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  #1  
Old November 25th, 2010, 12:54 AM
hat776 hat776 is offline
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Default English vs American

Obviously English started being spoken in America as a result of English settlers there and I often wonder how and why it developed so differently.
Why is their spelling different ?
In the UK we say bag (for hand bag) . When I first started on CC I couldn't understand why the Americans always referred to a purse. Then I realised that purse means handbag . There was a thread about pick pockets and it was really confusing at first.
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  #2  
Old November 25th, 2010, 08:57 PM
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Hi, Hat!...my 2 worst ones are pants for trousers ("You should see what I keep in my pants pocket!")- overheard on NCL Jade at dinner, which left me gob smacked....and the words for a bum bag, which I find unpleasant....I have had lesser words "starred" out on here, so at first I thought some host was missing out this much ruder word..... then I checked in a dictionary, and it's down as taboo for UK only (don't know about Malta!).
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  #3  
Old November 25th, 2010, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hat776 View Post
Obviously English started being spoken in America as a result of English settlers there and I often wonder how and why it developed so differently.
Why is their spelling different ?
In the UK we say bag (for hand bag) . When I first started on CC I couldn't understand why the Americans always referred to a purse. Then I realised that purse means handbag . There was a thread about pick pockets and it was really confusing at first.

Lol. Some of us in America say, "bag" for handbag also. Personally, I use the word 'pocketbook'. To me, 'purse' means 'change purse'. I think it all depends on what part of America a person is from.

For example, I am from New Jersey, and we use the word 'soda' as a generic for Coke, Pepsi, Sprite and other carbonated soft drinks. But in parts of western Pennsylvania and other parts of midwestern United States, they use the word 'pop' (a shortened form of 'sodapop', I guess). But, until I moved to Florida, I'd never heard the word 'pop' used for 'soda'. I work in a restaurant, and at first, I thought people were asking (in a very colloquial manner) what kinds of Champagne we had.

Your post made me respond because I watch a fair amount of British tv programs (diff. spelling), and my friends sometimes do not understand some of the words and phrases used; but I do. Makes me laugh because I have been watching some of my favorite British television programs for 20 or 30 years (have all my favorites on DVD).
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  #4  
Old November 26th, 2010, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocap View Post
Hi, Hat!...my 2 worst ones are pants for trousers ("You should see what I keep in my pants pocket!")- overheard on NCL Jade at dinner, which left me gob smacked....and the words for a bum bag, which I find unpleasant....I have had lesser words "starred" out on here, so at first I thought some host was missing out this much ruder word..... then I checked in a dictionary, and it's down as taboo for UK only (don't know about Malta!).
Jo.
Here we use "English English" . Till a few years ago we used to do Oxford/London O and A levels.
Everyone speaks English but I imagine a word like the American version of bum bag would only be appreciated by the more well read. Same as for the pet word for a cat p***y.
What I can't understand is how things develop - why do we say 'lifts' and the Americans 'elevators' ?
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  #5  
Old November 26th, 2010, 02:49 AM
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Having lived in an english speaking country,it takes a little while to get used to ie robots are traffic lights,its a lot to do with the diverse make up of the population
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Old November 26th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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I was bestman at a wedding in America between a Brit and an American. Having to make a speech etc.. they bought me an English-American dictionary.

It's nearly 300 pages!!!

I've just randomly opened it at a page:

"Sports and Leisure"

Adverts = Commercials
American Football = Football
Cinema = Movie Theater
Cookery = Cooking
Draughts = Checkers
dress circle = Mezzanine
film = movie
football = soccer
fruit machine = slot machine
hockey = field hockey
ice hockey = hockey
side = team
stalls = orchestra (so what do they call an orchestra?)

and so on..
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  #7  
Old November 26th, 2010, 04:13 PM
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Bill Bryson has written an excellent book about this....for many years this native of Des Moines was a reporter on the Times, in London, and he's traced many differences to the early settlers....we say autumn, but used to say the fall of the year, for instance. A fascinating book, like most of his amusing books.
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  #8  
Old November 26th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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love this thread...been married to a Canadian for 25 years ( got used to him now bless him ) and we used to have some misunderstandings ! He still hates that I say aypricot and he pronounces it AP ricot..I mist admit I now use the North American way of saying oregano now..it just sounds better
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  #9  
Old November 26th, 2010, 05:02 PM
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oh and pantyhose I HATE..it's tights
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  #10  
Old November 26th, 2010, 05:45 PM
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Trunk - Boot
Vacations - Holidays
Gas - Petrol/Diesel
Potato chips - Crisps

I caused some upset here a few years ago when I used a well known word in the UK used by Del Boy, when I called someone by that name which starts with pl
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  #11  
Old November 27th, 2010, 04:11 PM
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Oh, yes....words like that...we've to be careful....
I'm on a dog forum, mainly from the US, and I said my dog had been a little s*d.....stunned silence from abroad....
A Scottish member said something about being knackered....same response....
Then some from the US use 4-letter words which I don't often use....
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  #12  
Old November 30th, 2010, 11:25 AM
Skywench Skywench is offline
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LOL, you say to-mah-to, I say to-mA-to! I'm half English, half American and have lived in both places. For two countries that are so similar in so many ways and basically speak the same language, there can still be a language barrier which can be quite comical at times!
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  #13  
Old December 5th, 2010, 07:37 AM
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It’s not just us and the US is it. There are countries all over the globe that speak “English” but in a local variety. Of course you don’t have to go away from the Mother Country – Scots, Scousers (people from Liverpool) and Geordies (from Newcastle) can be unintelligible to those of us who live only a couple of hundred miles away.

The reason English is so common is firstly because of the British Empire (the sun never set…) and after that – its sheer adaptability. Our language incorporates without difficulty many words from many other languages to the extent that their origin is lost. Didn’t G Bush once say that the French have no word for entrepreneur?

India has 20 odd separate languages and hundreds of dialects. English is the second official language and it is quite surprising, that you will often find a group of Indians speaking English among themselves, because that is their only common language.

The question you could ask - is why it hasn't changed more?

Last edited by Bob++; December 5th, 2010 at 07:38 AM.
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  #14  
Old December 13th, 2010, 11:46 AM
JennaGG JennaGG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocap View Post
Hi, Hat!...my 2 worst ones are pants for trousers ("You should see what I keep in my pants pocket!")- overheard on NCL Jade at dinner, which left me gob smacked....and the words for a bum bag, which I find unpleasant....I have had lesser words "starred" out on here, so at first I thought some host was missing out this much ruder word..... then I checked in a dictionary, and it's down as taboo for UK only (don't know about Malta!).
Jo.
Haha that's absolutely awesome - I'm going to love this blog thread I think. I'm American but have been living in London for the past year, and I learned the hard way when I said something about keeping snacks and cookies in my fanny pack - haha for us it's just the bag that you attach around your waist, but I know see how horrible that sentance is to a British person!
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  #15  
Old December 13th, 2010, 12:47 PM
Saruman Saruman is offline
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My wife discovered the problem with the small travel pack, to her chagrin. And it took a few days to understand why so many British motorists were flashing me a two-fingered "peace sign" while I was trying to cope with my first roundabout! But let's not go into what I thought was being suggested when a friendly lad offered me cigarette while waiting for a bus....

Now, after a dozen holidays in your fair land, we can nearly pass as citizens. Until we try to shop in Abergavenny.

Cheers!
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  #16  
Old December 14th, 2010, 05:37 PM
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I heard on the news this week that there is now an interpreter available for tourists in Newcastle. Good idea for many parts of UK especially where people speak very quickly.
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  #17  
Old December 14th, 2010, 05:40 PM
Saruman Saruman is offline
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Default Newcastle Interpreter?

How soon can we expect the "Geordie-American" dictionary? (Did I spell that correctly?)

Last edited by Saruman; December 14th, 2010 at 05:41 PM.
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  #18  
Old December 14th, 2010, 05:47 PM
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Fascinating thing about the Geordie/Northumberland accent and vocabulary is that it's not related to any other language....despite being on the borders of Scotland/Cumbria/Durham.....it's quite alone and unique!
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  #19  
Old December 15th, 2010, 06:29 AM
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Are you sure? I worked for a Geordie company fo a number of years (loved it) and detected the root language of Geordie as Rubbish!
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Old December 15th, 2010, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennaGG View Post
Haha that's absolutely awesome - I'm going to love this blog thread I think. I'm American but have been living in London for the past year, and I learned the hard way when I said something about keeping snacks and cookies in my fanny pack - haha for us it's just the bag that you attach around your waist, but I know see how horrible that sentance is to a British person!
I lived in the US for 6 months and my faves are "Suspenders" - used by Americans to hold up trousers i.e.Braces. Much prefer the UK use!!
Mufflers - US for exhaust pipes........durrrrr
And finally, I had a work mate who smoked, and when we visited San Fran, I had to tell him not to say that he was going outside for a FAG.
An why do Americans say they are going to the "bathroom" or "Restroom", when the neither want a bath or a rest????????? Oh well.
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