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I know we in Europe tend to be lazy and call the USA America, when it in truth refers to the whole of the continent, but can we please clarify the differences between the three above?

England does not include Scotland, Wales or any of the other Celtic dominions. It is just the one country.

Great Britain is the largest island of the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom combines the island of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, though "British" is normally shorthand for people from the UK.

"English" isn't. This is a pet hate of mine. Especially when someone talks to me or about the UK and calls me or it English. I'm not English and neither are many more people.

Of course calling the Netherlands "Holland" is also not correct, either Smile

Stephen.
 
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Thanks, bear, that clarifies a lot....though it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable that I might say the wrong thing. People from England are English, right? However, people from, e.g. Wales, are not, correct?

I have a suspicion that we in the U.S. do care quite as much what we are called. In fact, I hadn't really thought about it much until this board. Once I called myself American and was corrected by a Brit here that I from the U.S. However, we of course don't say "United Statesite" or whatever. I, at least, say I am "American". Is that correct, fellow U.S.ers?
 
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Sorry, seem to have got my edits in a tangle!
 
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However, people from, e.g. Wales, are not, correct?


Correct.

People from England are English, from Wales are Welsh and from Scotland are Scots or Scottish. They are all also British.

People from Northern Ireland are more problematic! "Irish" has Republican (Catholic) overtones, and "British" has Unionist (Protestant) overtones, although is technically correct. So someone from Northern Ireland is "Northern Irish", but might well describe himself/herself as "Irish", "Unionist", "Loyalist", or "British", in which case he/she is (almost certainly intentionally) telling you something else as well. Even the names of the towns are laden with meaning (as are people's surnames): a Catholic will come from Derry, while a Protestant from the same town will come from Londonderry.

People from the rest of Ireland are "Irish" and are not British (although do not need a passport to travel forwards and backwards between Ireland and any part of the United Kingdom).

Someone else can explain about Rangers and Celtic!

For my next topic: The British Class System. Smile
 
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Stephen, could you just explain about the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight with respect to the United Kingdom?

Big Grin Big Grin Eek
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by pauld:
People from the rest of Ireland are "Irish" and are not British (although do not need a passport to travel forwards and backwards between Ireland and any part of the United Kingdom).
QUOTE]

"Traveling backwards into the United Kingdom"?

That's either a value judgement or a sure way of falling into an open manhole.
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by pauld:
Stephen, could you just explain about the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight with respect to the United Kingdom?

QUOTE]

Do you want me to include the Shetlands, the Hebrides and the Isles of Scilly, too?

Stephen.
 
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quote:


"Traveling backwards into the United Kingdom"?

That's either a value judgement or a sure way of falling into an open manhole.


But I didn't say that!

I'd confess that "... travelling forwards and backwards between ..." is tautological, though.
 
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Do you want me to include the Shetlands, the Hebrides and the Isles of Scilly, too?



My guess is that they're all part of the UK.
 
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I would be pleased if Americans could distinguish the British from Australians.
 
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Originally posted by pauld:
My guess is that they're all part of the UK.


Until recently, the Netherlands was at war with the Isles of Scilly, so I don't think that's the case.

...and this is without the perennial argument about whether Cornwall is a county (patently untrue) or, quite obviously, a duchy.

Stephen.
 
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Originally posted by Graham Nice:
I would be pleased if Americans could distinguish the British from Australians.


Funnily enough, I'd rather be called Aussie than English.

Stephen.
 
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Originally posted by the_bear:
Until recently, the Netherlands was at war with the Isles of Scilly ...



Lovely! Who won?
 
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How do you describe your nationality, Stephen, or do you make do with "British"?
 
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I would be pleased if Americans could distinguish the British from Australians.
Now, Graham, do you mean the accents? Some people, like my husband, are excellent at distinguishing accents. He can distinguish accents from particular South American countries or differences in the Ukrainian, Russian, or Polish accents. I usually cannot. However, I believe I can tell the British accent from the Canadian or the Australian accents. I suppose I could be fooled though. We live in an area where 100s of different accents are present. In one small area of Chicago alone (Uptown) there are over 80 different languages spoken. So--it can get confusing. Confused
 
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Originally posted by pauld:
Lovely! Who won?


Smile

It was as a part of the eighty years' war between the Netherlands and the UK. The status of the Scilly Isles changed and although war had specifically been declared against them, there was never a retraction of that part of the declaration of war.

Stephen.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by pauld:
How _do_ you describe your nationality, Stephen, or do you make do with "British"?


My correct nationality is Cornish, but until the nationality is re-recognised, for official purposes I have to make do with "British Citizen".

Leastways, the EU is starting to do so, since Cornish is one of their recognised languages for litigation and so forth.

Stephen.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Some people, like my husband, are excellent at distinguishing accents


I had a friend who had a very English accent; when he was in his twenties he spent a year travelling around the U.S. Somewhere in Texas he got a job in a bar, and was a bit worried about dealing with the customers because he had no work permit.

Sure enough, his very first customer, on hearing him speak, looked at him suspiciously.

"Hey boy, you from outta town?"

"Yep," John said, "Houston".

"OK. Never 'bin there."

[This message was edited by pauld on Tue May 13th, 2003 at 7:54.]
 
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Now, if you were from Amsterdam, you'd be Dutch, correct bear?

"Leastways"....now that's a word you won't hear in the U.S. I just love the differences. Like, a "diary" in the U.K. is an "appointment book" in the U.S. And, whatever happened to "bloody"? If, in the U.S., someone were to pretend they were English, using an English accent, they'd always say, "Those 'bloody' Americans", or whatever. Yet, I never hear "bloody" on this board. Of course, here in the U.S., it only means full of blood!
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
And, whatever happened to "bloody"?


It's rude! You wouldn't catch us writing swear words ...

I agree with you about the language Kalleh. I thought our diary was your calendar? To us a calendar is a thing you'd hang on the wall so that we can check today's date and work out that it's a fortnight until payday.

Of course, you don't have fortnights either, do you? Smile
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
in the U.S., someone were to pretend they were English, using an English accent, they'd always say


There's a long tradition of truly awful English accents in Hollywood. Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins is famous here for his terrible English accent. (And I believe he could do a much more accurate one, but it was felt that the U.S. audience would not have understood what he was doing.)

Quite often people in U.S. sitcoms speak in a strange way, and it's only when some other character remarks on how English they are that we realise what the accent was supposed to be! Famously Daphne Moon in Frasier has a quite different English accent to the rest of her family! Although she has a genuine Manchester accent, her rarely-seen brothers seem to have what I assume is supposed to be Cockney, after the style of Dick Van Dyke.

And I think I'm right in saying that the actor who plays the (American) Martin Crane is in fact from Manchester, albeit a long time ago!

How does Catherine Zeta Jones sound to Americans?
 
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Although it's not all one-way. Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules sounds very strange to me (although he says that's how they talk in New England).

And credit where credit's due: Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors was uncannily English.
 
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Jane Leeves was born in Ilford, Essex, and why the Frasier script calls for her to be from Manchester, I have no idea. She is no more capable of a Mancunian accent than Dick Van Dyke.

The actor who plays her brother, Simon, in the series is even more ridiculously cast. Anthony LaPaglia was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and whilst he produces a creditable attempt at a Mockney accent, it sounds nothing like someone who is also presumed to hail from Manchester.

Millie Martin, who plays Daphne's mother, Gertrude Moon, is also an Essex girl, coming from Romford. She does at least make a passable attempt at the accent, but is still quite clearly from the south. However, I assume that although the Moon family was supposed to come from Manchester, it is feasible that Gertrude could be a Southerner in origin.

The real problem lies with the origin of the Moon family in Manchester: what possessed the script writers to choose that city? If they had chosen Chigwell, all would have been well.

John Mahoney, who plays Martin Crane, was in fact born in Blackpool. See the Internet Movie Database.
 
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Well, that just goes to show. I thought Jane Leeves's accent was OK (although I had suspected it wasn't genuine) and I talk to Mancunians most days; but I thought Anthony LaPaglia's Cockney was terrible, like nothing on Earth. (And Cockney is quite rare now, it's all mutated to Eastenders Estuary.)
 
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I had no idea that people in England were familiar with programs like "Frasier". Yes, one can tell that Simon is from Australia from his accent. Did I hear that he is usually a really serious actor? I have to say, I cannot tell accents from different parts of England.

There is an article in today's Tribune that shows how cultural misunderstanding can be a real problem. There are 2 very bright young women from England who are also excellent tennis players, attending Northwestern University. They have just been declared "ineligible" for our NCAA tournament because of what the University President calls "...being penalized for having higher academic standards." The Athletic Director is a bit more blunt with, "What the NCAA needs is an ombudsman for common sense".

It seems these talented young women passed what England calls their O-Level exams at age 16, studied for 2 years, and then passed the A-Level exams, which one would need to pass to enter an elite university such as Northwestern. However, the NCAA calls the O-Level exams high school exams, and the rule in question says that student-althletes must enroll in college within a year after high school graduation (to avoid the student who plays amateur tennis for 2 years after graduation). Some English tennis player from another school reported them. This seems a catch-22 because passing the A-Level exams enabled their academic entry to Northwestern. This occurred because we in the U.S. don't understand the English school system. Needless to say, the girls were crushed. One of them is ranked 9th in the nation and was well on her way to winning the tournament.
 
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Now, just because I leave the board for a while you get yourselves in a mess again about such a simple thing!

The British Isles is the geographical term for that group of islands to the north-west of France. The group contains several different entities including the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The Republic of Ireland is an idependant state that has no more connection with England than England has with the USA. The countries just happen to speak the same language but share little else - not even a currency. As has been mentioned, the British Isles is a common travel zone so passports are not needed to travel between the various countries. However, this is not unusual and the same situation applies in many other country groups.

The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are crown dependencies but are not part of the United Kingdom. The Isle of Man even has its own Parliament and legislature - probably the oldest in the world and certainly older than England's

One common thread is that most people in the British Isles speak English but the group has several other languages of which Welsh and the various forms of Gaelic are the most important.

There are several other islands in the group apart from those I've mentioned and most of them belong to the country that they are closest to. Thus the Isle of Wight is part of England; Anglesey is part of Wales; Skye is part of Scotland.

Richard English
 
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Simple, huh? Wink
 
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Good Lord! I take a break for a day and it takes me 30 minutes to read one new thread!

WAYYYYYY back up there somewhere, someone asked what people in the U.S.A. like to be called. Funny, usually we don't say U.S.A., it's just "the U.S."! I say "American". And yes, I know that refers to more than just our country, but that is how we refer to ourselves. Our neighbors to the North are Canadian, and our neighbors to the South are Mexican. And in between you have Americans.

Now my dad is originally from Canada but became a "naturalized U.S. citizen" shortly after he married my mom. If you ask him his nationality, he says "American" too!
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
idependant


Tut!
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
This occurred because we in the U.S. don't understand the English school system.


Nor we yours, I suspect.

O Levels (now called GCSEs) are taken at 15/16, and cover a wide range of subjects. Well-educated people might take 10 or more of them at school. No-one can leave school until they are 16, so everyone has the chance to take GCSEs.

After GCSE some people choose to stay on to take A Levels, usually in only three or at most four subjects. A levels are a two-year course, and are often taken at the same school as previously, thus staying on at school until 17/18. After that, one might attend university if offered a place, which will in turn depend on the A level grades obtained. You can't get into university (just) by being good at sport (which I understand is possible in the U.S.).

We also have "colleges" which tend to offer more practical courses and which provide places to a variety of people (some with GCSEs and/or A Levels, some without) from 16 upwards.

I have the feeling, Kalleh, that U.S. students leave "high school" at about 16 and attend "college" younger than we do. But that's pretty much based on close viewing of "Buffy", so I could be wrong. And what is K-12?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
I had no idea that people in England were familiar with programs like "Frasier".


Oh yes, lots of them. Friends, Frasier, West Wing, Seinfeld, Larry Sanders, Sopranos, Simpsons, Jerry Springer, ER, 24, Buffy, Angel, Scooby Doo. Of course, we call them "programmes". Smile Smile

Paul.

Oh, and we only have six minutes of adverts per hour (on two of the four main channels, none on the other two), clearly delineated from the programmes. So your programmes are a bit short for us!
 
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Originally posted by pauld:

Oh, and we only have six minutes of adverts per hour (on two of the four main channels, none on the other two), clearly delineated from the programmes. So your programmes are a bit short for us!


Er...shouldn't that read "three of the five" main channels. Or doesn't Channel Five count for some reason ?

Non curo ! Si metrum no habet, non est poema.

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Lots of people can't get Channel 5 (and most of those who can, never watch it), so I don't regard it as mainstream, but maybe you're right.
 
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Most US students graduate high school (12th grade) when they are 17/18 years old. They start school in Kindergarden when they are 5 years old. K-5th grade is Elementary School, 6th thru 8th grade (or sometimes just 7th & 8th grades) are called Middle School or Junior High School and 9th thru 12th grade is High School.
 
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So K-12 is Kindergarten plus 12 -- 17/18?

What exams are taken when, please?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
... the NCAA calls the O-Level exams high school exams, and the rule in question says that student-althletes must enroll in college within a year after high school graduation ...


Well, given TrossL's explanation, it looks like the NCAA is wrong. It's A-levels that would be the equivalent of of high school exams, so presumably the girls did enrol within a year of "high school graduation"?
 
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Paul, clearly the NCAA is wrong in this. They have not taken the time to understand England's educational system. As I said, it would be a catch-22 for the girls if they had to apply to college after the O-Level exams because they never would have gotten into one.

Now, the exams that our students take after high school are either the ACT or the SAT exams. Your comment that students can get into college with "sports" is true at some colleges (we tend to equate colleges and universities, though there is a distinction), but certainly not all. An athelete must have minimum academic credentials (NCAA rules) for any college. But, those minimal requirements are quite low. My daughter took the SATs in 5th grade for a special math course she was taking, and she would have qualified for those minimal requirements. However, for first-tier colleges, atheletes must meet more stringent academic requirements. Now, there are always some exceptions....such as the number 1 basketball player in the country. But, there are other exceptions, as well. For example, legacies (those students whose parents have attended that college), if quite important people, can get into college without meeting minimal requirements. How else do you suppose George W. Bush got into Yale? Wink
 
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Kalleh, thank you, that's very interesting.

As regards legacies and Goerge Bush, I think we have the same system for sons of the Queen ...
 
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Pauld

As regards legacies and Goerge Bush

--------------------------------------------------

Touché

(We tend to be forgiving about obvious typos here)

Richard English
 
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Ouch!

A fair cop. (Can I say I was querying the spelling of "independant" rather than the obvious typo that lost the "n"? No, thought not. Smile )
 
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"A fair cop. "?

That would be a police officer who was just or unbiased. (Or one that was blonde Wink)
 
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Or blond if a man.

;p
 
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Or possibly a good-looking one...

Or a security guard at a carnival...
 
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Is the distinction between "Can I..." and "May I..." going the way of the split infinitive? Or is there perhaps a trans-pondian difference, as with "will I" vs. "shall I"?
 
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Originally posted by haberdasher:
Is the distinction between "Can I..." and "May I..." going the way of the split infinitive? Or is there perhaps a trans-pondian difference, as with "will I" vs. "shall I"?


Long gone here (as you spotted), and I can't say I miss it. Was there ever a real distinction, or was it just one of those things that allowed your parents to say things like "I don't don't know, can you?" just to annoy you?
 
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Originally posted by pauld:
quote:
Originally posted by haberdasher:
Is the distinction between "Can I..." and "May I..." going the way of the split infinitive? Or is there perhaps a trans-pondian difference, as with "will I" vs. "shall I"?


Long gone here (as you spotted), and I can't say I miss it. Was there ever a real distinction, or was it just one of those things that allowed your parents to say things like "I don't don't know, can you?" just to annoy you?


I still use it because if, as most people nowadays do, we use "can" to mean "am I alllowed to" what can we use to mean "am I able to" ?

It's not always clear from context which is meant.

Non curo ! Si metrum no habet, non est poema.

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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Originally posted by BobHale:
what can we use to mean "am I able to" ?



What about "am I able to"? Smile
 
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Would our American friends like to comment on the phrase "Can I get a coffee?" as used, say, on entering a MacDonalds?

It does sound to us as if they are asking if it's possible for them to come round the counter and help themselves. We'd say "could I have a coffee please?"
 
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quote:
Originally posted by pauld:
quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
what can we use to mean "am I able to" ?



What about "am I able to"? Smile


Sounds too pompous - like someone deliberately trying to be clever.

Imagine going into a shop and asking "am I able to buy stamps here?" or asking at a bar "my friend wants a beer, am I able to get a coffee ?".

"Is it possible to" sounds a little better but really, what's wrong with preserving (reviving?) the distiction between "can" and "may" ?

I may start a campaign about it ! Big Grin

Non curo ! Si metrum no habet, non est poema.

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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