Author Topic: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)  (Read 11906 times)

Offline B.D.F.

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Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« on: February 28, 2018, 11:08:23 am »
And now for a fun category: the differences between English and English as used primarily in the UK and US. It seems we have enough UK members to make this fun, along with some from other English- speaking countries (more or less) such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and maybe parts of Canada (eh?).

I am an American but had a very good friend who was English and we taught each other how to speak correctly.... or tried to do so. :-) So I am a little versed in the different versions.

There are several different ways the language is different too, sometimes the same word means something different, sometimes the combination of words means something in one country and either nothing or makes no sense in  the other country, and some things just sound 'odd' when spoken in the 'wrong' country's version.

1) Mean. In the US, the word means mistreating something or someone as in 'that guy is mean with his dog', meaning he beats, does not care for or otherwise misbehaves toward his dog. In the UK it means 'cheap', such as 'that guy is so mean I am shivering in his living room!'.

2) "Spit the dummy". A UK phrase that needs explaining twice in the US: first, the word 'dummy' in this case means a baby's pacifier, not a stupid person. So the expression refers to someone who will not be pacified, such as when an infant will not take the pacifier but instead spits it out. It would mean having a temper tantrum in the US.

3) UK: 'That man was injured and so I took him to hospital'. In the US, it sounds like a sentence from a 2 year old who forgot 'the' or 'a' before hospital. Same thing with 'that is good value for money' which in the US would become 'that is a good value for the money'.

I believe Mike kicked this whole thing off by asking what Americans would think 'moving house' means, in another thread.

Brian
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Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2018, 11:49:18 am »
this is as good time as any to point out that the USA is the only place inthe world to write the date as MMDDYYY

Pretty much the rest of the world (whether civilized or not and with the exception of some tiny African country some Asian country or another that use both) uses either DDMMYYY or YYYYMMDD

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Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2018, 11:58:30 am »
1) Mean. In the US, the word means mistreating something or someone as in 'that guy is mean with his dog', meaning he beats, does not care for or otherwise misbehaves toward his dog. In the UK it means 'cheap', such as 'that guy is so mean I am shivering in his living room!'.

It can also have the same meaning as in the US.

Eg "that guy is mean to his dog" has a completely different meaning to "that guy is mean with his dog" .


That said the former could also mean the same as the latter depending on how it's said and what he context leading up to the statement is.

Less ambiguity is contained in the phrase "that guy is mean towards his dog"


2) "Spit the dummy". A UK phrase that needs explaining twice in the US: first, the word 'dummy' in this case means a baby's pacifier, not a stupid person. So the expression refers to someone who will not be pacified, such as when an infant will not take the pacifier but instead spits it out. It would mean having a temper tantrum in the US.


You can also call someone a dummy without it it meaning they're an idiot.

3) UK: 'That man was injured and so I took him to hospital'. In the US, it sounds like a sentence from a 2 year old who forgot 'the' or 'a' before hospital. Same thing with 'that is good value for money' which in the US would become 'that is a good value for the money'.

Nope I would say "That man was injured so I took him to A&E"


That said if the man was going in for an appointment I would say "I took him to the hospital for his appointment"  but more likely I would say (speaking to someone locally)

" I took him into Bolton Hospital" (Yes Bolton is a place name still :p)  or

" I took him to Wigan General" (Wigan being anther place name)

 
I believe Mike kicked this whole thing off by asking what Americans would think 'moving house' means, in another thread.

Brian

That's right, blame me again :P
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Offline Rob9876

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2018, 12:18:01 pm »
Nope I would say "That man was injured so I took him to A&E"
O.k., what does A&E stand for?  Ambulance & Emergency, Alcohol & Enema, etc.  :)   Arts & Entertainment (television network) is probably the most commonly known A&E in the U.S.
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Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2018, 12:22:18 pm »
O.k., what does A&E stand for?  Ambulance & Emergency, Alcohol & Enema, etc.  :)   Arts & Entertainment (television network) is probably the most commonly known A&E in the U.S.
Accident & Emergency
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2018, 12:44:32 pm »
Probably alcohol and enema. Their health care is "free" so they probably have to make a hospital visit painful in other ways. We just overcharge for the service and so do not need the enema.....

Brian

O.k., what does A&E stand for?  Ambulance & Emergency, Alcohol & Enema, etc.  :)   Arts & Entertainment (television network) is probably the most commonly known A&E in the U.S.
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 12:48:30 pm »
Where they may apply a 'plaster' to cover a cut or wound. Here in the US, we use plaster to cover our walls and ceilings, and a bandage to cover a wound (although we often call the small, self- adhesive bandages "Band Aids" after a common brand name of such bandages).

I believe you call, or used to call vacuuming the rug 'Hoovering' after the Hoover brand of vacuum. See if an American walked in an Aunt Bessie said 'Come on in Lad, I am just finishing up Hoovering', said American would watch intently to try and discover just what 'Hoovering' might be and whether or not he / she really wanted to watch Aunt Bessie actually doing it.

 :rotflmao:

Brian

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Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 12:52:20 pm »
Technically it's not free as it is paid for by General Taxation & National Insurance contributions.


https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/how-nhs-funded


Also more common now is being sent a bill after being involved in a road accident (although in theory you can claim back via your motor insurance.


http://www.trafficaccidentadvice.co.uk/who-pays-for-hospital-treatment-after-accident.html


Probably alcohol and enema. Their health care is "free" so they probably have to make a hospital visit painful in other ways. We just overcharge for the service and so do not need the enema.....

Brian
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 12:56:32 pm »
True, we Americans do write our dates oddly. After working for a German firm, I now always write dates as '28 Feb 2018' because no one in the US or Germany can be confused by that and there are no month names in either language that the first three letters will not distinguish. Because agreeing to meet a German on, say, 2/7/18 may well result in a miss by half or a year. :-) And one of you will be cold while at that appointment while the other will be hot.

The Germans also have another form of specifying dates that they refer to as 'KW', which once translated, means calendar week. German calender's have each week numbered and so will often specify something such as a trip this way: Brian will be at our facility in Germany on KW 36 through KW 39. This confounds Americans not because of the language but because our calendars are NOT marked with which 'calendar weeks' and so we have to find a German calendar or look it up online.

I believe the best system is the one the Chinese (and perhaps others) use, which is YYYY/MM/DD/Hour/Minute/Second/second decimals. This system cannot be confused and can be lengthened and shortened with no modification needed. One can specify the year or the microsecond of an event with one unchanged system.

Brian

this is as good time as any to point out that the USA is the only place inthe world to write the date as MMDDYYY

Pretty much the rest of the world (whether civilized or not and with the exception of some tiny African country some Asian country or another that use both) uses either DDMMYYY or YYYYMMDD


Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2018, 12:59:09 pm »
Liberals, cover your ears: Nothing is ever free, but we humans just love to mask or forget that fact entirely. OK Liberals, you can listen now. I told Mike that in America, the government is going to pass legislation that will force clouds to rain money down on everyone.

Brian

Technically it's not free as it is paid for by General Taxation & National Insurance contributions.


https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/how-nhs-funded


Also more common now is being sent a bill after being involved in a road accident (although in theory you can claim back via your motor insurance.


http://www.trafficaccidentadvice.co.uk/who-pays-for-hospital-treatment-after-accident.html
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2018, 12:59:54 pm »
oddly enough we use plaster on the walls & ceilings as well :)

BandAid, elastoplast or just sticky plaster for minor cuts .

Yes to hoover around is as common as to use a biro or to google for something  although just for good measure you may say "Can you get the Dyson out I'm just going to hoover around"


Which is subtly different from "Pass me the Hoover (note capitalized)  so i can vacuum up"

It's the same as the difference between

conservative & Conservative
constitution & Constitution
labour & Labour

I'm sure there are plenty more examples :)


Where they may apply a 'plaster' to cover a cut or wound. Here in the US, we use plaster to cover our walls and ceilings, and a bandage to cover a wound (although we often call the small, self- adhesive bandages "Band Aids" after a common brand name of such bandages).

I believe you call, or used to call vacuuming the rug 'Hoovering' after the Hoover brand of vacuum. See if an American walked in an Aunt Bessie said 'Come on in Lad, I am just finishing up Hoovering', said American would watch intently to try and discover just what 'Hoovering' might be and whether or not he / she really wanted to watch Aunt Bessie actually doing it.

 :rotflmao:

Brian
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Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2018, 01:00:32 pm »
is that liberals or Liberals ?

Liberals, cover your ears: Nothing is ever free, but we humans just love to mask or forget that fact entirely. OK Liberals, you can listen now. I told Mike that in America, the government is going to pass legislation that will force clouds to rain money down on everyone.

Brian
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Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2018, 01:07:04 pm »
yyyymmddhhmm is how I suffix any reports I write in the filename


eg

gtr1400_clutch_failure_analysis_201802282002.xlsx

If autogenerated from something (say an scheduled SQL report)  I will usually code it to include the seconds as well

BTW have you ever noticed that when you quote somones post that the date is displayed in Unix Time ?

eg


1519847792

instead of

02/28/2018 @ 8:05pm (UTC)


I believe the best system is the one the Chinese (and perhaps others) use, which is YYYY/MM/DD/Hour/Minute/Second/second decimals. This system cannot be confused and can be lengthened and shortened with no modification needed. One can specify the year or the microsecond of an event with one unchanged system.

Brian
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Offline Rhino

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2018, 02:32:52 pm »
The guy in the office next to me is from the UK and we do this a lot. Some of the more obvious ones are:

elevator            lift
cigarette           fag
doofus              numpty
tire                   tyre


Offline mikeyw64

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Re: Differences between English and English (UK vs. US)
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2018, 02:38:01 pm »
The guy in the office next to me is from the UK and we do this a lot. Some of the more obvious ones are:

elevator            lift
cigarette           fag
doofus              numpty
tire                   tyre

At least the last one is pronounced the same, pity about the incorrect spelling over there ;)

Which given you like shortening or simplifying  words that are otherwise the same makes it all the stranger why you would use "elevator" instead of "lift" .


As for smoking you're just as likely to say " I'm going outside for a crafty puff" as "I'm going outside for a sly fag" .

Then again you might pop out for a rollie
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