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#3564 - 06/19/00 07:30 AM first floor
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
My next Barnaby Rudge question is this: Dickens uses first floor to mean what in modern UK usage would be called the ground floor. When did we change? Does the OED, which I don't have access to over here, help?

Bingley
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Bingley

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#3565 - 06/19/00 03:56 PM Re: first floor
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
That is very interesting. I've never noticed it before.


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#3566 - 06/19/00 04:35 PM Re: first floor
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
Maybe the answer to this will also explain why we are different in the first (ground?) place on this one -- I hope it has nothing to do with 'ground zero'!


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#3567 - 06/19/00 07:39 PM Re: first floor
lusy Offline
member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 140
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
>When did we change?

My rather elderly Shorter Oxford gives the following:

First-floor. 1663.
1. The floor next above the ground floor 1865.
2. The ground floor. Now only U.S.

I guess the given dates are relevant, but I'm not quite sure how to interpret them. Presumably 1865 is the first citation regarding the Brits having moved their first floor up one.

lusy


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#3568 - 06/19/00 07:43 PM Re: first floor
lusy Offline
member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 140
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
>When did we change?

Oops! Please delete "says" in the above!

Har, har! I already did! 'Cos Jackie told me how thanks Jackie! And I changed this one too, as you can see. But of course you can't now, can you. Good grief, this is as bad as those time travel paradoxes!

lusy

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#3569 - 06/20/00 12:38 AM Re: first floor
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
Well, Barnaby Rudge was written in 1841, so 1865 for a first citation would make sense, but surely it didn't happen overnight. There must have been a period of considerable confusion.

Bingley
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Bingley

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#3570 - 06/20/00 01:56 AM Re: first floor
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I suppose it wasn't really an issue until they invented the lift (elevator) - I can imagine someone calling out in frustration, "So what letters do you want me to put on the buttons then!".


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#3571 - 06/21/00 03:41 AM Re: first floor
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
The change probably happened when the elevator-makers expanded their business from Great Britain to the European Continent. German "Stock" and French "Etage" intrinsically mean a plane above the ground, so "1.Stock" never meant anything else than the first "elevated" floor.


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#3572 - 06/21/00 10:15 AM Re: first floor
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
So it was a early example of British-European convergence. The next big change was probably when we measured the size of the lift buttons in centimetres.


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