then?

    I tend to think one anti-pode is as good as another. South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders. Honestly, I confuse the three quite often. S.Africans I can figure out after a spell. But, damned if I can work out whether you're from New South Whales, Victoria, Tasmania or South Island.

    Agreed. I will, often times, save my beef drippings to make a YS. Pudding. Crispy is best. So bad for you but OH so yummy.

    You're visiting the wrong cities then. Come to the Midwest and the guappos refuse to give up their specious claim to it!

    ~String
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The U.S. media identify Keith Urban as an Aussie and I've never heard him deny it. I'm almost positive that long ago when I first discovered The Church the background info said they were originally a New Zealand band. I can't find anything about that now, but they were never very popular here and even less so now, so there isn't much info available on them.
    In song he has that neutral accent that anglophones from every country gravitate toward, unless he's trying to sound like a cowboy. In speech he has a slight Aussie accent but it's easy to overlook.
    Seether are from South Africa but I would never have guessed.
    In America sure, but not in Italy. When I was there forty years ago I found restaurants that served it because they never turn down good food, but they regarded it as strictly Italian-American. Apparently it was originally a somewhat obscure Neapolitan regional dish. Naples (Napoli) is a major seaport going back to Hellenic times (Neapolis = "New City"), so it stands to reason that sailors and their cooks might have taken it to other countries faster than it would have spread internally.
     
  17. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    It's our language, so you Yanks should follow our rules. Obviously you don't, and that's your prerogative.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    So the ten million people in sleepy Portugal should be able to tell the two hundred million people in Brazil, one of the world's largest countries and a leader in Latin American culture and commerce, how to speak and write?
     
  19. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    I used to work with Portuguese people in a factory. They said the difference between port and span is more than eng and us. Portuguese is a separate language to Spanish. U.S. English is still English. The terminology is the clue.

    I said you have a right to choose, but the original form should be adhered to really. We let you off though because of the historical context of the split having caused an irreparable divide. I do however love to see obscure English words from English dictionaries creeping back into common usage in the US. I would be interested to find out how this exchange evolved from the inception of the american colonies. How the words transferred across, or were they all transferred instantaneously?

    I suppose there is much swapping these days and only fundamentals are questioned. New words coming across the pond both ways reinvigorate both languages on a daily basis.

    Chillax (great word) man

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  20. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    While I can pick out certain distinctive British accents, I've found it difficult to distinguish between a generic British accent and various other Commonwealth accents (Australia, NZ, South Africa). I suspect this is because I relay more on word usage than the actual sound of the accent. I can recognize a Scottish accent when I hear one, but every time I try to imitate one it ends up coming out like an Irish accent. Also I can't understand a damned thing the Irish say, although maybe the fact of almost all of my interactions with Irish folks being while drunk in loud settings has something to do with that.

    On the other hand, my specificity at picking out American accents is an entirely different story. I can distinguish Canadians from Minnesotans, Northern Californians from Southern Californians, New Yorkers from Philadelphians, black Chicagoans from white Chicagoans, CA Mexicans from Southwestern Hispanics, etc.

    I have a French coworker who developed most of his English proficiency while living in London, which makes for a bizarre accent. He uses the various English words ("boot" and "bonnet" for car parts, "fancy" as a verb, etc.) but with a French accent - and also pronounces the various French words incorporated into English with their original French pronunciation (makes for hilarity when ordering wine in restaurants). It's comprehensible in a quiet environment, but as soon as we go to a loud bar or whatever I find myself doing a lot of smiling and nodding in conversation...

    Yeah, although "scone" denotes a specific type of biscuit, in US English. Maybe y'all have no need for a more general term, there? If so, you are missing out on one of the all-time great breakfasts: biscuits and country gravy, preferably served with a few eggs over easy.

    San Franciscans in general tend to be pretty adept at the whole accent game thing, to the point of it being something of a mark of pride there. I've seen people there insist on being allowed to guess the nationality of a new acquaintance before he can tell them - and then correctly distinguish their, say, Vietnamese accent. It can get a bit patronizing at times, though.

    A weird thing that happened to me while backpacking around Europe was that after a month or so I started exhibiting this weird traveller pigeon accent, driven by constantly interacting with non-fluent English speakers. Didn't realize I was doing it until other Americans I'd encounter started expressing bafflement at my accent, and I had to make a conscious effort to return to my home accent.

    It doesn't work, particularly. Probably why you've never encountered them - some misguided traffic engineers built a lot of them in the states back in the 1970's, which were instantly despised and have been slowly being replaced ever since. Major downside is that people confuse these with roundabouts, which gives the latter a bad name and so prevents their more-widespread usage.
     
  21. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Not quite: it was your language. These days, UKers only account for about 15% of people who speak English as a first language. Downside of getting all these others nations using your language, is that you end up ceding control of it.

    If it would be more clear, we can start referring to it as "American" instead of "English," though.

    And between that prerogative and America's vastly greater influence in how English is used, I'm left wondering in what sense, exactly, it can be said to belong to the UK/England any more.
     
  22. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    Have a greater influence in how it is used? How so? It is our language and we influenced its use in America. It still follows forms established in the UK. No one is ceding control. English is our language. American English is your alternative version that follows rules set down by us.

    Call it what you like. It is still our language, it came from the UK.
     
  23. John99 Banned Banned

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    Relax...No one speaks olde english any longer either. Not to mention all the variations, such as cockney either.
     

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