Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • I thought it was the Nike swoosh? TBH I've always associated "swish" with unpleasant terms for gay men.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 2021
    It is the Nike swoosh.

    Swish to me is the sound or motion of something moving through the air, or of a basketball going through the basket without touching the rim.

  • Swish is the sound that satin skirts make when the wearer walks.
  • And expensive curtains - it's the name of an curtain track here. Not sure if they used "it's very swish" as part of their advertising, but the meaning of being smart was already there. And probably came from onomatopoeia.
  • Reminds me of The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown (1941), a favourite children's bookof that era, recently back in print.
  • Dramatised on Children's Hour, with music, which sometimes resurfaces as an earworm.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited September 2021
    A new question. I can't remember whether the linguistic difference that underlies it has been aired on this thread. I rather think it has, but can't find it. So perhaps it hasn't. But this is really about the questions at the end. What has prompted this was a conversation elsewhere on the internet.

    A US usage that's odd to others and jars a bit is 'compensation' as a euphemism for wages. Everywhere else, as far as I know, 'compensate' and 'compensation' are about being recompensed, usually in money, for some loss or detriment one has suffered. It's also used of weights etc., what might be necessary to bring something back into balance or to make up for a distortion.

    The reason why using 'compensate' for 'pay wages/salary' jars is that in the more usual sense of compensation, your wages aren't reimbursing you for some detriment, as though your employer is recompensing you for the inconvenience of doing your job. The wages are the reason why you're working, the essential other half of the deal. So using 'compensation' in this way is diminishing the envelope of meaning for the word's normal use.

    So, my question is this. In US English, what word do you now normally use for 'compensation' for its basic meaning of what you might be paid to make up for some loss or detriment or a cost you have incurred?

    There are two supplementaries. First, if you are in the US, do you misunderstand the rest of us when we use 'compensate' and 'compensation' in that sense? Second, does anywhere else use 'compensation' as a euphemism for wages?


    Before anyone asks, in UK English, the only difference between wages and salary is that wages tend to be when you're paid weekly and salary when you're paid an annual amount divided into twelve monthly instalments.

  • Enoch wrote: »
    A US usage that's odd to others and jars a bit is 'compensation' as a euphemism for wages.

    It's not. Compensation refers to the whole package - not just salary, but benefits as well. In the US, where medical and dental insurance are often provided by your employer, and are very variable, a different benefit package can make a big difference to someone's total compensation.
  • It's not. Compensation refers to the whole package - not just salary, but benefits as well. In the US, where medical and dental insurance are often provided by your employer, and are very variable, a different benefit package can make a big difference to someone's total compensation.
    Ah. Those are 'benefits' here. They're classed as wages/salary and are subject to income tax. They don't fit within what 'compensation' means here.

  • I've never heard of compensation being used here as an alternative to wages or salary. Remuneration has always been an alternative and has become more common in recent years.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    So, my question is this. In US English, what word do you now normally use for 'compensation' for its basic meaning of what you might be paid to make up for some loss or detriment or a cost you have incurred?
    Compensation. We use the word in both senses, the common underlying meaning being to make someone whole, whether for loss or cost incurred or for work/time spent doing work for another.

    There are two supplementaries. First, if you are in the US, do you misunderstand the rest of us when we use 'compensate' and 'compensation' in that sense?
    Not at all.

    Before anyone asks, in UK English, the only difference between wages and salary is that wages tend to be when you're paid weekly and salary when you're paid an annual amount divided into twelve monthly instalments.
    In the US, the difference is that wages are an hourly rate, and what a person is paid will depend on how many hours they’ve worked. Salary is fixed rate not tied to hours worked.

    Enoch wrote: »
    It's not. Compensation refers to the whole package - not just salary, but benefits as well. In the US, where medical and dental insurance are often provided by your employer, and are very variable, a different benefit package can make a big difference to someone's total compensation.
    Ah. Those are 'benefits' here. They're classed as wages/salary and are subject to income tax. They don't fit within what 'compensation' means here.
    In and of themselves, they’re “benefits” here too. As @Leorning Cniht said, “compensation” would tend to be used for the whole package—salary/wages + benefits. Retirement or pension benefits may be called “deferred compensation.”

    Meanwhile, in my experience, “remuneration” is a word that only lawyers and maybe HR types would use here.

  • "Remuneration" also smacks of money--that is, money only, at least when I hear it--so would not do as a single word covering all the stuff your employment provides you with, some of which is taxable, and some of which is not. We don't really have a good word other than "compensation," though I agree it looks weird. But we understand and use both senses of the word just fine.

    As for the wages vs. salary thing, I don't think in the U.S. there's a clear-cut difference between hourly vs. annual. My own salary, for instance, is clearly just that (I don't get paid more if I work overtime), yet for most intents and purposes it is calculated as an hourly wage (which happens to add up over the year to the full salary amount). I'm pretty sure this has to do with calculating other stuff such as vacation days earned, which may vary depending on seniority and years with the organization. It may be tied up to taxes, too, in some way. I know that every time I have to help somebody fill out financial aid papers (of any sort), they want the family incomes in either an hourly, weekly, biweekly or monthly form. So writing, say, $45,000 a year is out. (Probably because then they have to do math...)
  • As for the wages vs. salary thing, I don't think in the U.S. there's a clear-cut difference between hourly vs. annual.

    My salary has a nominal hourly value, which my employer uses for its internal accounting when dealing with sick pay and vacations, but it's based on a nominal 2000-or-so hour working year.

    In no sense is it actually an hourly wage. I'm an exempt employee, so my employer is not required to pay me hourly, pay overtime, or any of those things. Hourly, non-exempt employees must be paid for every hour worked, must be paid overtime, and so on. Hourly workers cannot just volunteer to stay an extra half hour for free to finish something up - they must be paid for that time.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 2021
    As for the wages vs. salary thing, I don't think in the U.S. there's a clear-cut difference between hourly vs. annual.
    From a legal (Fair Labor Standards Act) standpoint, there is a clear-cut difference between salary and wages, but it’s not a distinction between whether the pay is calculated on on hourly vs annual basis per se; it’s a difference between whether the pay is earned and payable on an hourly basis for hours actually worked, or whether it’s payable on a periodic basis regardless of hours actually worked.

    An employee paid on a salaried basis is entitled to a set amount of pay for every pay period (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or annually). That can be reduced to an hourly rate of pay if necessary for some purposes, though doing so may involve assumptions of a 40-hour work week that might or might not reflect reality, as @Leorning Cniht notes. If I’m a salaried employee, I know now what my pay for the month of October will be—or at least the minimum of what it will be, as some salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay or to comp time if they work more than 40 hours in one week. And I know that I am entitled to that pay even if I take vacation or sick leave (assuming I have either) for the whole month and so do not work at all. At the same time, I won’t be paid more than the salary I’m entitled to even if I work 60-hour weeks all month (assuming I’m exempt from overtime requirements).

    An employee paid on a wage basis is entitled to a set amount of pay, such as minimum wage, for every hour actually worked. If I am a wage-earning employee, I cannot say now what my pay for any future pay period will be; that can only be determined after the relevant pay period is over, as I will only be paid for hours I actually worked. And again as Leorning Cniht notes, I must be paid (or when appropriate given comp time) for every hour worked.

    Of course, non-technical, colloquial usage may be less precise.

  • Obviously I was unclear. I meant that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody in speech reserves the terms "wages" for hourly jobs and "salary" for annual. Well, salary gets reserved. But "wages" seems to be used across the board, for all earnings.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 2021
    Obviously I was unclear. I meant that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody in speech reserves the terms "wages" for hourly jobs and "salary" for annual. Well, salary gets reserved. But "wages" seems to be used across the board, for all earnings.
    My experience is actually the other way around. “Salary” is sometimes used across the board, while “wages” isn't used too often at all, except when talking about the minimum wage, or the wages of sin. A regional difference perhaps?

  • I rather think "wages" gets used for technical shit, like filling out IRS papers, financial aid apps, and so on and so forth. Salary is more in speech--though really, most peeps I know just say "What do they pay?"
  • Yep, or “What is the pay?”

  • Salary is more in speech--though really, most peeps I know just say "What do they pay?"

    Or "paycheck"...

  • Or in Canada "paycheque".
  • Enoch wrote: »
    It's not. Compensation refers to the whole package - not just salary, but benefits as well. In the US, where medical and dental insurance are often provided by your employer, and are very variable, a different benefit package can make a big difference to someone's total compensation.
    Ah. Those are 'benefits' here. They're classed as wages/salary and are subject to income tax. They don't fit within what 'compensation' means here.

    The HR term for salary + benefits + any other gains from or as a result of your employment is the 'Total Reward Package'. You may or may not feel that this is better than the term 'compensation '.
  • In my place of employ it is the "total compensation package:.
  • The HR term for salary + benefits + any other gains from or as a result of your employment is the 'Total Reward Package'. You may or may not feel that this is better than the term 'compensation '.
    I agree that's not that much better, but it isn't quite so dramatically stealing the meaning of a word that (to me and I suspect most other people who speak the same dialect as I do) has a different semantic envelope in the way that 'compensation' does.

  • I'd call that a remuneration package or the total remuneration, because that's what I've seen most in that situation.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited September 2021
    "Reward" seems like an odd word to use for something you earn by the sweat of your brow, and are by any means entitled to. "Reward" sounds like something you get for finding someone's dog. It's a nice bonus, but you should return the dog anyway if you're a decent human being. I am not required to work at my job by dint of being a decent human being.
  • @mousethief I agree with you. That's why using 'compensation' this way sounds very weird and a significant misnomer unless you're used to hearing it.

  • I've always known it as the salary package.
  • Salary package is in fairly common use in Australia.
  • If your package gets a salary, you're a gigolo.

    I'll get my coat.
  • I thought this might amuse folk: https://youtu.be/AZs6LbPJUpY
  • I thought this might amuse folk: https://youtu.be/AZs6LbPJUpY

    That is delightful. She's very good. It's interesting how she stands stock still, while most comedians rock on their heels, or walk about, or fiddle with the microphone.

    What's her accent?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    South Shields. North east of England, not far from Newcastle.
  • mousethief wrote: »

    That is delightful. She's very good. It's interesting how she stands stock still, while most comedians rock on their heels, or walk about, or fiddle with the microphone.

    It's from a TV program where she was the host, rather than a recording of a stand up routine.

    That being said, she doesn't move around a lot during stand up either.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin
    edited November 2021
    There’s loads of her content on YouTube, though I should warn you she talks a lot about female sexuality in a way that would not be considered worksafe, and she occasionally uses the c word in the course of her routines.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited November 2021
    I'm not sure whether this is a Pond difference or a chronological one. The latest variant discovered in South Africa is the omicron one. That means there have been ten since the current delta one that haven't made the headlines. That isn't, though, what I'm asking about. It's how it's pronounced.

    The news reader yesterday evening (British but may not have heard the word before) called it the ommicron one with the emphasis on the first syllable, a subsidiary emphasis on the last, two short 'o's as in 'pom' and a short 'i' as in 'pit'. When I was taught the Greek alphabet many years ago, it was o-my-cron, with the first 'o' not much more than a 'ǝ', the emphasis on the middle syllable, pronounced 'my' as in the first person singular possessive and the last syllable a short 'i' as in 'pit'. I'm not sure I've heard the word used by anyone for decades.

    Checking the Pocket Oxford Dictionary I was given for Christmas in 1955, that gives the pronunciation I was taught and no other. The same seems to be the case in another dictionary from the 1970s.

    This seems to suggest there is a Pond difference. Which is it to you?

    Whichever is right in your dialect of English, I'm fairly certain neither bear much resemblance to how it would be in any version of Greek spoken now or at any time in the past!

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Glad the Theta one didn't really get going... But yes, we seem to be roaring through the alphabet at speed - what happens when we get to omega and it's still mutating? Move on to Runic?

    Anyway, when I did ancient Greek (not that long after the original speakers) it was oh-MIC-ron.
  • They could copy ‘Only Connect’ and use Egyptian hieroglyphs?

    “I’ve got the Eye of Horus variant.”

    I do remember reading about the Lambda variant, if only because so many people mistook it for ‘Lambada’ and thought it was a joke!
  • When I learned Greek, in Scotland, it was O-mi-cron.
  • This American (who never studied Greek and who learned the Greek alphabet as a fraternity pledge) has never heard o-MY-cron or o-MIC-ron, though in light of the etymology it would make sense, and would parallel o-MEH-ga. But I’ve always heard OM-i-cron; that’s the standard American pronunciation.

  • My greek alphabet all comes from math. I had one lecturer who insisted on pronouncing the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle as "pee", which might well be a more correct Greek pronunciation, but would be a complete disaster in a room full of 9-year-old boys.
  • I'm left wondering which dialect of English has 'homour' rather than 'humour' or 'humor'.

    Tartare sauce is for use with fish. It may go with other things but it makes the Baby Jesus cry.
    :naughty: Tangent:
    What is wrong with making Baby Jesus cry? I don't recall anything about Jesus crying ever.
    /Tangent

    Lazarus.
  • "oh-mih-cron" (learnt at college in California)
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    I'm left wondering which dialect of English has 'homour' rather than 'humour' or 'humor'.

    Tartare sauce is for use with fish. It may go with other things but it makes the Baby Jesus cry.
    :naughty: Tangent:
    What is wrong with making Baby Jesus cry? I don't recall anything about Jesus crying ever.
    /Tangent

    Lazarus.

    I think this ended up on the wrong thread.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited November 2021
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    I'm left wondering which dialect of English has 'homour' rather than 'humour' or 'humor'.

    Tartare sauce is for use with fish. It may go with other things but it makes the Baby Jesus cry.
    :naughty: Tangent:
    What is wrong with making Baby Jesus cry? I don't recall anything about Jesus crying ever.
    /Tangent

    Lazarus.

    I think this ended up on the wrong thread.

    It was a perfectly apposite response to "I don't recall anything about Jesus crying".

    "Jesus wept" is well known to be the shortest verse in the (English) Bible.

    Jesus is weeping in response to the death of Lazarus.

    (But of course, you know that, and were making a comment about the Baby Jesus thread, and I'm being dense this morning.)
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    What does ‘I guess’ mean.

    The context I heard it in watered down their comment considerably!

    “I’m really sorry to hear that, I guess.”

    It seems to qualify their words with ‘sort of’ or ‘probably’ or ‘If I believe you’. 🤔
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited December 2021
    Yes, you’ve basically got it right, though I don’t really recognize the sense of “if I believe you.” It generally means “I suppose,” or perhaps “probably.” A Southern American variation that I heard a lot as a child and still hear some (and say myself, having heard it often from my father) is “I reckon.”

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited December 2021
    Yebbut, re-rendered as 'I'm probably really sorry to hear that' sounds just about the most insincere platitude achievable. 'I know I'm supposed to pretend to identify with your predicament but I really couldn't care less'.

  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    It certainly sounded insincere to me. But this is a friend of mine, so I don’t think she meant it that way.

    So I thought maybe it’s just a US saying, so well used as to be given no thought. 🤔
  • To be honest, it surprised me a bit to hear of it being used with “I’m really sorry to hear that.” It would make sense to me if used in a speculative sense:

    “How would you feel if _____?”
    “Well, I guess I’d be really sorry.”

    But “I’m really sorry to hear that, I guess” is a very odd use of “I guess.” at least to my ears. Maybe it was one of those cases where she didn’t know what to say, so something not really appropriate came out?

  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    Could be. 🤔
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