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Follett: UK vs. US Login/Join
 
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While reading a Ken Follett novel, I seem to be running into quite a few terms and usages that are odd to me. Not incomprehensible, just unusual; perhaps things I'd need to look up.

Are these everyday speech in the UK?
  • Stanley picked up ann old blue anorak.
  • Craig pointed to two camp beds.
  • The only furniture was ... and a cheval mirror.
  • He unfolded an old concertina screen.
  • The family were in the kitchen. [I would say 'was'.]
  • They'll [the police] be busy later, when the pubs chuck out, but ...
  • ... but it's quiet the noo.
  • "I'm not thinking of marrying anyone," he said tetchily.
(Edited to correct typo in last line.)

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Picture of Kalleh
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The family were in the kitchen. [I would say 'was'.]

I am sure the prescriptivists don't like it, but I can see considering a family to be more than one person, just as I can see that with a faculty or a committee.
 
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anorak: normal. I'm not sure what the difference between a parka and an anorak is, but anorak is the more usual word. It also may have connotations of dullness and being interested in dull hobbies such as trainspotting or bird-watching. An anorak is also a person who spends far too much time studying these or knowing too much about an obscure subject.

camp bed: normal. I don't know another term for it. Canvas slung on a steel frame, as used as a bed base in a camp.

cheval mirror: don't know; not an everyday term (in my social class).

concertina screen: hardly an everyday term, but visually obvious. Where would you see one these days?

family were: is the normal usage: 'family was' would suggest an organized assembly, as if they were all awaiting the same thing, whereas 'family were' is neutral, and they might all just happen to be there separately.

chuck out: not usual without an object, but comprehensible and acceptable. Would normally be e.g. 'when the pubs chuck us/people out'. 'Chuck out' is a normal slang term for 'throw out', whether chucking out old shoes or chucking customers out of a pub after closing time.

the noo: conscious use of Scottish, not standard but fully comprehensible and wouldn't sound too unusual.

techily: usually spelt 'tetchily', I'd have thought. Is tetchy not international? Mildly testy, irritable.
 
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To amplify some of aput's replies:

Cheval mirrors are standalone mirrors in a frame, that can be tilted easily. Here's a link to an American site which shows what they look like, so it doesn't appear to be a British term only.

A concertina screen is one that folds up and has pleats like an accordian. They were common at the end of the 19th century, but aren't often seen nowadays apart from as antiques.

Chucking out time is the slang term used by drinkers for the time when the pubs close and imbibers are 'chucked out' (metaphorically thrown) onto the street, and they have to go home. Until recently the licensing laws meant that most pubs closed at 11.00 PM but recent changes mean that pubs can choose their closing time.

I think we've discussed before how British and US usage differs concerning plural noun/verb agreement Although 'correct' English (and US English) would say something like The team is playing very well in the UK we would quite likely say The team are playing very well.

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Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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in the US, you say COT for 'camp bed', here it's normal to say camp bed...

anorak is very common too, but I've never heard of a cheval mirror before Confused

and yes 'chucking out time' is very common!
 
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I learned Anorak in German, but hadn't realized it was a British term also. (Both anorak and parka are loanwords from Greenland Eskimo and Nenets via Russian respectively.) I had never read techily, and I misanalyzed it, at first, a tech-ily (with tech being an abbreviation for technical). For camp bed, I would say army cot or just plain cot.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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aput and zmj, techily was my typo, which I've now corrected. Sorry about that.
 
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yes, tetchy means grumpy, a bit short (as in 'being short with someone', not height!) xx
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I've never heard of a cheval mirror before Confused


In French, "retroviseur" is rear-view mirror, so would a retroviseur cheval be one in which one sees a horse's arse? Eek
 
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[/QUOTE]
In French, "retroviseur" is rear-view mirror, so would a retroviseur cheval be one in which one sees a horse's arse? Eek[/QUOTE]

that would explain a few things! Big Grin
 
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would a retroviseur cheval be one in which one sees a horse's arse?
In France, yes! Big Grin

Francophobe? Moi?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Picture of shufitz
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Are these everyday speech in the UK?
And an Aga is a sort of space-heater?

"The dog, Nellie, would be in the kitchen, lying next to the Aga, the warmest place in the house."
 
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An Aga is a kind of solid-fuel stove, popular in the kitchens of the 'upwardly-mobile'. Here's a link to their UK site, and here's one to their US site.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Francophobe? Moi?


You remind me of the US government official who, upon learning that France opposed the US/UK invasion of Iraq, began an investigation into the French ambasador's private life, and into that of his friends, one of whom shared his given name. It was a case of Yves's-dropping.
 
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