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Picture of shufitz
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I have a friend who was raised back east (Pennsylvania and New York, I think) who drops the h from human and humor.

So do I, and I was raised in Chicago. I do this for words beginning with u followed by the long "u" or long "oo" sound. Even when I play the sound-clips in MW and AHD on-line, it's almost impossible for me to hear the h.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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This is on another subject, but I used "back east" today when referring to the east coast of the U.S. When referring to the west coast of the U.S. we midwesterners say "out west."

I thought "back east" and "out west" was just used in the midwest, but those usages must be more general than that. Tinman is from Washington.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Richard sent me an article about Lynne Truss's book, and the article had one word that neither Shu nor I had seen used that way..."potty." Of course, we can understand it by context, but I wonder if it is used in England a lot.

Here is the sentence: "Before she was famous for being a stickler, Truss was famous for being single (she wrote a column for a national newspaper called Single Life in the days before such columns were commonplace) and with no one at home to stop her revelling in her achievement, she went a bit potty. Does it mean "nuts" or "crazy?"

Frankly, I think that sentence is a bit wordy, but then, I am wordy myself!

Also, a reference to an "old lady" refers to "like an old lady with wrinkled tights and smudged lipstick." Wrinkled tights? Do they mean panty hose? Panty hose don't really wrinkle anymore. Do British women wear regular stockings? I doubt it, but those wrinkle while panty hose don't. I also don't think we'd refer to "smudged lipstick." Any woman can have smudged lipstick; you don't need to be old for that.

Now, old women here might be referred to as having "blue hair" or "sensible shoes."
 
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Picture of arnie
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Kalleh,

"Potty" means, as you guessed, "nuts" or crazy".It is used only to refer to someone who is slightly crazy, and is generally used affectionally. You might say your Great Aunt Maude was potty, but not Osama Bin Laden.

"Tights" are what Americans refer to as "panty hose". As a mere male I wouldn't know about the non-wrinkling properties of modern tights/panty hose, and I suspect the author is probably a man, too. I suppose it is quite likely she is wearing stockings; I doubt the author checked.


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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My newspaper today showed pictures of CJ's inamorata, Britney Spears, standing in the street swigging from a miniature bottle of Scotch. The paper helpfully added that what she was doing was illegal, as the bottle was not wrapped in a brown paper bag.

That helped to clear up a minor mystery for me, as I had seen the American phrase brown-bagging, and similar, used quite often, but had never understood the reason for it, although I had been able to work out the meaning from the context.

What I still do not understand is:
  • Why a brown bag? Would not a white one suffice?
  • Why a paper bag? Many bags these days are made of plastic.
  • Why a bag at all? Is it to stop people being offended by the sight of a bottle? Is it to stop shards of glass spraying everywhere if the drinker drops the bottle?
  • In short, WHY?


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 jheem
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I had seen the American phrase brown-bagging

Well, like most words, brown bagging can mean more than one thing. The A-H gives the two I was familiar with: the one you give (liquor in a public setting where's it's outlawed) and bring one's lunch in a brown bag, i.e., not eacting out or in a cafeteria. Another meaning online points to taking all of a person's perscription drugs to a phramacy or doctor's office for review.

I believe the alcohol meaning originating in some laws about drinking in public. Cover the offending bottle or can of hooch up and presto the police don't know and won't ask without good cause. The color and construction don't matter much as long as the contents are obscured. from public view. (Drinking outdoors at restaurants is difficult because the area has to be walled off from the rest of the world. Makes sidewalk cafes a bit strange in the US to say the least.) Silly, but then no sillier than most of society's norms. I remember my amusement at the convulted drinking hours at pubs during my first sojourn in the UK back in '76 and at the blue laws in force on Sundays in many states in the US. I seem to remember that condoms could only be sold in this country, not so long ago, if they were advertised as being for the "prevention of disease only".
 
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Picture of aput
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> Why a paper bag? Many bags these days are made of plastic.

Not so many in the US, where supermarkets and shoppers both generally prefer tough brown-paper bags. (And see the Semantic Compositions blog passim for the pragmatics and sociolinguistics of what check-out staff really mean when they ask which you want.) Ah, and there's an American-only word in there: bagger. Even if a British supermarket has someone spare who's putting your things in bags (which makes me want to glare at them and tell them to scoot off and do a proper job, not interfere with my packing), I don't think we've got a name for them, have we? Not a polite one anyway.
 
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Picture of jerry thomas
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In Hilo, Hawaii, the local grocery chain "Sack 'n' Save" provides brown-paper bags and invites customers to pack their purchases in them. Printed on the bags are ten benefits to be derived from sacking one's own groceries. Most memorable: "You can put the cookies on top and eat them on your way home."
 
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Picture of arnie
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So, basically, the newspaper was wrong when it said that the offending bottle had to be hidden in a brown paper bag by law?


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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So, basically, the newspaper was wrong when it said that the offending bottle had to be hidden in a brown paper bag by law?

No, unless US law has changed, it's illegal to carry an open, identifiable container of an alcoholic drink in public. Hence the cover-up. I assume it's still in force as I still see winos in the big city drinking beer from brown-bagged cans. (When they're not shooting heroin or reciting limericks that is. Wink )
 
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quote:
Originally posted by jheem
No, unless US law has changed, it's illegal to carry an open, identifiable container of an alcoholic drink in public. Hence the cover-up.


Actually, the laws that govern consumption of alcohol (blue laws, they are sometimes called) are different in each city, county, and state. I don't know what the laws are now, but some that I remember from bartending 25 years ago:

In one state (Oregon, I think) it was illegal to refill a glass. You had to take the glass and give the customer a clean one with each drink.

In Utah it was illegal to sell drinks in a restaurant. The restaurant would sell you the mixer -- say tonic water -- and you had to buy a little airline bottle of booze from a separate retailer.

In another state only private clubs could serve drinks, so bars became private clubs, and cover charges became 'membership dues'.

And in Texas it was legal to drive with a open container of alcohol.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I was reading about "emigrant" and "immigrant," and came across this distinction between American and British English:

"Americans offer to 'go with you to the movies', while Brits offer to 'come with you to the movies.'"

Is that the case?
 
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Picture of arnie
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Well, for a start, we wouldn't say "movies". We'd use "pictures", "cinema" or perhaps "see a film".

We probably would say "come" although "go" might also be used.


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 Kalleh
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So, is the word "movie" never used in England? For example, do you have "home movies?
 
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Picture of Richard English
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Quote "...So, is the word "movie" never used in England? For example, do you have "home movies?..."

We do. And the term is becoming more popular here with even the media now using the term in preference to the older "film"..

Of course, the term "movie" is more accurate since it can describe any kind of moving picture. "Film", though, should really refer only to one made with the use of photographic film (now almost extinct).

Having said which, I still prefer the older term myself.


Richard English
 
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Picture of arnie
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quote:
do you have "home movies?
Interestingly, we do talk about "home movies", but the professional version shown on a big screen is always a "film", shown in a "cinema". We do see a lot of American-made TV programmes which refer to "movies", so the term is perfectly well known here, but not used by us unless we are trying to copy the Americans.

Whilst writing the above, I just thought of another instance of use here: one of our satellite TV channels is called "The Sky Movie Channel". Another is "Turner Classic Movies".


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 Kalleh
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Whilst

Having posted here with Brits for 2 years, I have gotten used to the "honour" & "behaviour," "cinema," and the like. In fact sometimes I mistakenly put an "ou" in words.

Yet, I will never get used to "whilst."
 
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My friends from the UK and the Antipodes use "whilst" (some of them, at least) but so far, none of them has been able to tell me what the difference is between "while" and "whilst." And since "whilst" does not exist in the USA, I can't find it in American dictionaries. Who can enlighten me on this?
 
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Picture of jerry thomas
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This link might help to sort out while and whilst, but not much.
 
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Thank you, Jerry. It actually DID clear things up, although the difference is not as much as I had expected...
 
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Picture of jheem
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Golly, gee-whiz, what's wrong with a little whilst, amongst, and unbeknownst to spice up the linguistic mulligatawny? I've heard some in the States use all three.
 
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Have sometimes heard the last two in the USA, but NEVER the first.
 
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Well, I'm a Yank and I've used whilst upon occasion, but perhaps I was just being a bit old-fashioned.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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First, let me say that it is GREAT seeing you back, markmywords! We have been missing that Norway flavor. Wink

I agree with markmywords, though. I have never seen or heard "whilst" used in the U.S., though I have seen the other 2 used.
 
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This just in, President James Madison declared unamerican: "Of all the objections which have been framed against the federal Constitution, this is perhaps the most extraordinary. Whilst the objection itself is levelled against a retended oligarchy, the principle of it strikes at the very root of republican government." [Federalist Papers number 57] Also, President Washington's first inaugural address [New York, Aug 30, 1789] "Instead of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good; for I assure myself that whilst you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an united and effective government, or which ought to await the future lessons of experience, a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen and a regard for the public harmony will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question how far the former can be impregnably fortified or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted."
 
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Thanks, Kalleh! I've made my annual pilgrimage home to the family in the USA. Every year I discover new slang and terms I hadn't heard the year before!

I've missed the interaction of the website and am looking forward to following along once again!
 
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Madison lived so long ago that the American language was still heavily influenced by the British, hence his use of a word which no president in the 20th or 21st century would use.
 
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Picture of jheem
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Madison lived so long ago that the American language was still heavily influenced by the British

K. was saying she'd never heard it or seen it used by Americans. Most would agree that Madison and Washington were Americans. Besides, as I pointed out I use it, and I'm a living American, though as I alsopointed out on occasion a bit old fashioned. That's all I was saying. Nice to see you back, markmywords48.
 
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Thanks, and the same back to you. Here in Oslo autumn has arrived already, so I hope it's still mild where you live! I already miss the summer.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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K. was saying she'd never heard it or seen it used by Americans.

Oy, I do have to be on my toes when I make a comment on this board! I should have just said that I'd never heard "whilst" used by Americans.

Speaking of weather, we must be having a Norway type of August. We have had some of the coolest weather in the history of Chicago Augusts. It definitely feels like fall...the temperature is in the 60s.

Well, it has happened. I have finally become jaded by you Brits. My communication has definitely been affected. I told my boss I was taking a holiday next week. She said, "Holiday? What holiday is it?" I said that I just wanted to take a holiday. Finally...I realized, I should have said "vacation day!"
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Apparently there is a now TV program here, based on the popular British home-makeover series, starring two lively British "Grime Ministers," Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie. Supposedly it is horrible, though it does have its charms, they say, especially the "sassy Woodburn and MacKenzie." The English accent, they said, lifts the program from the trenches. The article said, "There's something about an English person's voice that makes people on TV less inclined to punch her; try to imagine Paige Davis of 'Trading Spaces' saying, 'I find that disgusting, and it's not ladylike,' as Woodburn declares to one 'dirty girl,' and you'll see what I mean."

That English accent always rises above it all! [I assume that's what they meant by the "English person's voice." Wink]
 
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Picture of Graham Nice
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We have a new programme her which is the opposite. You are What You Eat involves an American-Sounding Dr Gillian McKeith telling British fat people that their diets are rubbish and giving them apparently sound nutritional advice.

The problem is that her PhD comes from a correspondence course and the advice is unconvincing to anybody with basic scientific knowledge: focusing far too heavily on colonic matters.

It seems we will only accept pseudo-scientific lifestyle garbage if it comes with an American accent.
 
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So, Graham, are you saying that this Gillian McKeith show is supposed to be legitimate advice? Or...is it supposed to be funny?

One can hardly imagine Americans giving anyone advice on nutrition! Roll Eyes
 
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Oh, my God! I just looked her up on the Internet, and she is supposed to be giving real advice. Read this! I hope articles like this will flush her out of your country (but, not into ours!).

I loved the regular enema idea for pimples! And, "the spleen is your 'energy battery.'"
 
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Picture of arnie
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quote:
I loved the regular enema idea for pimples!
Only ones on the forehead, though! I wonder what she suggests for ones elsewhere.

I've caught snatches of this programme a couple of times whilst channel hopping, and quickly moved on. A remarkably irritating woman, in my opinion. I have a similar knowledge and opinion of the "grime busters" or whatever it is called. Unlike in the USA, the presenters' accents are not in any way a redeeming feature.

Out of curiosity, is Trading Spaces the US version of Changing Rooms? I don't know about Paige Davis, but the lovely Carol Smillie's Scottish accent was a major attraction of that show. Alas, Carol quit a couple of years ago and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is no real substitute. I'm not really surprised that the BBC has now pulled the plug on the series.


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 Graham Nice
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
So, Graham, are you saying that this Gillian McKeith show is supposed to be legitimate advice? Or...is it supposed to be funny?

One can hardly imagine Americans giving anyone advice on nutrition! Roll Eyes


Real advice, and there is a very serious-looking book attached to the prog as well.
 
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arnie, I was merely reading a newspaper critic regarding the new program. I must say, I found the comment about the "English person's voice," rather than "accent" strange.

I have only caught bits and pieces of Trading Spaces, and it seems very dull to me. I don't know if it is similar to Changing Rooms or not. Anyone else?

Here the English accent definitely will make up for a poor show or presentation or whatever. I have no idea why.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Kalleh,
 
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Picture of arnie
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In Changing Rooms two sets of neighbours redecorate a room in each other's house. They each have the help of a professional interior designer and share the services of a carpenter/general handyman. The job has to be finished in two days. Carol Smillie flits between each house whilst the work is in progress, then unveils the (hopefully) finished rooms to their owners. It can be amusing at times, especially if one of the couples absolutely hates what has been done to their room.

As I said, Carol is one of the best parts of the show; not only is she very easy on the eye, but I also love her Scottish accent.


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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Since we were talking American/UK nutrition here, I read a funny Voice of the People in our newspaper this morning. I will quote it verbatim; the author is Adrian Nicoslon:

Obesity: Truly a problem in America. Why? The portion sizes are huge and the food is great. I grew up in Scotland where we ate small portions and the food was terrible. Forget all the crazy diets that are promising amazing results. Just move to Scotland for a diet that will truly work. Big Grin
 
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How do you Brits pronounce "zebra?" My friend came back from London. She was reading a book to a 4-year-old, and the little girl said, "Is that a "ze-bra?" with a short "e." We say it with a long "e."

[Sorry to aput and jheem for not knowing that better way to describe pronunciations.]
 
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Picture of shufitz
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Kalleh says, "I don't think any U.S. accent drops their "h's," though I am not as sure of those on the east coast."

I was born and raised in Chicago, and hon, you won't hear any h in my pronunciation of huge, human, humus or any other word beginning with the sound hu- [long u] or hyu-.
 
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So when you call Kalleh "hon" do you pronounce it "un?"

Sorry.
 
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quote:
How do you Brits pronounce "zebra?"
With a short "e".

As in the gorgeous Debbie Harry's name.


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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Hmmm.
Is that the short e (dEbbie) or either of the long ones (debbIE harrY)?

Smile
 
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'zebra' is usually zebbra with short [e] in modern Britain, but some older speakers use zeebra with long [i:], as the Americans do. For example, David Attenborough uses [i:].

This word was one of the questions in John Wells's 1988 pronunciation survey, but I can't find a statement of proportions.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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'zebra' is usually zebbra with short [e] in modern Britain, but some older speakers use zeebra with long [i:], as the Americans do. For example, David Attenborough uses [i:].

Now, I would have expected it to be the opposite.

you won't hear any h in my pronunciation of huge, human, humus or any other word beginning with the sound hu- [long u] or hyu-.

Well, I do say the "h" in those words. However, isn't the pronunciation of "humus" (also "hummus"): hum as in "humming a song?" Wouldn't you say the "h" then? I doubt that you'd say "umus." I know you say "humid" with no "h," but not "humus," right?
 
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Current State of Play?

Is this a common phrase in England? A speaker from England today used it in a slide. We'd probably say "Current State of the Art" or something similar...though we'd never say "play."
 
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It's a sporting reference, the state of play meaning the current situation in a cricket match. Remember, cricket is a slow-moving sport and matches can last several days. It's reasonable to enquire as to the state of play - who's in, who's out, what's the score - all that sort of thing.

The analogy translates easily to any ongoing project and would just mean "how things are at present".


Richard English
 
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Picture of Graham Nice
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We use state-of-the-art quite differently. It is used to describe things that use the newest technology.
 
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Well, Graham, I think we do too, though it doesn't just refer to "technology." For example, in medicine and nursing we often talk about the state of the art of asthma management, or whatever. In fact, I recently wrote a white paper on the state of the art of approval processes of nursing programs. I was just guessing as to what the speaker meant because I had never heard that phrase.
 
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