Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

1120121123125126129

Comments

  • But backpack and rucksack are interchangeable because they are the same thing, just using the German words for rucksack. I carry a backpack. If I'm carrying the big 30 litre back pack with internal frame, I'm usually away for a few days and there's a day sack tucked inside to go shopping, very occasionally out for the day. But I have smaller backpacks, with different frames or no frame for a day or weekend's walking.


    I walk. I'd possibly describe one of the long distance footpaths, such as the Pennine Way which is around 270 miles, as a trek, but it would be in the form of "Well, the Pennine Way was a bit of a trek; it took us three weeks." But I wouldn't be planning to go on a trek, I'd be planning to walk one of the long distance footpaths or going on a walking holiday. I also could say that walking over to the next town over, which is around 7 miles away, is a bit of a hike, but wouldn't say I was going for a hike. Prices get hiked up here.

    I'd agree about proofing copy before printing, and proving dough.
  • But backpack and rucksack are interchangeable because they are the same thing, just using the German words for rucksack.

    Isn't that like saying "shirt" and "skirt" are interchangeable, because they're the same word?

    I think they are interchangeable - I don't think rucksack implies either a 60+ litre hiking backpack, or a small 10 litre daypack: but I don't think they're interchangeable because they're the same word.

    I don't think I've heard rucksack in the US, but I think it's more common than backpack in the UK.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    Yes, words meaning literally the same thing etymologically doesn't necessarily mean they have the same meaning or connotation in current usage. I said I use the terms interchangeably because I was aware that this may not be the case for everyone else. When I was in Canada, for instance, the general term used was 'backpack,' and people had different, more specific, connotations for 'rucksack' - something much bigger, to go camping with. Equally, I'd never previously used the term 'backpack' before I went to Canada- I'd only heard 'rucksack' in the UK.
  • I use rucksack for any bag carried on the back, from my son’s school bag to the larger bag used for what is known as hiking.
    I usually describe hiking as walking, in personal use, even if it’s several miles in proper boots. I would never use ramble for walk, it would be a dated term for a hike in the UK. I’d use ‘rambling on’ for talking endlessly though.
  • But backpack and rucksack are interchangeable because they are the same thing, just using the German words for rucksack.

    Isn't that like saying "shirt" and "skirt" are interchangeable, because they're the same word?

    I think they are interchangeable - I don't think rucksack implies either a 60+ litre hiking backpack, or a small 10 litre daypack: but I don't think they're interchangeable because they're the same word.

    I don't think I've heard rucksack in the US, but I think it's more common than backpack in the UK.
    This amuses me, because I've just looked it up online using Google, which is apparently based on Oxford Languages, and found:
    Rucksack -
    a bag with shoulder straps which allow it to be carried on someone's back, typically made of a strong, waterproof material and widely used by hikers.
    Backpack
    a rucksack.

    Which is how I understand them, I just tend to prefer backpack in that context.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    But I'm not sure I know what the item that @NOprophet_NØprofit describes is - the "knapsack" that is too small to carry some school books, but might contain a lunch. Are you describing a bag with one or two shoulder straps, or something handheld, or what?
    I picture my father’s WWII Army knapsack, which was smaller/flatter than a typical modern school backpack, but which I did indeed use for my school books in 4th grade—before school backpacks were a thing.

    Enoch wrote: »
    I think the only place I've ever heard 'knapsack' was in a 'jollyish' sort of song that used to be played on things like Children's Favourites 65+ years ago. It included the line:
    "My knapsack on my back"
    That song would be “The Happy Wanderer.”

  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    What would a mooch mean then? In relation to intentionally walking somewhere.

    For me anyway that is a kinda aimless wondering about
  • Ethne Alba wrote: »
    What would a mooch mean then? In relation to intentionally walking somewhere.

    For me anyway that is a kinda aimless wondering about

    Mooching is primarily intended to occupy time. I might mooch about the shops for a bit if I wasn't looking for anything in particular, and had some time to kill before my bus / my kid had finished what they were doing / whatever.

    Wandering is similarly lacking in general direction, but doesn't carry the same time-filling implications.

    Traipsing would involve a subjectively large amount of walking on a non-preferred activity. When I was a child, accompanying my mother on a shopping trip would definitely be a traipse.
  • I use rucksack for any bag carried on the back, from my son’s school bag to the larger bag used for what is known as hiking.
    I usually describe hiking as walking, in personal use, even if it’s several miles in proper boots. I would never use ramble for walk, it would be a dated term for a hike in the UK. I’d use ‘rambling on’ for talking endlessly though.

    Thanks to time in the forces, if your bag is carrying a lot of stuff and you’re on a hike, to me that’s a Bergen.
  • betjemaniacbetjemaniac Shipmate
    edited August 6
    Although ‘Jackspeak’ is a whole other language and book - occasionally even now (16 years after leaving) I can say something at work or to my wife without thinking and realise that they’ve no idea what I’m talking about.

    It’s not blinding people with technical speak, as you might expect, so much as entirely different words for the most everyday things and concepts:

    Butter = slide
    Soft drink = goffa
    Shoes = swifties
    Bin = spitkid
    Tea = wet
    Etc
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Ethne Alba wrote: »
    What would a mooch mean then? In relation to intentionally walking somewhere.

    For me anyway that is a kinda aimless wondering about

    Mooching is primarily intended to occupy time. I might mooch about the shops for a bit if I wasn't looking for anything in particular, and had some time to kill before my bus / my kid had finished what they were doing / whatever.
    Interesting. I’ve never heard “mooch” used in reference to walking. To this North American, “mooch” means to beg or sponge off another person, or to freeload.

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    I haven't used "knapsack" since we sang Valderi Valdera in 4th grade.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I was thinking only a few weeks back that I haven't seen a duffel bag in decades.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus

    Thanks to time in the forces, if your bag is carrying a lot of stuff and you’re on a hike, to me that’s a Bergen.

    One of the many scientific meetings to which I accompanied Mr F (we were there for the 2nd longest period of rainless days on record!) was in Bergen. There was - there always is - a Conference Bag. Normally this is a satchel of some sort - but this was a proper little Day Out rucksack, with a map pocket and a section to hold your thermos and room for your sandwiches and spare socks.
  • @betjemaniac your post amused me as my big pack is a Bergen and I loved my Bergen boots until they wore out. I also know and use about half that slang, but I guess that might be the ongoing effects of having a father who attended Dartmouth as a cadet and served for a while.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Satchel? Surely that was for putting school books in?
    Although mine ( or my sister’s to be accurate) has the gift wrap in it.
  • Knapsack is the same as a daypack for me. Small, 2 shoulder straps. Backpack is bigger. Duffels have one shoulder strap. I've not heard rucksack for 40 years.

    A walk isn't generally a hike. You'd put on better shoes for a hike. A walk may not be to a destination. A hike most probably is.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Enoch wrote: »
    Rant warning:

    It's a usage that really annoys me. As a retired lawyer, 'partner' to me means something totally different, which has a lot to do with liability and nothing to do with sex, affection or romance.

    ...what, you mean like how marriage is a contract?

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    The association of marriage with affection and romance is very recent in human history. Whereas people have been getting screwed by their business partners for time out of mind.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Really? What about Jacob and Rachel? Mind you she didn’t come cheap.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    Rucksacks etc. Much of the hiking/rambling culture of the inter-war years was imported from Germany. (Youth Hostels were an imitation of the Jugendherberge. Back' in German is 'Rucken', so a rucksack would be , literally, a back-sack, frobably a bit larger than a 'knapsack', the older English term, which would carry your 'knap', or bite to eat when working out of doors, slung on your back. A haversack I would think of as slung over one shoulder. A bergen would be a more serious affair, with a frame.
    My parents were keen walkers, who met through their local hiking club.
    A hike is typically a day-l0ng walk, with some objective. A stroll would be a gently meander. A Trek, which came in after WWII, would be a more serious affair, perhaps involving tents, or ponies.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    I should add that, as British shipmates would know, there's quite a bit of social history bound up in all this.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    “Girlfriend” is very commonly used in the US by females to refer to close female friends, and has been used that way for a long time. I’ve never heard “boyfriend” used by a male in the same way, though.

    That would be "mate".
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Depends on the male, I guess
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    British shipmates may wish to chip in: is the expression “china (plate)= mate ever used these daus, within or without the sound of Bow Bells?
  • I think I’ve only heard ‘my old China’ from older working class males in London, market stall holders for instance, and that was a few years ago (I lived in Bethnal Green in the 1990s). I suspect it has fallen into disuse and that it’s ones of those cliched expressions that very few people used anyway. I think Delboy uses it in Only Fools and Horses. Happy to be corrected by those currently living in London though.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Cliche? cockney rhyming slang?

    Only 30 years ago while in general practice In far-western Sydney I met a young English-born but Oz raised woman whose presenting complaint was “ pain in the Khyber”

    Diagnosis: thrombosed harmorrhoid

    Cliche? I still wonder
  • China gets used a lot in crossword clues meaning pal or mate. I haven't hetd it recently but I haven't been anywhere to hear it for while.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Must have first encountered the expression when I read “ Borstal Boy” ( Brendan Behan’s account of a spell in an English Borstal in the 1940s after he was done in as an under age IRA gun runner) ; a term used by his Cockney petty crim mates). Took me a while to catch on.
  • Having seen this discussion I went to the London Olympic Park for a walk on dry non-skiddy surfaces, where I've just seen a stall in the what's now the Queen Elizabeth Park for people to invent their own Cockney words as an activity among many arts and crafts.

    When sociologists look at dialects, Cockney comes up as one of the most endangered English dialects (link to BBC story referencing research). The problem is that the areas where the traditional cockneys were found, the East End of London, is no longer inhabited by Cockneys, it's full of Jamaicans, Somalis, Bangladeshis, East Europeans. Brick Lane, the famous road from the book and the curry houses, is off Bethnal Green Road. Stratford, which was in that traditional Cockney area, neighbouring Bow, well within in the sound of Bow Bells, is now hugely gentrified by the Olympic redevelopment, along with Hackney Wick. Not that there wasn't a lot of derelict industry and polluted waterways where that park was redeveloped.

    And the Docklands, another Cockney area has been redeveloped into the Docklands Business area and is hugely yuppified. What's left of the Cockney community is in small scattered groups. I've met some working in that area. One of the families I worked with was connected to the Krays, attended the funerals, had family scattered across the area. But the mother I knew had children by different West Indian fathers.

    The East End was badly bombed during WW2 and the inhabitants were rehoused in the new towns around London - Romford, Barking, Dagenham and Harlow are where many of the traditional Cockneys were relocated, in small pockets, not big enough to keep the dialect alive. I met more Cockneys working Dagenham than I did in the East End. The Cockney families in Harlow lost their roots when they moved, or had two generations later when I worked with the children in school.

    Whitechapel market is where to find Bangladeshi foods and clothes, the library serves Malaysian food as does the one on the Roman Road (also East End), there are pockets of traditional Cockneys, but they are isolated in the multicultural melting pot which is that area. Whitechapel has been where wave after wave of immigrants have landed up, it was a Jewish area after the pogroms meant that Britain took refugees from across Europe. It now has the most amazing mosque.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Sparrow wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    “Girlfriend” is very commonly used in the US by females to refer to close female friends, and has been used that way for a long time. I’ve never heard “boyfriend” used by a male in the same way, though.

    That would be "mate".
    Not in the US it wouldn’t be. A man here would never refer to a friend as his “mate”—at least I’ve never encountered it. While we’re certainly aware of the British and Australian usage and understand what’s meant by it, “mate” here is, in my experience, used only to refer to one of a pair. The only person I’d refer to as my mate would be my wife.

  • Eirenist wrote: »
    Rucksacks etc. Much of the hiking/rambling culture of the inter-war years was imported from Germany. (Youth Hostels were an imitation of the Jugendherberge. Back' in German is 'Rucken', so a rucksack would be , literally, a back-sack, frobably a bit larger than a 'knapsack', the older English term, which would carry your 'knap', or bite to eat when working out of doors, slung on your back. A haversack I would think of as slung over one shoulder. A bergen would be a more serious affair, with a frame.
    My parents were keen walkers, who met through their local hiking club.
    A hike is typically a day-l0ng walk, with some objective. A stroll would be a gently meander. A Trek, which came in after WWII, would be a more serious affair, perhaps involving tents, or ponies.

    This German importation doesn't apply to where I live in Canada. There certainly were Germans, Norwegians and Swiss in the evolving mountain climbing and skiing culture, but not central nor involved much in hiking and canoeing.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    “mate” here is, in my experience, used only to refer to one of a pair. The only person I’d refer to as my mate would be my wife.

    Whereas I'd find it unusual to use "mate" to refer to a spouse - IME, "mate" in that context is exclusively used about animals. So unless someone was drawing deliberate animalistic parallels, it would stand out as an odd usage. (cf. my eldest child as a preschooler, on learning that they had a new cousin: "So Uncle A mated with Auntie B?")
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    Back to "walk" vs "hike" -- I think these terms are used very differently by different people and in different regions, depending on the kind of terrain that normally accompanies your walks or hikes. I know there was a TV show set in the US (California, specifically) we used to watch where two characters used to meet up regularly "to go for a hike," which I found quite funny. They would walk side by side along a path nearly as wide as a road, that seemed to be covered with something like gravel, and talk easily to one another as they walked up a gentle slope. Only the fact that it was not in an urban setting seemed to make it a "hike."

    We have both walks and hikes around here, and hikes tend to be in the woods or on cliffs by the sea, and even if they are groomed and maintained hiking trails (like with wooden steps put in to get up steep cliffs, or boardwalks over boggy places) they will still be fairly challenging. If you're hiking here, the path is usually only wide enough for hikers to walk single file, and requires a good deal of attention to the rugged ground underfoot. In fact if I have any doubt, my main qualifier for "Is it a walk or a hike?" is "Do you have to look at your feet fairly often while doing it?" If so, it's a hike.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    The East End was badly bombed during WW2 and the inhabitants were rehoused in the new towns around London - Romford, Barking, Dagenham and Harlow are where many of the traditional Cockneys were relocated, in small pockets, not big enough to keep the dialect alive. I met more Cockneys working Dagenham than I did in the East End. The Cockney families in Harlow lost their roots when they moved, or had two generations later when I worked with the children in school.

    Thank you for a very interesting post. Do you think that there were any motives behind the move other than getting people into houses? Were streets and neighbourhoods kept together? And what about all the little shops and corner stores - was there provision for them?
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited August 9
    I imagine there was little incentive to keep communities together, both because they had been disrupted by war and because of social reasons; these areas often had poor reputations.
    In the 1990s I lived in a Victorian terrace on the edge of Bethnal Green and Hoxton, in Shoreditch (Quilter Street near Columbia Road flower market). It is now a very trendy place to live but in the 1970s the council was going to knock the Victorian terraces down as they were considered slums; a letting agency bought the houses for a pittance which is how I ended up living there. But this wasn’t the first suggestion of clearance of the houses there. In the Victorian period, the area was the site of the notorious Nichol slum which was cleared in the 1880s; my terrace had survived the clearance as it was one of the better roads with artisan occupiers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boundary_Estate
  • In my part of the world we've 2 housing trends. One is to knock down houses built 50-80 years ago, divide the lots into 2, and build 2 homes where there once was over. It's called "in fill".

    There was a trend to design large lot neighbourhoods with car driving everywhere in mind. The streets tend to be curvy and not really walkable to anything important like stores. The more expensive homes in these neighborhood are in cul-de-sacs which means a short street which ends in a rounded expansion. The design is called "lollipops and rainbows" by many people. Versus the grid pattern pre-1950.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    Trudy wrote: »
    We have both walks and hikes around here, and hikes tend to be in the woods or on cliffs by the sea, and even if they are groomed and maintained hiking trails (like with wooden steps put in to get up steep cliffs, or boardwalks over boggy places) they will still be fairly challenging. If you're hiking here, the path is usually only wide enough for hikers to walk single file, and requires a good deal of attention to the rugged ground underfoot. In fact if I have any doubt, my main qualifier for "Is it a walk or a hike?" is "Do you have to look at your feet fairly often while doing it?" If so, it's a hike.

    That seems right to me. I count myself as a walker, rather than a hiker, which probably has something to do with the fact that I spend 95% of my walking time in Toronto. But even if I were walking along a rural road it would still be a walk…

  • One German told my husband that a certain type of backpack is called in Germany a body bag - in English, not translated into German, and that most Germans aren’t aware that at least in the US a body bag is what you zip a corpse up into at a crime scene. Has anyone who has been to German speaking areas or knows German speaking people heard this?
  • In the UK a make of cross body bags (small handbag worn across the body) used to call them body bags; I think it was Radley who introduced the term. I’m an ex-nurse and would know the US meaning of body bag (as would many film watchers) but didn’t see anything strange about a handbag being a body bag.
  • We refer to my son's huge bag for camping as the body bag, but I'm not sure if the original reference was macabre or not. It certainly is now, him being into horror at the moment.
  • The imminent UN Climate Change Conference will give us all another opportunity to express our shockandhorror as we hear people proudly telling about their trips from across the ocean to Glass Cow.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    We are in danger of getting into bum bag/ fanny bag territory. Avaunt!
  • @Eirenist "... fanny bag..." 🤣😂😱🤣😂
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    We are in danger of getting into bum bag/ fanny bag territory. Avaunt!
    The term here is “fanny pack.” :wink:

  • I do hear fanny pack occasionally, mostly waist pack. The single strap over the shoulder diagonally are generally called sling or sling packs.

    Because the word sling reminds me of the word thong... The foot wear now called flip-flops were always called thongs when I was young. Thong means now (usually) female underwear with a wee strap going down between the buttock cheeks flaring to a larger triangle to cover the front. Which has always has me thinking that sitting must be uncomfortable many times on things like leather, vinyl, something hot or cold, something rough.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I do hear fanny pack occasionally, mostly waist pack.

    I am told those fanny packs are a sure sign of an American tourist.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Eirenist wrote: »
    We are in danger of getting into bum bag/ fanny bag territory. Avaunt!
    The term here is “fanny pack.” :wink:

    Not even slightly less funny.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I well remember an American fellow student referring to her ‘fanny pack’ amongst U.K. students, and being perplexed by the mingled shock and mirth expressed by her hearers.
  • I have one, wear in front mostly or to the side. Useful for carrying alternative eyeglasses and other little things when in a canoe, when skiiing. I take it fanny means "front bummy" to UK people. Is it rude to say fanny for you?
Sign In or Register to comment.