I found the following in a magazine:
Signs on buses:
U.S. -- "Don't speak to driver"
England -- "You are graciously requested to refrain from speaking to the driver"
Germany -- "It is strictly forbidden for passengers to speak to the driver."
Italy -- "Don't answer the driver."
I wonder what the French sign says????
You Brits win the award on this one!
"You are graciously requested to refrain from speaking to the driver"
I can't imagine that precise phrase would ever appear on a sign in a bus, even an English one. However, without the "graciously", it does read more believably. "Do not speak to the driver whilst the vehicle is in motion" is, I think, the sort of sign more often seen.
I remember, on a trip to Dublin, Ireland, being somewhat taken aback by the abruptness of the signs on the buses there. There seemed to be a long list of things that were forbidden, and each misdemeanour was accompanied by the fine payable.
I wondered, arnie, if those quotes were in fact correct. I can tell you that in the U.S. the bus signs that I have seen say precisely what I have written. However, it looks as though that is not the case in other countries.
"Don't speak to the driver without first obtaining a half dozen U.N. resolutions permitting you to do so, even if you notice the bus is about to go over a cliff."
No, wait! That sounds as if I favor our government's current "foreign policy," such as it is, which is definitely not the case.
I might also add:
Canada - "Don't talk to the driver, eh?"
Colombia - "Don't kidnap the driver."
California - "Please do not disturb the driver's shakra."
Iraq - "Driver does not carry more than $50 in oil."
Brazil - (during Carnival) "Show us your tips!!"
Japan - "Maximum occupancy of this cab - 52"*
Norway - (an ad) "Have you driven a fjord lately?"
New York City - "Appearances to the contrary, driver is not Osama bin Laden." (we hope)
*This is not a "joke" pertaining to the smaller stature of the average Japanese person but, rather, a reference to their practice of packing people into subway cars by physical force when necessary.)
Great, CJ! Any others, wordcrafters? For the French, I was going to say, "Whatever...we don't care what you do", but I like yours better!
Well, halleluja, this thread is not locked!
My husband and I have been traveling, and the differences in signs across states always amazes me. Here are 3 that I found funny/nebulous:
1) "Fasten Your Seatbelt For the Next Million Miles" No joke (Pennsylvania)
2) "Don't Tailgate", followed in a few miles by "You Should Not Be Closer To
The Car in Front Of You Than The Big Circles"; then, sure enough, there are big white circles on the road to help pace you! (Pennsylvania)
3) My personal favorite: "No Animals Allowed on the Road" Now, what does that mean??? What if a deer or racoon sauntered across the road? No dogs in your car? No trucks carrying cattle or horses? My husband said it means you shouldn't take a herd of cattle along the road...but this was on Interstate 80, for Heaven's sake (for the Brits, a 4-lane divided road that crosses the nation, east to west, where the speed limit is 65 mph)! (Ohio)
Well, the impression we have over here (right or wrong) is that yours is a very litigious culture. Perhaps the authorities are trying to play safe. If a driver runs into a deer and tries to sue someone, they can point to the sign and say that they have done their part by banning animals. If the animals choose to ignore the signs it is not their fault...
Buses in the part of England where I grew up used to say "Please Tender Exact Fare And State Destination", which meant nothing at all to any of us 9-year-olds. I assume we thought it was some sort of mantra.
Now I'm older I know what it means, but I also realise that no-one took the slightest notice. The most common request was for "tuppence, please" with a proffered "thruppenny-bit". (This presumably isn't understandable by any Americans, or any Brits younger than about 40.)
Same here Paul (the notice, not the tuppence - I'm not old enough to remember that bit!). Maidstone and District buses used to have "Please tender exact change" notices on them, which came in handy for the exercise in our English lesson where we had to come up with as many different meanings of a word as possible. I'd noticed this use of tender, and worked out roughly what it meant, but my classmates were oblivious...
When I lived in Maidstone we had Trolley Buses and I remember one occasion just after the War when we were travelling from Loose Road to the town centre and a haughty woman got on wearing a fox fur (that she had probably had in mothballs since 1939)
I stared at her for some time before asking my mother, in the kind of penetrative whisper that only small boys can truly produce, "...Why is that lady wearing a dead rat around her neck..."
I couldn't, at the time, understand why we got off the bus so rapidly and so far short of our destination!
Ros, you're a mere child! (Hard to believe decimalisation was 32 years ago. Where DOES the time go?)
This has been pointed out to me before! Without going as far as revealing my age, I'm only slightly too young to remember pre-decimalisation coinage, and I do recall seeing shillings still in circulation (interchangeably with 5p?) when I was a child...
Since it is now a well-known fact that I am of an "uncertain age", let me reveal that, when I was young, we still used farthings regularly. For some reason, bread was 8 pence three-farthings, so the baker would always change your farthings for you.
A farthing, by the way, was a quarter of an old penny - so there were 960 of them to the pound sterling. Even in my young days a single farthing wouldn't buy much - maybe a couple of licorice straws or a small chew.
You can see a picture of a farthing (rather a pretty coin, I always thought) at http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=www.rampantscotland.com/know/graphics/farthing1a.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.rampantscotland.com/know/blknow_coinage.htm&h=153&w=157&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2B%2522Farthing%2522%26start%3D60%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN%26as_qdr%3Dall
GRRRRRR!! I could sue you for that!!
Read this somewhere:
The Four Ages of Man:
1.) You believe in Santa Claus
2.) You don't believe in Santa Claus
3.) You are Santa Claus, and
4.) You look like Santa Claus.
Or, to cut it down one, Red Skelton used to say the Three Ages of Man were youth, middle age, and "My, you're looking well!"
Richard, your "dead rat" comment, as a child, is hilarious!
I remember in the middle of church one Sunday morning, as everyone was most quiet, my little 4-year old brother saying outloud in a rather loud, but sweet, childish voice: "Dad, what good is peanut butter?" The entire church was in stitches!
The farthing is pretty, isn't it? I always rather liked the most recent sixpences, some of which were still knocking around in change jars when I was a child.
I remember using farthings, so that dates me as also being of 'an uncertain age'!
I was on the crowded top deck of a bus with my then 4+ year old daughter. She had been learning about God.
'Mummy, did God make everything?'
'Yes, love, God made everything'.
'Did God make rabbits?'
'Yes, love, God made the rabbits'
'Did God make the bread?'
'Well, God made the farmer who grew the wheat, and God made the baker and the baker made the wheat into the bread.'
'Did God make sweeties?'
'Well....similar answer to previous question.But longer.'
'So, God made everything?'
'I think so, yes.'
'If God made everything...' pause for deep thought process to finish, 'who made God?'
It was at this point that I became aware that everyone on the top of that bus was listening with great interest. One lady said, 'I'd like to know the answer to that one!'
I told my daughter I would find the answer for her. I asked everyone I knew and finally I found the answer.
The answer is
I didn't think of that.
Not quite as uplifting a story, but my little brother had a fascination with toilets when he was little. Everywhere we went, this little voice would pipe up:
"Look Mummy! Toilet!"
I would have been about 8 at the time, and I found the whole business terribly embarrassing!
8 year olds are at the stage where they are embarrassed by everything. They are getting in practise for becoming adolescents!
Oh, Tadpole, that was a cute story. I do like the endearing habit in England of calling people "Love". That is not done here in the states.
When we moved to our present home, we were selling our old home and of course the people we were buying our home from were buying another. Realizing that, I could see the wheels turing in my 5-year-old's mind, and he said, "Mom, when one person moves, does everyone else in the world have to move too?" My husband is in real estate so I had him do the explaining!
Then of course there was the precocious child who wanted to know how babies get out of the mom's abdomen. His mother said they come out between the mother's legs. He thought for a moment and said, "What about an octopus?"
Beautiful thinking though!!
I didn't realise that the term 'love' was not used in the U.S. Hmmm, it rather explains one or two things!! Chuckle, chuckle!
I'd be really interested to know what are some US terms of endearment, aside, of course, from the all too prevalent 'sweetie'!?
Going back to interesting signs. Back in the days when I could afford to travel on railways there was always a sign over the lavatory seat 'Gentlemen Lift The Seat'.
As was pointed out by the writer Alan Bennett, this might be a definition of a gentleman, a command or possibly a loyal toast.
When I was rather young there was a series of books called 'I-Spy', which encouraged children to look at their environments..you could score points for seeing, for example, a movile library or a Victorian post box. You could also, and this is something I rediscovered recently, join the I-Spy club, in which case you became a Redskin and could win feathers for particularly fine I-Spying. I found my old secret book, you see. I won't reveal the Redskin Secret Codes but I might mention the Redskin Identification Sign, which was to scratch your cheek three times.
Someone did this to me outside a gay bar the other week, strangely enough. I should by rights have repied 'How!' and quoted the day's secret password. I thought it might be misinterpreted so I kept quiet.
Any other ex Redskins out there?
I got them all except the movile library. (They were a bugger to find.)
I had one of those! Somewhat updated, I suspect - I doubt yours had octagonal stop signs in them Chiel?
They morphed over time into a game mediated by the navigator, who would call out interesting features that would be coming up shortly (mostly milestones) and award a boiled sweet to the first to spot it. The pink OS Landranger maps (which I assume are a peculiarity of the UK) are absolutely essential for this game.
Oh well, I hold up my hands about the movile livrary. I think what they should do with keyboards is have each letter appearing three times, then you could go for the middle one and it wouldn't matter if you missed.
Now, pauld, when you say you got them all, I'm afraid I find this very difficult to believe. Over the years I found a very good way with those books. You start off filling it in correctly and honestly. After six months you look at it again and there are only three entries with a score of 60 points out of several thousand. Then you think..well, how will they ever know if I happened to see a guide dog, or a Victorian shop sign that day? How could they ever check? So you start to walk the brightly lit path to perdition by filling in the ones where they couldn't possibly know,and then you think 'Oh, sod it' and fill in the rest as well.
I always had a vision of the man who supposedly ran it all, Big Chief I-Spy, sitting in an ofice in Fleet Street wearing his head-dress with the feathers, checking up the books that were sent to him. Years later when I read Evelyn Waugh's'The Loved One', I realised the Chief was probably more like Waugh's ' Guru Brahmin', who was in fact two revolting, alcohol-sodden hack journalists who dispensed advice in between binges.
To all Redskins, I say How!, and (Secret Code 1) odhu/ntingo!
I, too, was an I-Spyer. In those days the books were published by a newspaper that was soon to become defunct (the News Chronicle [?]).
When I was about 9 I went with my mother and sister on a trip up to London; we went to the newspaper's office to see the world clock they had in the lobby - for more points. We were peering though the glass doors at the (closed) lobby when a man stopped and asked if we were interested in newspapers. He took us round the corner and showed us round the enormous printing presses of the Daily Mirror thundering away. It was "hot metal" printing in those days, of course.
We had an absolutely fascinating time, and it was purely by chance!
Originally posted by Kalleh
Never having sold a home, I can relate to the kid's puzzlement. A friend of mine once had his house on the market and found a prospective buyer who had to sell his house to make the deal work and his prospective buyer was in the same position...and the real estate agent told my friend that this particular deal had twelve transactions contingent on the sale of the first house.
My aunt and uncle, recent empty nesters, were looking for a smaller home in their neighborhood, and found the perfect house. The owners, with young children, were looking for a larger home in the neighborhood so that their kids wouldn't have to change schools.
You guessed it! Can you imagine that moving day?
You're right. I was lying for the sake of a cheap gag ...
I have three U.S./British stories:
1) My daughter's boyfriend and cousins were eating a meal in a pub in London. The place was high-spirited, and people were having fun. My daughter's boyfriend leaned back in his chair and said, "I'm stuffed!" Suddenly, the place went quiet, and all eyes were on the boyfriend. It seems that in England "I'm stuffed" means that you're pregnant!
2) On one of the news shows they were interviewing J.K. Rowling because of the new Harry Potter book. She was talking of "snogging"; the reporter had to translate for the American public....but, because of this board, I knew! I felt so superior!
3) Lastly, happy birthday to Prince William! I hope all of you Brits were there! What was your costume?
1 Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm stuffed simply means I am full of food. Perhaps he said it rather loudly, or with a swear word for emphasis. There are lots of nice phrases for being pregnant: up the duff, in the (pudding) club, tubbed, eating for two, awaiting the pitter-patter of tiny feet, etc.
3 We are all rather disappointed this morning, becuase somebody dressed as Osama BL gatecrashed his party, with loads of the family present. If only it had been the real Osama...
In fact, this is also a rather old-fashioned slang expression for sexual intercourse, so a girl who had "been stuffed" would possibly be pregnant.
But as quoted, in the imperfect, rather than the perfect tense, I would be surprised if too many people would misunderstand.
This whole controversy might hinge on whether or not someone dropped by the boyfriend's flat and knocked him up prior to the meeting in the pub.
(Can we assume that all readers know that to be knocked up means -- in America -- to be pregnant?)
By the way, here's another example of false cognates. English speakers learning Spanish are notorious for publicly announcing that they are pregnant (embarasada), when they mean to say they are embarrassed (avergonzada).
Snogging is a rather old-fashioned word now, although teenagers do say it. Judging by my own teenagers, they prefer something humorous (which we do spell that way, surprisingly) like sucking face.
A new one on me was the compliment Nice rack! which might be offered to a passing girl with impressive upper figure!
As for Prince William, we were amused. The police were so busy watching out for Prince Edward trying to gatecrash that a man in a ballgown and genital wig aroused no suspicion. (There are those, of course, who remark that chaps in dresses pottering around royal apartments may not in fact be unusual enough to cause comment ...)
And if the gatecrasher had had the sense to wear one of the gowns of the late Princess of Wales, presumably everyone would have thought he was just one of the staff ...
As an American, I was amused at the publicity given to the Prince's 21st birthday. It was on the front page of all our papers. We just can't relate to the concept of royalty here, I guess.
I presume that fairy stories like Cinderella and Snow White still propagate the idea that there is something glamorous about a dashing Prince.
Just out of interest, are you Americans aware of the name given to those of us on this side of the pond who understandably want William and his hideous family strung up?
Well, there is quite a lot of interest here too, it has to be said. He looks like his mother, has (presumably) had a tough time over her death (although that has not been visible), and has been protected from publicity pretty well so far, so not many people feel they know what he's like. And he will (probably) be king one day, of course.
And there wasn't much other news around.
Citizens? Traitors? Republicans? Optimists?
Originally posted by Graham Nice:
... the name given to those of us on this side of the pond who understandably want William and his hideous family strung up?
Not my day to be on this site but something I just heard on NPR (National Public Radio - "In-depth news and intelligent conversation." Not the most popular station on the dial unfortunately.) prompted a visit. I had considered starting a new thread but the topic seems to fit here but first a reply to the above.
We in the U.S. tend to adore the British monarchy, not having a set of our own. Some say the Kennedys fit the bill but they're not really the same. Princess Di is still extremely fondly remembered here (far more so, it seems, than over there but why is that??) and the two young princes get a goodly deal of favorable press. The passing of the Queen Mother received more coverage than you might have expected and the Queen herself is also both highly admired and, I think, pitied just a bit. She seems like such a nice person but, my goodness, what a family!
My question, however, is this: How is it that that horrible Camilla Parker-Whore, or whatever the hell her name is, has come to be so embraced by the British public? Is it a gender thing, something along the lines of "Kings will be kings" that has been extended to your (if this is the term) King-in-Waiting? If you absolutely have to string somebody up, she would get my vote. What a loathsome creature! Or am I missing something?
Anyway, back to the NPR and cultural differences.
There was an interview with a female British self-defense (or, in this case, self-defence, I suppose) expert that was interrupted by this woman bursting into laughter during a discussion about how women can best avoid having their purses grabbed. The interviewer, an American male, asked the perfectly innocent question (to American ears, anyway) "What about fanny packs?" and she just exploded!
After she regained her composure, she explained that "fanny," as a slang term, carries a distinctly different meaning (a term for the female genitalia, though she didn't spell this out) in England so that a "fanny pack" would be an entirely different thing over there. In England, this same item is called a "bum bag," a term which, to my American ears, sounds vaguely dirty possibly because it rhymes with "scumbag."
So. There you have it. Yet another cultural difference.
Camilla Parker-Bowles is not popular here, either. Even people who approve of her say it's because "Prince Charles deserves some happiness" or somesuch, not because she seems especially likeable.
There is a long tradition of the upper-class British male preferring the, um, strict disciplinarian, of course. I have my suspicions.
As for "fanny pack" and "falling on my fanny" and suchlike, yes, it's been giving us a certain amount of quiet amusement for years.
Camilla Parker Bowles is the mistress of a widower and was his mistress when he was a married man.
She shares, I am sure, that distinction with many others and deserves no more, and no less censure for it than is accorded the mistresses of other famous men (including many British Kings and US Presidents).
One thing that Camilla has not done, and which to me is to her great credit, is to chat about her affair. This is in sharp contrast to the "kiss and tell" antics of so many minor celebrities and is deserving of credit.
CJ does not, it seems, like her but I cannot quite understand why he reserves his ire for Camilla (who took one married lover) while apparently liking Diana (who allegedly took several). If it's a question of looks, then I suggest that this is very unfair. I do not know Camilla but, apart from her adultery, cannot find anything especially bad about her and certainly nothing that should attract the description "loathsome creature".
I am not, you understand, taking sides; to my mind it is the business of those involved. However, I do feel that it is wrong to be so critical of those we know so little about and who, moreover, cannot defend themselves.
I agree with Richard; I cannot see what Camilla has done to deserve CJ's opprobrium. She's not especially good-looking, true. She doesn't appear to be blessed with a particularly great mind, either. However, she seems to be a decent enough sort of person, and pretty inoffensive. Any attempt at portraying her as some sort of femme fatale who broke up the loving marriage between Charles and Diana fails when confronted by the truth: such an ideal marriage never existed, and Diana was certainly not the innocent party in any extra-marital goings-on.
Ah, yes. Where to begin?
Well, let's get the easy one out of the way first, I suppose. The "wrong to be critical of those who cannot defend themselves." R.E., on a regular basis you lambast (and rightly so) greengrocers who insist on putting "Apple's" on sale despite the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, not a one of them has ever visited this board. Plus Camilla and anyone else is more than welcome to do so (not that I'm holding my breath) in their own defense or for any other purpose. PLUS the argument can also be rightly made that a position in the public eye, with all the magnificent benefits that go with it, also entails a certain degree of flak from nobodies (comparatively speaking) like you and me should we occasionally be moved to spout off a bit in their direction.
Now... What follows is, I believe, less a defense of what I said the other day and more a reflection of what I consider to be the average American's take on the whole "royal" matter.
You say, R.E., that if it's a matter of looks than you consider this to be very unfair. I totally agree and yet appearances do play a part. Diana was breathtakingly beautiful and, conversely, Prince Charles was and is and quite possibly always will be a jug-eared goof, appearance-wise. Many British men are exceedingly handsome but your future king is not one of them. I believe the majority opinion over here is that the Prince was damn lucky to have somehow persuaded Di to marry him (an event which I for one can't believe would have ever happened in a million years had he been an accountant or whatever) and that, given this phenomenal blessing, it was all that much more churlish for him to cheat on her.
The number of lovers taken doesn't enter into it! And, yes, as an under-informed Yank, it's true that I may have a hazy grasp of the facts but isn't it true that the Prince strayed first? This is of major importance to us over here. And believe me it's not because Camilla is a bit of a horse-face. I myself have dated and been deeply in love with women who were both beauty contest winners and, to put it mildly, "attractiveness challenged" but, again, I think the American male point of view is something along the lines of "You have Diana at home and you sneak out to see Camilla??" It's like discovering a four-star chef gorging himself on hot dogs and Twinkies!
Lastly, Diana, while a princess on a dozen different levels, was seen by us as being very much of the people. She went to orphanages, as do all the royals as part of being royal, but the impression was that she truly and deeply cared. And, yes, we're talking about impressions here so if the truth is that she frequently got drunk and amused herself by stepping on baby ducks, please permit me to maintain my ignorance and continue to remember Diana as a near-saint who walked among us for too brief a time.
But then, on the other hand, there are Camilla and the Prince. Not the warmest of individuals, right? A bit cold, a bit aloof? A bit... (and believe me I DO apologize for this but a sense of honesty and total openness requires it) ...a bit too British for the tastes of the average American. And again, we're talking impressions, mind you. It would seem totally within character for either of them to comment "My but it's a bit chilly here in the castle. Throw another serf on the fire." And, yes, of course, they're your royals, not ours. But Diana was the world's princess.
So. You say that you don't understand my anti-Camilla stance. In short, your Prince Awkward married our Princess Charming and then made her cry by screwing around with (pick-your-own-negative-adjective) Camilla. I'm told that it's possible that, when the time comes, Prince Charles and his entire generation could be skipped with one of the younger princes taking the throne. Worth considering, I'd say.
I do totally agree with you, however, that it is to Camilla's credit that she hasn't written her book (yet?) as others in similar positions might. That guy who was photographed sucking Fergie's toes (and you wouldn't believe the massive coverage that little episode got over here) either wrote a book or gave kiss-&-tell interviews, didn't he? Horrible!
If it matters, for the record I liked Fergie then and find it oddly endearing that she now does commercials for a mall here in the states. And when some royal male (the brother of Prince Charles, was it?) was dating someone who apparently had an adult film or two in her resume, I wished them both the best. I only said what I did in response to G.N.'s comment about wanting to string up British royalty. I'm against violence of this sort but if he absolutely has to pick on someone, Camilla still gets my vote.
God Save the Queen,
quote:Now for a reply from a non-British woman. First, I never thought Princess Diana was that beautiful; she was pretty, and, granted, she had a gorgeous figure, though it seems that in itself caused her a lot of problems. I certainly agree, however, that she was prettier than Camilla is.
CJ is right, however, that Americans revere Princess Diana and dislike Camilla. My feeling has always been that the only reason for that was because of the difference in looks between the two. Clearly, they both had affairs. Now, I will give you that Princess Diana was a true humanitarian and philanthropic. I don't know enough about Camilla to know if she is similar in that.
CJ, you are right that the Kennedys are probably the closest we have ever had here to royalty.
[This message was edited by Kalleh on Fri Jun 27th, 2003 at 8:43.]