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English is English... Except if It's English

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Hopefully this is the correct forum for this thread. I think it's serious enough of a topic that it doesn't belong in whatnots.

    My question is this: There are many words that I, as an American use, that people in other English speaking countries have completely different words for. The purpose here is two-fold. First, to attempt to get as comprehensive a list of these things together as possible, and secondly to try and figure out why these words are so different. Most of my examples are based on British/American differences, but I'm also aware of a few Autralian/American differences. I'm sure there's also Australian/British differences, although I am not in a position to be aware of many. I'll start out with a few obvious ones, feel free to add:

    American version: Gasoline. British version: Petrol.

    American version: Soccer. British version: Football.

    American version: Sausages. British version: Bangers.

    How about an American/Australian difference now? If you're using a charcoal-based fire to cook something, what do you call the cooking instrument?

    American version: Grill. Australian version: Barbie.

    A little bit of pop culture now. If you are really happy with something...

    American version: Cool. British version: Brilliant.

    I'm as much interested in examples as I am with possible explanations. I can understand the use of "petrol" as I'm assuming it's short for petroleum, and what we Americans refer to as gasoline is, after all, a petroleum-based product. I also will admit that the rest of the world's definition of "football" is more accurate than the American version of the sport. The rest leave me scratching my head.
     
  2. Darkwolf Gems: 18/31
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    Car Trunk = Boot
    Car Hood = Bonnet
    Eraser = Rubber
    French Fries = Chips (what do the English call Lay's chips?)

    I think when people are separated their languages will always begin to diverge. Spanish in Mexico is almost a different language than Spanish in Spain (though they can converse with each other).

    What I find fascinating is something that I was told, but never absolutely confirmed, and that is that the major Chinese dialects pronounce words almost completely differently, and cannot verbally communicate with each other (unless of course one party speaks both dialects), but that the written language is the same or so similar that they can communicate by writing. :cool:
     
  3. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Some of those words you have used are just slangs. Like 'bangers' and 'barbie'.
    A 'grill' is part of a cooker (indoor), that is used to grill toast, some meats and other things. A 'barbeque' is something that is outside when the weather is good; cooked using charcoal etc. and shared with a few beers. I think that's quite an international word for it (except maybe the US, who just HAVE to be different). 'Barbie' is just an slang abbreviation.

    Also 'cool' isn't 'brilliant' in English? We use cool. We also use things like 'nice one', 'proper', 'class', 'buzzin', 'laughin', et cetera, et cetera.

    The words that stand out for me in this are 'sweater', 'sneakers' and 'pants'. These words Americans seem to fangled together and use when they mean 'jumper', 'trainers' and 'trousers'.

    Personally, I think Americans have tried to change our language to try and give themselves more national identity. Damn colonials ;) .

    Also, Darkwolf, your 'chips' are crisps here. Plus, I think Lays are called Walkers here, as well...
     
  4. Sydax Gems: 19/31
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    Well, Spanish can be very different in many countries, check this:

    Car: auto (Argentina)
    coche (Spain)
    carro (Colombia)

    Boy / Kid: pendex, muchacho (Argentina)
    chaval (Spain)
    chavo (Mexico)
    chico (Ecuador)

    And there are a lot more.
     
  5. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    American: cell phone, British: mobile

    American: steal, Aussy: pinch, British: nick
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    @ Darkwolf - you are completely correct in your statement about China. There are literally over 300 different dialects in China, many of which are incomprehensible to someone who speaks a different dialect. Granted, many of these dialects are spoken by only small parts of the population, and aren't major dialects like Cantonese or Mandarin. However all of them use the same written language regardless of the local dialect. So yes, theoretically two people in China would have no means to communicate via spoken language, but could communicate by writing something down.

    @Barmy

    Barbeque in the US refers more to the type of food prepared, specifically using some type of barbeque sauce on the food. There are many things that we cook on a barbeque, but if they aren't prepared using barbeque sauce, we don't say they are barbequed, we say they are grilled. The small ovens we use to make toast are called toaster ovens.

    Evidently we have, as I am not sure what you mean by the English terms. I'll give you the US definitions for some of them:

    Sweater - a heavy garment covering the upper half of your person. Usually only worn in winter, and typically made out of wool.

    Sneaker - any sports-related footwear. White is by far the most popular color*, and they all have rubber soles.

    Pants - any type of garment covering the bottom half of your body with the exception of jeans, which are refered to as jeans.

    I don't know what jumpers or trainers are. Trousers are used interchangably with pants, although it is usually older people who favor the term trouser.

    * That's another thing I realized - the different spelling of words: American: color. British: colour. Also flavor/flavour, armor/armour. The other common one is the use of an "s" instead of a "z", such as in specialized/specialised.
     
  7. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    American: Aluminum, British: Alueminium (wierdoes)

    British: Herb, American: (h) Erb... (to quote a comic...because there is a *ucking "H" in it)
     
  8. Daie d'Malkin

    Daie d'Malkin Shoulda gone to Specsavers

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    To further suppport Barmy, my fellow countryman, we don;t call sausages 'bangers'. They're sausages, and have been since the 1950s.

    ANyway, during the holidays, an american guy asked me if I was an Aussie.

    *Angered sigh* No, this is an english accent. SHall I don a beefeater's outfit and adopt a cockney accent?

    COr blimey guvner!

    Here's a couple I noticed in the american lace I stayed over summer:

    Brit American
    biscuit- cookie
    Nappy- Diaper
    Pavement- Sidewalk
    Pram- Buggy


    Oh yeah, and the chips-fries thing annoys me. Especially when the burger king guy tried to sell me 'freedom fries'. That arguement lasted five or ten minutes.
    Still, he understood what I mean by an 'Irish' milkshake. (Whiskey!)
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    To clarify LNT,

    If it's something you are cooking with, yes, it's spelled herb, but the "h" is silent, so phonetically it's "erb".

    However, some people are named Herb - short for Herbert. In this case, the "H" is pronounced.

    One more I came up with: American: Vacation. British: Holiday. In the US, a holiday is something that is celebrated nationally, things like Thanksgiving, New Years Day, etc., whereas a vacation is some place you visit for a week or so, usually in the summer.
     
  10. Ofelix

    Ofelix The world changes, we do not, what irony!

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    What 'bout canadianism? Seriously the only word that is truly english canadian is :

    Eh? which is about '' what? ''

    Seriously you heard it all the time :)
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    @Daie - we do use the term "pavement" but that's what we would use to refer to the black covering on the street, not the sidewalks.
     
  12. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    British: /he:b/, American: /e:rb/

    And "aliminum" is what's really weird. The rest of the world calls it "aluminium". :p
     
  13. The Magpie

    The Magpie Balance, in all things Veteran

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    It's because the founder of the American Aluminum (sic) Company couldn't spell. :lol:
     
  14. Bion Gems: 21/31
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    Almost got myself in trouble in Toronto once...

    After a long working day (it was around midnight), I got a little creative on my drive home (no one was coming the other way, screw the stop sign), and was spotted doing so by the local police, who pulled me over.

    The cop asks me "Hey, are you pissed?" and at first I think he's asking me if I'm upset with myself for running the stop sign, so I say, "uh... yeah," and he says, "So you're pissed then are you," and it finally dawns on me that he's asking me if I've been drinking!

    Finally got off with a warning...
     
  15. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    If anyone has a chemistry book and is from England, I would love to know how it is spelled.

    Do English people say platinium?


    Edit...

    American: Mayo, British: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack...

    OK, I'm done...just poking, I'll stop...
     
  16. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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  17. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Why does everyone think we eat loads of mayo? :pope:
     
  18. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    Hmm, I stand corrected.


    Barmy: I think it comes back to the mayo on chips (fries) thing...
     
  19. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Mayo on chips? Who the hell eats mayo on chips? :lol:

    Salt and vinegar will do me squire, plus a little gravy if you've got any.
     
  20. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    Well, clearly I have been misinformed on many accounts...
     
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