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Carol the Dabbler

The Language (and travel) Thread

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Dunno....

I just know the organisation puts up some really good videos of their debates/talks etc.

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7 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I assume TED is an acronym?  What does it stand for?

Technology, Entertainment and Design. I'd heard of them, but thought it was all tech talk, until for some reason or other I watched one, and it was great. So now I pay attention when I see one. They can really gobble up your time, though.

Website: https://www.ted.com/talks

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I just happened across another TED talk, this one by Daniel Kish, a man who's been completely blind since he was about a year old, but who can not only get around on foot just fine, he can actually ride a bicycle through an obstacle course.  He clicks his tongue and uses the sound for echolocation, much as a bat navigates its world.  And he teaches the technique to others, with considerable success.

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Wow!  Very cool stuff.

 

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2 hours ago, HerlockSholmes said:

... I’m not the best judge by a long straw.

There we go speaking different languages again!  :D

Here in the US, we do have some "straw" expressions.  The person who ends up with the worst of the lot is said to have "drawn the short straw" (as though the choice had been made by each person taking a straw from an assortment containing one much shorter than the others).  A minor inconvenience that is nevertheless just one thing too many is said to be "the last straw" (presumably a shortened form of "the straw that broke the camel's back").

But I've never heard "by a long straw."  I assume you meant that you're far from the best judge, so if I were in your situation, I might say "I'm not the best judge, not by a long shot."  But I have no idea why either a long straw or a long shot should mean that sort of thing.  (There are theories for "long shot," but the ones I've read seem far from intuitive to me.)

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18 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

There we go speaking different languages again!  :D

Here in the US, we do have some "straw" expressions.  The person who ends up with the worst of the lot is said to have "drawn the short straw" (as though the choice had been made by each person taking a straw from an assortment containing one much shorter than the others).  A minor inconvenience that is nevertheless just one thing too many is said to be "the last straw" (presumably a shortened form of "the straw that broke the camel's back").

But I've never heard "by a long straw."  I assume you meant that you're far from the best judge, so if I were in your situation, I might say "I'm not the best judge, not by a long shot."  But I have no idea why either a long straw or a long shot should mean that sort of thing.  (There are theories for "long shot," but the ones I've read seem far from intuitive to me.)

I think Herl was melding two variants on the expression there.  In the UK they have the expression 'by a long chalk', which I'm familiar with from their film and TV but I've never heard 'long chalk' used in the States.

They are fond of their chalk sayings, as they also have 'They are as different as chalk and cheese.'   Never heard that used in American, either.  We'd be more likely to say 'as night and day', probably.

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1 hour ago, Hikari said:

I think Herl was melding two variants on the expression there.  In the UK they have the expression 'by a long chalk', which I'm familiar with from their film and TV but I've never heard 'long chalk' used in the States.

They are fond of their chalk sayings, as they also have 'They are as different as chalk and cheese.'   Never heard that used in American, either.  We'd be more likely to say 'as night and day', probably.

Right.  Or we might say "like apples and oranges," though that's more often used when saying that two things are not merely different, but actually in different categories, as in "you can't compare apples and oranges."

Hmm, trying to think of any American "chalk" sayings.  Well, there's "chalk it up," meaning "credit it to," as in "chalk it up to old age."  There's also the metaphor "like chalk water" to describe something that is supposed to have more flavor.  Can any of you UK members tell us whether those are also used over your way?  Or back to the original question, what can you tell us about "by a long straw"?

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Just a bit o'fun to pass a very cold winter's day.

I bet if you read 'em Scotch mist, they're even funnier.  Just don't go smoking any oily rags in this cold!

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jun/09/guide-to-cockney-rhyming-slang

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21 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Right.  Or we might say "like apples and oranges," though that's more often used when saying that two things are not merely different, but actually in different categories, as in "you can't compare apples and oranges."

Hmm, trying to think of any American "chalk" sayings.  Well, there's "chalk it up," meaning "credit it to," as in "chalk it up to old age."  There's also the metaphor "like chalk water" to describe something that is supposed to have more flavor.  Can any of you UK members tell us whether those are also used over your way?  Or back to the original question, what can you tell us about "by a long straw"?

I think I unwittingly invented a phrase there Carol😃

I haven’t a clue where that one came from. ‘By a long chalk’ is more like it.

Its the Queen’s English not mine after all😃

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Yeah we use all those over here, except the 'chalk water!'

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