Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    When my late lamented died I had a frank discussion with the undertaker, explaining that we would get along fine if they accepted that X was not my "loved one" or "(dear) departed" but "X"; that they hadn't "passed (on/away)" but died; that the funeral would be directed by our priest; and that after cremation we would decide what to do with X's ashes, not "remains".

    Our undertaker, being a decent and thoughtful chap, was just fine; and a year later, when we met at a funeral he was responsible for in church, he paused to say he had adopted most of what I'd said - especially referring to the dead person by name - and that this had been remarked on with great favour by all families. But then he is a paragon among undertakers: when families try to speak to him about the service he always says that the person who they need to see is the priest (or other) who will be in charge of the service.
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    On the subject of death, one usage that needles me is the word 'casket'. On this side of the pond, it's 'coffin'. Like the bathroom/lavatory divide,I suppose.

    A coffin is wide at the shoulders and tapered at the foot end, meaning less wood = cheaper whereas a casket is rectangular
    I've also heard it said that a casket has a fully removable lid (or portions) and a coffin has a hinged lid.
  • Our local newspaper prints death announcements without mentioning the person has died - Peacefully, at X, on such-and such a date, Tavish McTavish, beloved husband of... and so on. I have told my family that if there is no verb in my death announcement, I will come back and haunt them.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    A rectangular coffin? Never come across one of those in the UK!
  • Wet Kipper wrote: »
    I've also heard it said that a casket has a fully removable lid (or portions) and a coffin has a hinged lid.

    Other way round. Casket = hinges; coffin = unhinged (if you see what I mean).

  • A rectangular coffin? Never come across one of those in the UK!
    I have. It was a basket one.

    Casket, though, in general UK language I'd say implies something like a jewellery box or a treasure chest.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    People I've heard use "embarrassed of" or "bored of" would use it exactly the same as "embarrassed by" or "bored by," I think.

    On the "passed" thing -- it used to irritate me a lot as a euphemism for death, but now I've decided to cope with its ubiquity by thinking of life as a class, and those who die as having completed their final exam successfully. "Grandma passed? Well, good for her; she certainly worked hard enough!"

    (I don't actually say that out loud of course).
  • Is the "passed" think about softening things somehow, something about death anxiety. Everyone also has a "courageous battle with <insert name of medical condition>". No-one passes on it seems, except courageously in local obituaries.
  • "My aunt passed last week" makes me think she's got through her driving test. YMMV.

    I think my mind must be a strange mix of euphemism and the scatological - it makes me think 'passed what'? :smile:

    Yes, I always want to reply "Passed what - a large bowel movement?"


  • Is the "passed" think about softening things somehow, something about death anxiety. Everyone also has a "courageous battle with <insert name of medical condition>". No-one passes on it seems, except courageously in local obituaries.

    Just once I'd like to hear that someone died of cancer (or whatever) after accepting it and dying in peace -- no "courageous" fight.
  • Is the "passed" think about softening things somehow, something about death anxiety. Everyone also has a "courageous battle with <insert name of medical condition>". No-one passes on it seems, except courageously in local obituaries.
    I always am bugged by using "courageous" as a catch-all term for "admirable". "Hero" is used the same way. We had a shooting here some years back -- four cops were in a coffee shop and a bad guy ran in and murdered them all and ran out again. Later an elementary school was named after the four cops. It was "Four Heroes Elementary". What did they do that was heroic? Die? What tosh.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Is the "passed" think about softening things somehow, something about death anxiety. Everyone also has a "courageous battle with <insert name of medical condition>". No-one passes on it seems, except courageously in local obituaries.

    Just once I'd like to hear that someone died of cancer (or whatever) after accepting it and dying in peace -- no "courageous" fight.

    If you're in the mood for dark humour, there's always this.
  • I encountered "inside of" today in a newspaper piece. It's my suspicion this is bad grammar everywhere. Does any Shipmate know whether I'm right?
  • Enoch wrote: »
    I encountered "inside of" today in a newspaper piece. It's my suspicion this is bad grammar everywhere. Does any Shipmate know whether I'm right?
    I've heard (and said) things like, "inside of an hour."
  • Trudy wrote: »
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Is the "passed" think about softening things somehow, something about death anxiety. Everyone also has a "courageous battle with <insert name of medical condition>". No-one passes on it seems, except courageously in local obituaries.

    Just once I'd like to hear that someone died of cancer (or whatever) after accepting it and dying in peace -- no "courageous" fight.

    If you're in the mood for dark humour, there's always this.

    Not exactly "accepting it and dying in peace." (And I notice they're still referring to it as a "battle" even though he surrendered.)
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Is the "passed" think about softening things somehow, something about death anxiety. Everyone also has a "courageous battle with <insert name of medical condition>". No-one passes on it seems, except courageously in local obituaries.
    I always am bugged by using "courageous" as a catch-all term for "admirable". "Hero" is used the same way. We had a shooting here some years back -- four cops were in a coffee shop and a bad guy ran in and murdered them all and ran out again. Later an elementary school was named after the four cops. It was "Four Heroes Elementary". What did they do that was heroic? Die? What tosh.
    Contrariwise, using "cowardly" for things we disapprove of. The "cowardly" act of flying airplanes into buildings. No. Voluntarily giving your life for your cause is not cowardly. It's a twisting of the word into a mere word of disapprobation, another useless synonym (as CS Lewis would say) of "bad" or "evil."
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    Yes, why are people always "fighting" cancer? I've had a brush with the nasty thing recently, and I did my best to carry on with life as normal. No fighting was involved.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »

    Just once I'd like to hear that someone died of cancer (or whatever) after accepting it and dying in peace -- no "courageous" fight.

    like my Gran

    92 years old, went into hospital with a stomach complaint, weak from not eating properly due to nausea. Found to have advanced cancer in her bowels/stomach/I can't remember exactly where - but when asked if she wanted an operation and possible chemotherapy simply asked to be made comfortable, having discussed it with my aunt and my Dad :cry:
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Is the "passed" think about softening things somehow, something about death anxiety. Everyone also has a "courageous battle with <insert name of medical condition>". No-one passes on it seems, except courageously in local obituaries.
    I always am bugged by using "courageous" as a catch-all term for "admirable". "Hero" is used the same way. We had a shooting here some years back -- four cops were in a coffee shop and a bad guy ran in and murdered them all and ran out again. Later an elementary school was named after the four cops. It was "Four Heroes Elementary". What did they do that was heroic? Die? What tosh.
    Contrariwise, using "cowardly" for things we disapprove of. The "cowardly" act of flying airplanes into buildings. No. Voluntarily giving your life for your cause is not cowardly. It's a twisting of the word into a mere word of disapprobation, another useless synonym (as CS Lewis would say) of "bad" or "evil."

    I remember Bill Maher lost his show "Politically Incorrect (!?)" partially over pointing out that distinction during the frenzy after 9/11.
  • Yes, why are people always "fighting" cancer? I've had a brush with the nasty thing recently, and I did my best to carry on with life as normal. No fighting was involved.

    I don't know about people 'always' fighting cancer if they have it. But some people do see themselves as battling something they wish to overcome. I know my father did, though it eventually led to his death. And what made his fight poignant was that he was afraid of what it was doing to him, so his bravery was borne out of trying to conquer, or at least live with his fear. I don't see a problem with acknowledging that kind of 'battle' or 'bravery'. Though I totally get that some people don't see it that way for themselves.

    There is also the physical element that the body is certainly at war with the illness. Perhaps including the mind and soul, too. If my body has a 'battle' with any potentially fatal illness, you can almost be sure I will have lost the 'battle' to that illness, when I'm dead! Plain English!

    I suppose, too, the 'cowardly' element of planes flying into buildings is the idea that men who had armed themselves to kill (in this case armed with airplanes) were applying their violence against defenceless people; which could possibly be construed as cowardly violence towards those defenceless people, however personally courageous the terrorist may be himself in the execution of the action?

    Whenever a paramilitary terrorist lost his life in an act of violence in Ulster, we often had no problem labelling him a 'coward', however willing he may personally have been to lay down his life for his cause. To 'bravely' lose one's life for a cause, doesn't, in my mind, cancel out the cowardice behind an attack on those who can't protect themselves. It merely highlights the perversion of a quality which is intended to enrich human experience.
  • Yes. I agree with @Anselmina on this.

    It is cowardly to attack unarmed civilians against who you have nothing - apart from resentment that they exist - and it remains so even if you know you yourself could get killed in the process.

    It is not heroic to get killed unexpectedly, even if you're killed by someone bad. To be a hero or heroic must involve a major ingredient of courage, steadfast determination, a marked element of mindfulness about what you are doing. @mousethief you're absolutely right about your Four Heroes. It's tragic, wrong and possibly a cowardly action by the gunman that they were shot. But it doesn't sound as though there was even time for there to be an element of heroism in their deaths.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    It seems to me that if someone had thrown himself into the gunman's path in an attempt to prevent the policemen's deaths, that would have been heroic (whether or not the desired outcome was achieved).

    A bit foolhardy, but heroic.

    I can sort of see why headline-writers would hail any policeman who's killed while on duty as "heroic", if the assumption is that the only reason he was killed was because he was a policeman.
  • Piglet wrote: »
    I can sort of see why headline-writers would hail any policeman who's killed while on duty as "heroic", if the assumption is that the only reason he was killed was because he was a policeman.

    I suppose that if someone has previously been hailed as a hero, and then dies, then it could quite rightly be described as the death of a hero, even if it was not a heroic death. And there is a school of thought that describes everyone that wears a uniform as a "hero".

    Without wishing to throw nasturtiums at anyone who wears a uniform, I'd say that automatically calling them heroic rather debases the meaning of the word.

  • Anselmina wrote: »
    Yes, why are people always "fighting" cancer? I've had a brush with the nasty thing recently, and I did my best to carry on with life as normal. No fighting was involved.

    I don't know about people 'always' fighting cancer if they have it. But some people do see themselves as battling something they wish to overcome. I know my father did, though it eventually led to his death. And what made his fight poignant was that he was afraid of what it was doing to him, so his bravery was borne out of trying to conquer, or at least live with his fear. I don't see a problem with acknowledging that kind of 'battle' or 'bravery'. Though I totally get that some people don't see it that way for themselves.

    There is also the physical element that the body is certainly at war with the illness. Perhaps including the mind and soul, too. If my body has a 'battle' with any potentially fatal illness, you can almost be sure I will have lost the 'battle' to that illness, when I'm dead! Plain English!

    I suppose, too, the 'cowardly' element of planes flying into buildings is the idea that men who had armed themselves to kill (in this case armed with airplanes) were applying their violence against defenceless people; which could possibly be construed as cowardly violence towards those defenceless people, however personally courageous the terrorist may be himself in the execution of the action?

    Whenever a paramilitary terrorist lost his life in an act of violence in Ulster, we often had no problem labelling him a 'coward', however willing he may personally have been to lay down his life for his cause. To 'bravely' lose one's life for a cause, doesn't, in my mind, cancel out the cowardice behind an attack on those who can't protect themselves. It merely highlights the perversion of a quality which is intended to enrich human experience.

    And yet there is a very real sense that I wouldn't dare do that. So does that mean I'm even more cowardly then they are?
  • I hear "hero sandwich" periodically. Apparently it refers to a "submarine sandwich". Which wasn't a thing for us here until the chain SubwayTM showed up. Now people say they're going to "eat subway". Which seems rather odd.

    I never was fond of food that was "finger lickin' good" either. Which I think is the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan. I don't like licking my fingers very much.
  • Somebody said that courage is simply the form every virtue takes at the time of testing. I've found that really useful in my personal life.

    I know that some people find the whole "battling cancer" imagery personally inspiring, and if it works for them, let them have it. I stand on the brink of getting my personal cancer-or-not? results today, though, and I can say that it's not an image that will work for me. In my own case, if I must go through something, I must go through it, and I can't carry the extra burden of having to look dignified as I do so. I want the freedom to howl, and curse, and to yell at God. So no "battling" or "courageous whatever" for me. (Felt the same way about childbirth.)
  • Somebody said that courage is simply the form every virtue takes at the time of testing. I've found that really useful in my personal life.

    Lewis.
  • In my own case, if I must go through something, I must go through it, and I can't carry the extra burden of having to look dignified as I do so. I want the freedom to howl, and curse, and to yell at God. So no "battling" or "courageous whatever" for me. (Felt the same way about childbirth.)

    Now I really want to read a birth announcement that "A baby boy/girl was born to Mrs. Whoever following a courageous battle of labor* and childbirth."
    :lol:

    (*or labour)
  • Someone posted a meme on Facebook the other day that took me a couple of days to figure out. But it does indicate a difference between Canadian speak and US speak,
    Canadians are going to take over the world.
    And everyone will be sorry.

    Think about it.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    As a Brit, the only thing that says to me is that they’re seeking world domination (probably politely given that they’re Canadians).
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Anselmina wrote: »
    Yes, why are people always "fighting" cancer? I've had a brush with the nasty thing recently, and I did my best to carry on with life as normal. No fighting was involved.

    I don't know about people 'always' fighting cancer if they have it. But some people do see themselves as battling something they wish to overcome. I know my father did, though it eventually led to his death. And what made his fight poignant was that he was afraid of what it was doing to him, so his bravery was borne out of trying to conquer, or at least live with his fear. I don't see a problem with acknowledging that kind of 'battle' or 'bravery'. Though I totally get that some people don't see it that way for themselves.

    There is also the physical element that the body is certainly at war with the illness. Perhaps including the mind and soul, too. If my body has a 'battle' with any potentially fatal illness, you can almost be sure I will have lost the 'battle' to that illness, when I'm dead! Plain English!

    I suppose, too, the 'cowardly' element of planes flying into buildings is the idea that men who had armed themselves to kill (in this case armed with airplanes) were applying their violence against defenceless people; which could possibly be construed as cowardly violence towards those defenceless people, however personally courageous the terrorist may be himself in the execution of the action?

    Whenever a paramilitary terrorist lost his life in an act of violence in Ulster, we often had no problem labelling him a 'coward', however willing he may personally have been to lay down his life for his cause. To 'bravely' lose one's life for a cause, doesn't, in my mind, cancel out the cowardice behind an attack on those who can't protect themselves. It merely highlights the perversion of a quality which is intended to enrich human experience.

    And yet there is a very real sense that I wouldn't dare do that. So does that mean I'm even more cowardly then they are?

    No. It would mean that you're a well-adjusted individual who knows how foolish and evil it is to kill innocent people and needlessly murder yourself into the bargain. I don't question the argument that says a murderer or terrorist is exhibiting a kind of bravery by sacrificing their own life in pursuit of a cause. But I don't think it therefore cancels out the principle of cowardice inherent in attacking defenceless people. It shows how clever the manipulators can be in convincing some people how to misuse the best of their qualities (eg, bravery) to commit cowardly acts.

  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    I'm not fond of the new and hopefully never-to-be-used again formation "leave" for "die."... "when I leave" -- feh. "When I die" is more honest, and "When I go" more colloquial. "When I leave" sounds like I'm ghosting the hostess at a cocktail party.
    ...and "When I'm asleep in Jesus" is right out.
    Our local newspaper prints death announcements without mentioning the person has died - Peacefully, at X, on such-and such a date, Tavish McTavish, beloved husband of... and so on. I have told my family that if there is no verb in my death announcement, I will come back and haunt them.
    Yes, that would be another good reason to invest in a winding sheet, and perhaps some chains to rattle at midnight.
    Somebody said that courage is simply the form every virtue takes at the time of testing. I've found that really useful in my personal life.

    ...In my own case, if I must go through something, I must go through it, and I can't carry the extra burden of having to look dignified as I do so. I want the freedom to howl, and curse, and to yell at God. So no "battling" or "courageous whatever" for me. (Felt the same way about childbirth.)
    I like the Lewis quote.

    I'm not really a howler. I prefer snark.

  • BroJames wrote: »
    As a Brit, the only thing that says to me is that they’re seeking world domination (probably politely given that they’re Canadians).

    Canadians are quite passive-aggressive in their disagreements. They will more than likely begin their disputations with "Sorry."
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    Hmmm...I wouldn't necessarily consider that passive-aggressive. Could be disarming and diplomatic.
  • Anselmina wrote: »
    ....
    No. It would mean that you're a well-adjusted individual who knows how foolish and evil it is to kill innocent people and needlessly murder yourself into the bargain. I don't question the argument that says a murderer or terrorist is exhibiting a kind of bravery by sacrificing their own life in pursuit of a cause. But I don't think it therefore cancels out the principle of cowardice inherent in attacking defenceless people. It shows how clever the manipulators can be in convincing some people how to misuse the best of their qualities (eg, bravery) to commit cowardly acts.
    I still agree with Anselmina.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Reminds me of the line in Puckoon where a character stumbles over a gravestone inscribed 'Not dead but sleeping' - "He's fooling nobody but himself".
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    The "coming back to haunt you" comment reminds me of a bishop I used to know. His habit was to gather his clergy together and lecture them on subjects they knew better than he, such as the "correct" way to take a funeral. He was adamant that a eulogy was NOT part of a funeral; if anyone gave a eulogy at his funeral he would come back to haunt them. For once I managed to keep my mouth shut; what I wanted to say was, "There is no danger of that, My Lord".
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    I often read novels which have this disclaimer at the start: "The author is English so spellings are in British English". It's insular and bigoted of me, but I'd like it to read: "The author is English so spellings are correct"!
  • We've come quite a way from differences in usage on the two sides of the pond, haven't we, guys/you chaps?
  • ¡Viva the Ship! (Long live the Ship!)
  • I hear fellow Canadians start most disputations with "well, .....".

    The "sorry" stereotype exists as as a speech thing, but anyone who actually lives in Canada will have watched or taken part in hockey fights, road rage, and other rather violent and aggressive activities will understand that it's got little to do anything behavioural.

    We do tend I think to be more outgoing re starting conversations with strangers than the average Englander in their native habitat, and perhaps less than the Americans who seem to start conversations with "how are you", which I doubt they actually care about.

    All of this said, outside of cities, I've found on walking tours that country people are always ready to have a talk for no reason with strangers, where ever they're from even when there's limited shared perspective on anything.
  • Here on the borers of London one can say 'Good morning' to strangers and in more than 50% of cases get no response whatever. In Liverpool, my wife's home town, it is impossiblle to walk down the street without getting involved with half-a-dozen conversations.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    edited September 2019
    We have just spent a week in New York. Many times a day people didn’t understand what we said due to our accent - and we had to repeat ourselves. (mild Northern English)

    Here where I live everyone chats, the bus ride home is full of chatting strangers. 🙂
  • Cowardice: ignoble timidity : fainthearted lack of courage; also : lack of resolution in the face of hostile sentiments of others. Nothing about killing defenseless people.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    Eirenist wrote: »
    Here on the borers of London .
    Are the inhabitants of London more boring than those of other cities?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Cowardice: ignoble timidity : fainthearted lack of courage; also : lack of resolution in the face of hostile sentiments of others. Nothing about killing defenceless people.
    So it's noble and brave is it to murder innocent and defenceless bystanders whom you know aren't going to fight back?

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Enoch wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Cowardice: ignoble timidity : fainthearted lack of courage; also : lack of resolution in the face of hostile sentiments of others. Nothing about killing defenceless people.
    So it's noble and brave is it to murder innocent and defenceless bystanders whom you know aren't going to fight back?

    Strange conclusion to draw from Mousethief's post which is about defining cowardice, not nobility or courage.

    I would hardly say that terrorism can be categorised as timidity.

    I dunno, somehow I'm hearing echoes of General Melchett - German spy - filthy Hun weasel waging his dirty underhand war - British spy - brave fellow, doing his bit for Blighty.
  • @KarlLB the first two words of @mousethief 's definition are " ignoble timidity". There's also not much courage involved in choosing as your people to attack those who will not fight back.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Enoch wrote: »
    @KarlLB the first two words of @mousethief 's definition are " ignoble timidity". There's also not much courage involved in choosing as your people to attack those who will not fight back.

    Indeed, but it's hardly timidity.

    To me, and in MT's definitions, cowardice means failing to do something because you are too afraid.
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