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#1720 - 04/29/00 05:27 AM UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Does anyone know of a dictionary which translates UK into US English and vice versa?

I met someone yesterday who had just arrived from Portland Oregon to live in Edinburgh for two years. Her children are starting school tomorrow (children hate to stand out) and have already been warned about the different meanings for "pants", "rubbers", "fanny packs", "purse" ....(e-mail me if you want a translation - some of it isn't printable)- it goes on. She's also quite worried about what we'll do to her children's spelling - I'm sure they'll unlearn it all when they go back and I hope our teachers are proficient in pointing out differences where they exist.

Our cultures are moving together so much more than in our parents' generation. Children here watch "Friends" and "Neighbours" without noticing that they are made in a different country. It often comes as a surprise when we find things are more different than we'd expected. We've discussed Bill Bryson's books elsewhere on this site. I'd love to know what its like for a twenty year old student crossing the pond for the first time.

It occurred to me that we are building up quite a nice collection here as we discuss different usage - I hadn't realised that story was used for storey (of a building), for example.

Perhaps we should have a section where we can discuss different usages where we wont bore to death those who aren't interested. I'm also interested in the separate development of the English language in Australia, Asia and the Carribean. I suppose I should post it under "English as a Global Langauage" but the discussion there doesn't seem to be about individual words. Judging by some of the postings we'll need a whole section on Kentuckian!

What do you think?


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#1721 - 04/29/00 09:15 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
cadaver Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 23
Loc: Ohio USA
The US word that I had to be most careful of in the UK was "bum".
The US phrase "on the bum" simply means not be feeling well or if it refers to machinery or equipment means not working properly. A " bum" means a vagrant or hobo, "bumming around" means aimlessness, to "bum a ride" means to hitch-hike or ask for transportation from a friend, "bum steer" means bad advise. None of these terms would cause a blush in polite company but would be considered as casual usages,
The use of " UK" is far more common usage these days than 30 or 40 years ago. But when it was not so well known there was a joke about a US executive that had a British secretary. In answering a telephone call the secretary stated that the executive was not in - - that he had gone to the United Kingdom. After a long pause the caller asked if it was too late to send flowers for the services.
In my several trip to the UK I was always careful not to take any striped ties. I had no idea about whom I might offend by wearing the St. Bartholomew's Sons of Destitute Civil Servants Soccer and Library League pattern.




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#1722 - 04/30/00 03:57 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
lusy Offline
member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 140
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I don't know of a dictionary as such, but I have seen reference to at least one book on this subject. The name escapes me, of course, sorry about that, but someone here is sure to know. Your idea of a separate forum on differing usages seems good to me. I too am fascinated by this subject. Some years ago a colleague of mine (ex-Yorkshire, now Oz) who was visiting the US on business was invited to the home of one of his contacts for dinner. The time came when the hostess suggested that perhaps people would like to eat, whereupon my friend announced: "Yes, I am feeling rather peckish", and wondered why everyone fell about laughing.


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#1723 - 04/30/00 10:34 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
tsuwm Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10514
Loc: this too shall pass
>"Yes, I am feeling rather peckish", and wondered why everyone fell about laughing.

...probably thanks to Monty Python; we in the colonies owe a lot of what we think we know about British culture to MP.
: )

http://members.aol.com/tsuwm/

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#1724 - 04/30/00 04:55 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Cadaver

Which presumably why your "fanny pack" is called our "bum bag" - here they both refer to the lower half of the body but "fanny" just doesn't cut it here in polite society.

Keep sending the flowers. I like a current version of the UK, used on a BBC geek programme - the Untied Kingdom - it feels a bit like that here in Scotland.

Keep wearing the striped ties - you never know who might take you in. I once someone wearing my old school blazer - a hideous maroon and gold striped affair. I knew it couldn't be an alumni - as he was wearing the uniform of an all-girls school. I didn't like to tell him.


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#1725 - 04/30/00 04:58 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>everyone fell about laughing

Lucy - You'll have to e-mail me the answer - I can only guess at the moment - I am feeling rather peckish!

The Australian one I found strange was the idea that men wore thongs. I imagined men dancing removing layers of clothes in a seedy club - it turned out that thongs are the same as the footwear that we wear on the beach (but probably more stylish versions) called flip-flops.


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#1726 - 05/14/00 05:48 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Friday night saw a new UK version of the Jerry Springer Show, filmed in London with a mixture of British and international guests. It ocurred to me that he really should have been reading this web site as he became very confused.

He was interviewing Chris Tarrant (who presents "Who Wants to be a Millionnaire" here). He'd been told by his researchers that Chris Tarrant had a party trick. He said "I hear that you are able to take off your shorts without removing your pants". In the UK this is not terribly impressive - people do it all the time. Shorts are worn in the Summer (short trousers) over pants (underwear). Fortunately Chris Tarrant understood the question but pointed out that he couldn't do it as he wasn't wearing any "pants". Jerry Springer looked a little confused as he clearly was wearing pants in the US sense (UK= trousers). In the end Chris Tarrant proved his point by showing Jerry Springer (but not the audience)exactly what he was wearing under his trousers.

We could have saved him all that trouble!


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#1727 - 05/16/00 09:09 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>Chris Tarrant understood the question but pointed out that he couldn't do it as he wasn't wearing any "pants". Jerry Springer looked a little confused as he clearly was wearing pants in the US sense (UK= trousers). In the end Chris Tarrant proved his point by showing Jerry Springer exactly what he was wearing under his trousers.<

I knew there was a good reason I don't watch much TV!




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#1728 - 05/17/00 01:47 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
Lucy Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/10/00
Posts: 28
Loc: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I while away an idle moment or two by playing wordgames, as one does. One site has my antipodean vocabulary foxed. Two recent examples among many: a 'philly hooper' is, apparently, a 'sixer'. Neither of these make any sense at all to me. And a 'williwaw', it seems, is a violent commotion. Where on earth does that come from? Any help gratefully received.


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#1729 - 05/17/00 08:04 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Hi Lucy

Can't help you with philly hooper/sixer (although the latter is a term used in scouting, I think).

Williwaw is a sudden violent squall, orig. in the Straits of Magellan [SO]. It's also the title of an early novel (his first?) by Gore Vidal.




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#1730 - 05/17/00 11:44 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Lucy--
non-sports fan that I am, I had to call for verification,
but I was right: the professional basketball team, which
puts balls through HOOPS, of PHILadelphia, Pennsylvania,
is named the Seventy-SIXERS. Philadelphia is considered
to be the seat of the Amercian Revolution, in 1776.

Yes, a williwaw is a violent wind gust or storm.


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#1731 - 05/22/00 04:45 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Jo - I knew it was there somewhere! Try this site:

http://pages.prodigy.com/NY/NYC/britspk/main.html

>>I'm also interested in the separate development of the English language in Australia, Asia and the Carribean. <<

That's a whole new topic! I have learned that the English as spoken here in New Zealand seems to rely on abbreviations - a colleague today referred to the "Rellies" who came to visit: he was referring to his relatives. Children under 4 years old attend a "Kindy" (kindergarten), and the person who delivers snail mail is the "Postie". That last is pretty good, though, as it is completely gender-unspecific.

I wonder what the end result will be?




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#1732 - 05/22/00 05:52 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
The only differences (bar some very obscure words) between US and UK (ugh! , include Ireland in that) is the letter 'u' for such words as colour/color arbour/arbour and the 'shun' words such as connection/connexion. 'Bumming around' is aterm used this side of the pond (as is 'bum' for someone who does little with their life) but 'bum' does predominantly stand for a posterior/derriere/behind/backside/lower back. No wonder we want to shorten it!!


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#1733 - 05/22/00 05:58 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
If you've heard the accent you will know why! He/she would be equally unintelligible in both the US and Oz. I have great respect for the Yorkies but they have an extremely accented English. Ah woodent say daat ah knew nowt boot wut ahwaz taw kinbout cos ahv huerd th'acksent and its pleen boo'ful. Greet cricket too.


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#1734 - 05/23/00 08:32 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
David, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that ‘rellies’, ‘kindys’ and ‘posties’ are all well and thriving in Aussie (at least, in the ‘Tassie’ part of it – we refer to the rest of the country as ‘the mainland’).

And after we’ve watched the weekend ‘footie’ (Australian Rules – ‘carn’ the Bombers!), we might have a ‘snag’ or two on the ‘barbie’, and catch something on the ‘telly’ (which, I suspect, is now an international abbreviation for ‘culture’) [grin]



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#1735 - 05/23/00 02:00 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>we refer to the rest of the country as ‘the mainland’<<

...and I have heard the whole country referred to as "that little island off the West Coast of New Zealand!" {grin}

So perhaps this section of the thread should be renamed "Antipodean English"??


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#1736 - 05/23/00 03:47 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
David 108

Thanks for the site - it just goes to prove that there is very few new ideas - someone's nearly always been there first.


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#1737 - 05/23/00 04:19 PM Posties and Barbies
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I suppose Kiwi's and Aussies just like to rhyme. I posted ages ago about Scottish "pinkies" and I've certainly heard "posties" mentioned here. Most of the others are pretty universal, I suspect.

There was some discussion a while ago that UK children (Rubrick, should I be including Eire here, how about the BBC cop-out "These Islands" as the only thing that can describe us in a historical sense) were changing the way they spoke - finishing each sentence with an "up" beat, as though everything were a question. It was put down to watching too much "Neighbours".

I wonder whether its part of a general (not necessarily conscious) trend, to sound more informal and friendly by using lots of diminutives, telly, barbie, rellies ....



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#1738 - 05/25/00 10:12 AM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
http://pages.prodigy.com/NY/NYC/britspk/main.html

Note to tsuwm - you might like to look at how they spell the z word!


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#1739 - 05/25/00 02:20 PM Re: Posties and Barbies
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>finishing each sentence with an "up" beat, as though everything were a question<<

That is very noticeable in "these islands" (New Zealand). Not only amongst younger people, but across the generations. This in a country that has more historical links to the British Isles than to the New World.

I also notice it happening in South Africa - particularly amongst people for whom English is a second language, when they are speaking English. And include in that the tendency to use American pronounciations.

Should we lament the ubiquitious telly?


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#1740 - 05/27/00 12:59 PM Re: "Up" beats
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
> Should we lament the ubiquitious telly?

Actually its quite good to see another nation getting in on the act - we've been Americanised for years - why not a bit of healthy conversion to Antipodean-speak.

Not sure about South African, I always think of Meryl Streep's "When I was in Oeuf-rica".




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#1741 - 05/27/00 01:57 PM Oeuf-rica
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>I always think of Meryl Streeps "When I was in Oeuf-rica".<<

...aah yes, but remember that Karen Blixen was Danish, and the action took place much further North

Some of the problems with Sowf Effrikan Inglush is the fact that the Black languages (and there are 11 official languages in Sowf Effrika) have very different vowel sounds, that don't "translate" well to English. "Parking" becomes "Packing", and "work" becomes "wek".

There was a book published in the '60s that offered a guide to the pronounciation of Sowf Effrikan Inglush; it became the sole source of reference by the BBC at the time! The funny thing was that the book was written with tongue firmly in cheek!

But I guess I've gone off-topic...





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#1742 - 05/29/00 07:49 AM Re: Orstralia
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Hi David:

Just to keep this thread off-topic a little longer.

There was a similar book published in Orstralia in 1965 called ‘Let stalk strine’ by Afferbeck Lauder [say it aloud!] which provided some useful definitions (for stewnce, vistas and New Strines) of phrases such as ‘Gloria Soame’, ‘egg nishner’, ‘tea natures’, ‘sex’; explained such questions as ‘Where cheque etcher londger ray?’; and told the true story of Snow White and the Severed Wharves.



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#1743 - 05/29/00 08:35 AM Re: Orstralia
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Presumably sex is the answer to seven less one?


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#1744 - 05/30/00 07:40 AM Re: Orstralia
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
jmh: We in Oz would consider that NZ-speak.

In fact, Prof Lauder has this entry -

Sex: Large cloth bags used as containers for such things as potatoes, cement etc. As: sex of manure, corn sex etc. Also known as 'heshing bairgs'.


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#1745 - 05/30/00 05:31 PM Re: Orstralia
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Jumping to this hemisphere--
I went to school with a guy from our smallest state.
If asked where he was from, he'd say, "Rho D'island".
He did not speak Kentuckian at all well. The poor thing
had never even eaten cornbread, and thought okra was a
Japanese vegetable!


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#1746 - 05/30/00 10:00 PM Re: Orstralia
Lucy Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/10/00
Posts: 28
Loc: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Jackie,

This is a worry! From the subtext I assume that okra is something that one eats. I though that it was used to make rope. Indeed, I even looked it up (!) (Shorter OED) and was no further enlightened, although it did say that one could thicken soup with it.


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#1747 - 05/31/00 02:48 AM Re: Okra
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I thought it was an Indian (Asian) vegetable (bindi?) - a short green sticky pointy thing.


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#1748 - 05/31/00 04:03 AM Re: okra
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>I thought that it was used to make rope.>>

lusy,
Aren't you thinking of copra, which is a by-product of coconuts?

Okra is a tall tropical Asian annual plant (Abelmoschus esculentus) widely cultivated in warm regions for its edible, mucilaginous green pods. Also called gumbo

Thanks to http://www.gurunet.com



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#1749 - 05/31/00 08:22 AM Re: Okra
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Okra, as I may have said before, is also called 'ladies' fingers' in India. Bindi, or bhindi, is a close transcription of the word in Hindi (wish I had a Devenagari font to show you how it is spelled in that language).

cheer

the sunshine warrior

ps. Bhindi and karela (from the Kipling/nilghai thread) are amongst my least favorite vegetables, along with, as I said, eggplant/aubergine.


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#1750 - 05/31/00 09:13 AM Re: Okra
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Oh my gosh, I can't believe this place! You-all, we've
done it again! One little comment has led immediately to a
cmpletely different path! This is great!
David, unless my entire region of the country is wrong,
gurunet (isn't that a neat service??) is wrong. Gumbo
is actually the stew that can have okra in it. Perhaps
Anna can add further details; she lives closer to Cajun
country than I do.
And Shanks, I agree completely! Okra is absolutely nasty!


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#1751 - 05/31/00 10:03 AM Re: Okra
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I love okra (someone has to speak in its favour)

My dictionary says that gumbo (West Arfican origin) is not only the name of the soup tickened with okra but also another name for okra itself - (perhaps in West Africa?)


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#1752 - 05/31/00 03:55 PM Re: Okra
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I stand contemned.


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#1753 - 05/31/00 10:12 PM Re: Okra
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Jackie,

>Perhaps Anna can add further details; she lives closer to Cajun country than I do.

Well, I started a new one on this. Though I must say, geographical proximity doesn't appear to have much to do with knowledge of a dialect :-) ... anyway, I posted what I found, and I am asking Santa Claus or tsuwm (one and the same?) for a new, better, and faster computer-cum-internet connection this year. And yes, I agree, okra is yucky, unless it's buried in gumbo.


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#1754 - 06/02/00 08:14 AM Yards and Gardens
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I've only recently discovered this one.

My friend mailed me to tell me that she had bought a house, at last, in Ohio. She said she was particularly pleased because now she had a "yard".

I congratulated her because one does. I was surprised that she was so keen to have a small concrete area at the back of her house but there's no accounting for taste and I don't like to put people down (only in newsgroups).

Some weeks later she mailed me to tell me about her lawn. I thought she must have given up on the house with a yard and bought one with a garden instead - it was only then that we compared notes and realised that the words are used so differently.


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#1755 - 06/02/00 09:02 AM Re: Yards and Gardens
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Jo--
I surprised my friend Barbara by using the same term!
She, too, tried to be delicate in responding, undoubtedly
thinking I was strange indeed. We do have such terms as
"the stable yard" here. I have no idea how they came to
be called yards so commonly here; guess it's just that
language progression 'thang'(as Anna says). I have heard
people say "out on the lawn", too, but much less than
"out in the yard".
That reminds me of another difference that had been really
getting on my nerves: when people in the U.S. began to say
that they were waiting ON line, when to me they should still be saying IN line, at the bank or wherever! I believe
on line is what you-all say? To me it just sounded like
people here were being pretentious. I am hoping that with
the widening use of being "on-line" to the internet, that
my sensibilities will no longer be offended by "wanna-be's"
using it here.


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#1756 - 06/02/00 09:10 AM Re: Yards and Gardens and Queues, oh my!
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Jackie,

Far as I know, waiting "on line" is a New York thang... maybe you can credit its widening usage to the likes of 'Seinfeld' and 'Friends.'

In the UK, they just queue up


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#1757 - 06/02/00 11:48 AM Re: Okra
tsuwm Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10514
Loc: this too shall pass
>I stand conemned.

condemned?
contemned??

or is this a new one ISLU? 8-)


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#1758 - 06/02/00 11:56 AM Re: Okra
tsuwm Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10514
Loc: this too shall pass
>and I am asking Santa Claus or tsuwm (one and the same?) for a new, better, and faster computer-cum-internet connection

I'm keeping a list... and checking it thrice.


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#1759 - 06/02/00 01:26 PM Re: In Line/On Line
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Not a prob here - we call it a queue.

I found "in line" rather strange, also "on sale" - I never knew what it meant - aren't goods always on sale - otherwise why are they in the shop?


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#1760 - 06/02/00 01:27 PM Re: Yards and Gardens
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
We do have farm yards but they don't usually have lawns.


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#1761 - 06/03/00 07:27 AM Re: Okra
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>>I stand conemned.

condemned?
contemned??

or is this a new one ISLU? 8-)<<

I can't believe I missed that! Must have been one of the times I should have been leaving to go somewhere but couldn't tear muself away from here. I don't think you'd find conemned if you tried to look it up.




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#1762 - 06/05/00 06:00 PM UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Whilst looking up Cockney Rhyming Slang, I found another webite with US/Uk English and Vice Versa

http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/~jphb/american.html

I'm still discovering new things.

I had always thought that the film "Airplane" was a joke spelling - I didn't realise it was real.

I hadn't realised that Whisky was spelt like Irish Whiskey, exclusively.

I was always hugely irritated by the (rather meaningless phrase) "Happy Holidays". I didn't realise that Americans don't take holidays except when they are Bank Holidays.

I didn't know what a shoestring was, which is strange as we are quite happy about doing things on a shoestring.


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#1763 - 06/05/00 06:47 PM Re: UK English - US English Dictionary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981

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