Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

1202123252632

Comments

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Nor here.
  • Maybe a Scot can clarify something for me with regard to telling the time?

    Normally, you would hear the 'half past two' or 'a quarter past five' language. But sometimes people will say something like: 'he was there off the back of half three' or 'it was the back of four o'clock' before he arrived. I kind of think I know what it means - but I may be wrong!

    Exactly, what does it mean, pray?
  • hahaha
    "the back of", in my experience, seems to be anywhere between 5 minutes before and 20 minutes after, but I'm sure a fellow Scot will confirm their own understanding.

    going back to the "half 3" - to a Brit this is 3:30, (half past 3) but to a German (just to add in another language) this would be 2:30 (halfway to 3) - and in fact in German 2:45 would be "3 quarters (of) 3
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    There’s a certain logic to that. 2.00 marks the completion of the second hour. What follows is the third hour - a half of it, a quarter of it, three quarters of it. Indeed by the same logic, 2.03 might be described as three minutes of three rather than three minutes past two.
  • As I'm sure we've all said, when confronted with an issue like this, "But isn't it obvious?.!
  • It's odd to see 2:03 written as 2.03. It's always a colon here.

    Canadians are in trouble with date formats. The historical use is DD-MM-YY so that 12 Sept 2019 (which is Sept 12, 2019 more often) is 12-09-19. But in the USA context they do 09-12-19. So we get both and it is individualist. The computers don't have Canadian English, so they like to do the American, and it takes some tinkering with things to set it right. The federal government uses YYYY-MM-DD or 2019-09-12. I generally use a 3 word abbreviation instead 12 Sep 2019. So I do not know when some birthdays or meeting are.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    For those unfamiliar with the usage "half two": Comedian Steve Patterson has a funny bit about this. While touring in Ireland, he planned to meet with other comedians at a pub. Puzzled by the invitation to be there at "half two", he "used his Canadian logic and arrived at the pub at one o'clock. And then started drinking, with Irish people, in Ireland, ninety minutes before everyone else got there."
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    A small difference. 2.15 is "quarter past Two," in the UK, but "quarter after Two," in the USA.
    Not necessarily. I’m in the American South and am used to hearing “quarter past.” ...
    I was brought up with the "past" usage. No doubt I learned it from the Mater, a child of the Low Country.


  • Apologies if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone has yet mentioned this blog, which may be of interest to readers of this thread. New posts are not very frequent these days, but there's quite a large archive.
  • The American way of recording dates does mystify me. It seems to me that units should be in a sequence: short, medium, long, or long, medium, short. When you do month, day, year you seem to me to be scrambling things.
  • The American way of recording dates does mystify me. It seems to me that units should be in a sequence: short, medium, long, or long, medium, short. When you do month, day, year you seem to me to be scrambling things.
    I assume that the reason we (Americans) would write today as 9/26/19 is because we'd normally say that today is September 26th (or write September 26, 2019), not 26 September. In other words, we put the numbers in the order we'd say the date—month, day, year.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    The American way of recording dates does mystify me. It seems to me that units should be in a sequence: short, medium, long, or long, medium, short. When you do month, day, year you seem to me to be scrambling things.
    I assume that the reason we (Americans) would write today as 9/26/19 is because we'd normally say that today is September 26th (or write September 26, 2019), not 26 September. In other words, we put the numbers in the order we'd say the date—month, day, year.

    I agree. That’s how everyone I know would say the date. Would that be different in the UK?
  • Today has been: “Thursday (the) 26th (of) September”. Brackets are the parts we’d add to say the date. The other words are how you’d write it in full (like in a primary school exercise book!).

    When I take notes at work I write 26-9-19 but I’d read it as “the 26th of September.”

    Saying, “September 26th” sounds wrong and I’ve only come across it on American television.

    (Sorry if I’ve muddled my punctuation marks - it’s hard to express these things in a purely text form!)
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 26
    I’m happy to be corrected if I have this wrong, but my impression has been that UKians are more likely to say “the 26th of September.” (Or maybe even “26th September”? Or am I completely imagining that?)

    Cross-posted with @not entirely me, who seems to have mostly confirmed what I thought. not entirely me, you hear “September 26th” on American TV because that’s how we’d typically say it—the Fourth of July being the obvious exception. (Although we also say “July Fourth.”)
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    The American way of recording dates does mystify me. It seems to me that units should be in a sequence: short, medium, long, or long, medium, short. When you do month, day, year you seem to me to be scrambling things.
    I assume that the reason we (Americans) would write today as 9/26/19 is because we'd normally say that today is September 26th (or write September 26, 2019), not 26 September. In other words, we put the numbers in the order we'd say the date—month, day, year.

    I agree. That’s how everyone I know would say the date. Would that be different in the UK?

    Yes I think so. Most often we would say '26th of September' rather than 'September 26th'. But both are understood.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited September 26
    When I was in Australia, and talked about "half Two" folk didn't know if I meant 1.30 or 2.30. Would that also cause confusion in the States?
    Yes. Although if you said "halb sieben" (literally "half seven") I would know what you meant, since I studied German.
  • I hear people here saying twenty-six September. They leave the "th" out. Not always, and if I don't listen for it, my mind's ear includes the "th". They also say the year as two-nineteen. Not bothering with the extra syllable required to say twenty

  • Here in my experience people are very unlikely to put the number before the month. You'll more commonly hear September twenty-sixth.
  • I'm a life-long American, but I almost always write "26 September" (or whatever the appropriate date), and always write it that way on checks/cheques.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Today has been: “Thursday (the) 26th (of) September”. Brackets are the parts we’d add to say the date. The other words are how you’d write it in full (like in a primary school exercise book!).

    When I take notes at work I write 26-9-19 but I’d read it as “the 26th of September.” ...
    I agree.

    To me in speech, leaving out the 'the' the '...th' - I think that's technically described as using a cardinal rather than an ordinal number - and the 'of' just sounds a bit odd. It jars.

    A curious point an Australian made to me a few years ago, was that in the UK, he noticed we are much more likely than in Australia to use fractions, and to refer to quarters, fifths, eighths etc rather than say '.25', '.2' .125' etc.

    A usage of the BBC that irritates me is 'one half of one per cent'. To me, that's uncouth. The correct form is 'half a per cent'.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    A usage of the BBC that irritates me is 'one half of one per cent'. To me, that's uncouth. The correct form is 'half a per cent'.
    Seems to me the BBC has it right. “Half a per cent” means “half a per hundred.” Half of what per hundred? The answer is half of one per hundred.

  • I hear people here saying twenty-six September. They leave the "th" out. Not always, and if I don't listen for it, my mind's ear includes the "th". They also say the year as two-nineteen. Not bothering with the extra syllable required to say twenty

    Similarly I hate it when TV adverts say "sale ends 26 September" rather than the more common British usage "26th of September." I always want to shriek at the TV "what, the world will end on 26 September??"

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited September 27
    I would say 'September the 26th'. (I.e. with the 'the'.) My idiolect may not be 100% UK.
  • Having thought about this briefly, I'm not aware of a standard way we Brits talk about the date. 26th of September and September 26th are, I think, both common and easily understood.

    To complicate matters, and to argue against my earlier post, writing a date out in full, as I did above, works either way round. It's only as 26/9/19 that the order is fixed.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    ...It seems to me that units should be in a sequence: short, medium, long, or long, medium, short. When you do month, day, year you seem to me to be scrambling things.
    Agreed. I prefer the British system: 26/9/19. However, I'm also good with the system we used to have at work: 19/09/26. It just makes more sense to me.

  • Grades is school. Grade one, grade two etc.

    In highschool grade nine to grade 12. (Primary school is grades 1 to 8)

    University is first year, second year, third, fourth.

    I hear the terms junior, sophomore etc and cannot keep them straight.

    Is "prom" short for something? We don't call them that. "Grad" is the equivalent word. Which means "graduation banquet and dance".
  • Grades is school. Grade one, grade two etc.

    In highschool grade nine to grade 12. (Primary school is grades 1 to 8)

    In the US, that would be "ninth grade" through "twelfth grade" for high school. At least in most places.

    In the UK, the modern nomenclature has "Year 1, Year 2" and so on. Year 11, which is fifth form in old money, is when GCSE exams are usually taken. Most people continue on to the sixth form (years 12 and 13; traditionally lower sixth and upper sixth) and take A-levels, but other educational choices are available. Since 2013, some kind of formal education or apprenticeship has been compulsory until age 18.

    Before year 1 comes Reception (cf. US Kindergarten).
    I hear the terms junior, sophomore etc and cannot keep them straight.

    In the US, those are used for both the 4 years of high school and the 4 years of normal undergraduate college. Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior in that order. The names don't make much sense to me, but that's often a feature of naming traditions.

    Is "prom" short for something? We don't call them that. "Grad" is the equivalent word. Which means "graduation banquet and dance".

    Yes, it's short for promenade. I don't think I know what differentiates a "promenade dance" from some other kind of dance, though.
  • “Prom” is derived from “promenade dance.”

    And here, we’d normally say first grade, second grade, etc., rather than grade 1, grade 2, etc.

    Freshman=someone in first year of high school (ninth grade) or first year of college
    Sophomore=someone in second year of high school (tenth grade) or second year of college
    Junior=someone in third year of high school (eleventh grade) or third year of college
    Senior=someone in fourth year of high school (twelfth grade) or fourth year of college.
  • Yes, it's short for promenade. I don't think I know what differentiates a "promenade dance" from some other kind of dance, though.
    I believe it has to do with how couples were traditionally presented.
  • Also different in Scotland rather than England.

    Primary 1, 2 etc (no reception or kindergarten) sometimes abbreviated to P1, P2 both in writing and speech.

    Then Secondary or Senior 1,2 up to 6. Sometimes just referred to in secondary school as ‘first year, second year...’

    I’ve lived in England for over 20 years and still revert to talking about children starting “primary one” and sitting GCSEs in “fourth year”...and get blank looks. In theory, with an American mother I’m trilingual in American/Scottish/English English - but its easy to get confused!
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Grades is school. Grade one, grade two etc. In highschool grade nine to grade 12. (Primary school is grades 1 to 8)

    I would have said "elementary school" (Grades 1-6), "junior high" (Grades 7-9), and "high school" (Grades 10-12). Sometimes the division is slightly different: elementary, "middle years" (Grades 6-9) and high school.

  • Leaf wrote: »
    Grades is school. Grade one, grade two etc. In highschool grade nine to grade 12. (Primary school is grades 1 to 8)

    I would have said "elementary school" (Grades 1-6), "junior high" (Grades 7-9), and "high school" (Grades 10-12). Sometimes the division is slightly different: elementary, "middle years" (Grades 6-9) and high school.
    Here it’s elementary school (K–5), middle school (6–8) and high school (9–12).

  • Elementary school is also said here. We have kindergarten. The year before that may be called play care or preschool and is optional, as is kindergarten.

    Schools here have banned pop (soft drinks is also used: things like Pepsi, Coca-Cola) and serve milk. You can can have 1%, 2% and homo milk. Homo means homogenized and 3¼% milk fat. There's been controversy whether they should have chocolate milk. The local name for choc milk is "vi-co" (the vowels are like in eye and owe) from a brand-name. I understand that homo milk and vi-co are local names.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    ...It seems to me that units should be in a sequence: short, medium, long, or long, medium, short. When you do month, day, year you seem to me to be scrambling things.
    Agreed. I prefer the British system: 26/9/19. However, I'm also good with the system we used to have at work: 19/09/26. It just makes more sense to me.

    Strictly speaking, we would pad single digit months in the British system. My PC (EN-gb language setting) is currently showing 27/09/2019 and I'd expect to write either that or 27/09/19, depending on the situation. 27/9/19 would look wrong.
  • Is "prom" short for something? We don't call them that. "Grad" is the equivalent word. Which means "graduation banquet and dance".
    "Grad" here means "someone who has graduated". As in high school grad, college grad. Someone in college/university who has not achieved a Bachelor's degree is an "undergrad."
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Is "prom" short for something? We don't call them that. "Grad" is the equivalent word. Which means "graduation banquet and dance".
    "Grad" here means "someone who has graduated". As in high school grad, college grad.
    Or “grad student,” meaning someone working on a post-baccalaureate degree, or “grad school,” meaning a school offering those post-baccalaureate degrees.

  • I spent 15+ years in the military so grew accustomed to writing 26 September 2019. When people see something I have dated, they quite often ask me if I was in the military. On the other hand, I have grown away from the 24-hour clock.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    CJCfarwest wrote: »
    I’ve lived in England for over 20 years and still revert to talking about children starting “primary one” and sitting GCSEs in “fourth year”...and get blank looks.
    I remember secondary school in England working like that when I was at school, which was a bit longer ago than that. Although back then the Scots did secondary school a year earlier than the English (so I did most of my GCSEs in fifth year).
  • I've also noticed around here that "Grad" is used by those who are too lazy to use four syllables to mean "Graduation," e.g., Grad Night, Grad Party, or just Grad as a noun referring to the ceremony. "Are you going to Grad?"

    At the same time what we used to call "The Prom" is not just called "Prom."

    Maybe the shorter forms are easier to text, since that seems to be the #1 form of communication among that age group.
  • Shortened forms are just how language works. Do you say "television" every time you mention it, or do you resort to "TV" or "telly"?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Shortened forms are just how language works. Do you say "television" every time you mention it, or do you resort to "TV" or "telly"?

    "Television." But then again, I have very little reason to talk about it since I don't watch it.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Shortened forms are just how language works. Do you say "television" every time you mention it, or do you resort to "TV" or "telly"?

    "Television." But then again, I have very little reason to talk about it since I don't watch it.

    Do you not use any shortened forms of any word then? That seems downright alien.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    In our house, it's the one word of Irish regularly spoken - teilifís. No idea why.
  • I'm old enough to have been at school under a very different numbering/naming system.

    Kindergarten (if you went) was just called "Miss X's", the same for infant school. Prep (the equivalent of Years 3-8) was First, Second, Upper Second, Third, Upper Third & Exam forms. Senior school was Fourth, Lower Fifth, Upper Fifth, Sixth & Upper Sixth (Years 9-13) and those who took Oxbridge entrance after A levels were called the Remove - why I haven't the foggiest but they were only at school for one term.

    It seemed to make sense at the time...
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Shortened forms are just how language works. Do you say "television" every time you mention it, or do you resort to "TV" or "telly"?

    TV. I seem to remember when growing up that "telly" was frowned upon at least by my parents because it was "common".


  • In the circles in which I move, 'Proms' are concerts.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Originally the Promenade Concerts. According to Wikipedia it was
    a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London's pleasure gardens, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing
  • Public (private) schools in the UK have their own names, of course. When I was at school I entered senior school (yr 7) in the Lower Fourth, and took my O Levels in the Upper Remove (yr 11). Westminster, I happen to know, calls yr 9 the Fifth Form, and yr 11 the Upper Shell. However, talk of sophomores etc has always confused me.

    On this topic, you only graduate from university in the UK, and that was the only time any fuss was made. These days most schools have a ball, or prom, after A Levels (yr 13), and some after GCSEs (yr 11), but that is fairly new. Kids today don't know how lucky they are....
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Senior school was Fourth, Lower Fifth, Upper Fifth, Sixth & Upper Sixth (Years 9-13)
    We had Upper Sixth for Secondary Seven, but IIRC Fourth and Fifth meant what one would expect.

  • edited September 28
    My assisted place at a minor public school landed me in the second year (! - was the whole of the prep school the first, I don't know). After that I was put in a stream which was supposed to stick me through school a year early with everyone else spending a year in a 'remove' - but apparently oxbridge went off that idea and it was scrapped with me half in it (the idea, that is - oxbridge was well outside my capabilities). And then lower and upper sixth. Some sorry characters joined us in (the actual) 3rd year after their own prep schools kicked them out. All was presented as having dated from 15-whatever it was, but this bit of this thread seems to confirm what I suspected, that they were making it up as they went along. The only time I think of it now is reading the 'school magazine' bit of Private Eye, which is a great parody.

    Oh, and at my (modern) British university those working on research degrees or one-year masters degrees taken as add-ons to a bachelors degree, are known as postgrads.
Sign In or Register to comment.