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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:48 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
workmates

But that's so British. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:12 pm 
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On another thread, this stood out: "Experienced musicians 'feel each other up'..."

In North America, musicians might feel each other out, but as for feeling each other up ... we won't go there.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:48 pm 
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Tunborough wrote:
In North America, musicians might feel each other out, but as for feeling each other up ... we won't go there.

Of course, one hopes that the parties involved are discreet enough to get a room...

And that reminds me of another one! Many years ago I encountered a curious phrase in a book about Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton:

Quote:
Spare blankets could be hung in a [shared] cubicle if, in Shackleton's words, an occupant wished to 'sport their oak'.

It was only late last year that I found out that the phrase is 19th cent. Oxford and Cambridge slang for closing one's doors, formally signalling a wish for privacy. Prior to that, my longstanding assumption had been that "sporting one's oak" meant something rather more - ahem - carnal, where of course a drawn curtain was probably a very good idea for all concerned. While the option for curtains was a considerate touch, I thought the (misunderstood) rationale was a rather gritty and unnecessary thing to bring up, all the same.

Oops. :shock:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:42 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
there actually is a word - not in English, mind - that's spelt "curbside". I'd never come across that before. It doesn't make sense.


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Here's an example of the English, while commenting on Americans misunderstanding English usage, revealing a misunderstanding of American usage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxWeWbrzqA8

Every time the Englishmen use a term unfamiliar to the American the American says "you're not talking right".

That's just not...right.

When somebody starts using unfamiliar jargon we have no way of judging the correctness or incorrectness of it.

What we DO know it that they're using obscure jargon rather than what we call "plain English".

So in reality Meghan, or any American, would say "could you please speak in plain English?" or "could you please speak in ENGLISH?" (the "plain" being understood).

Jargon is often at its most culturally specific in the world of sports.

To clear up things British football presenters say for my fellow American EPL and SPL supporters I wrote a glossary of British footballing terms, which has now grown to several hundred items.

My glossary's title is simply an English sports headline:

CROUCH BREAKS POTTER'S MOLINEAUX HOODOO

I've yet to meet an American who can guess the meaning, or an Englishman who cannot.

I decode such sentences as

"Two old masters drop dummies and nutmegs all around the midfield."

"Terry to loose armband."

"The match official declared kit clash."

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:32 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
It took me ages to realise that there actually is a word - not in English, mind - that's spelt "curbside".
Never mind the "curb", the past tense "spelt" sneaked past me the first time I saw it. Over here, the word is more likely to be spelled "curbside". "Spelt" is a grain used for flour and pasta. "Spell" is, or has at least become, a regular verb.

Which brings me to the past tense of "sneak". I've recently been informed that "sneak" was, and (I gather) in Britain still is, a regular verb: sneak, sneaked, sneaking. At some point, the past tense "snuck" snuck into U.S. usage, from sources unknown, creating an irregular verb out of a regular one.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:49 pm 
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Tunborough wrote:
"Spelt" is a grain used for flour and pasta.

Yeah, I pointed that out earlier on, but nobody seems to have caught it. Poor me. Sniff.

I would never normally use "spelt" for "spelled", or "learnt" for "learned". Oddly, though, I can easily alternate between "dreamed" and "dreamt", and "burned" and "burnt", although the latter in particular depends somewhat more on usage: I would absolutely say, "I don't like burnt toast," whereas "I burnt/burned the toast" remains open. "He burned me" can mean "He swindled me", but for the same meaning, "He burnt me" sounds quite awkward and stilted; it more suggests injury by heat, and in that case, pretty much either one works. Burnt offerings are sacrificial every time, whereas the more unlikely "burned offerings" suggests the casualty of a church fire.

I wonder why. I don't believe such details are necessarily universal among Left Ponders, but then I've never really paid attention.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:18 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Oddly, though, I can easily alternate between "dreamed" and "dreamt"
Does the different vowel sound on that one (but not the other examples) constrain you? Online lyrics for "Lowlands" (" I dreamed/dreamt a dream the other night, Lowlands ..." seem to be one or the other throughout but I wonder what singers actually do.

You varying usage on all of them doesn't strike me as odd so I guess I hear them and probably use them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:43 pm 
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A previous poster used the word, "football" this is a good example of the topic at hand. In the US the sport is called, "soccer."
"Football", in the US is quite a different game. Is US style football played in the UK?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:34 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Oddly, though, I can easily alternate between "dreamed" and "dreamt"
Does the different vowel sound on that one (but not the other examples) constrain you? Online lyrics for "Lowlands" (" I dreamed/dreamt a dream the other night, Lowlands ..." seem to be one or the other throughout but I wonder what singers actually do.

I had to look this song up, because it's new to me. Not being a singer, I would have to approach the matter as a poet, and I'm afraid I hardly qualify. That said, I could go either way, but as a writer (by temperament, anyway), my choice would have to be purposeful: "I dreamed a dream" is good for its vowel harmony and fluidity; the echoing effect aptly mirrors a dreamlike state, and there's an almost unsteady feeling about it, so it would be an aesthetically fitting choice. OTOH, "I dreamt a dream" is also good because the vowel contrast emphasizes the alliteration, it has an attractively higher grammatic tone, and that T gives a bite to its rhythm; the sharper focus, solidity and dignity virtually ask us to listen, so that's a worthwhile device, too. Depending on one's purposes each has its merits, and I can't say I have a real preference, myself. From where I sit, arguments against either would be a hollow exercise in mere nitpickery. What to do...

But pure wordcraft has little to do with which side of the Pond I'm on; I'm sure a conscientious UK writer would wrestle with the same things in the same way. No doubt there are singers who conscientiously wrestle with the aesthetic choice between "dreamed" and "dreamt", too. If it's too much, you could always chuck it all and use "I had a dream". :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:50 pm 
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Michael w6 wrote:
Is US style football played in the UK?

Apparently gridiron football is indeed organized in the UK! I had no idea. From Wikipedia:

British American Football Association

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:28 am 
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All this prescriptive stuff doesn't interest me much.

English verbs have been moving into, or out of, the "strong" category forever and a number of verbs haven't settled down yet, and may never do.

It's common for the British to label anything that's not current British usage as an "Americanism" though in fact these usages existed in Britain before the Americas were colonized in nearly every case.

One word "axe" for "ask" will suffice:

And one of theym named sheffelde a mercer cam in to an hows and axed for mete, and specyally he axyed after eggys And the good wyf answerde, that she coude speke no frenshe

(The wyf correctly identified "eggys" as being foreign; the native English word is eyren.)

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Last edited by pancelticpiper on Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:44 am 
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Quote:
It's common for the British to label anything that's not current British usage as an "Americanism" though in fact these usages existed in Britain before the Americas were colonized in nearly every case.

One word "axe" for "ask" will suffice:


The ask/axe thing can still be found, perhaps a marker of social group or low literacy, some would argue. It's certain common among travellers. People using that may also axe for a bag of crips.

Quote:
On another thread, this stood out: "Experienced musicians 'feel each other up'..."


And I used that quite deliberately too.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:00 am 
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Another is "ain't".

Interesting in the Aubery-Maturin series that the author puts the word in the mouth of landed English gentry.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:07 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
All this prescriptive stuff doesn't interest me much.

Not exactly sure what you're getting at; if anything, this thread has been descriptive. Baby buggy vs. pram, truck vs. lorry, the fries/chips/crisps debacle, etc.

pancelticpiper wrote:
And one of theym named sheffelde a mercer cam in to an hows and axed for mete, and specyally he axyed after eggys And the good wyf answerde, that she coude speke no frenshe

(The wyf correctly identified "eggys" as being foreign; the native English word is eyren.)

An amusing story that brings home the profound impact of the Norman invasion on English society. The foreign element here was actually Old Norse, not French; the man who asked for "eggys" was using northern Middle English vocabulary, whereas "eyren" was to be found in the south. English at the time didn't yet have an overarching standard form (prestige, if you like) as we have today, but was still marked by by its dialects even in higher literature. But such were the times that if you didn't understand something, it was not at all unreasonable to assume that it must then be of Norman origin.

It's all Greek to me.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:28 pm 
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Thanks guys, about the eggys, that's fascinating.

And for anyone else who's curious I found the context here: https://chaucer.fas.harvard.edu/pages/m ... h-dialects

I wasn't sure 'till then whether or not it was a joke against the good wyf


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