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Well of course! I had been reading about chiffchaffs in Wikipedia and forgot the book takes place in England...near Surrey.
 
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Surrey is a county, not a town, so it seems more likely that the action would take place IN Surrey, not NEAR Surrey. Does the book say which town it was?

Until two years ago I lived in Reigate, in Surrey.


Richard English
 
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Here's the sentence: "Some miles beyond the Tallises' land rose the Surrey Hills and their motionless crowds of thick crested oaks, their greens softened by a milky heat haze."
 
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The Surrey Hills - Area of Outstanding Natural beauty.


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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The Surrey Hills are part of the North Downs and I used to live in Reigate at the foot of Colley Hill - one of the Surrey Hills. The town is clearly shown on the map on this link.

Now I live in Sussex and am just north of the South Downs.

The railway that used to run from Guildford to Shoreham (and along our garden) used to link the North and South Downs and the walking and cycling track that now follows the railway's old route is known as the Downslink.

And I don't know why they are called Downs when they are actually ups!


Richard English
 
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quote:
And I don't know why they are called Downs when they are actually ups!

Well, when you're at the top, the only way is down ...


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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I saw a book today that had huge lists of words where the British and Americans differ in their vocabulary. I knew there were differences, but I hadn't known how many! This book had several categories, all including long lists of words.

In a book I recently read, which took place in England, a character said that only an American would give this order: "On the double!" The British say, "At the double!" Is that true? If so, it's another I haven't heard.
 
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At the double is much more common here. I have very occasionally heard on the double.
 
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Reviving a thread...

When Richard was in Chicago, we had trouble finding articles in the Chicago Tribune about Europe, much less England. Too bad he's not here today...there was a long article about Boris Johnson, the new mayor of London. The author writes about the word "toffs," saying that it is hard to define. Here is what the reporter says:
quote:
Johnson and his upper-crust pals in Bullingdon are what the Brits call toffs. The word is hard to define. It generally refers to a kind of supercilious dandyism. Think of Prince Charles stepping out in a tartan kilt.


I searched our site and found that we'd talked about "toffs" in this thread in 2004. Here I had defined it as "elegantly dressed men with affected manners." Cat added that it's not the most polite term. (She actually said "it's not the most polite of terms," but given recent discussions, I avoided that verbiage. Wink)

I rather like the definition of "toffs" that's given in the article, "supercilious dandyism." Wink I don't think we Americans have a term that defines that, do we?
 
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quote:
it's not the most polite of terms

Both the grammar of the phrase and its meaning seem fine to me.

And "toff" like so many other class-related terms, is easier to understand if you have been brought up in a class-based society, as have we in England. The term has little to do with dress or dandyism and everything to do with the impression that a person's status has on the person using the term.

To me Boris Johnson is not a toff - but he could be thus described by others who come from a different background to myself. Indeed, to some I might be considered a toff, simply because of the way I speak and behave.


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:

I rather like the definition of "toffs" that's given in the article, "supercilious dandyism." Wink I don't think we Americans have a term that defines that, do we?


Well, not wishing to cause offence (when outnumbered)I won't try to guess why that should be. It's a useful word, and short, to boot. But Richard is right as usual in saying it reflects a more class conscious society. Its use is subtle and not a little ambiguous. The OED sums it up well:
quote:
An appellation, orig. given by the lower classes, to a person who is stylishly dressed or who has a smart appearance; a swell; hence, one of the well-to-do, a ‘nob’.
 b. Sometimes applied in compliment to a person who behaves ‘handsomely’; a ‘brick’.
1906 Daily Chron. 25 May 4/7 One of the witnesses..spoke of a generous employer as ‘a regular toff’. ‘Toff’ is perhaps the highest compliment, or the bitterest sneer, according to the tone, that a man who does not make any pretence to magnificence can aim at a man who does.
Though still in current use, it is less frequently met than 50 yrs ago, and the OED shows no recent quotations.
 
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Now why would that cause offense?

I was just saying that I liked the phrase "supercilious dandyism." I understand that it's not a good definition for toff.
 
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Is dodgy, meaning "borderline" (such as a dodgy student), used in England? At a conference recently a participant from Australia used the term, and it confused all the Americans.

There was another Australian fellow there who is interested in joining Wordcraft. He also likes poetry, limericks and double dactyls. When I told him that we enjoy them on Wordcraft, he wrote me a limerick! I hope he joins us because I think everyone here would like him. Besides, we need some more Aussies!
 
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Dodgy has much the same meaning in UK English.


Richard English
 
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The dictionaries call it chiefly British. After these educators heard the word, and we all have a dodgy student from time to time, we all started to use it.
 
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Reviving a thread...

Shu and I were at a restaurant, and we got to talking with our waitress, who had an English accent. Of course, we started talking about words and language, and she said that there is a world of difference between British and American English. She said that when she first came over 8 years ago, her kindergartner had a collection of erasers that they brought to school. Before they showed it to the kids and parents, they were talking about it...their "rubber collection" (of course, the British call erasers "rubbers"). As the moms were sitting there rather perplexed, one in-the-know mom leaned over and whispered to her what "rubber" means in the U.S. Big Grin
 
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Another revival of one of my favorite threads

Bob's friend, Phil, is visiting us again and the old American vs. British English discussion has been revived. Phil went by himself, while we worked, to a Subway Sandwich place and he and the clerk, he told us, provided quite a hilarious scene for those in line. He couldn't understand her ("she talked too fast"), and she couldn't get his accent. He ended up ordering white bread, even though he loves brown bread, simply because he couldn't discern what she was saying. I guess she had more problems with his accent. Shu and I both wish we could have been flies on the wall. Big Grin

Phil asked for a "cup" in our local bakery and got a Coke. His use of "let's get it sorted," though of course we know what he means, always brings on a smile. And then there were the tablets (pills for Americans) that he had to take. He stresses "hotel," on the first syllable unlike Americans, though he does say "skedule," which surprised us.

There really isn't anything new that we learned, but it has been fun.
 
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Reminded me of this from my "Anyone Can Do It" blog.

There is a game you can play when you eat out in America. The concept is really easy but it’s almost impossible to win. The idea is to order your food without the waitress asking you a single question. I wasn’t up to speed on it yet so I approached the counter and asked,
“A coffee and a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich please.”
Without looking up the waitress asked,
“Wheat, white or rye?”
Nonplussed I paused and when she looked up at the delay I asked for wheat.
She nodded and wrote it down.
“Miracle whip or mayo?”
I was getting the hang of it now and unhesitatingly asked for mayo.
“Toasted or plain?”
“Plain”
“And would you like latte, mocha, espresso or regular?”
Unfazed by the switch to discussing my coffee requirements I went for the Latte.
“Small, regular or large?”
“Large”
“With or without sugar?”
“Without.”
“Cream, milk, non dairy creamer or black?”
“With milk please”.

Clearly I should have asked for ‘an untoasted BLT sandwich on wheat bread with mayonnaise and a large Latte coffee with milk but no sugar.”
If I had then it’s a sure bet that she would have come back with
“Will that be cash or charge?”
-----------------------------------------

There are certainly some interesting cultural differences between us.
 
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In Argentina, when I lived there, beef was popular and low priced. In the local dialect "un bife" is a steak. [bee-fay]

Two gentlemen sit at a table and the waiter approaches. The first customer tells the waiter, "I want my steak 1-1/2 centimetros thick, cut from the tenderloin, cooked black on the outside and pink in the middle."

The waiter busily writes on his order pad, then turns to the other gentleman, who says, "I want my steak cut from the top of the round, very thin, and very well done."

The waiter asks a few more questions, carefully and thoroughly writing the answers.

Then he turns to face the kitchen and yells, "Dos bifes."
 
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Those stories are so funny! And, Bob, you have it right about American orders. Just imagine Phil in Subway with all the different breads, cheese or not (and what type), all the different types of meats (or none), and then go the vegetables (tons!), and lastly what kind of spread (there must be at least 6). You can see why he was confused!
 
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Wait - so how do you interact with wait staff in the UK? don't you have options? Don't they ask questions?


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how do you interact with wait staff in the UK?

I took a video (link) the last time I was the UK. It's safe for work, but could cause rits of fealous jage.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Wait - so how do you interact with wait staff in the UK? don't you have options? Don't they ask questions?

We probably don't have so many choices in traditional British eating places - but with the increasing numbers of American restuarants we are catching up.


Richard English
 
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We don't have nearly as many choices but what we do have is defaults. Coffee means ordinary coffee, sandwiches come on white bread unless you ask for something else, they are untoasted unless you specify otherwise, a BLT sandwich comes in exactly one variety, there is no such thing as Miracle Whip (a small mercy for which we are ever thankful along with the almost total absence of Cheez Whiz from our lives), we add our own sugar. Payment is expected in cash.

Sometimes our way of life seems so much easier, though with the spread of American fast food chains the US ethos is also spreading and soon our way of life, like that of the Amazonian indigenous tribes, will be lost forever. Frown
 
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I don't know if it's stupidity or corporate policy but the basic "hamburger" order in MacDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King (at least here) now is taken to mean "cheeseburger." In each place I have been given cheeseburgers when I specifically ordered hamburgers. One place even called my request for a replacement with no cheese a "special order."


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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You wanted a large order of fries with that, didnja?
 
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We have lots of regular restaurants here. Except for Subway, which has all fresh foods, including freshly made breads, I haven't been to a fast food place in ages. In fact, Bob's friend today said that the UK's perception of American food is that it's fast food when really, he admitted, it's not, and he very much enjoys our food.

Here are a couple of more differences, and these are only a few of the ones we've noticed:

1) A gang of lads - a group of male friends

2) His father was "in the hospital" to visit a friend who was "in hospital." Apparently the "the" is crucial for understanding the meaning.
 
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quote:
) His father was "in the hospital" to visit a friend who was "in hospital."


American English does the same thing with "school."

He was in the school to visit a friend who was in school.
 
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In fact, Bob's friend today said that the UK's perception of American food is that it's fast food when really, he admitted, it's not, and he very much enjoys our food.

There is probably some truth in that, simply because the first American restuarants that arrived in the UK were fast food outlets. If one's only exposure to American dining is McDonalds, then one could be excused for believing that all American food was rubbish, taking McDonalds as an example!

My first American meal was in the St Regis hotel in New York, back in 1979, and I remember how surprised I was at the quality of the steak I had. Even in those days I was quite well-travelled and had long learnt not to pre-judge destinations, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of most American food. I was, on that same visit, far less peasantly surprised by the quality of the beer I forced down - but that's a different story!

Even today I believe that, generally speaking, it is easier to get a good and reasonably-priced meal (and especially a good breakfast) in the USA than it is in the UK. Although, to be fair, things have improved here a great deal in the past 25 years.


Richard English
 
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Oh, and I remembered the biggest one of all..."partner." I know we've talked about all of these before, but "partner" is particularly interesting because it could cause some real confusion. Recently an acquaintance of mine was talking about her partner and I then realized she was a lesbian. That of course is not the case in England.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Oh, and I remembered the biggest one of all..."partner." I know we've talked about all of these before, but "partner" is particularly interesting because it could cause some real confusion. Recently an acquaintance of mine was talking about her partner and I then realized she was a lesbian. That of course is not the case in England.


It is now. The word has taken on the same degree of ambiguity here that it has there now - to the point where we need to start looking around for a new word to mean "someone who jointly owns the business".
 
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And it's not simply a question of using the term for homosexual liasons. Many people choose to live with a person of the opposite sex but not get married. That arrangement attracts very little comment these days and many people simply use the word "partner" to describe such a person; some even use the term to describe their "conventional" husband or wife.


Richard English
 
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I've seen and used the term business partner. I think there should be a term for the amount of time it takes between somebody referring to their partner before one figures out the sex of said partner.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Yes, I think business partner is alive and well here. It all depends on context. However, the way Bob's friend used the word "partner" isn't used that way here, at least in the midwest; that is, he considers "partner" to be a boyfriend or girlfriend of either a heterosexual or homosexual. I would not use it to describe a hetersexual couple.

This may belong in another thread, but I thought it was appropriate to link here. It's another subject we've discussed before: the way British and American humor differs.
 
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I know humour is very personal, but what makes me laugh isn't Ricky Gervais. (The Office was sort of OK, Extras sort of wasn't and his stand up shows are dire. Personal opinion only, of course.)
 
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I've never understood what anyone sees in "The Office."
 
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You can add me to the "I don't like 'The Office' club".

I suppose the one thing that I do get from it is that, unfortunately, there are far too many bosses around who are just like Gervais's character. It has been my (often unrewarding) task to try to train some of themWink


Richard English
 
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Include me in the "I like The Office group. I guess you have to have been there, but I like the combo of mockumentary and amalgam of all the bad managers I have ever been exposed to of both the UK original and the US respin.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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My assistant just loved it and would always try to get me to like it. I don't know why, but I'd just sit there and never laugh. I admit that my sense of humor probably isn't on par with others in the U.S. But I guess it's that diversity that gives humor its richness.
 
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Related to the above differences in humor, I have been cracking up all night about CADIE, reading all the links and taking it all in. My son just thinks it's "stupid."
 
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quote:
the bad managers I have ever been exposed to

I once worked in a dark room developing film for wedding invitations. One day the manager said he was going to replace the sink in which I developed the long rolls of paper film. To do so, ten feet of the darkroom wall was taken out and the new sink installed. Late in the day, the manager came back from some business elsewhere,
WALKED THROUGH THE MISSING SECTION OF WALL,
and demanded to know why I hadn't developed that day's films.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Partner means pretty much the same in the UK as in America.

For the last 21 years I have lived with and loved the same lady, without being married. I have never been able to refer to her as my partner becuase I feel I instantly have to say 'she' 'her' or 'woman' in the next sentence otherwise people will assume I am referring to a homosexual boyfriend. The only phrase that works is wife. This ony causes confusion (and sometimes disappointment) when I get asked about my wedding day and have to own up.

Anyway, I only really looked in becuase I found myself saying schedule last week in the Englsh fashion, with a sh sound. My English student was most surprised at such a strange pronunciation, and I felt Proustlike as if I had been hit by something from my childhood. Everybody says skedule now don't they? It is the main pronunciation wherever you go, UK or US?

(I love the office!)
 
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Unscientific, I know, but my gut feeling is that I hear both about equally in Birmingham. When I speak I usually (I think) say "sh" but occasionally, perhaps influenced by other sounds in the sentence "sk".

(Oh, BTW, good to see you here.)
 
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Therre are at least four pronunciations of schedule with which I am familiar: Canadian /'ʃɛʤəl/, UK /'ʃɛdjuːl/, US /'skɛʤʊl/, and US /'skɛʤəl/. There may be others.

[Fixed typos of omission.]

This message has been edited. Last edited by: zmježd,


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Two of those surprise me, /'ʃɛʤəl/ and /'skɛdəl/. I've never heard either of those and the second syllable schwas seem rather awkward to my ears.

Are you sure that you don't mean

/'ʃɛʤjəl/ and /'skɛdjəl/ both of which sound OK to me.
 
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Are you sure that you don't mean

Thanks, Bob. I've fixed them. (Early morning lack of coffee and in a rush to get out the door and into the commute.)


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Partner means pretty much the same in the UK as in America.
Well, this whole subject arose because Bob's friend from Bilston was talking about his partner (a woman) and his father's partner (a woman), and, as an American, I got the wrong impression. He told me that everyone in the UK uses it to mean a romantic friend (for lack of another word!) of either a homosexual or heterosexual. I believed him, but maybe it is just an English regionalism?

Oh, and he also said skedule which quite shocked me. To be honest, I hate to hear someone with a proper English accent say skedule.

Oh, and welcome back, Graham! We have missed you!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Is dodgy, meaning "borderline" (such as a dodgy student), used in England? At a conference recently a participant from Australia used the term, and it confused all the Americans.

There was another Australian fellow there who is interested in joining Wordcraft. He also likes poetry, limericks and double dactyls. When I told him that we enjoy them on Wordcraft, he wrote me a limerick! I hope he joins us because I think everyone here would like him. Besides, we need some more Aussies!


"Dodgy" means borderline, but it's usually got negative connotations. If something is described as "dodgy" it's not quite right. You can get food poisoning from eating "dodgy" seafood and a scam is also "dodgy".

I noticed another difference between American and British usage when listening the other day to a radio play which was set in America. One character asked another "what time do you have?". We in Britain would ask either "what time is it?", "what's the time?", or "what time do you make it?"

I've also discovered that most Americans don't know what a fortnight is. Contrary to most British/American usage where Americans tended to keep many of the older forms of English, we in the UK dropped "sennight"(seven nights, or a week) well over a century and a half ago, but we still retain the "fourteen nights" fortnight. I think it still exists in some dialects but it's completely dropped out of "standard" English.
 
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quote:
we in the UK dropped "sennight"(seven nights, or a week) well over a century and a half ago

The late Hubert Gregg - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubert_Gregg - always used the term when he was signing off from his weekly radio broadcasts. Mind you, they were nostalgia programmes - which is why I enjoyed them so much.


Richard English
 
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On BBC radio this morning there was a story about a memorial for ninety-some people who were crushed in a football match 20 years ago. The announcer said one of the speakers was "barracked" (sp?) and it sounded like he was being booed. Is that what it meant? And is that the right spelling?

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