Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • Eirenist wrote: »
    I once wrote a children's book published in the UK. Thee rights were sold to an American publisher, who insisted on all British terms such as 'torch' (flashlight) being translated. No surprise if Britishisms are misunderstood in the US.

    For a children's book, though, that doesn't surprise me at all. Do American children's books get published in the UK with American words/phrasing/spellings? I would hope publishers would be kinder to children than that!
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Marsupial wrote: »
    I think most North American hotels have kettles . . .
    Though we wouldn’t call them “kettles.” Almost all hotels I’ve been in over the last 20+ years have small coffee makers. Of course, you can just run water through them without coffee, so as to heat water for tea.
    . . . but definitely not “phials”. Vials, maybe. :smile:
    Probably packets, really.

    I remember when I was briefly in the UK, the place I stayed had little packets for coffee/tea that had milk and sugar, and they were shaped sort of like a little straw. Is that what you call a "phial"? Would you call a flat, square shape a phial?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Same here about not hearing "ginger" to refer to redheads until Harry Potter.

    Agree with thoughts about water temperature -- black tea wants water "just off the boil."

    I have never heard "tallboy" or "highboy".

    A "press" is something that prints, or a machine in a factory that operates by pressing.

    Another word that I never heard until the SOF is "mangle". Also "hob", "boiler" used to mean device that heats a building, or "tip" for a receptacle for trash (rubbish?).

    Here in Michigan, I've only heard of "highboys" as a tall, small table that people stand around rather than sit - the kind at receptions that allow you to set your drink down.

    Do you mean "mangle" as in the laundry device? I heard of one of those from a guy in California, but I'm pretty sure they just don't come up much in conversation anymore. Who has them?

    I'm also curious what was meant by "press" in that Irish nurse's residence. I can't quite figure it out from the context. In addition to MT's meanings, I would add that "the press" is, of course, a term for print journalism, since they use presses. (You used to have a "press release" when you wanted to publicize something; now it's a "news release" to include broadcast & online media.)
  • churchgeek wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Same here about not hearing "ginger" to refer to redheads until Harry Potter.

    Agree with thoughts about water temperature -- black tea wants water "just off the boil."

    I have never heard "tallboy" or "highboy".

    A "press" is something that prints, or a machine in a factory that operates by pressing.

    Another word that I never heard until the SOF is "mangle". Also "hob", "boiler" used to mean device that heats a building, or "tip" for a receptacle for trash (rubbish?).
    I'm also curious what was meant by "press" in that Irish nurse's residence. I can't quite figure it out from the context. In addition to MT's meanings, I would add that "the press" is, of course, a term for print journalism, since they use presses. (You used to have a "press release" when you wanted to publicize something; now it's a "news release" to include broadcast & online media.)
    I've also heard "press" used as a verb to mean iron clothing, as in "I need to press these shirts." Though now that I think of it, it's been a while since I heard that usage.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I've also heard "press" used as a verb to mean iron clothing, as in "I need to press these shirts." Though now that I think of it, it's been a while since I heard that usage.
    Perhaps because nobody irons anymore, and those who do, don't talk about it?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    A press is another word for a cupboard.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    So ironing/pressing clothes is now like the movie "Fight Club"? "The first rule of ironing is that you don't talk about ironing." ;)

    And "press" was interchangeable with "iron" when I was growing up.
  • US children's books published in the UK usually have spellings changed to British usage, but not, so far as I know the words.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    We didn't have a mangle (in the far-off pre-industrial days of my childhood), we had a wringer. You put shirts or blouses through it and the buttons would fly off like shrapnel.

    And I remember washboards used for actually washing clothes, and not just as percussion in a skiffle group. Remember skiffle?
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Did he also hate opera?
    No. In fact, that's where we met.


  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Golden Key wrote: »
    And "press" was interchangeable with "iron" when I was growing up.
    As a noun, or as a verb? (It was -and is - interchangeable as a verb for me.)
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    So ironing/pressing clothes is now like the movie "Fight Club"? "The first rule of ironing is that you don't talk about ironing." ;)

    No, it’s Iron Man....!

    I think spellings are usually changed for children’s books in the UK. I grew up on Little Women (which in the UK is published as two books, Little Women and Good Wives). I started with a simplified version which stripped out a lot of details the editors presumably thought would be incomprehensible to 1970s children in the UK. When I was old enough to read my mother’s version that she had kept from childhood, I got quite annoyed at how much had been left out. I don’t remember US spellings in either version, though.

    By contrast, another favourite was the book ‘Freaky Friday’ which was the basis for the film. The narrator’s voice was smart, funny and very American, in a style now familiar from dozens of TV programmes, but completely new to me then. It didn’t matter that I had never heard of Willa Cather, PF Fliers, ‘Romper Room’ or a dozen other references. I lapped it all up.
  • churchgeek wrote: »
    Here in Michigan, I've only heard of "highboys" as a tall, small table that people stand around rather than sit - the kind at receptions that allow you to set your drink down.
    Around here (Arizona) that type of table is a "high top."
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    BroJames--

    Verb. But I'm also aware of the noun use "steam press". I think I saw it in movies/TV: a gadget that might be used at a dry cleaner's, where pants/trousers would be put in at full length, a lid would be lowered, and the pants would be steamed, and pressed by weight. Much smaller versions are now available to use at home.


    Gill--

    ROTFL re "Iron Man"! :)
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Talking of spelling being altered, I have several of the Philippa Gregory Cousins' War books, some of which have American spelling, some British, and I confess that reading a book about English history with American spelling in it feels Just Wrong.
  • I haven't looked all through this thread but had an interesting conversation with a German the other day.We were standing on the 'pavement' at the side of a bus/coach and looking down at the stone of the pavement,he said 'Ah,these are 'flagstones'.I said'yes each individual part is indeed a 'flagstone' but putting them all together they make the 'pavement'.

    'Oh,no,, he said ,the pavement is out there on the road'. Talking later with a translator of American literature she said that 'pavement' is indeed the word for the road surface in the USA.

    Some people here may have heard of the word 'pavement' being used for a tiled floor in certain parts of Anglican churches.

    BTW just like Firenze a 'press' for me can mean a cupboard without great depth.
  • @Forthview I don't think I'd have the temerity to tell a first language German speaker that a German word mean what I said it did, rather than what he or she said it did!.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    'Oh,no,, he said ,the pavement is out there on the road'. Talking later with a translator of American literature she said that 'pavement' is indeed the word for the road surface in the USA.

    Oh yes. When my eldest was small, I told her that she could ride her bike around, but that she had to stay on the pavement. The neighbors were horrified at the idea that I'd just sent such a small child off to play in the road.

    So now I just don't use the word pavement at all.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    Some people here may have heard of the word 'pavement' being used for a tiled floor in certain parts of Anglican churches.

    Or even elsewhere:
    When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. (John 19:13 NRSV)

  • Forthview wrote: »
    Talking later with a translator of American literature she said that 'pavement' is indeed the word for the road surface in the USA.
    The road surface or a sidewalk.
  • Enoch we were talking in English about words in English.Perhaps I shouldn't have said that the other person in the conversation was German as it didn't really play any great part in the conversation. But just to add something, my second interlocutor who was the translator was French. No worries about the German, however, as I am a first language Austrian German speaker.
  • Do you have tarmac? This is pavement on a non-roadway made of what we used to call macadam. Made of tar and gravel and pressed and squished down to make a road.
  • Do you have tarmac? This is pavement on a non-roadway made of what we used to call macadam. Made of tar and gravel and pressed and squished down to make a road.

    Asphalt? We don’t use the word tarmac, at least in my part of Merika. I recently came across tarmac in a translated book and assumed in meant asphalt.

  • ECraigR wrote: »
    Do you have tarmac? This is pavement on a non-roadway made of what we used to call macadam. Made of tar and gravel and pressed and squished down to make a road.

    Asphalt? We don’t use the word tarmac, at least in my part of Merika.
    Except when we speak of “the tarmac,” meaning the ramp or apron of an airport.
  • "Tarmac" is quite often used here to mean the standard hard black road surface material, often a combination in some way of asphalt and small stones and then rolled. It's used both for carriageways and pavements/US usage (I think) sidewalks.

    In my childhood, there was an intermediate variety, where it looks as though the tar had been laid first, the stones laid over it and then rolled into it, so that the surface looked a sort of brown colour from all the little stones, but that seems to have died out. As it was usually only found on side roads, it may have been cheaper to lay.
  • IMHO that is the cheap variety, also known as "this here road's been here 150 years and we're not digging it up to do it right." AKA my (historic) neighborhood. Basically they put some oily tarry stuff down, drop a load of little gravelly stuff rolled in oil on top, spread it, and leave our cars to do the rest. Which means that if you drive at any speed at all, you get tar on your car...
  • IMHO that is the cheap variety, also known as "this here road's been here 150 years and we're not digging it up to do it right." AKA my (historic) neighborhood. Basically they put some oily tarry stuff down, drop a load of little gravelly stuff rolled in oil on top, spread it, and leave our cars to do the rest. Which means that if you drive at any speed at all, you get tar on your car...
    @Lamb Chopped I think you may be describing a process called 'top-dressing' which has to be done in hot sunny weather.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited September 2019
    It’s done in any dry weather in this part of the UK as a cheap way of renewing a road surface. The alternative is to plane off the existing surface and lay new.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Not all pavements are paved these days. City centre and principal streets may run to flagstones - or, more likely, concrete slabs not proper stone. In the very historic bits - particularly the New Town - the road surface is setts, a kind of rectangular cobble. Bumpy enough in a bus, God only knows what it was like in a horse-drawn vehicle.

    I am a close observer of walking surfaces these days, having come a few purlers on uneven surfaces or raised gratings.
  • What is a purler?

    I had forgotten the word "ashphalt" which is how it is said when it said.

    Here a "flagstone" means something large, probably at least 15 or 18" on a side, usually square. A "paving stone" is smaller thing. We don't have cobblestone streets or paths. Probably because they cannot be shovelled of snow very well. Which speaking of, we have snow blowers, not snow throwers.
  • “Press” meaning to iron is quite old down here but was generally reserved for heavier fabrics like my school uniform serge tunic, or trousers. Lighter fabrics were ironed.

    The word was also used in school classrooms. The large cupboard which held powder to make ink for inkwells, blackboard erasers, boxes of new nibs for our pens to be used with said inkwells, replacement exercise books which at that time were supplied by Education Dept., all were kept in the class room press, along with anything else which could be squeezed in.

    Of course, even to younger adult Aussies, all this will sound like ancient history. I am speaking of 1950s.
  • Re. Pavement: In these parts it's anything that's paved. Not the road, but the substance thereof. The road is made of pavement, the sidewalk is made of pavement, many trails in public parts are made of pavement. Pavement is made generally of either concrete, asphalt, or tar macadam. Speaking of which....
    ECraigR wrote: »
    Do you have tarmac? This is pavement on a non-roadway made of what we used to call macadam. Made of tar and gravel and pressed and squished down to make a road.

    Asphalt? We don’t use the word tarmac, at least in my part of Merika. I recently came across tarmac in a translated book and assumed in meant asphalt.

    No, asphalt is something entirely different. Asphalt is a hot mixture of something tar-like, and rocks and such. It is spilt into place and then rolled flat with what used to be called a steamroller.

    Tarmac is where you lay down gravel then pour a (gravel-free, sand-free) tar-like substance over it.
    IMHO that is the cheap variety, also known as "this here road's been here 150 years and we're not digging it up to do it right." AKA my (historic) neighborhood. Basically they put some oily tarry stuff down, drop a load of little gravelly stuff rolled in oil on top, spread it, and leave our cars to do the rest. Which means that if you drive at any speed at all, you get tar on your car...

    No seal on top? If done properly they should place what's called a "Fog seal" on top.
  • I tell you, the only thing getting sealed is the tar. To my car's paint job. There are bits of gravel in the stuff, flying every which way as you roll over them. It looks rather like the stuff they shovel into potholes, only much more thinly spread.
    I heard the explanation (that we don't have a "real" road with a proper underlayer) from a neighbor who's been here for years. When they feel the need, they just throw more crap on top. Pretty loose, especially where wheels rarely go.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Enoch wrote: »
    "Tarmac" is quite often used here to mean the standard hard black road surface material, often a combination in some way of asphalt and small stones and then rolled. It's used both for carriageways and pavements/US usage (I think) sidewalks.

    In my childhood, there was an intermediate variety, where it looks as though the tar had been laid first, the stones laid over it and then rolled into it, so that the surface looked a sort of brown colour from all the little stones, but that seems to have died out. As it was usually only found on side roads, it may have been cheaper to lay.

    Colloquially the tar and chippings variety of road covering was referred to where I grew up as "grit and shit." Generally a cost effective (cheap and nasty) way of resurfacing minor roads. Tarmac was generally used to refer to asphalt as it usually arrived in steaming in four axle lorries with TARMAC written on the side. I guess we were none to swift on the niceties in my neck of the woods.

    Some Americans have great difficulty with my fairly mild Yorkshire accent, others have none at all. I can usually get away with Britishisms, but when I forget and slip in a Yorkshire-ism that can cause problems. That said, I occasionally do it deliberately - like my old rector's lapses into Afrikaans - to stop everyone talking at once in a meeting. Most Americans tell me that when my mother and I are deep in conversation it is almost incomprehensible to them. I guess we must slip back into a stronger accent/dialect when talking to each other.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Forthview wrote: »
    Talking later with a translator of American literature she said that 'pavement' is indeed the word for the road surface in the USA.
    The road surface or a sidewalk.

    As it may be here, but more commonly for the latter (but then sidewalk is not used here).
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    ...I had forgotten the word "ashphalt" which is how it is said when it said. ...
    It's not said that way anywhere I've ever lived.

  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    I think I've heard "ashphalt" on TV occasionally. Maybe as a New York or New Jersey sort of pronunciation?

    (Yes, I know not everyone in NY and NJ speaks the same way!)
  • edited September 2019
    Golden Key wrote: »
    I think I've heard "ashphalt" on TV occasionally. Maybe as a New York or New Jersey sort of pronunciation?

    (Yes, I know not everyone in NY and NJ speaks the same way!)

    No idea about those places. It's how I hear it said in Saskatchewan, the psychedelic centre of the universe.
  • Ain't said that way in the PNW.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    I think I've heard "ashphalt" on TV occasionally. Maybe as a New York or New Jersey sort of pronunciation?

    I've lived in New York (city and upstate) as well as New Jersey -- that pronunciation is new to me.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    Ok, I did a little searching on "asphalt pronounced ashphalt". Here's one thing I found, on a Talk page of Wikipedia:
    "Ashphalt"

    I heard this pronounciation in the rather marvellous Up Against the Wall, by The Tom Robinson Band. Our article has an uncited "occasionally /ˈæʃfɔːlt/)". Given the word's origins, it seems odd that it should be pronounced that way. Is it "occasional" or "incorrect"? --Dweller (talk) 09:58, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

    That pronunciation is common in Canadian English: "Many Canadians pronounce asphalt as "ash-falt" /ˈæʃfɒlt/. This pronunciation is also common in Australian English, but not in General American English or British English." I suppose a British punk band could pronounce it the same way if they picked it up from the colonies.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 20:19, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Ashforlt is the pronunciation here.
  • I was always pulled up ifI said the first syllable as “ash.” “asfalt” with a short a as in “sat. “
  • Ash is a common pronunciation here, when the word is used at all, which is rarely. I suspect it's a spelling pronunciation caused by seeing the H and subconsciously attaching it to the S as well as the P.

    We generally refer to anything black or grey which clearly isn't concrete or gravel used on a road or driveway as tarmac.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    What is a purler?

    'A headlong fall'.

    The dictionary annotates it as British colloquial - which it is. But there must be other terms? It's the kind of event that attracts colourful descriptions?
  • Head over arse.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    Header.
  • Then the more descriptive “arse over tit.”
  • 'A over T'.

    As for asphalt, I've never thought about the pronunciation before but I think over here it usually comes out as something like 'azffelt'.
  • We used to say 'arse over tip', maybe a euphemism for 'tit'.
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