Thursday, January 20, 2005

It's been a while...

I know. You think I'm already slacking. Well, I am. But I have good reason. We keep having to wait to get internet access at the house, and thus I have to blog when on campus. I've been extremely busy with meetings, teaching, classes, and work. But having fun nonetheless.

I had great fun teaching my Hermeneutics class today, mostly because I taught on a subject that interests me greatly... linguistics. The perfect lead-in to our material is the difference between American and British English. I pointed out that in America, for the most part, we make no distinction between trousers and pants. But don't make that mistake here. Trousers is the word that Americans want to use while here. If you say pants here you are talking about underwear. I used this to talk about the nature of language... that it differs from region to region, and launched into a lesson on lexical semantics and then did a text-analysis of James 1:2-8. Stuff that most people don't like.

But, for my American friends, I thought you'd like to know some peculiarities of language I have noticed in my just over 2 weeks here. Here are the ones I've observed:

"Give Way" - Road sign... like our "Yield" but wordier. However, it is helpful that most smaller intersections will have a "Give Way" sign instead of a stop sign... good idea.

"Spot on" - means "right on", exactly.

"Brilliant" - If you've seen the beer commercial where the English chaps call everything brilliant, then you get an idea of how overused this word is here. Normally, where Americans would say "Great", they say "Brilliant". Gets old.

"Collect" - You don't pick up someone at the airport, you collect them.

"Push Chair" - Not a wheelchair... a baby stroller.

"Quid" - Slang for a British pound. Like the American expression "buck" for dollar.

"Mate" - Now I know where the Australians get it.

"Cheers" - Its not cheerio anymore. Cheers is the thanks and goodbye... and it has nothing to do with offering a toast.

"White coffee" - Coffee with milk in it. Seems obvious, but I noted to one friend that I'd never heard it called that before. He asked, "Well, what do you call it?". "Coffee with milk" I replied.

Other oddities... No single-vegetable baby food like carrots or peas, or green beans, etc. They're all mixed together. According to Mary, this is not good because, if the baby has trouble with one of the veggies, you can't figure out which one it is. Sounds right. We did manage to get some sweet potato baby food, and Helen loved it.

.... They love America. Don't listen to what the opinion polls tell you. They watch our movies, listen to our music, follow our politics, visit our Florida, and drive our cars. And they like to hear Southerners talk, too.

... Utilities are actually cheaper here. Of course, that might be because our house is so tiny.

... Forget finding a good citrus soft drink (like Mountain Dew), they just don't have them.

...You have to pay for all your calls, even local ones.

...Calling cell-phones costs considerably more than calling land lines.

And never, absolutely never, if you are an American visiting the UK and you are wearing one of those little pouches around your waist... never call it a "fanny pack". Just trust me.

For more one the differences between British and American English, see here.

4 Comments:

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Mommy of Boys said...

Don't forget "jumper" and "que up." Those are some of my favorites -- besides "cheeky," of course!

Karen

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Tim said...

BTW: Even reserved Brits DO pick up people at airports, it just means that they have begun a romantic or sexual relationship with them!

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Mommy of Boys said...

KC Translation:

que up -- line up

jumper -- sweater

You should have called this blog, "Lost in Translation."

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger Barclay said...

just to add to the confusion...together with my uk-born advisor and his wife, we learned that americans clothe their newborns in "onesies" while the brits use a "baby grow" or "baby grower."

 

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