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Carol the Dabbler

The Language (and travel) Thread

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Who was it who once said (of the UK and America): "We are two countries divided by a common language?"

Wilde and Shaw at different times, I think but that's just off the top of me head so don't take my word as gospel.

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They were both right!

 

Over here, a brace (singular) is a device used to support a joint. This can be just about anything from a piece of stiff cloth strapped around an injured wrist, to an elaborate metal framework for a paralyzed leg.

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They were both right!

 

Over here, a brace (singular) is a device used to support a joint. This can be just about anything from a piece of stiff cloth strapped around an injured wrist, to an elaborate metal framework for a paralyzed leg.

 

Confusingly we use this terminology too. :picard:

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I believe that braces (British) means suspenders (American) -- removable shoulder straps that hold your trousers up. Suspenders (British) means garters (American) -- things that hold your stockings up. And considering that the UK has an Order of the Garter, I'm guessing that doesn't mean the same thing over there, either.

 

 

Braces in the UK are both teeth torturing devices and straps to hold trousers up.

 

Suspenders in the UK are clips that affix to a suspender belt, used for holding up stockings.

 

A garter is a circular elasticated piece of lace which goes around the leg, also to hold stockings up, or over tights, and is usually worn on a woman's wedding day or when 'dressing up' for sexual antics.

 

The Order of the Garter is named after the same garter actually ! "Various legends account for the origin of the Order. The most popular legend involves the "Countess of Salisbury" (either Edward's future daughter-in-law Joan of Kent or her former mother-in-law, Catherine Montacute, Countess of Salisbury). While she was dancing at a court ball at Calais, her garter is said to have slipped from her leg. When the surrounding courtiers sniggered, the king picked it up and returned it to her, exclaiming, "Honi soit qui mal y pense," ("Shamed be the person who thinks evil of it."), the phrase that has become the motto of the Order" says wikipedia.

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Oh! Well, then, you folks use two words (garter and suspender), whereas we use just the one (garter) for either an elastic leg band or the clips on what we, of course, call a garter belt. Just like over there, the former is generally ceremonial and/or sexy. The latter can be either utilitarian or sexy, depending on the amount of lace. (But nowadays, I assume that most of the women that I see in nylon stockings are actually wearing pantyhose.)

 

There's also, historically, a sleeve garter, which is an elastic band worn to keep a man's sleeve pushed up, but those are now encountered only in period movies such as Westerns.

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There's also, historically, a sleeve garter, which is an elastic band worn to keep a man's sleeve pushed up, but those are now encountered only in period movies such as Westerns.

 

These are actually readily available in department stores in the UK, and my uncle still wears them as he finds it hard to find shirts with sleeves short enough to fit him comfortably. :)

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How very sensible! I've never even seen a sleeve garter in real life.

 

Over here, very few shirts come in a variety of sleeve lengths any more. Instead, the pretty-good ones are made with two buttons per cuff. If the sleeve is too long, you're supposed to use the tighter of the two buttons -- the sleeve will still be too long, but at least it can't hang down over your hand.

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Oh, I know. "Lilo" is basically the British equivalent of a water bed. Let's see... We all know The Tube and telly, so I won't bother mentioning those. Biscuits aren't biscuits, they're little cookies. And that actually seems to be the case in several places, not just England. Anything else? Any other things you want translated or to know what they mean?

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Maybe the same company also makes waterbeds, but a book where I looked up "Lilo" says that it's an air mattress. If Sarah has the kind that you keep in the closet (British translation: cupboard) and inflate it with your vacuum cleaner (British translation: hoover) when house guests are expected, that could explain why John declined that offer in favor of her sofa -- he was not actually expected, and didn't want to put her to the bother of inflating it.

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Actually we tend to call a closet (as in a place where you hang your clothes) a wardrobe if it is a free standing piece of furniture, or a Walk-in wardrobe if it is a small room off of a main room. However if you were to call it a closet most people would know what you mean, and probably wouldn't even raise an eyebrow.

 

The term "Hoover" seems to be falling out of favour of late and has been gradually usurped by "Vacuum" (sans 'cleaner') possibly due to the Hoover company's new found lack of dominance in the vacuum market.

 

:D

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Actually we tend to call a closet (as in a place where you hang your clothes) a wardrobe if it is a free standing piece of furniture, or a Walk-in wardrobe if it is a small room off of a main room. However if you were to call it a closet most people would know what you mean, and probably wouldn't even raise an eyebrow.

Could it be that (thanks perhaps to television) our two languages are beginning to re-converge? Or at least become more mutually intelligible?

 

That free-standing furniture for hanging clothes in would also be called a wardrobe over here, or at least that's what my grandparents called theirs. They went out of fashion when houses began to be designed with closets, and by the time wardrobes came back into style, they had acquired the high-falutin' French name of armoire. But a lot of people would still call 'em wardrobes.

 

The walk-in kind is a "walk-in closet" here, as you might guess. When we say just "closet" we mean the kind that's also built like a little room, but too small to walk into -- you just reach into it. What do you folks call that? And how does Harry Potter's "cupboard under the stairs" fit into all this? (Over here, "cupboard" is pretty much another word for a built-in cabinet -- a sort of permanently-installed piece of furniture for storing small items -- such as cups.)

 

I've been warned that people will giggle if I say "closet" in the UK, because over there it means "water closet" -- though that term doesn't seem to used so much these days.

 

 

The term "Hoover" seems to be falling out of favour of late and has been gradually usurped by "Vacuum" (sans 'cleaner') possibly due to the Hoover company's new found lack of dominance in the vacuum market.

The noun is "vacuum cleaner" here, but the verb is just "vacuum."

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I've been warned that people will giggle if I say "closet" in the UK, because over there it means "water closet" -- though that term doesn't seem to used so much these days.

The term "Water Closet" shortened to WC for brevity's sake, is pretty archaic here, and I'm guessing that many younger people wouldn't even be familiar with it. The word "Closet" is more likely to raise a giggle here due to the common phrase "In the closet" or "[To] come out of the closet" which I believe is also common in the US.

 

The noun is "vacuum cleaner" here, but the verb is just "vacuum."

 

We often use "Vacuum" as both the verb and the noun. Although "Hoover[ing]" is still used by some as the verb.

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I hoover with my dyson because the place needs to be vacuumed...

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I hoover with my dyson because the place needs to be vacuumed...

 

Indeed, as do we. Although I doubt "Dysoning" will ever make its way into use as a verb. :D

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Once again I realize, how damn uncreative the german language is when it comes to creating verbs that describe certain actions... In Germany, hoovering is called 'staubsaugen', which, translated, literally means 'dust sucking'. No wonder we use so many anglicisms if we aren't able to construct any proper words ourselves! :D

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Well, at least "dust sucking" is an accurate description. A "vacuum cleaner" does not clean a vacuum -- it does not even create a vacuum or use a vacuum. It just sucks dust!

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But when the woman who was "just sharing" a flat with Alex Woodbridge in The Great Game, she says of Alex "He was, er... Never much of a one for hoovering." Does she in fact, mean to refer to the usual term or a different sense of the word? I'll have to think about that. Return to this place in seven and a half million years. I'm being facetious, of course. I would think she meant it in a different sense, but I don't want to jump to conclusions so I'm leaving the possibility of the normal sense having been meant.

 

Also domestic, here when Mrs. Hudson says "Have you two had a little domestic?", means a fight. She could have said row, but row is a looser term and Mrs. Hudson wouldn't be likely to say that. Someone had thought it meant something...else and was summarily corrected on that subject. A chip and PIN machine is another term for a self checkout machine. Yes, I know a Lilo is an air mattress. I was merely simplifying it to something others could relate to. Note, I also said EQUIVALENT, not it IS a water bed.

 

Oh, a memory stick is a flash drive. I don't know what else. My brain has not been properly functioning for the past few days. I suspect it's due to the fact of John Watson's return. If not that, as to what may be the true cause, I've absolutely no idea.

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But when the woman who was "just sharing" a flat with Alex Woodbridge in The Great Game, she says of Alex "He was, er... Never much of a one for hoovering." Does she in fact, mean to refer to the usual term or a different sense of the word?

If you're puzzled because Undead Medic said that "hoover" (in reference to a vacuum cleaner) "seems to be falling out of favour," I think his point is just that it's not used as commonly as it used to be, though some people do still use it. And apparently Alex's flatmate is one of those people.

 

 

...A chip and PIN machine is another term for a self checkout machine....

That's another term that puzzles me. When we were in the UK a couple of years ago, we found that their credit-card readers could not read our cards, and a checkout clerk explained that it was because their cards use "chip and pin" technology (rather than the magnetic stripe that our cards have). So I would have thought that "chip and pin machine" would refer specifically to the automatic card reader, rather than to the entire self-checkout set-up, as John clearly used the term. But language is like that.

 

By the way, that clerk also told us that the chip-and-pin cards were proving very unreliable in practice, and she suspected that they would soon be replaced with something else.

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I doubt chip and pin stuff will be getting phased out - it's pretty damn ubiquitous now and the unreliability seems to have settled down.

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The self checkout itself is exactly that a "Self Checkout". "Chip & Pin Machine" refers more accurately to the apparatus for reading credit and debit cards which is attached to the self checkout and is likewise seen on traditional checkouts and payment areas. It is one of the minor errors that I picked up on when first watching the episode.

 

And Aely is right in that the problems with the chip & pin technology do seem to be getting fewer and further between as time goes by. Most retailers seem to experience more problems with general network connectivity than with the readers themselves, these network problems existed before chip & pin came in and are more common when the network is experiencing high demand.

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OK, thanks, guys. So I had good reason to be puzzled.

 

John must have been sufficiently agitated to mis-use the term. There. All explained away.

 

Sounds like we'll have the same problem using our credit cards over there this June, then.

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So, Carol says "once burnt, twice shy" and I say "once bitten, twice shy" anyone have any other variants? Is the bitten thing just British or perhaps even a regional variant?

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Hey, I'd also be shy if I was bitten!

 

 

And just noticed the banner ad at the top of this page:

 

You Imagine, We Build & Guarantee! Wardrobe Closet Experts Since 1985

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I don't get ads (thank you firefox and Adblock plus) but that's amusing. A wardrobe closet though? Nothing like covering all bases...

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When we say just "closet" we mean the kind that's ... built like a little room, but too small to walk into -- you just reach into it. What do you folks call that? And how does Harry Potter's "cupboard under the stairs" fit into all this?

That's what I get for burying my two questions in a load of blather -- no answers! Anybody care to have a go?

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