Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


American Cultural oddities

Bert 17 Apr 98 - 02:33 PM
Roger Himler 17 Apr 98 - 07:02 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 17 Apr 98 - 08:18 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 19 Apr 98 - 08:26 PM
Bruce O. 19 Apr 98 - 10:28 PM
Alan of Australia 20 Apr 98 - 12:31 AM
Joe Offer 20 Apr 98 - 12:43 AM
Alan of Australia 20 Apr 98 - 01:03 AM
20 Apr 98 - 06:48 AM
Dani 20 Apr 98 - 08:00 AM
aldus 20 Apr 98 - 08:06 AM
Bruce O. 20 Apr 98 - 09:40 AM
aldus 20 Apr 98 - 09:50 AM
Earl 20 Apr 98 - 09:50 AM
Alice 20 Apr 98 - 11:10 AM
Whippoorwill 20 Apr 98 - 11:29 AM
Jon W. 20 Apr 98 - 11:42 AM
aldus 20 Apr 98 - 12:04 PM
Bruce O. 20 Apr 98 - 12:26 PM
steve t 20 Apr 98 - 12:32 PM
Alice 20 Apr 98 - 01:00 PM
Bruce O. 20 Apr 98 - 06:04 PM
Bill in Alabama 20 Apr 98 - 06:28 PM
Jon W. 20 Apr 98 - 06:49 PM
Earl 20 Apr 98 - 06:49 PM
Bruce O. 20 Apr 98 - 08:14 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Apr 98 - 08:32 PM
Bruce O. 20 Apr 98 - 09:30 PM
Pete M 20 Apr 98 - 10:15 PM
Bruce O. 20 Apr 98 - 11:34 PM
Frank in the swamps 21 Apr 98 - 06:48 AM
21 Apr 98 - 07:40 AM
Alan of Australia 21 Apr 98 - 07:48 AM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 08:52 AM
Alan of Australia 21 Apr 98 - 09:00 AM
steve t 21 Apr 98 - 09:35 AM
Alan of Australia 21 Apr 98 - 09:39 AM
Bert 21 Apr 98 - 09:44 AM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 01:24 PM
aldus 21 Apr 98 - 01:53 PM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 01:57 PM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 02:17 PM
Bill D 21 Apr 98 - 04:48 PM
Bob Bolton 21 Apr 98 - 07:25 PM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 07:35 PM
Joe Offer 21 Apr 98 - 07:48 PM
Bob Bolton 21 Apr 98 - 08:16 PM
Pete M 21 Apr 98 - 08:24 PM
Joe Offer 21 Apr 98 - 09:00 PM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 09:23 PM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 09:30 PM
Pete M 21 Apr 98 - 10:38 PM
Alan of Australia 22 Apr 98 - 04:07 AM
Bert 22 Apr 98 - 10:17 AM
Bob Bolton 22 Apr 98 - 07:40 PM
Sir 23 Apr 98 - 09:43 PM
alison 23 Apr 98 - 11:00 PM
Bob Bolton 24 Apr 98 - 12:01 AM
Barry Finn 24 Apr 98 - 10:09 AM
Jon W. 24 Apr 98 - 11:02 AM
Bruce O. 24 Apr 98 - 11:42 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 25 Apr 98 - 04:08 PM
Ted from Australia 26 Apr 98 - 02:57 AM
Barbara 26 Apr 98 - 06:26 PM
Alan of Australia 27 Apr 98 - 04:37 AM
Alan of Australia 27 Apr 98 - 05:14 AM
judy 27 Apr 98 - 01:41 PM
judy 27 Apr 98 - 02:08 PM
Bruce O. 27 Apr 98 - 02:21 PM
Bob Bolton 27 Apr 98 - 06:53 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 27 Apr 98 - 06:58 PM
Bruce O. 27 Apr 98 - 07:07 PM
Whippoorwill 28 Apr 98 - 10:44 AM
Bill D 30 Apr 98 - 04:28 PM
Dani 02 May 98 - 07:14 PM
Jerry Friedman 02 May 98 - 07:18 PM
Will 02 May 98 - 09:58 PM
Barry Finn 02 May 98 - 11:37 PM
RS 03 May 98 - 01:46 AM
Frank in the swamps 03 May 98 - 05:46 AM
judy 03 May 98 - 11:30 AM
Bob Bolton 03 May 98 - 06:49 PM
Alice 04 May 98 - 01:23 AM
steve t 04 May 98 - 06:53 AM
Bill D 04 May 98 - 11:55 AM
Joe Offer 05 May 98 - 04:32 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 05 May 98 - 07:22 PM
Bill D 05 May 98 - 07:26 PM
rich r 05 May 98 - 10:41 PM
Joe Offer 06 May 98 - 02:54 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 06 May 98 - 07:54 PM
Bob Bolton 06 May 98 - 10:11 PM
judy 06 May 98 - 11:14 PM
Bert 07 May 98 - 10:43 AM
Joe Offer 08 May 98 - 03:13 AM
judy 08 May 98 - 01:20 PM
Alice 08 May 98 - 02:46 PM
Bert 08 May 98 - 02:57 PM
Bob Schwarer 08 May 98 - 03:32 PM
Barry Finn 08 May 98 - 10:34 PM
09 May 98 - 11:18 AM
Bob Schwarer 09 May 98 - 11:58 AM
Bill D 09 May 98 - 12:16 PM
judy 12 May 98 - 01:43 AM
Debbie 12 May 98 - 07:00 AM
Ted from Australia 12 May 98 - 09:14 AM
Bill D 12 May 98 - 11:49 AM
Bert 12 May 98 - 02:57 PM
Pete M 12 May 98 - 04:52 PM
Bert 12 May 98 - 05:03 PM
Earl 12 May 98 - 05:17 PM
Roger Himler 12 May 98 - 05:55 PM
steve t 13 May 98 - 03:41 AM
Allan C. 13 May 98 - 01:23 PM
Earl 13 May 98 - 01:54 PM
Bob Bolton 13 May 98 - 06:50 PM
Art Thieme 14 May 98 - 12:58 AM
Ted from Australia 15 Nov 98 - 05:18 PM
Paula Chavez 16 Nov 98 - 01:31 PM
Sir 18 Nov 98 - 09:29 AM
Ralph Butts 18 Nov 98 - 09:41 AM
Greg Baker 19 Nov 98 - 09:28 AM
McMusic 19 Nov 98 - 11:02 PM
McMusic 19 Nov 98 - 11:07 PM
GUEST,Jayto 29 Jul 10 - 10:08 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: American Cultural oddities
From: Bert
Date: 17 Apr 98 - 02:33 PM

As an ex Limey who's now an American I find these things twice as amusing. F'rinstance

Indians, Aren't Indian
Buffalo Aren't buffalo they're Bison
Black eyed Peas are Beans
Lightning Bugs are beetles (If you call them Fireflies they're not flies either"
Bald Eagles Aren't bald
Antelopes are pronghorn...........


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Roger Himler
Date: 17 Apr 98 - 07:02 PM

Josh White Jr. sings a song (actually recites over music) about the oddities of the English language. For example, why do we drive on a parkway and park in a drive way? If the plural of mouse is mice, why isn't the plural of house, hice?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 17 Apr 98 - 08:18 PM

There is an old story of a zoologist who wanted to study the mongoose. He wanted two of them but didn't know whether to say mongooses or mongeese.

The letter he finally wrote to order them was

Dear Sir, Please send me a mongoose. While you are at it please send me another one.

Murray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 19 Apr 98 - 08:26 PM

And hamburgers aren't ham . . .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Apr 98 - 10:28 PM

American cars don't sport bonnets. American women have periods. Do they have full stops in UK?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 12:31 AM

G'day,
The magazine "Australian Women's Weekly" has been published monthly for a few years now due to economic constraints. They decided not to change the name to "The Women's Monthly" or "Women's Periodical".............

Only our sentences have full stops.

Date format: what is the logic in having the medium sized unit first, followed by the smallest then the largest??????? We work logically from smallest to largest. Digital watches made in Japan have the American format - very annoying, at least Microsoft gives us a choice!

American cars don't have mudguards or boots either do they? Nor do they run on petrol?

It seems odd to call autumn "fall". Especially here where nothing actually does. Our trees live all year round.

Cheers,
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 12:43 AM

I take it you're metric now, Alan, but how long ago was it that Australia went metric? What system did you have before?
How about coinage? I know you're on a decimal system now, but how long has that been, and what was your system before?
Besides all that, how did you come up with the size for the sheet of paper you sent me? Helen says it doesn't come out even in either meters or inches. It makes about as little sense as our standard 8-1/2 by 11 inches. By the way, until not too long ago, we U.S. Government workers had a different standard for paper - I think it was 8-1/2 by 10-1/2, just enough to cause confusion.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 01:03 AM

G'day Joe,
You'll find an answer to the paper size question in the 10x faster thread (which I hadn't seen for a few days - haven't been able to connect).

We went metric in the early 70s, before that we used the Imperial system which is almost the same as yours except for minor differences such as the size of the ton.

We changed to dollars & cents on 14/2/1966, leaving behind the old pounds, shillings & pence, and in the process lost some good slang.

And by the way that should be "metre"!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers,
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From:
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 06:48 AM

In the US it's meter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Dani
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 08:00 AM

Our boots ARE our mudguards, and don't go calling them rubbers!

Dani


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: aldus
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 08:06 AM

In Canada "ton" is tonne. I find the American pronounciation of "zed" as "zee" extremely odd. Also, when did an entre get to be a main course. I would not call these "cultural" oddities, plain oddities will do.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 09:40 AM

Do Americans have a culture? What's that? We don't have such rigid classes. A young Scotswoman emigrated to the US and decided to get into Scottish Country Dancing. She had been in the servant class in Scotland. They had a difficult time teaching her not to stand rigid and look only at her feet, she was supposed to watch the other dancers, to see what the immediate situations was, not to just listen for orders.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: aldus
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 09:50 AM

You don"t have such rigid classes in America ? I would not suggest that theory to a person of colour. Every society has classes, where we differ is in what we base thses distinctions on..in America it is colour.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Earl
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 09:50 AM

In keeping with the earlier theme, do Canadian women use sanitary serviettes?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alice
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 11:10 AM

The US is so large, that every state and sometimes county or city within a state has its own culture and dialect. There is a website called "slanguage" where people can post the particular curious sayings of their city. I have friends who are an elderly couple from England. They have visited Montana several times, and questioned me about why we say things "wrong" (of course their way is the correct way ;-) ... in particular the difference between a robin and a thrush. I also went shopping with the lady, and she was quite amused when I called a waistcoat a vest. The states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, the Dakotas, Oregon, and Washington, have a relatively similar American dialect, which is similar to the Canadian provinces north of us (eh). The actor Gary Cooper was born in Helena (where I was raised) and his speech was like the average farm, ranch, small town Montanan. Yup. Nope. Television and the migration north of Californians has changed our speech somewhat, but a small town or ranch person still speaks like Gary Cooper. (Like my Uncle Gene McConnell, who lives in the woods and still "rolls his own". ) Here we call a ditch that is along a road a "barrow pit" and at the turn of the century, cowboys would describe something that was good as "boss" or "out of sight". Those two phrases re-surfaced in the surfer/beach boy era. I'd love to add more, but it's Monday.... better get back to work.
alice


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Whippoorwill
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 11:29 AM

In the midwest we call them "borrow pits." Usually they're man-made ponds or lakes where dirt was "borrowed" to use as fill for a new roadway. When I was little I could never understand why they called it borrowing if they weren't going to put it back. Come to think of it, I still don't understand.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Jon W.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 11:42 AM

I live in Utah now but grew up mostly in Colorado (pre-teen) and California (teen years) and never heard of a 'barrow' or 'borrow' pit until I moved to Utah. But the explanation I heard matches Whippoorwill's so I suppose the spelling should match his too...Isn't "barrow" a form of ancient tomb?

By the way, in my tiny Colorado town in the 60's many of the men still rolled their own tobacco cigarettes. In California in the 70's the only people who rolled their own weren't filling them with tobacco.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: aldus
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 12:04 PM

Yes, Canadian women use sanity serviettes, so do Canadian men. We are very sanitary people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 12:26 PM

Back to trivia. I was working at NIST this morning, so went over the see the US secondary standard of length, which was about 250' away. It was the primary standard from 1889 to 1960, when it was replaced by the wavelength of an Argon emission line (now obsolete, too, but not offically replaced yet). The sign say 'meter' (not 'metre') bar. It came from near Paris, International Bureau of Weights and Measures (its mame in English) and was probably a metre bar until it got to the US.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: steve t
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 12:32 PM

Good answer, Aldus.

With respect to measurements, we've got it very strange in Canada. Most people I know think of things in a mish-mash of metric and imperial. Cars travel about in kilometers per hour but their fuel economy is often thought of in miles per imperial gallon (4.54 L). You compare meat prices in dollars per killogram, but often buy it by the pound. Paint is usually sold by the litre but construction matirials are sold by the pound or foot. And milk comes in one and a third litre bags :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alice
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 01:00 PM

Whippoorwill and Jon, Now you've got me wonderin'. I always heard my dad and everyone else pronounce barrow pit like "wheelbarrow". Any etymologists out there with time to track down barrow pit vs. borrow pit? Barrow, as you mention, has one root meaning of being a burial mound, but it also has a root meaning of 'to carry', as in wheelbarrow. In mining, a barrow is a heap of accumulated rubbish, or refuse without valuable ore. Could it be from mining? A pit to throw refuse and waste?
alice


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 06:04 PM

Governments often dowdle. The US started in the 1970, and for reasons I'll never understand, decided to drop their target date and put the whole thing in limbo. This was after many gasoline filling stations already had metric pumps in use (and subsequently abandoned). I know of several scientists at NRC Canada that were leaders in new technology of time and length measurements. They had a better caesium clock (so did GB) than us Americans. But an American got the Nobel last year for laser cooling of atoms, so one can get emission lines with practically zero doppler broadened line widths, which will lead to abandonment of the caesium clock as the standard. Length is already defined by time. The proportionality constant is the speed of light in a vacuum (299792458 kilometers per second).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 06:28 PM

Alice: It's quite likely that "Borrow Pit" is an example of two linguistic processes: folk etymology and functional shift. In the first process, an unfamiliar word is given a new pronunciation and a manufactured etymology through analogy with a more familiar word. It is logical to assume that, if a pile of earth or slag is a barrow, then a pit from which material was taken in the creation of the barrow would be a barrow pit. A person unfamiliar with the use of Barrow to refer to a such a mound, however, would assume that he was hearing the more familiar word Borrow, and would give the verb a noun use (functional shift) and an etymology which explained the term "borrow pit." This is not the most common manner of word formation, but it's not that unusual, either. I would bet that the original term was, indeed, "Barrow Pit."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Jon W.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 06:49 PM

The metric gas pumps arose more from the fact that gasoline went to over $1.00 a gallon and rather than replace their pumps (which would only allow a double-digit price) the owners retrofitted them to dispense in liters. I remember the word "gallon" being covered with a sticker that said "liter". As the pumps were wore out and were replaced they went back to gallons, but with a three-digit price capability. I guess the government finally gave up on pushing the metric system because we the people just plain wouldn't adapt to it. Most of us concede that it's superior but we (excluding me, of course) don't have a good enough grasp of how long a meter is, how much a kilogram weighs, and how big a liter is. The advent of two-liter pop bottles has probably done as much to promote the metric system as anything the US government did for the previous thirty years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Earl
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 06:49 PM

I always thought that one reason the metric system didn't catch on in America is the the other system (whatever its called) is so much a part of the language. Also, the general feeling that with government, if you give them a centimeter they'll take a kilometer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 08:14 PM

There's a lot of resistance to metric. Getting used to a new system is always traumatic for some. Some industry has difficulties, too, but surprisingly to some is that other industries already do everything in metric, and covert results back to English for their advertising and PR. Even I who have been using metric since about 1950 can't make fast conversion of galons to liters. Length I can do easily if you don't need much accuracy. (legally and scientifically exact- 1 inch = 2.54 cm). Weight I can only remember approximately 2.2 pound per kilogram. My scientific calculator had the conversions stored in them, but it went caput, and I haven't tracked down who now sells it retail in my area, and my 'math' one doesn't have them. Someplace on my hard disk I've got them stored along with the latest CODATA values of all the fundamental constant of physics, but I haven't used them for years, and don't know where I put them. And even if I get a laptop I'm not likely to carry it around when I go shopping.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 08:32 PM

G'day all,

Paper size: I notice that Alan of Australia refers the question of paper formats to "the 10x faster thread" - this I have not seen but the Internation Paper sizes are relentlessly metric and exquisitely mathematical.

The base size is A0, which is a sheet of one square metre with the sides in ration of 1:root 2 (~1.4142). This gives a sheet about 1.188 m x 840 mm. Because the ratio is 1: root 2, whenever the sheet is halved, the ratio (the shape of the sheet) remains the same and the area is divided by 2. the fourth division is called A4 and (at 210 mm x 297 mm)is the handiest size for correspondence.

When introduced in Australia, A4 replaced both Quarto (8 1/8" x 10 1/4" or 206 mm x 260 mm) and Foolscap (8" x 13" or 302 mm x 330 mm). These always seemed to be too squat or too tall and A4's 1:1.4142 is a pleasant ratio for most purposes.

Decimal Coinage: At least when we called the main unit a dollar, in 1966, (from "thaler", from "joachimstaler" - a coin made of silver mined in Joachimstal, Bohemia) we avoided the idea of Bob Menzies - our Prime Minister at the time - of calling it a "Royal"! (this derives from the Spanish "dollar", actually called a "Real" - or "royal" in English. Our first official currency in the early colony of Sydney was Sapnish "dollars" with a "dump" punched out of the centre. The "Holey Dollar" was valued at 5 shilling and the "dump" at 0ne shilling and threepence.

The British set out to decimalise their currency in the early 19th century and introduced the Florin (2 shillings) to replace the Crown (2 shillings and sixpence). The first florins were actually marked "one tenth of a pound" but a new war with France (who had full metricated and decimalised) caused the florin to be known as the "The Traitor's Coin!" and stalled further decimalisation for one and a half centuries.

"American English" Although many of British background rail against so-called Americanisms, a surprising number are survivals of good old British usages now forgotten in Britain. Both "Fall" and "Zee" for Z are in this category.

I am intrigued to note that the 1811 "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue", a dictionary of London street slang and thieves' cant lists "Pig" for "policeman" and "Screw" for copulate. Most people think the Americans made these up in the 1930s - when they appeared in American crime novels. in fact the Yanks maintained old customs that went out of fashion at "home".

Time Format: There is a tale about, from the days when Australian newspapers still sent reportes out to interview ordinary travellers at airports. A reporter found himself talking to a Swiss, from the International Standards Organisation. He asked what "International Standards" were all about.

The ISO chap said: "Well, look at the way you write the date: it is (say) the 11th of May (say) 1960. You would write 11/5/1960 but an American would write 5/11/1960. You would read that as the 5th of November! The reporter said; "Right, I see the problem - which one does ISO say is right?"

The reply was; "Neither! We would write 1960/05/11. The reporter was completely baffled, but ISO dates are the most logical format and can be infinitely extended or placed (Year/month/day/hour/minute/second/etcetera). I use them for filing purpose with my photography - so a file number is also the date.

Actually, I saw, in a novelty shop, a "Star Trek" calendar clock which gave the date in intergalactic time format - ISI dates!

It's a big world, with a complex and multi-layered history. We should avoid assumptions about national characteristics - especially in any sentence containing the words "error" or "wrong".

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 09:30 PM

2 root 2 is 1.414213562. 1 root 2 is 1. My 10 year old plotter has simple selection to set paper to standard metric or standard American. (US government standard letter size is 8 1/2" x 11") Schools use the smaller size, and I have to go to a stationary store, not a drugstore or supermarket, to get the standard letter size.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Pete M
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 10:15 PM

I seem to remember being taught that the metre was introduced by the French in a revolutionary fervour and was quintessentially gallic ie logical, franco-centric and *wrong*. It was originally defined as 1*10-7 of a quarter of the earths circumference on the longitude of Paris! Unfotunately the Earth cheated and refused to be a sphere so its ended up I think as some obscure multiple of the wavelength of an emmision line of krypton 86 (any advance on this Bruce?)

Incidentally I did hear on the radio that in the bulb fields of Holland wherte they have been metric for ages, they still uses the foot as a measure of length as it an empirical unit that everyone carries round with them!

Pete M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 11:34 PM

There used to be many measure of 'foot' in Europe. One popular one was the length of an Innsbruck work shoe (whyn Innsbruckians all had the same size feet I don't know. I must have been painfu to have them stretched or excess cut off). the yard inn England was made by Henry VII the distance from the center of his nose to the far end of his longest finger with his arms out horizontally.

I am not up on the latest regarding length standards. At the time I retired several lasers had been tested for stability under certain (not too critical) operating conditions, and been found to be suitable as standards. Defining the standard is one thing, but implimenting it is another. If you have the laser frequency measured (Canadians and American pioneered this, is my understanding) then by counting the wavefont that go through past a point in one second gives you the wavelength. nu*lambda = c (speed of light.) However you can't see wavefronts pass a point and you have to get at it by interferometry, finding out how many wavelength you can but in 1 meter. There are all sorts of little errors that creep into interfermetry, and it takes lots of research to figure out exactly how many, and to be able to accurately calculate how much effect each one has. A simple one is tht you have to reflect the light off of a mirror.

One thing is where is the mirror surface. In a way there really isn't one. The electromagnetic radiation (light) penetrates into anything you want to call the surface before it reflects. This depends on the material the mirror is made of. So you have to study the materials and their behavior and see if the effective penetration also depends on the actually intensity as well. Beside the interferrence there's also some diffraction. Lasers do some other strange things on reflection that one can't even see with common (blackbody) sources. The angle of incidence isn't exactly the angle of reflections like the undergrad physics books tell you. There are a pile of these kinds of things and all have to be carefully studied and quantatively understood before you can get the correct answer out of your experiment. The last I knew the correct wave equation for a gaussian beam of a single mode (TEM 000 mode)laser had not been figured out. There's an approximate solution that's very good, and is probably good to 1 part in 10 to the 9th power (1 part in 1000 x 1 billion). The intensity distribution from the center of the beam asy you go out from the propagtion axis isn't precisely know. do you go out in a straight line, or along a wavefornt. What's the precise wavefont. Not precisely known. So where you try to measure the intensity. As with most things there's an uncertainty principle. You can narrow things down prety well, but can't get them exactly. This stuff wasn't my field of expertise, but we needed the results of it, so kept our eyes on it to some extent.

In a seminar on the current states of length measurenments, Ken Evensen (one of the principle researchers in the field) showed a newspaper clipping he otained from the editorial page of a small town newspaper. It had been published severl years earlier. (This was before the speed of light above was adapted as a definition defining length). The editor has seen that NBS researchers had determined the speed of light to be (figure above) within an error of + or - 2 meters per second. Why don't they just shut up until they get it right.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 06:48 AM

Talking of rolling your own, that's how I got started on the demon nicotine. I still make sure I have the "makins'" when I go camping, although I don't smoke anymore except when camping. Whenever I'm with the kinfolk from Scotland we have a few old worn out laughs over some of this stuff, I'll be asked if I want a "fag" and declining the offer, will ask if anyone would like to join me in buying a bottle and going off on a "bender". No one wants to join me on a bender since that to them means "fag" to me, but they'll stick a "butt" between their lips suck on it.

I recall reading somewhere (I think B.A.Botkin) about how some of the early English settlers in the southern U.S. pronounced "ask" as "Aks". Which may or may not be the reason that "Aks" is the pronunciation among some of our African-American brethren, a case of the Black community preserving an older form of regional English which has died out elswhere.

But if I had "barrow/borrow" pits near my house, folks trying to capture my pronunciation would probably spell them "barru pits" or "borry pits". By any 'count, it's time for me to "hit the hay", so I'm off to stick my head in a bucket (Cuz I'm so bright, Mommas gotta put a bucket on my head a'fore the sun kin come up). Cuz where I am, Dawn is "spreading her rosy fingers across the sky". Chow, Ya'll.

Frank.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From:
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 07:40 AM

"Ask" is still "aks" all over. White,black, green or purple. Especiaaly prevelent in Louisiana.

One way to get my wife seeing red is to use it when we go out.

Bob Schwarer (ex TN,LA,WI,IL,&FL)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 07:48 AM

Gee Bruce, is that another cultural oddity? I thought 2 root 2 was 2.828427125!!!!!!!!! Most of our stores are stationary, but we get our paper from stationery stores, and our medicines from pharmacists.

Hopefully nobody's taking this thread too seriously - it's all meant in good fun

Cheers,
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 08:52 AM

I lost the non-American notation and took 2 root N to be the 2nd root of N = 1.414, but you take 2 root 2 = 2* square root 2 = 2.828


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:00 AM

Right!
I should have written it in C in the first place: 2 * sqrt(2) = 2.828


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: steve t
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:35 AM

...written it in C...

c is what? 3.00 x 10^8 m/s or 1.86 x 10^5 miles/hour?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:39 AM

Here it's the former, in some places it's still the latter. If you're a programmer it's neither.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bert
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:44 AM

Alan,
Actually you don't write in "C"; you HACK in "C". They didn't really name that language they GRADED it. :-) But that's probably another thread "Programming folklore".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 01:24 PM

The exact internationally accepted definition of c is given above. So is that conversion of inches to centimeters, so you can get the speed of light to 9.5 significant figures (log base 10) in miles per day, per hour, /s (per sec), or whateever you like.

We American are pretty inventive on our spelling, too. We toss out some letters that only confuse spelling, like stationary and stationary. The English aren't as fond of 'e' as they used to be. Just look at 16th and 17th century manuscripts and look at all the extra e's at the end of words. [I think they're e's, but they look just like their o's, so context has to tell you whether shoo is shee or shoe.]

I think it was the Americans who also invented that great word 'aint'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: aldus
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 01:53 PM

I must disagree with Bob on the subject of "Zee" . it was never British or English in usuage, In fact, Americans used Zed until well into this century> As for Fall most research defines it as an American word for Autumn.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 01:57 PM

Actually I made a big mistake in my note before the last multiply symbol in text should by x, * is computerese [one or two s's? I would be easier if we went back to the old long s, as long as we found somthing else.] that seems to be creeping in. Also Ammericans have way to much shortcut jargon for square root, and its not well standardized. 2 or 2nd root for square root, 3 (more often 3rd) root for cube root, root n for square root, and the like, and I sometimes prefer the UK terminology.

After trying to read old manuscipts for a couple of days, then typing up text of something else, most of my proof reading is taking out the extra e's I put on just about everything.

The English didd't want to reform speling of script in the century so they had to outlaw having gender for shoes. Only the scholars at Oxford and Cambridge could keep straight the hoo shoo and the shoo shoo. That reminds me I haven't put on my website the ditty "How Oxford Scholars Spend Their Time". It explains the old saying that at Oxford they didn't have any forenoons, just afternoons.

Even in the 1730's in England they couldn't handle the long s. One finds the future Kitty Clive called Miss Raftor and Miss Rastor.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 02:17 PM

One of the first things I did when I got Acces to the Folger Shakespeare Library about 25 years ago was to copy some old som\ngs from manuscripts of 1625-35, and checking against copies printed later in drolleries and the Percy Folio MS. They generally agreed pretty well, but some things I really couldn't read (and still can't) so I practiced on some photo-facsimiles in Sam Shoenbaum's 'Shakespeare's Lives' untill I got better at it.

Then I went back 20 years later and tried on some pieces I hadnt been able to do before, and redid a few that I wasn't too sure of. My new copies were further from the drollery copies than my originals. English typesetters couldn't read English script either! "The blazing Torch" is on my website. There's one printed copy where it's "The glazing torch".
Sometimes you see somthing copied from an old manuscript with ff at the front of a word. That's just a script capital F, unless, of course it's an H; there's little to chose from, so you just flip a coin sometimes.
Coins only have two sides, so they don't work on script caps B, R, and K, and you've got to roll dice or something like that.
Aint English quaint?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 04:48 PM

Bruce...(and others) this site http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/HSG/Ref.html#fast

has this http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/HSG/RefCalculators.html as one link..it is 5000+ online calculators..(some require java to work)

you can spend weeks playing in the various links here...if Bruce disappears for awhile, I'll know what happened!!

along with these two links, there is little I can't find...

http://www.indy.net/~johnoz/index.html

http://www2.netdoor.com/~smslady/links.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 07:25 PM

To Aldus,

Although most cheaper dictionaries take the simple path of defining things like Fall and Zee as American usages, they all show up as regional usage at earlier times in Britain. There is a vast body of English outside the "received" version of Oxford/London/Cambridge and there was even more before the levelling effects of mass media (starting with books).

On a totally different tack, since this thread is "American Cultural Oddities" I notice, as an outsider one especially American Oddity in the discussion of words like serviette/napkin and period/stop. Over the years I have seen this same phenomenon in many American letters columns - a word is taken in only one of its several meanings and a process of reductio ad absurdum / non sequitur is used to make a nonsense of its other, legitimate meanings.

This nevers seem to bother those of British background who are used to a language that made up the rules at it went along. Seriously, this malleability is the glory of the English language, which can squeeze infinite new subtleties from old words. Without this ability, we would all have far less to sing.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 07:35 PM

I am definitely not a linguist, and I had once thought that the multiplicities of meaning of words, and the many substitutes by a word of very smililar, but not identical meaning, made it difficult to be precise in a verbal statement in English. Some non-native speakers of English assured me I was wrong, that it's easier to be precise in English than in many other languages. I still don't understand it, because I still have problems.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 07:48 PM

Say, am I correct in believing that most English-speakers, other than Americans, aspirate the pronunciation of the letter "H"? I think I've heard most former and current subjects of the Queen say "Haitch," while Americans say "aitch." Am I correct?
....sorry I axed.....
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 08:16 PM

G'day Bruce O,

Ah the joys of English! The many subtle variations in meaning and "respectabilty" of words in English allow one to be precisely subtle about meanings and overtones. This is, of course what the skills of songwriting are all about. Subtleties give a lyric that can be savoured long after the performance and admired for the skill with which the author has underlined points that only become clear on re-hearing or mulling over the song.

I liked the comment, heard a few years back, from a French author/philosopher: "Ah! English is like my wife - I love her, but I can not control her!".

to Joe Offer:

Down among us (reluctant - and maybe not much longer) subjects of the Queen, the 'h' in 'haitch' is definitely not aspirated. Pronunciation as 'haitch' would seem London Cockney to us.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Pete M
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 08:24 PM

Bruce O,

I'm not a linguist either, but we were always taught, and "ahem" years of usage certainly back this up, that the nicety of definition possible by the appropriate choice of words is one of the strengths and glories of the English language. Alas, too little is made of the ability, and all too often precision is mistaken and derided as obfustication and posturing by those too lazy to develop reading skills beyond that required by the mass media ie 8 - 9 years. Since we started by talking about American oddities I should mention an outstanding exception, Stephen Jay Goulds essays are shining examples of how to make the English language work for you, and are clear, erudite, and a joy to read.

Joe Offer, in theory you are correct, in practice like most things which require a little effort to be precise, the practice is declining under a wave of leveling at the lowest common denominator.

Pete M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:00 PM

....the lowest common denominator being the USA, right, Pete?
You know, though, depite what people in other countries may think about us, I think we Americans tend to be self-deprecating.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:23 PM

No! some do but, it seems we are either too self-deprecating, or too cock sure we are the king of the mountain. Too little ballance at a mean. I've only been abroad once for a few weeks, and saw, in London, for example, so many brassy, cock-sure American tourists out rubernecking and making insulting comments in comparison of things British with things American in a loud voice, that I tried to disguise myself as British, so I wouldn't be thought to be one of them. [And I fooled some of the Americans at any rate.]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:30 PM

Hey, can anyone tell me what's behind the greeting, "My good man". I don't want to be anyone's good man, English, American, or anything else. It's always seemed to me to be rather derogatory, no matter who it came from.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Pete M
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 10:38 PM

Actually Joe, I wasn't getting at Americans per se, although....

Really, I know America has as much, if not more, diversity of culture, dialect and idiom as Britain. What I think most would depracate is the peddling of, by in particular TV, a bland, guaranteed not to offend anyone delivery (anyone being defined here as a member of the advertisers target audience), as representative of America. It is opposed as "cultural imperialism" in Australasia, but I am sure it is just as insulting to any American who actually cares about their own culture, and who I am sure do not want the world to think America is populated by the people represented on popular TV.

Of course, since we are getting down to lowest common denominators, we all have to thank an Australian for dragging the press of the free world out of the gutter into the sewers!

Pete M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 22 Apr 98 - 04:07 AM

Bob & Joe,
I'm not too sure about the origins of "haitch" vs "aitch". It seems to me to be pretty evenly divided here; I've heard it said that "haitch" is Catholic, "aitch" Protestant. This is very definitely the case in Ireland - if someone asks you to spell "hospital" they're really only trying to find out whether you're orange or green.

Cheers,
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bert
Date: 22 Apr 98 - 10:17 AM

Pronunciation as 'haitch' would seem London Cockney to us....
Cockney speech is very carefully tailored for the current audience. When a Cockney is speaking to a Non-Cockney he will exaggerate pronunciation and deliberately mis-pronounce words of three or more syllables, especially if there is a similar word which he can use instead.

When talking seriously among friends the accent is considerable reduced. So, a Cockney would usually say 'aitch'. 'Haitch' would be used if a comic effect were intended or for a Non-Cockney audience.

TTFN.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 22 Apr 98 - 07:40 PM

G'day all:

Bert: I agree entirely; that is why I carefully used the word "seem" - perhaps I should have said "Stage-Cockney". I know that the Cockney uses quite a lot of private language that has no resemblance to what we here in public or on TV shows.

Mayhew's 1850 books on the London Poor and Labouring classes give examples that are very interesting when examing early speech patterns in Australia's colonial era.

Alan of Australia: You're right: the Protestant / Catholic (or State School / Church School) split on "Haitch and "Aitch" was a fairly safe indicator in Australia in past years but is now being lost under the levelling effects of mass media.

All: Oddities are real but should never be regarded as carrying value judgements. It would be terribly bloody boring if we all sounded the same.

My comments on an American style of picking over words is only in contrast to a whole range of different ways other countries' population have of finicking over things. Different - not better or worse.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Sir
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 09:43 PM

There was a television documentary in America a few years back on the English language. It was run in a series of shows and followed the history of English as it traveled around the world. One point of interest it brought up was that the English of Appalachia (the dialect of the hillbillies) was probably closest to that of Shakespeare.

On another theme: (the H) Those in the Jamiaca pronounce an "H" at the beginning of words that start with a vowel and don't pronounce an "H" when it's written at the beginning of a word. Thus "and" is pronounced "Hand" and "Hand" is pronounced "And".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: alison
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 11:00 PM

Hi,

funnily enough I was never asked to spell "hospital", but I was once asked to spell 'Johannesburg" under the pretence that someone needed it for a crossword puzzle.

Managed to confuse them though.... I stuck in a catholic "haitch" and a protestant "ay". ( some catholics pronounce "a" as "ah". Therefore J.O.Haitch.Ah.ect.)

They didn't ask again.

Slainte

Alison


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 12:01 AM

G'day Sir:

That documentary was probably the One that we saw over here (Australia) as "The Story of English", in 11 half hour programmes (I have it on videotape and occasionally re-run segments). I understand that there was also a very good accompanying book, which I have not seen. The series was very good in the area of the old UK regional accents that have survived and prospered in America.

Your point about the Jamaican pronunciation of H seems to describe a common feature of rural English worldwide. There are certainly Australian country accents where this feature is very common and I have heard it in other accents of remote areas.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 10:09 AM

Here in Boston, I'm told we have no h's & r's unless they start (sounds like start) the word, horse & hoarse sounds like hoss, & short sounds like shot as does shot. The Bostonian accent changes throughout the city, no one sounds like a Kennedy, South Boston has a slight flavor of Irish & the North End a bit of Italian all very distinct to me but not an outsider. When travelling about the States I need some one with me to translate for me (except in the northeast), I not understood at all on the west coast where (sounds like were, we're, ware, where, weare) they pronunce (sounds like p ah nounce, there's the h where the r should be, & wire sounds like wi ah) everything & on the Pacific Islands & in the west, I'm confused with New Yorkers, who I can spot a mile off, just as they can spot me. I don't know if this is in line with this thread, cause I'm not so 'sh oar' I can understand a wo r d you're saying. Nice talking wit ya. Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Jon W.
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 11:02 AM

I read the book Bob refers to (come to think of it, I might still have it) but I never saw much of the TV series. The thing I remember most about it is a little scatological ditty from Elizabethan times. (or is that Elisabethan times? I've never understood the English use of "S" when the "Z" is called for).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 11:42 AM

I didn't see the TV one. I thumbed through the book at a bookstore and wasn't very impressed by it. Special groups have had special terms, and there have been dictionaries of it and songs from the late 16th century. See also Brome's play 'The Beggars Bush', 1641? for examples. English Gypsies still use some of it it. Its called lots of things: thieves jargon, pedlar's French, cant, and so on. I can't remember that term used for it about 15 years ago when describing some Gypsie songs collected in Ireland about 1970.
There are whole books of songs in it in the 18th century- The Scoundrel's Dictionary, The canting Crew, and so on. I forgot what play has Shakespere's song with the burden "Hey the doxie over the dale". Last word is misspelled. Doxie is a virgin beggar lass, a dell isn't, and will probably soon be a mort, then autem-mort of some darkman. On my website I mention 'The Bowman's Prigg's Farewell", but don't have the whole song yet. A farcical esecution of Bowman Prigg. A bowman prig is a pick purse, not a cutpurse. If I remember correctly Chapell's PMOT has "The Budge it is a delicate trade'. J. S. Farmer (with Henley?) put out a whole book of old songs in cant in the late 19th century, but I don't have it or remember its title.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 25 Apr 98 - 04:08 PM

I figure the cultural oddities are the English speakers from outside North America. There must be about 300 million speakers of North American English in its many varieties and therefore North America has the force of numbers.

The Japanese too speak a strange form of North American English, at least to judge by the slogans they print on shirts and jackets, "Big League Whacker Running Man" being one of my favourites. I have often longed to go to Japan and hire myself out as a consultant for tee-shirt slogans.:)

I seem to recall either Boswell or Dr. Johnson using "fall" for "autumn", but I don't have my books at hand. Fowler no doubt has an opinion on the subject.

Could "zee" come from the influence of other European languages on American English? I always figured the American "yeah" for "yes" came from the German influence.

In Canada, people will say either "zed" or "zee" depending on how close they are to the border. Here where I live most people say "zee" but it is not good Canadian English.

The date thing is even more confusing in Canada. Most people use the American form of mm/dd/yy, but some institutions like insurance companies often use the British dd/mm/yy. This can lead to obvious confusion.

fall = autumn
zee = zed
(car) hood = bonnet
(car) trunk = boot
(car) horn = klaxon
sidewalk = pavement
mantlepiece = chimneypiece
raincoat = mac
gumrubbers = wellies
Scotch (the people) = Scots
chips = crisps
fries = chips
sneaker = trainer
immigrate to = emigrate
rummage sale = jumble sale
jail = gaol
curb = kurb
living room = lounge

Also I think what we call a sedan is called a saloon over in the UK. A saloon over here is a place where cowboys inbibe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 26 Apr 98 - 02:57 AM

Bruce O

Aint= be it not Bain't (as "can't" for can not)from Sommerset, Dorsett etc Aint english wonderful

Regards Ted


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Barbara
Date: 26 Apr 98 - 06:26 PM

One of the English/American differences I love is automotive:
choke = strangler

Here's some more:
truck = lorry
bus = jitney
county dump = council tip
gasoline = petrol
kerosene = gasoline Is that right?
freeway = motorway

And then there's 'knock up' which in London, simply means to call on, but in the US means 'make pregnant'.

I once produced a number of red faced relatives at a family sunday dinner. I was 13 and a US citizen, my relies were all Canadian, and I simply announced as I ducked under the table that I'd dropped my napkin.

Mom took me aside and explained it later.
Barbara


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 04:37 AM

G'day,
Talking of aitches, what is the normal American pronunciation of herb? Is it the same in all states or does it vary? I've heard it pronouced 'erb by a American singer.

'R' is another letter often used differently e.g. in 'poor' or 'pore' the 'R' is simply a vowel modifier here so that 'poor', 'pore' and 'paw' are pronounced the same. Irish must be similar in this respect to American - Alison keeps having a go at my accent!

Cheers,
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 05:14 AM

Tim,
Here is the Aussie version of some of your definitions:

(car) horn = horn
sidewalk = footpath
mantlepiece = mantlepiece
raincoat = what's a raincoat? what's rain?
gumrubbers = gumboots
Scotch (the people) = Scots
chips = chips
fries = chips
sneaker = jogger
curb = curb
living room = lounge room, living room
sedan = sedan

I think there are a number of words like embed/imbed, entwine/intwine which use a leading e or i depending where you are.

Cheers,
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: judy
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 01:41 PM

In 1970 my mother and I went to London, Edinburgh(sp?), and Paris for two weeks. It was the first time we'd ever been out of the country. Outside of our hotel we sat in the park and an old man came up and talked to us for 1/2 an hour. Although we didn't understand a word he said, we smiled and nodded, not wanting to be impolite.

I remember writing in my journal about the "oddities":

the light switches turned on by flipping them down (up here) the outlets had three round prongs (two slots here) underpass=subway subway=tube potato chips=potato crisps (chicken flavored among others) ham=gammon sausage=bangers French fries=chips (which are known in France as pomme frites=fried potatoes. BTW French toast misnomer too. Later trip: French friends wanted to know if Americans really ate marshmallows roasted like they'd seen in movies, had never heard of corn bread which I made for them, and were totally amazed to know that Donald Duck was speaking real words which I could understand)

We bought a box of Trifle, having heard of it and wanting to try it. We made it up according to the directions until it said to *put on the hundreds and thousands*. That gave us quite a laugh. Hundreds and thousands of what? We were stumped but finally found the little package of sprinkles at the bottom of the box

We ate pizza. They had such unusual things on it as ham, pineapple and chicken; now quite common place here too.

We totally enjoyed ourselves and found the people to be exceptionally friendly (something we didn't find in France. Of course it was August and only tourists and the French not able to go on vacation were there.)

Later in my life I travelled quite a bit and had fun trying to talk with people when neither of us could speak the others language. I learned to order food by looking at what other people were eating and choosing the same thing. Once when there were no other people in the restaurant (in Germany) I tried to tell the waitress what I wanted by making the (American) noise for chicken: cluck, cluck. She was totally baffled. I finally made the noise of a rooster: er-er-er-er-oooo (not cockadoodle doo). She pointed out *henne* on the menu as I laughed at my stupidity. I have since compared animal noises with various foreigners:

Dog American: bow wow, ruff ruff, arf arf Hebrew: hav hav French: ouaou ouaou (sp?) (pronounced wow, wow)

Bird American: chirp chirp, tweet tweet Hebrew: tseef tseef

Chicken: American: cluck cluck, rooster=cockadoodle doo French: (I forget how to spell it but it) sounds like pyew pyew Spanish: pio pio (pronounced pee oh pee oh. rooster=coo koo roo ku ku

Pig: oink oink Cow: moo moo Horse: neigh neigh (pronounced nay nay) Sheep: baa baa Duck: quack quack other languages?

I can't seem to find a couple of children's songs in Spanish that starts out: Los pollitos dicen pio, pio, pio. Quando tienen hambre, quando tienen frio. (The little chicks say peep, peep when they're hungry, when they're cold) And there's another song also in Spanish that talks about each animal on the farm and the sound they make. It may be Mi Chacara. Part of it goes Ven ***** mi chacara que es bonita. Los pollitos ven asi: pio pio pio. I learned these songs in elementary school. Perhaps some of you remember them (late 50's, early 60's). Will keep on looking.

I really also enjoy the etymology of words. Here are a couple of sites:

http://www.word-detective.com http://www.tiac.net/users/rlederer/index.htm http://homepage.interaccess.com/~wolinsky/word.htm

enjoy! judy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: judy
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 02:08 PM

Sorry, forgot the page breaks

the light switches turned on by flipping them down (up here)
the outlets had three round prongs (two slots here)
underpass=subway
subway=tube
potato chips=potato crisps (chicken flavored among others)
ham=gammon
sausage=bangers
French fries=chips

Dog
American: bow wow, ruff ruff, arf arf
Hebrew: hav hav
French: ouaou ouaou (sp?) (pronounced wow, wow)

Bird
American: chirp chirp, tweet tweet
Hebrew: tseef tseef

Chicken:
American: cluck cluck, rooster=cockadoodle doo
French: (I forget how to spell it but it) sounds like pyew pyew
Spanish: pio pio (pronounced pee oh pee oh. rooster=coo koo roo ku ku

Pig: oink oink
Cow: moo moo
Horse: neigh neigh (pronounced nay nay)
Sheep: baa baa
Duck: quack quack
other languages?

enjoy!
judy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 02:21 PM

Notice how cleverly us Americans turned the thread around so it's mostly everybody else's cultural oddities? 'Slang and Its Analogues', by J. S. Farmer and W.E. Henley, 7 vols, 1890-1904, was reprinted by Arno Press in 1 vol., 1970. This covers the British Isles and the U.S. pretty well until date of original publication.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 06:53 PM

G'day Jon W,

Elizabethan / Elisabethan isn't a question here - the spelling of a person's name is their own problem but my preferred spelling of (say)authorise, against authorize, is more an Australian preference than an American / English thing since both seem to prefer the "Z". I notice the the Standrads Association of Australia persiste with "Z" (out of a desire for standardisation) but most Australian seem to use "S".

regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 06:58 PM

Ah, but it is everyone else's cultural oddities. I remember how indignant I was when I went to England at the age of 12, and people there said I had an accent. To my mind foreigners had accents; Canadians spoke English as pure as tinkled crystal.:)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bruce O.
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 07:07 PM

Sir Walter sometimes spelled his name Rawley, but when I sent something on him to England as Raleigh, it was published as Ralegh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Whippoorwill
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 10:44 AM

I've always preferred ain't to amn't, or as Dave Gardner said, arezn't.
Alan of Oz, in the States, herb is pronounced herb, or 'erb, or back in some of the dark hollers, yarb.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 04:28 PM

did a search and found this page of comparitive lists it is part of this page which has a LOT of stuff on languages, British-American differences, word histories, etc....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: DE COLORES
From: Dani
Date: 02 May 98 - 07:14 PM

Judy, is this what you're looking for?

DE COLORES
traditional

De colores, de colores se visten los campos en la primavera
De colores, de colores son los pajaritos que vienen de afuera
De colores, de colores es el arco iris que vemos lucir

Chorus (2X):
Y por eso los grandes amores de muchos colores me gustan a mi

Canta el gallo, canta el gallo con su quiri (5x)
La gallina la gallina con su cara (5x)
Los polluelos, los polluelos con su pio (4x) pi

Chorus

(you know, I think you can sing this with us...)

In colors, in colors the Fields bloom in spring
In colors, in colors the little birds fly from afar
In colors, in colors the rainbow arcs so clearly
And for this reason, these great loves of many colors, please be so

De colores, de colores se visten los campos en la primavera
De colores de colores son los pajaritos que vienen de afuera
De colores, de colores es el arco iris que vemos lucir

Chorus (4x)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 02 May 98 - 07:18 PM

Bob Bolton, I believe (from alt.usage.english among other places) that "-ise" is standard throughout the English-speaking world except for the U.S.--and Oxford University Press. Alan, most Americans don't pronounce the h in herb and herbal, and some don't pronounce in herbivore, herbaceous, and so on. (And some don't know those words.) Tim, where do people say "gumrubbers"? I've never heard it. I think what the British call wellies we down here just call boots, or rubber boots if we're being precise. Also, I think the British write "kerb", not "kurb". On a subject Judy brought up, does anyone know the Russian equivalent of "oink"? A friend of mine remembers it as "like a song" and wants to find it again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Will
Date: 02 May 98 - 09:58 PM

We called them "gum boots" in B.C. (gumrubbers/wellies, that is).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 May 98 - 11:37 PM

& doesn't every language have "Na na nana na". Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: RS
Date: 03 May 98 - 01:46 AM

Over here (in my part of Canada) it's Na nana na na. (Can we post a midi to see if it's the same tune???)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 03 May 98 - 05:46 AM

Since this thread is called AMERICAN cultural oddities, I've got one all you fremmit fowk may not be aware of. Has anyone been puzzled by all the references over the last few years to the "liberal media"? I mean, I keep hearing disparaging and negative references relating the "liberal media" to every societal problem we have, from AIDS to Xenophobia (sorry, I couldn't think of a zed). And where do I hear about the "liberal media"? Oh, the t.v. radio, newspapers, mags. etc....

Frank i.t.s.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: judy
Date: 03 May 98 - 11:30 AM

Dani,

Great song, thanks but not the one I was trying to find.

Jerry: oinich-ke?

enjoy!
judy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 May 98 - 06:49 PM

G'day Jerry Friedman,

OK, OK, so you may have caught me out in my addiction to Oxford dictionaries, warts and all. I'm afraid Oxford's various works take up a lot of the four (small) shelves devoted to dictionaries and dictionary references.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alice
Date: 04 May 98 - 01:23 AM

Good point, Frank. Have you seen the FOX "News" channel lately?? More like the FOX "Tabloid Gossip" channel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: steve t
Date: 04 May 98 - 06:53 AM

Regarding Na na na-na na, I think I heard on CBC's As It Happens that, yes, the first two notes of the tune were the same everywhere. This came from a guy who was investigating fans at basketball games who chanted "air ball" always at the same pitch. The guy couldn't really explain it, though he theorized that PERHAPS the fans were listening to the hum of the lights whose frequency was the root note of a scale that included "air ball" -- which by the way is chanted to the first two notes of Na na na-na na.

And a cultural oddity of them Yanks? They appoint ambassadors as a reward for political campaign contributions. Then said ambassadors, ardent free-enterprise enthusiasts, tell Canadians they ought to subsidize their sporting teams the way US cities do. Do powerful countries emphasize sports more than smaller countries?

And FYI, folks, napkin, whatever it used to mean in Canada, just means napkin these days. I just thought my Dad was strange for calling them serviettes all those years.

I find pronunciations more confusing than word differences. I remember a guy telling me he was from uh-hia. And when I was twelve in Gettysburg, I was surprised at how poorly I knew US geography -- I'd never heard of the state of Marilyn.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bill D
Date: 04 May 98 - 11:55 AM

a number of years ago in 'Psychology Today', there was an article on "na-na na na NA na"... it said that the notes were a natural spacing which arose in most cultures and seemed not to require being 'passed on'...it seems that kids will find them no matter what....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 May 98 - 04:32 AM

Well, that "na-na na na NA na" seems to come out "neener-neener-neener" (same melody) here in California. Prosecuting Attorney Marcia Clark even said it during the Simpson trial. Being a Midwesterner, it really bugs me that my kids grew up talking like their mother, a Californian.
People in California think they don't have accents, but they live in something they call a "haiouse." How they can use all five vowels in the pronunciation of a one-syllable word, I'll never know.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 05 May 98 - 07:22 PM

We always called them gumrubbers where I grew up in eastern Canada. There was even a section of town called Gumrubber Gulch, after the supposed preferred footwear of the people of that area. I've also heard them called gumboots in eastern Canada. Pretty well the same thing as wellies, except that English wellies tend to be all green, whereas over here only hobby farmers and ex-urbanites use those green boots. Most folks wear the traditional black and red or black and orange ones, with or without the steel toe and shank. In fact I would argue that you can rather accurately judge a rural person's view of their social and economic status by whether or not they wear the green wellies or the traditional black and red or black and orange gumrubbers. Rather like U and Non-U in the UK:)

But the Stompin' Tom song is titled The Gumboot Cloggeroo.

Maybe the US does appoint ambassadors based on political patronage, but what country doesn't? Most of the ones the US has sent up here to Canada have been quite competent.

Someone said "ise" is standard English everywhere except the US. I would dispute this in regard to Canada, because "ize" is almost always used nowadays. Perversely, we still spell "practice" the English way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bill D
Date: 05 May 98 - 07:26 PM

Joe...just like the Texan who explained that he was driving across his 'rainch' (ranch) when his truck broke down, so got a 'rainch' (wrench) out to fix it, but in doing so, he 'rainched' (twisted uncomfortably) his arm, and got his hands dirty, so he had to get some water to 'rainch'(rinse) 'em off

( I also knew some kids who were always going across the 'filled')[field]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: rich r
Date: 05 May 98 - 10:41 PM

Not sure but I think I may have seen gumrubbers or something akin to that in an L L Bean catalog. They are from Maine which is the same as eastern Canada, right?

Joe - It's obvious they can pronounce "haiouse" with all five vowels becase the "e" is silent. To compensate did you teach your kids that the water fountain or drinking fountain is really a bubbler? In eastern Wisconsin, school teachers even used the term.

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 May 98 - 02:54 AM

Ah, Rich - I haven't heard the term "bubbler" in years. I moved to Racine, Wisconsin, from Detroit in fifth grade, and got in trouble with the nuns the first week of school for drinking from the forbidden bubbler. I think it must have been the Bubbler of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - but I didn't know what the heck a bubbler was. That's one word that hasn't spread very far - I'd say it's used in just a few counties of southeastern Wisconsin.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 06 May 98 - 07:54 PM

No Rich, those LL Bean boots aren't gumrubbers or gumboots. Gumrubbers or gumboots are entirely rubber. The LL Bean boots, usually called Duck Boots, have a rubber bottom and a leather top. Gumrubbers are for mucking around in the barnyard mud or puddles, while Duck Boots are meant to keep your feet dry while hunting. They lace up and so provide better ankle support as you walk over fallen trees, down hills, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 06 May 98 - 10:11 PM

G'day all,

A sideline on the point about the pitch of the call "air ball" (mentioned on the posting from steve t, on 04-May-98.

If the researcher believes the pitch is influenced by the frequency of the lighting (and its hum), he could check to see if the call occurs in countries (such as Australia, UK, etcetera) where the mains frequency is 50 Hertz, not 60 Hertz, and see if there is a commensurate lowering of pitch.

I can't give any firsthand gen on this one as I have never seen a basketball game in the flesh - and such TV coverage as I see in passing does not concentrate on the audience. (Generally, you can't hear much at all over the commentators.)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: judy
Date: 06 May 98 - 11:14 PM

Bill, your mention of "ranch" reminded me of something I got a real laugh out of in an English folder on One Net:

Monday, August 25, 1997 12:50:24 PM
English Item
From: Larry Nordell,METNET-Helena
Subject: A southern US Engish lexicon, passed along without comment.
To: English
Subject: Fwd: Hickphonics

The Atlanta School Board, sensing that Oakland is about to cash in by labeling African American slang as the language "Ebonics," has decided to pursue some of the seemingly endless taxpayer pipeline through Washington by designating Southern slang, or Hickphonics," as a language to be taught in all Southern schools.

A speaker of this language would be a Hickophone. The following are excerpts from the Hickphonics/English dictionary:

HEIDI -noun. Greeting.
HIRE YEW -Complete sentence. Remainder of greeting. Usage: "Heidi, hire yew?"
BARD -verb. Past tense of the infinitive "to borrow."
JAWJUH -noun. The State north of Florida. Capitol is Lanner. Usage: "My brother from Jawjuh bard my pickup truck."
BAMMER -noun. The State west of Jawjuh. Capitol is Berminhayum. Usage: "A tornader jes went through Bammer an' left $20,000,000 in improvements."
MUNTS -noun. A calendar division. Usage: "I ain't herd from him in munts."
THANK -verb. Ability to cognitively process. Usage: "Ah thank ah'll have a bare."
BARE -noun. An alcoholic beverage made of barley, hops, and yeast.
IGNERT -adjective. Not smart. See "Arkansas native." Usage: "Them Bammer boys sure are ignert!"
RANCH -noun. A tool used for tight'nin' bolts.
ALL -noun. A petroleum-based lubricant.
FAR -noun. A conflagration. Usage: "If my brother from Jawjuh don't change the all in my pickup truck, that thing's gonna catch far."
TAR -noun. A rubber wheel. Usage: "Gee, I hope that brother of mine from Jawjuh don't git a flat tar in my pickup truck."
TIRE -noun. A tall monument. Usage: "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I sure do hope to see that Eiffel Tire in Paris sometime."
RETARD -Verb. To stop working. Usage: "My grampaw retard at age 65."
FAT -noun, verb. 1. a battle or combat. 2. to engage in battle or combat.
RATS -noun. Entitled power or privilege. Usage: "We Southerners are willin' to fat for are rats."
FARN -adjective. Not local. Usage: "I cuddint unnerstand a wurd he sed....mus' be from some farn country."
DID -adjective. Not alive. Usage: "He's did, Jim."
EAR -noun. A colorless, odorless gas: Oxygen. Usage: "He cain't breathe....give 'im some ear!"
BOB WAR -noun. A sharp, twisted cable.
JEW HERE -Noun and verb contraction. Usage: "Jew here that my brother from Jawjuh got a job with that bob war fence cump'ny?"
HAZE -a contraction. Usage: "Is Bubba smart?" "Nah....haze ignert. He ain't thanked but a minnit 'n 'is laf."
SEED -verb, past tense of "to see".
VIEW -contraction: verb and pronoun. Usage: "I ain't never seed New York City....view?"
GUMMIT -Noun. A bureaucratic institution. Usage: "Them gummit boys shore are ignert."

enjoy!
judy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bert
Date: 07 May 98 - 10:43 AM

Nice list Judy,
reminds me of the time when I worked in customer support for a software company in Alabama. A customer called in complaining about "an AIR message"

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 May 98 - 03:13 AM

Say, Judy, where did you say the capital of "BAMMER" was? What's that fancy-lookin' billin in Mugummery?
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: judy
Date: 08 May 98 - 01:20 PM

Must be the gummit billin

enjoy! judy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Alice
Date: 08 May 98 - 02:46 PM

Judy, that was great!! I had to email your list to several friends as a justification for my addiction to the Mudcat forum.

It reminds me of when I was in art school, and a graduate student from North Carolina was really difficult for me to understand. I was working in the print lab, levigating a lithograph stone, when he walked by and briskly said, "MahndefAhturndahntherahdyoh? He had to repeat it three times before I understood 'Mind if I turn down the radio'. A few months later, after Christmas break when he had gone back home to visit, I said to him, "Gee, Lowell, it seems like it's easier for me to understand you when you speak now." He said, "Ya, ma fokes say Ah tawk lak a Yankee now."

alice


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bert
Date: 08 May 98 - 02:57 PM

Soon after I came over here I was working in Dallas and a girl came up to me and said "Yuuuu shore do have a puurdee aaaaksent"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 08 May 98 - 03:32 PM

I'd forgotten about "bubbler". I don't think I've heard it since leaving Wisconsin.

Joe may be right about it being a term from SE Wis. I grew up in Rock County many years ago.

Bob S.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 May 98 - 10:34 PM

mumbutterhunda
Mom bought a Honda. Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From:
Date: 09 May 98 - 11:18 AM

The Hickphonics lexicon left out "foal", you know that shiney stuff ya uses to wrap up leftovers, lumnum foal.

Ther is the story of the northerner who went south for Christmas and went to church. Outside was a nativity scene, pretty typical except that the wise men had on these big red hard hats. He asked the preacher after the service (sarviss?) what that was all about. The preacher replied, "Well it say in the Bible that the wise men came from a far"

Bubbler update - It went at least as far north as Two Rivers where I learned it.

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 09 May 98 - 11:58 AM

Probably should be a separate thread. Think about all the Cajun "oddities".

They're not odd to a Cajun though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bill D
Date: 09 May 98 - 12:16 PM

"jeet?" "s'gweet!"

"have you had your most recent meal?" "then let us go together and partake of sustenance"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: judy
Date: 12 May 98 - 01:43 AM

Alice, glad you enjoyed it. I sent it to quite a few people after I read it too.

What about accents in your countries? Brits, do you have trouble understanding any Brittish accents. Ozzies, anything like this down under?

enjoy! judy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Woah Pete M
From: Debbie
Date: 12 May 98 - 07:00 AM

I was just skimming the posts above, and i caught your coment of the dutch using the foot to use for bulb fields, and as a true cloggie, i can tell you that at least in this area, it is not true, you've been misinformed. The dutch are metric, they use meters (meter is the dutch word, awfull similar to the american/english, isn't it!)and we plant by meter.

as to another odity, in america i believe you have road signs saying "soft berm" (and please correct me if i'm wrong here!), but do you know what the dutch ecquivelent is? Zachte (soft) berm - so who stole who'se word? and if you check out a dutch eetcafe (eating cafe, a kinda dark and dingy bar, with the floor full of peanut shels) you will find that america has bars that are quite similar.. not everywhere, i'll grant you, but they are there..

That was my two cents (dutch cents.. cents coming from the word hundred again.. )

Debbie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 12 May 98 - 09:14 AM

Bubblers, i used to drink from them where I went to school in Sydney Australia. Hav'nt heard the term in over 30 years. Regards Ted


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 98 - 11:49 AM

hmmmm...we have occassional road signs saying "soft shoulder" ...never have seen 'berm' used that way, and I have driven in 40 states...about the only place I have seen 'berm' is in a Geology text...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bert
Date: 12 May 98 - 02:57 PM

Judy,
Brits often have great difficulty understanding one another. The Geordie language (One can't really call it a dialect, it's too different) is completely unintelligable to a Londoner.

Cockney slang is used to deliberately confuse the out of town listener.

There is also the classical case of the invoice submitted by an Essex farmer for looking after a horse.

It went something like this...

Afetchinonim 1s 6d
Afeedinonim 2s 6d
Abringinonimomagen 1s 6d.

I'm not sure if I've got the actual costs right, but its the words that matter.

TTFN Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Pete M
Date: 12 May 98 - 04:52 PM

Methinks you over egg the pudding Bert, granted dialect + accent can quite often = foreign language, that doesn't mean its unintelligible. Given the wide exposure of regional accents on the BBC these days, I would have thought ther was less likelihood of misunderstanding now than there used to be.

Debbie, thanks for the update, I know Holland is metric. The point being made in the discussion I quoted was that the metric system lacked units which were easily translated to empirical. I must admit it was over ten years ago, so no doubt mechanisation has surplanted the need for the empirical by now.

Incidentally the term "berm" is used in NZ, which completely confused me as I, like Bill had only come across it in a geographical context previously. The Dutch were the second largest group of emigrants to NZ. so perhaps that is where the terms local use originated?

Pete M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bert
Date: 12 May 98 - 05:03 PM

Pete,
Have you ever heard a really thick Geordie accent? I used to work with a bunch of guys from County Durham and there was one guy that I couldn't understand. For example he would pronounce EVERY LETTER in the word "eighty" so that it came out "a-ig-hu-tee" . It was great fun watching him argue with another guy with a very thick Irish accent. They used to try to tell each other to speak English. We could make out the occasional word now and then but to follow the conversation was impossible.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Earl
Date: 12 May 98 - 05:17 PM

re: bubbler Drinking fountains are bubblers (pronounced "bubblah") in Massachusetts too, at least north of Boston. I moved here from Western New York and also found the pop was called tonic and milk shakes contained no ice cream. Frappes contained ice cream. Actually, I think Mc Donalds has now homogenized the definition of milk shake even in MA.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Roger Himler
Date: 12 May 98 - 05:55 PM

Maryland is South of the Mason-Dixon line.

Typical lunchtime conversation: "Jett jet?" "No, jew?"

Roger in Baltimore


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: steve t
Date: 13 May 98 - 03:41 AM

Hmmm. I figured that one out :-) Maybe food was on my mind.

How about a new thread: Cultural Curiosities II.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Allan C.
Date: 13 May 98 - 01:23 PM

I have always loved to listen to the way folks speak and their remarkable use of certain words. While I am no professional, I have made a few observations. Aways back (Just threw that in the mix. I don't know where I picked it up!)up the thread, Joe spoke of I used to be able to tell what part of Virginia someone was from by how they pronounced "house" or "home".The sounds Joe refers to are quite similar to those produced by many folks in the Winchester area (except I believe the accent is on a different syllable!). Many people in the southern Tidewater area say something along the lines of "haewse". The latter group may also be found saying "hoem" - it is only one syllable there but the further west(on into West Virginia)you travel the more often it is heard as two.

The oddest thing I think I ever heard in English in the U.S. was "chigoana". Note that the "oa" is a dipthong rather than two syllables. "Chigoana" was used by a very old man and his even older brother whom I met near Shepardstown, West Virginia. The word was ususally followed by "fine". I conversed at length with the pair and finally came to understand that "chigoana fine" was an intoduction to an observation such as "Chigoana fine thet ef you take th' lef fork uv th' river, chigoana hev a better ride." In other words "you're going to find", "you're going to have".

Second only to this word was one I heard from a man from someplace in North Carolina who spoke of "toy-yers". Now, I have heard of "tars" and "tores" (depending on the size of the chaw tucked into the cheek I think) but it took me a while to understand that the NC man was speaking about those rubber things on the wheels of cars.

I once knew a carpenter once to whom "abode" was what you drove a nail into.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Earl
Date: 13 May 98 - 01:54 PM

I had a driver-ed teacher who always told us to step on the exhilarater. His oddities, though, were personal rather than cultural.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 May 98 - 06:50 PM

G'day Bert,

In re. your Geordie pronouncing every letter in the word eighty; keep in mind that the reason it is spelled that way is that every letter WAS pronounced - before the lazy pronunciation of the southern counties became "Received Pronunciation" and eventually "The Queen's English".

I admit that I am at risk of becoming even more pedantic on English: my copy of the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language was waiting for me when I got home, last night.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 May 98 - 12:58 AM

I knew a pair of female Siamese twins that moved to England so the other one could drive. They shared a COBRA for frontal support.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 15 Nov 98 - 05:18 PM

Along with "A wig wam for a goose's bridle" my grandmother (2nd generation Australian, Irish roots) would answer juvenile questions with "A jim jam for grinding smoke"
Any equivalents?

Regards. Ted from Australia


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Paula Chavez
Date: 16 Nov 98 - 01:31 PM

Re: A southern US Engish lexicon

one addition:

SEBMUP: Noun. A clear, carbonated soda pop with no caffeine.

Judy, thank you for your post. Totally turned my Monday Morning Blues attitude around. Still howling!

-Paula


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Sir
Date: 18 Nov 98 - 09:29 AM

A couple of weeks ago I heard Ken Ham, an Australian living in America, who speaks at creation science gatherings. He mentioned that Australians hate pickles but love vegamine and that Americans are the opposite. He also told of asking a friend's daughter to nurse his baby and when she refused he told her that he supposed he'd have to do it himself! (in the US "nursing a baby" means more that caring for the child it usually means to breast feed)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 18 Nov 98 - 09:41 AM

My wife's from western Massachusetts and she says "bubbler". Only place I'd ever heard it.

....Tiger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: Greg Baker
Date: 19 Nov 98 - 09:28 AM

Let's see:

Zee versus 'zed' - in my computer class, we have students from several nations... the ones from Tanzania says 'zed'; the Americans say 'zee'; and I say ZULU, that being the NATO standard I learned in the Army. Of course, I always pronounced 'Q' as 'KAY-bec', while my sergeants kept telling me it was 'kwa-BEC'. (Good thing I had the bar and they had the stripes).

Accents - I speak with a Worshington accent, having been born in the Nation's Capital; we have a local radio personality, Ed Walker, who cracks Worsingtonians up with his 'Dundalk Dan' parodies of a 'Balamer' accent. Historically, in the First World War American soldiers going into the lines occupied by other allies often preferred relieveing a French unit rather than a British unit... the British officers used slang and assumed the 'Colonials' knew it; the French would use gestures such as "A-a-a-a-a-a" to indicate a machine gun, and 'Boum!' for cannon. Then they'd slap the Yank on the shoulder, say "Bonne secteur, m'sieur,' and leave.

Speaking of Yank... A Yankee is north of the Mason Dixon line to most Southerners... and there used to be jokes such as "I was sixteen before I learned 'damnyankee' were two separate words.

I noticed the BBC World Service is making a valiant effort to cover North American sports on the North American feed, even referring to 'games' instead of 'matches' and 'one-nothing' wins instead of 'one-nil'. If someone can explaing cricket to me, I'll do my darndest to explain baseball... all but the infiled fly rule

Greg Baker nyekulturniy@hotmail.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: McMusic
Date: 19 Nov 98 - 11:02 PM

Just in case no one else mentioned (there are too many entries to check them all)-- Groundhogs are not hogs, nor are whistle pig pigs; both are terms for the same critter and it is a rodent-- And cucumbers and tomatos are not vegetables, they're fruits.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: McMusic
Date: 19 Nov 98 - 11:07 PM

Aldus, You got part of it right. Unfortunately in this great country, we proceed according to color, gender, orientation, religion, finances....it's a pretty involved list. It's a long, hard road to freedom and equality.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Cultural oddities
From: GUEST,Jayto
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 10:08 AM

One regional phrase here (W.KY) that always causes confusion for people that are not from the area is "I don't care to". Most people that are not from around here take it as someone saying they are not going to do something. If you ask someone "While you are by the book on the table would you hand it to me?" The other person would probably say "I don't mind to at all." What they mean is yes and it doesn't bother them to do it. It is like they are saying it is no trouble for them and they are happy to do it for you. I have seen some people that are not local get VERY upset because they thought the person was telling them no. That is one of the most common misunderstanding I have noticed. Most of the times sayings and words just lead to confusion but this is one that really causes problems until it is understood what the locals mean.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 July 11:25 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.