British v. American Vocabulary

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JZahn

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Sep 2, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/2/95
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In Graham Nelson's _Craft of Adventure_, he codifies a Player's Bill of
Rights, which includes a provision that games not require the player to be
American (even though _Curses!_ is decidedly, erm, British in character).


For an Inform game I'm working on, I want to include a meta command
"British on/off" which will change many of the descriptions, messages, and
parsing rules to use either American English or British English. Here is
a quick list of vocabulary words I have come up with.

American British
-------------- -----------------
apartment flat
elevator lift
? airing cupboard

cookie biscuit
biscuit ?
chips crisps
fries chips

suspenders braces
garters suspenders

gasoline petrol
car auto
hood bonnet
trunk boot
truck lorry

I'd also like to get definitions for typical English Pub food such as
Bangers & Mash, Bubble & Squeak, and the mysterious-sounding Spotted Dick.

I would appreciate any corrections, as well as suggestions for additions
to the list. After a suitable amount of time, I'll compile a full list
and post it here for the edification of my fellow American (and British)
game authors.

Please respond to the r.a.i-f and/or by email to jz...@aol.com

Thanx All,

Jeff

ct

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Sep 2, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/2/95
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In article <429p19$1...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, JZahn <jz...@aol.com> wrote:

>American British
>-------------- -----------------
>car auto

Of course, you got these the wrong way round :-)

>I'd also like to get definitions for typical English Pub food such as
>Bangers & Mash, Bubble & Squeak, and the mysterious-sounding Spotted Dick.

I dunno about typical pub food; do I just go to the wrong pubs?

regards, ct

Jason Dyer

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Sep 2, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/2/95
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JZahn (jz...@aol.com) wrote:
: In Graham Nelson's _Craft of Adventure_, he codifies a Player's Bill of

: Rights, which includes a provision that games not require the player to be
: American (even though _Curses!_ is decidedly, erm, British in character).

: For an Inform game I'm working on, I want to include a meta command
: "British on/off" which will change many of the descriptions, messages, and
: parsing rules to use either American English or British English. Here is
: a quick list of vocabulary words I have come up with.

Hmmm...actually, although being I certainly am American, I would much
rather keep the game in British mode because somewhere along the line
you WILL mess up. For example, are you going to have all the British
spellings changed to American ones? It would be very disorienting to
have a mixture.
(I am guilty of this myself, for in changing the spellings of the
Inform library to be American [since I use that type of spelling in
the regular text] I forgot a few. But like Graham says in the
same section, like any good dictator...)
And I would like to see things in their original form, rather than
a "translated" one. None of the British terms (except for the
odd pub food names) bother me in the slightest. A solution to this would
be to allow questions like WHAT IS AN AIRING CUPBOARD? (what _is_ an airing
cupboard, anyway?)

--
Jason Dyer - jd...@indirect.com

Julian Arnold

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Sep 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/3/95
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JZahn (jz...@aol.com) wrote:

> In Graham Nelson's _Craft of Adventure_, he codifies a Player's Bill of
> Rights, which includes a provision that games not require the player to be
> American (even though _Curses!_ is decidedly, erm, British in character).
>
> For an Inform game I'm working on, I want to include a meta command
> "British on/off" which will change many of the descriptions, messages, and
> parsing rules to use either American English or British English. Here is
> a quick list of vocabulary words I have come up with.

I'm not sure a `British/American on/off' command is the best way to handle
Americanisms. I think the vocabulary used in descriptions, etc. makes an
important contribution to the overall atmosphere of the game. Thus in a very
British game, say CURSES, I think it would actually detract from the
atmosphere if the player is confronted with the message `You fill your car
with gasoline' rather than you fill your car with petrol'. A better way, I
think, would be to provide a comprehensive range of synonyms at all times.
Ie, in Inform you may have:

#OBJECT petrol "petrol"
with name "petrol" "gasoline" "fuel",

This way Americans can still refer to petrol as gasoline, and British can
call it petrol. Anyway, if the player really doesn't know what something is
there is always the EXAMINE verb.

However, I do think a good British/American English vocab list would be a
worthwhile addition to the if-archive/programming/general-discussion dir at
gmd (and of course post it here).
--
Jools Arnold jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk

ct

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Sep 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/3/95
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More occcur :->


In article <429p19$1...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, JZahn <jz...@aol.com> wrote:

>American British
>-------------- -----------------

Tomato Tomato
Potato Potato


regards, ct


Gareth Rees

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Sep 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/3/95
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JZahn <jz...@aol.com> wrote:
> For an Inform game I'm working on, I want to include a meta command
> "British on/off" which will change many of the descriptions, messages,
> and parsing rules to use either American English or British English.

`Fowler's Modern English Usage' has a list of these (under
`Americanisms', perhaps?) and other usage books may help (you couldtry
posting on alt.usage.english with this question).

However, unless there's a particular point to this in your game, I
wouldn't do it. The vocabulary of a story is one of the features which
gives it atmosphere: if your game is set in (say) a small town in
America then you cannot make it be set in a small town in Britain just
by changing a few of the words, and if you make your descriptions
sufficiently interchangable then I think it will be hard for you to
maintain any consistency of atmosphere and effect.

--
Gareth Rees

Jim Newland

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Sep 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/4/95
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>I'm not sure a `British/American on/off' command is the best way to
>handle Americanisms. I think the vocabulary used in descriptions,
>etc. makes an important contribution to the overall atmosphere of the
>game. Thus in a very British game, say CURSES, I think it would
>actually detract from the atmosphere if the player is confronted with
>the message `You fill your car with gasoline' rather than you fill
>your car with petrol'. A better way, I think, would be to provide a
>comprehensive range of synonyms at all times. Ie, in Inform you may
>have:
>
> #OBJECT petrol "petrol"
> with name "petrol" "gasoline" "fuel",
>
>This way Americans can still refer to petrol as gasoline, and British
>can call it petrol. Anyway, if the player really doesn't know what
>something is there is always the EXAMINE verb.

I agree. It would be kind of neat, though, if someone were to make a
consciously "unisex" game which could be played in either British or
American mode, with descriptions, NPC's and so on specially written to
match the culture. So long as the locations and plot were generic and
not tied to either locale, it probably wouldn't be too hard to pull
off--no, scratch that. It'd be a ton of work, since it would be in
essence two separate games under one roof. Oh well, it was a nice
thought...

Anyhow, on to the question I was supposed to be addressing above. One
solution, and a good one I think, would be to provide a "translate"
verb. Then, if the player were completely stumped about what something
was, he/she could get a literal translation and move on. That way the
atmosphere's not spoiled and the player's not left guessing in the
event that the EXAMINE descriptions are unclear. Using this method, it
might even be desirable to do away with the dialect synonyms
altogether, thus forcing the player to *be* British or American, just
as a book does, and drawing him/her into the story. This is really
nothing different than Jools suggested with his vocabulary list, but
hey, why not just put it in the game?

Jim Newland
76461...@compuserve.com

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Sep 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/4/95
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Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 3-Sep-95 Re: British v.
American Voc.. Julian Arn...@arnod.demo (1619)

> I'm not sure a `British/American on/off' command is the best way to handle
> Americanisms. I think the vocabulary used in descriptions, etc. makes an
> important contribution to the overall atmosphere of the game.

I agree. When you substitute in words that are foreign to you, you are
obscuring your natural voice -- writing style, I should say. IF is
ultimately a work of prose; it stands or falls on your writing. Why fuzz
it up?

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."

Darin Johnson

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Sep 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/4/95
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Just a side note re int-fiction. The original Mud-I I believe
had a puzzle designed to trip up those damn yanks. The key clue
was the word "prise". Americans would think they got the prize,
whereas to the Brits (home of all the good original muds), it
gave a hint that perhaps an extra action was needed to get full
points.

(look it up in websters)
--
Darin Johnson
djoh...@ucsd.edu
- Grad school - just say no.

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Sep 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/5/95
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Jim Newland <76461...@CompuServe.COM> writes:

>I agree. It would be kind of neat, though, if someone were to make a
>consciously "unisex" game which could be played in either British or
>American mode, with descriptions, NPC's and so on specially written to
>match the culture. So long as the locations and plot were generic and
>not tied to either locale, it probably wouldn't be too hard to pull
>off--no, scratch that. It'd be a ton of work, since it would be in
>essence two separate games under one roof. Oh well, it was a nice
>thought...

No, wait! It's a good idea, it just isn't being taken far enough.
American and British cultures are too similar. How about a story that
you can switch between being set in, say, modern New York and 12th century
Baghdad? Or a small English town during the reign of Elizabeth I and the
Australian outback during the same period? Or... er... a medieval castle
and Washington, DC in 1957? Middle Earth and a theme park? Vietnam and
Camelot? Oh well, it was a nice thought...

--
Carl Muckenhoupt | Is it true that Kibo habitually autogreps all of Usenet
b...@tiac.net | for his name? If so: Hi, Kibo. Like the sig?


David S. Raley

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Sep 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/5/95
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jz...@aol.com (JZahn) wrote:


>For an Inform game I'm working on, I want to include a meta command
>"British on/off" which will change many of the descriptions, messages, and
>parsing rules to use either American English or British English.

>Thanx All,
>Jeff

This thread reminds me of my worst gripe about the American Edition to
_The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_: it feels so funny to hear
someone from Britain use American terminology. Even worse, some of the
substitutions either kill the rhythm or kill the joke. I find British
words easier to swallow than a sloppy translation into American (then
again, I minored in English Lit in college and at least half the
authors I read are British, so I might not find the British dialect as
difficult as many Americans).

Then again, since the user has the option to set the setting, then the
user can choose to select the original language if they are so
inclined. Perhaps it may work after all.


DSR


Adrian Preston

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Sep 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/5/95
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Jason Dyer (jd...@indirect.com) wrote:
: a "translated" one. None of the British terms (except for the

: odd pub food names) bother me in the slightest. A solution to this would
: be to allow questions like WHAT IS AN AIRING CUPBOARD? (what _is_ an airing
: cupboard, anyway?)

An 'airing cupboard' is a large cupboard, usually in or near the bathroom
in which resides the house's hot water tank. The cupboard usually has one or
more shelves on which to place wet clothes in order that they are dried or
'aired' by the heat from the hot water tank. Hence the name.


Watch this space. The 'Clam' is coming.

--
+----------------------------------------------------------------------+
Adi, Lecturer in ??????? | no .sig
Kingston University | no .sig
+----------------------------------------------------------------------+


Sam Hulick

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Sep 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/6/95
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The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all
sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Let's say that a
puzzle involved putting a diaper on a baby (weird example, but oh well
:). You look around and eventually.. "You can see a nappy here." How
would an American know what that is? Do British people have the same
problem with American words? Diaper vs. nappy, radio vs. tranny, truck
vs. lorry, etc. The gap of communication between Amer./Brit. is like
between Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese... maybe not quite, but kind of
close. There should be some kind of dictionary (available in the
States) with all these British words. :)

Just my $0.02.

--
--- Sam Hulick ------------- shu...@indiana.edu ---------------------
Systems Consultant | Homepage:
Indiana College Placement | http://copper.ucs.indiana.edu/~shulick/
and Assessment Center | PGP public key available on request

Ben Chalmers

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Sep 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/6/95
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In article <1995Sep6.0...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,

shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu ("Sam Hulick") wrote:

>
> The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all
> sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Let's say that a
> puzzle involved putting a diaper on a baby (weird example, but oh well
> :). You look around and eventually.. "You can see a nappy here." How
> would an American know what that is? Do British people have the same
> problem with American words? Diaper vs. nappy, radio vs. tranny, truck
> vs. lorry, etc. The gap of communication between Amer./Brit. is like
> between Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese... maybe not quite, but kind of
> close. There should be some kind of dictionary (available in the
> States) with all these British words. :)
>
> Just my $0.02.
>

I would guess the British have a far better understanding of American English
than the Americans do of Queen's English, since while Speaking Queens
English, the British media is filled with American imports, meaning we have
to understand American in order to watch TV or Films.

A far bigger problem is that of American culture. In Britain sports such as
Baseball and American Football are only shown on a 'minority' channel, and
are not understood particularly well (although terms such as 'getting to
first base' have entered the language), and I still don't have a firm
understanding of the role fraternities/ sororities fill in the American
education system.

The language gap isn't relly very big, If you consider the huge differences
in the language as spoken in say London, as opposed to Glasgow you will see
that American is just another diallect.

--
Name :Ben Chalmers. Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous.
Email:b...@bench.demon.co.uk Do not attempt it in your home. -Good Omens
WWW :http://uptown.turnpike.net/B/benchal/Ben.html

Julian Arnold

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Sep 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/6/95
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"Sam Hulick" (shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:

> The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all

> sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Do British people have the


> same problem with American words? Diaper vs. nappy, radio vs. tranny,
> truck vs. lorry, etc.

It's quite amusing to see what Americans think is British vocabulary (and I
guess vice versa). For instance, does *anyone* actually listen to a tranny,
or drive their auto in Britain? No, these things are a radio and a car. 8)
--
Jools Arnold jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk

Fred Sloniker

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Sep 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/7/95
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Sam Hulick <shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:

>The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all

>sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Let's say that a
>puzzle involved putting a diaper on a baby (weird example, but oh well
>:). You look around and eventually.. "You can see a nappy here." How
>would an American know what that is?

Reminds me of the bit of "Trinity" that's in one of the samplers
available at ftp.gmd.de; at one point, I ran across a perambulator,
and had to think a moment before I figured out they meant a baby
carriage. (Oddly enough, upon the heels of that realization came the
realization that I already knew it as a 'pram', a synonym the game
accepted.)

I don't mind running across a Britishism in a game or novel as long as
I can determine what it is by context. In a novel, the context of a
'lorry' would be someone flagging it down, riding in it someplace, and
paying when they got out (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about
the definition); in a game, you should be able to examine it and get
something more meaningful than 'it looks just like every other lorry
you've ever seen'. Something about the hack (Americanism here)
sitting in the driver's seat, looking at you as if to say 'no tip
today', would do nicely.

---Fred M. Sloniker, cleric at large
L. Lazuli R'kamos, FurryMUCKer
laz...@eskimo.com

"How appropriate. You fight like a cow." --"The Secret of Monkey Island"

Julian Arnold

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Sep 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/7/95
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Magnus Olsson (m...@marvin.df.lth.se) wrote:

> Let's not forget that these things change with time. If you read what
> was written a few decades ago about the differences between American
> and British English, you'll see things like "Amercians talk about
> radios and antennas, Englishmen about wireless and aerials". I have
> the distinct impression that "raido" is the common word in Britain
> nowadays, isn't it?

No, we say "radio". 8)

But yes, your quite right otherwise. Maybe we need a vocab FAQ which details
historical variations too, so that people writing WITNESS type games have a
reference. Wow, if anyone does this FAQ they'll certainly have their work
cut out.
--
Jools Arnold jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk

Matthew MacKenzie

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Sep 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/7/95
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In article <42m9fn$p...@nic.lth.se> m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) writes:

[clipping out most everything either one said, to make one point]

In article <1995Sep6.0...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,


Sam Hulick <shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> There should be some kind of dictionary (available in the
>States) with all these British words. :)

Most British dictionaries list common American words as well as their
British counterparts (noting them as Americanisms). Surely there must
be some American dictionaries that do the corresponding thing?

American dictionaries often include both British meanings of words and
those colourful spellings you guys still use, likewise noting that
they're Not From Around Here. But they can't catch all of them, and
as Magnus pointed out in the part I clipped, Americans aren't as
familiar with British idioms as the other way around. British TV
shows up here mostly at unfashionable hours on public television,
rather than the major networks.

If some kind Brit could start a Web page of translations, and just add
words as people write to ask "what is _that_," I bet Curses alone
could supply a couple dozen entries. :-)

--
_____________________________________________________________________________
"Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl,
kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld." -- Mark Twain
ma...@va.pubnix.com Matthew MacKenzie

Daniel Blum

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Sep 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/7/95
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Ben Chalmers (B...@bench.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> In article <1995Sep6.0...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,
> shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu ("Sam Hulick") wrote:

> >
> > The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all
> > sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Let's say that a
> > puzzle involved putting a diaper on a baby (weird example, but oh well
> > :). You look around and eventually.. "You can see a nappy here." How

> > would an American know what that is? Do British people have the same


> > problem with American words? Diaper vs. nappy, radio vs. tranny, truck

> > vs. lorry, etc. The gap of communication between Amer./Brit. is like
> > between Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese... maybe not quite, but kind of

> > close. There should be some kind of dictionary (available in the


> > States) with all these British words. :)
> >

> > Just my $0.02.
> >

> I would guess the British have a far better understanding of American English
> than the Americans do of Queen's English, since while Speaking Queens
> English, the British media is filled with American imports, meaning we have
> to understand American in order to watch TV or Films.

> A far bigger problem is that of American culture. In Britain sports such as
> Baseball and American Football are only shown on a 'minority' channel, and
> are not understood particularly well (although terms such as 'getting to
> first base' have entered the language), and I still don't have a firm
> understanding of the role fraternities/ sororities fill in the American
> education system.

Well, where I went to school, they filled the role of being loud, obnoxious,
drunk, drugged, and prone to questionable antics that routinely got them
kicked off campus... so far as my social circle was concerned, they were
the group of people anyone could look down on, a very necessary thing in
any large community :).

> The language gap isn't relly very big, If you consider the huge differences
> in the language as spoken in say London, as opposed to Glasgow you will see
> that American is just another diallect.

I (a Middle Atlantic/Northeast US person) generally have an easier time
understanding Britishers (well, "BBC" speakers, anyway :)) than
American Southerners - for what it's worth.

> --
> Name :Ben Chalmers. Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous.
> Email:b...@bench.demon.co.uk Do not attempt it in your home. -Good Omens
> WWW :http://uptown.turnpike.net/B/benchal/Ben.html

--
_______________________________________________________________________
Dan Blum to...@mcs.com
"I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't just made it up."
_______________________________________________________________________

Magnus Olsson

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Sep 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/7/95
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In article <1995Sep6.0...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,

Sam Hulick <shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>
>The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all
>sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Let's say that a
>puzzle involved putting a diaper on a baby (weird example, but oh well
>:). You look around and eventually.. "You can see a nappy here." How
>would an American know what that is?

Is it really that difficult?

> Do British people have the same
>problem with American words?

I think it's easier for us Europeans (native English speaking or not)
to understand American words and cultural quirks than the other way
round, because we're constantly immersed in American language and
American culture via the media.

So, I'd guess that a typical Briton will recognize and understand most
American regionalisms, even though he/she wouldn't dream of using them.

> Diaper vs. nappy, radio vs. tranny, truck
>vs. lorry, etc.

Some more (let's hope I don't get them mixed up)

British American

Wireless Radio
Braces Suspenders
Suspenders Garters (Quite insiduous, these two pairs!)
Pavement Sidewalk
Subway (I've forgotten the American word, bu it's a tunnel for
pedestrians)
Underground Subway
Tights Pantyhose
Knickers Panties
Vest Undershirt


> The gap of communication between Amer./Brit. is like
>between Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese... maybe not quite, but kind of
>close.


Come on! They say that the British and the Americans are two peoples
divided by a common language, but the linguistic difference between,
say, an Oxford undergrad and an MIT student is actually far smaller
than many of the dialectal differences within the USA (or within
Britain for that matter).

Your comparison with the Mandarin / Cantonese differene is totally out
of proportion; those are not just dialects, but two separater
*languages*. Spoken Catnonese is totally incomprehensible to someone
who only undertsands Mandarin.

> There should be some kind of dictionary (available in the
>States) with all these British words. :)

Most British dictionaries list common American words as well as their


British counterparts (noting them as Americanisms). Surely there must
be some American dictionaries that do the corresponding thing?

Magnus

Chris Hart

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Sep 8, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/8/95
to mail...@zynet.co.uk
> There should be some kind of dictionary (available in the
> States) with all these British words. :)

Brilliant, I can see it now ....

You see a dictionary here.
>Read dictionary

English American
---------------------
Nappy Diaper
Lorry Truck

etc

Better still make it tough to find the dictionary and give them Yanks
an extra hard time :-)

Chris Hart ch...@hart.zynet.co.uk


Carl Muckenhoupt

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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russ...@wanda.pond.com writes:

>In article <qqenxwt...@tartarus.ucsd.edu>,


>Darin Johnson <djoh...@tartarus.ucsd.edu> wrote:
>}Just a side note re int-fiction. The original Mud-I I believe
>}had a puzzle designed to trip up those damn yanks. The key clue
>}was the word "prise". Americans would think they got the prize,
>}whereas to the Brits (home of all the good original muds), it
>}gave a hint that perhaps an extra action was needed to get full
>}points.

>prise? An archaic form of the word "pry"?

Er... not exactly archaic. More like "in widespread current use, just
not where you happen to be living."

Lynoure Rajam{ki

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
to
Magnus Olsson (m...@marvin.df.lth.se) wrote:
: In article <1995Sep6.0...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,

: Sam Hulick <shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
: >
: >The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all
: >sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Let's say that a
: >puzzle involved putting a diaper on a baby (weird example, but oh well
: >:). You look around and eventually.. "You can see a nappy here." How
: >would an American know what that is?

: Is it really that difficult?

Well, I guess you and I have studied English and not learned American or
Brittish English when we were children. Think about those words as
something you _never_ use: Those are like words taken from a different
language.


: > Do British people have the same
: >problem with American words?

: I think it's easier for us Europeans (native English speaking or not)
: to understand American words and cultural quirks than the other way
: round, because we're constantly immersed in American language and
: American culture via the media.

Maybe we should immerse Americans in European culture. :)

: Magnus

I don't know much about Australian English, but are there same kind of
problems between it and American and Brittish English ?


Lynoure

Ben Chalmers

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
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In article <42tc6h$i...@katiska.clinet.fi>,

lyn...@clinet.fi (Lynoure Rajam{ki) wrote:


>
> I don't know much about Australian English, but are there same kind of
> problems between it and American and Brittish English ?
>

I don't think the Gap between British and Australian English is quite as big
- mainly because the point at which the two cultures seperated is more recent
than with America.

The main problems are with slang (eg Dunnies vs Toilets), however most of
these seem to be relatively easy to 'translate' since it appears the standard
way for Australians to form slang is to replace the last few syllables of a
word with a y.

This is probably a very stereotypical view, however, since my only real
experience with Australian culture is through soap operas... 8)

Magnus Olsson

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
to
In article <42tc6h$i...@katiska.clinet.fi>,

Lynoure Rajam{ki <lyn...@clinet.fi> wrote:
>Magnus Olsson (m...@marvin.df.lth.se) wrote:
>: In article <1995Sep6.0...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,
>: Sam Hulick <shu...@mango.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>: >
>: >The only problem I have is playing a British game and running into all
>: >sorts of things where I think "What is THAT?" :) Let's say that a
>: >puzzle involved putting a diaper on a baby (weird example, but oh well
>: >:). You look around and eventually.. "You can see a nappy here." How
>: >would an American know what that is?
>
>: Is it really that difficult?
>
>Well, I guess you and I have studied English and not learned American or
>Brittish English when we were children. Think about those words as
>something you _never_ use: Those are like words taken from a different
>language.


Well, yes, but I suppose my point is this:

I'm not a native English speaker (as you might have guessed from my
email address, if not from my name :-)). I was taught British English
at school but I've been exposed to American English a lot from books,
films, TV, etc.

I can appreciate that Americans can get confused by British games, and
vice versa, especially when it's not just a matter of differnt
vocabluary, but of actual "false friends", such as the totally
different meanings of "suspenders".

What surprises me is that this should be a major problem. Or, rather,
I think that the problem has been misstated as one of dialectal
differences when it's really one of cultural differences, or of the demands
put on the player by the author.

For example, one example was quoted about an "airing cupboard". Is
this really a dialect problem? Isn't it rather a matter of British
_plumbing_, rather than of British _language_? I somnetimes wonder
whether anyone except the British themselves understand British
pluimbing, with its watertanks (complete with floating dead pigeons),
external pipes, and so on.

Similarly, the dumbwaiter in "Curses": The Americans complain that
they don't know what it is. But how many British players had to look
it up?

Magnus

ba...@micf.nist.gov

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
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In <430vpk$p...@nic.lth.se>, m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) writes:
>Similarly, the dumbwaiter in "Curses": The Americans complain that
>they don't know what it is. But how many British players had to look
>it up?

A propos of nothing, I thought this was an interesting comment because
up until now I had no idea that "dumbwaiter" was an arcane term in the
U.S. I grew up in Delaware (which for baffled foreigners is a small state
on the eastern U.S. seaboard) and when I was little we all knew what a
dumbwaiter was. Though there were very few around to actually observe.

Makes me wonder what hidden language traps there are just within one's
own country. I can imagine someone in Boston, I believe it would be, writing
a game where a useful object was described as a "grinder", and causing some
degree of confusion back home in Wilmington, where we call them "subs".
(Additional note for baffled foreigners -- they're both largish sandwichs.)

=======================================================
Michael Baum DEATH
dba: ba...@micf.nist.gov BEFORE
USGOV/DOC/NIST/PBA UNIX!
=======================================================


Mark Green

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
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In article <DEILD...@eskimo.com> laz...@eskimo.com "Fred Sloniker" writes:

>
> I don't mind running across a Britishism in a game or novel as long as
> I can determine what it is by context. In a novel, the context of a
> 'lorry' would be someone flagging it down, riding in it someplace, and
> paying when they got out (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about
> the definition); in a game, you should be able to examine it and get
> something more meaningful than 'it looks just like every other lorry
> you've ever seen'. Something about the hack (Americanism here)
> sitting in the driver's seat, looking at you as if to say 'no tip
> today', would do nicely.
>
> ---Fred M. Sloniker, cleric at large
> L. Lazuli R'kamos, FurryMUCKer
> laz...@eskimo.com

That's not a lorry, though.. that's a taxi. ;)

Mg
--

james reese

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
to
In <430vpk$p...@nic.lth.se>, m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) writes:
>Similarly, the dumbwaiter in "Curses": The Americans complain that
>they don't know what it is. But how many British players had to look
>it up?

I've never been to England, but I thought dumbwaiter was a rather
common concept in the U.S., and to date I haven't had any complaints
from players of "Veritas" about its dumbwaiter puzzle. I just assumed
that most people understood what a dumbwaiter is.

Jim
jre...@leland.stanford.edu


John Holder

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
to
Thus spake Lynoure Rajam{ki (lyn...@clinet.fi):
] Maybe we should immerse Americans in European culture. :)

Please do! I'm sure I at least would love every minute! ;^)

--
__ __
__/\_\ John Holder - jho...@nmsu.edu /_/\__
/\_\/_/ Computer Science - New Mexico State University \_\/_/\
\/_/\_\ I Brew the Beer I drink! /_/\_\/
\/_/ WWW: http://speedracer.nmsu.edu/~jholder \_\/

Paul C Evans

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Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
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In article <432pi0$s...@elaine33.Stanford.EDU>,

james reese <jre...@leland.Stanford.EDU> wrote:
> I've never been to England, but I thought dumbwaiter was a rather
>common concept in the U.S., and to date I haven't had any complaints
>from players of "Veritas" about its dumbwaiter puzzle. I just assumed
>that most people understood what a dumbwaiter is.

I've never actually seen one, that I recall, but I certainly knew what
one was. I had *no* idea, though, what `an old moggy' was when I came
across one in Christminster. I laughed out loud when I examined it
and found it to be a cat! I guess this is to be expected from a
country with city names like `Middle Wallop.' :)

--
Paul Evans in Chicago "The ants are with her hands to sleep:
ths...@iitmax.iit.edu The king scattereth more
the cry of the afflicted." -- Dog-Matic

Allison Weaver

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Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
to
On 12 Sep 1995, Paul C Evans wrote:

> I've never actually seen one, that I recall, but I certainly knew what
> one was. I had *no* idea, though, what `an old moggy' was when I came
> across one in Christminster. I laughed out loud when I examined it
> and found it to be a cat! I guess this is to be expected from a
> country with city names like `Middle Wallop.' :)

Isn't that rather like the pot calling the kettle black when we live in
a country with city names like Intercourse (PA), Bird-in-Hand (PA),
Wachapreague (VA), etc?

On the real subject, I have known what a dumbwaiter was since I was a
child, but when I asked at work, there were some who assumed it was a
stupid waiter.

Lynoure Rajam{ki

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Sep 16, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/16/95
to
John Holder (jho...@nmsu.edu) wrote:
: Thus spake Lynoure Rajam{ki (lyn...@clinet.fi):

: ] Maybe we should immerse Americans in European culture. :)

: Please do! I'm sure I at least would love every minute! ;^)

I will try someday :) I plan to make an IF game about an European goth
girl in American small town.... But then again, so many of my plans
always turn into dust... But you'll see. (That is: if and when I finally
write it.)

Lynoure
(Lynite v.2.2)

Mah / Nicholas (MGM)

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Sep 17, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/17/95
to
In article <19950910....@bench.demon.co.uk>,

Ben Chalmers <B...@bench.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>In article <42tc6h$i...@katiska.clinet.fi>,
> lyn...@clinet.fi (Lynoure Rajam{ki) wrote:
>
>
>>
>> I don't know much about Australian English, but are there same kind of
>> problems between it and American and Brittish English ?

Australian words ... hmm ... it's a hybrid of british and american
jargon/slang, mainly.

>I don't think the Gap between British and Australian English is quite as big
>- mainly because the point at which the two cultures seperated is more recent
>than with America.

no .. most of our words comes from our Anglo-Irish-Cockney heritige.

>The main problems are with slang (eg Dunnies vs Toilets), however most of
>these seem to be relatively easy to 'translate' since it appears the standard
>way for Australians to form slang is to replace the last few syllables of a
>word with a y.

not really .. there are a few words (Aussie in particular - Americans
take note, that's pronounced Ozzy, not Ossy) but I'm fairly sure most of
them were inherited Britishisms.

>This is probably a very stereotypical view, however, since my only real
>experience with Australian culture is through soap operas... 8)

Yah .. 'tis ;)

still as far as names go, quite a few with an "r" go to "z" endings ..
Baz (Barry), Gaz (Garry), Shaz (Sharon), Tez (Teri) and these then can be
further mutated by adding "za" .. Kazza (Katherine/Karen), Wozza (Warren)
etc. This is by no means universal <chuckles>.

The most significant differences between US english and Oz english (and
most Americans don't recognise Oz as Australia, whereas most Poms do)
that I've noticed are:
* "Could Care Less" versus "Couldn't Care Less"
* The usage of the word bonk. In the US that's a hit on the head ... in Oz
it's a hit in one groin with another ;)
* Fanny (as mentioned earlier, I think)
* the spelling arse verses ass.
* Plus of course a US burger is defined as a pressed mess of low grade
hifat beef with pickles and cheese and other assorted things that make
McDonalds such a wonderful restaurant. In Oz, a burger has Beetroot,
generally egg, perhaps bacon and pineapple, along with the usual stuff.
Tomato sauce is ketchup. Thousand Island dressing etc. is a travesity.
* A sausage is a snag. Actually a snag is not a snag unless at least 50%
of it is charcoaled.

lessee .. "Mate" is not used nearly as frequently as people seem to
think, tho it depends who you are talking to. Bruce is not an uncommon
name, but there are many names more common, and Sheila is uncommon (The
one Sheila I know is a nun, Irish born, and now known by a different name)
In our office, Julie and Karen would be the two most common female names.

--OH.
--
America may be unique in being a country which has leapt from barbarism
to decadence without touching civilisation.
-- John O'Hara

Mah / Nicholas (MGM)

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Sep 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/18/95
to
In article <42n3p0$4...@wanda.pond.com>, <russ...@wanda.pond.com> wrote:
>prise? An archaic form of the word "pry"?

Not at all archaic I don't think, though uncommon in usage - used in
things like

> PRISE JEWEL FROM SETTING WITH SMALL JEMMY
You slip the jemmy between the stone and the gold, and with great
exertion lever it out. The gigantic diamond of sumatra tips, and falls
out, hitting the carpet with a thud.

or something like that :)

JZahn

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Sep 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/18/95
to
In article <43jm5g$n...@csc.canberra.edu.au>,

u94...@student.canberra.edu.au (Mah / Nicholas (MGM)) writes:

>> PRISE JEWEL FROM SETTING WITH SMALL JEMMY
>You slip the jemmy between the stone and the gold, and with great
>exertion lever it out. The gigantic diamond of sumatra tips, and falls
>out, hitting the carpet with a thud.
>
>

What's a JEMMY?

- Jeff

Michael Kinyon

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Sep 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/18/95
to
In article <19950918....@arnod.arnod.demon.co.uk>,
Julian Arnold <jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>This seems to be the right place to ask. 8)
>
>Is `fortnight' (meaning two weeks) a British-only word? I use it, and
>everyone else here uses it, but I've never heard it used by an American.

Nonsense. Of course we use it. We use it in the natural unit of
velocity: furlongs / fortnight.

--
Michael Kinyon | email: mki...@peabody.iusb.edu
Dept of Mathematics & Comp. Sci.| phone: (219)-237-4240
Indiana University South Bend | fax: (219)-237-4538
South Bend, IN 46634 USA | "The quote in my .sig is false." - M. Kinyon

ada...@in.net

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Sep 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/18/95
to
Speaking as an American, I'd guess that most of us have at least heard or seen the
word before, but it's not in common use. Most people would very suprised, I think, to hear something like this:
"Hey, Bob! Back from Michigan! Say, how long were you there?"
"Oh, about a fortnight."

It's just not used in casual conversation.

Adam Ploshay
ada...@in.net


Jason Compton

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Sep 18, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/18/95
to
Julian Arnold (jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: This seems to be the right place to ask. 8)

: Is `fortnight' (meaning two weeks) a British-only word? I use it, and
: everyone else here uses it, but I've never heard it used by an American.

I use it. It's just not common in regular conversation.

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine (708) 741-0689 FAX
You've got to go faster than that. Better start doing it right.
AR on Aminet - docs/mags/ar???.lha AR Mailing list - Mail me
AR on WWW - http://www.omnipresence.com/Amiga/News/AR

Eli the bearded

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Sep 19, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/19/95
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jcom...@flood.xnet.com (Jason Compton) writes:

>Julian Arnold (jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>: Is `fortnight' (meaning two weeks) a British-only word? I use it, and
>I use it. It's just not common in regular conversation.

Excepting, of course, the unit of measure 'furlong per
fortnight.' :^)

Elijah
------ 11
6.0 x 10 furlongs per fortnight (the speed of light)

Julian Arnold

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Sep 19, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/19/95
to
2 or 3 people wrote by post, and 2 by mail:

> `furlongs per fortnight'.

Eli the bearded (bgri...@ic.sunysb.edu) wrote:

> 11
> 6.0 x 10 furlongs per fortnight (the speed of light)

Obviously physics jokes reach a wider audience in the US than they do in the
UK. 8)
--
Jools Arnold jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk


JZahn

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Sep 20, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/20/95
to
In article <19950918....@arnod.arnod.demon.co.uk>,
jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk (Julian Arnold) writes:

>Is `fortnight' (meaning two weeks) a British-only word? I use it, and

>everyone else here uses it, but I've never heard it used by an American.

>-

'Fortnight' is understood in America, but it's very seldom used. Back in
college, my engineering friends and I used to amuse ourselves by creating
Physics problems and requiring that the answers be expressed in furlongs
per fortnight, and similar unusual units.

Jeff.


Julian Arnold

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Sep 20, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/20/95
to
Here're a couple of instances then:

Rubber boots (everyone)
Wellington, Wellington Boots, Wellies (British)
Gumboots (Australian -- "Neighbours") 8)

Torch (British)
Flashlight (American)

Oh, and judging from the number of posts here and e-mails I've had, `furlongs
per fortnight' may well be the basis for the entire American culture.
--
Jools Arnold jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk

David S. Raley

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Sep 21, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/21/95
to
jz...@aol.com (JZahn) wrote:


>'Fortnight' is understood in America, but it's very seldom used. Back in
>college, my engineering friends and I used to amuse ourselves by creating
>Physics problems and requiring that the answers be expressed in furlongs
>per fortnight, and similar unusual units.


The funniest use of "fortnight" I can recall is a unit of measurement
used in VAX computer systems: microfortnights. Since a microfortnight
is about 1.2 seconds, why not jsut use seconds? I suppose the people
at DEC must have an interesting sense of humor.

DSR


Derek Jones

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Sep 22, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/22/95
to
jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk (Julian Arnold) writes:

>Here're a couple of instances then:

> Rubber boots (everyone)
> Wellington, Wellington Boots, Wellies (British)
> Gumboots (Australian -- "Neighbours") 8)

> Torch (British)
> Flashlight (American)

>Oh, and judging from the number of posts here and e-mails I've had, `furlongs
>per fortnight' may well be the basis for the entire American culture.

Actually, what I think you found out is that there is one, and only one,
surviving popular use of the word "fortnight" in the American on-line
subculture. (Evidently the same goes for "furlong".)

To segue into another barely-on-topic contest, are there any other words
that have one and only one popular usage? For example, I have never heard
the word "extenuating" unless it was immediately followed by "circumstances".
In other words, "extenuating circumstances" is a kind of compound word.
I try to take advantage of this kind of thing in Archetype's parser, along
with some other "statistical linguistics" techniques.

I can think of some others that come close. "Unforseeable" is almost always
followed by "future". "Ne'er" is always followed by "do well", unless
you're looking at hymn lyrics. There is a kind of pattern here where
borderline archaic words survive in compound phrases which describe something
common. Sometimes you hear people use the word "ye", but only when followed
by "olde", to mean (in a comical, eccentric way), "venerable or antique",
as in, "I'm going to boot ye olde computer now." And is "blithering"
ever followed by anything but "idiot"?

What I'm getting at is that these words ("extenuating", "ne'er", "ye",
"blithering", etc.) are starting to take on the role of the "faux" in
"faux pas" or the "quid" in "quid pro quo": because of their increasing
obsolesence, they act more like borrowed words from another language.

In the same way, we Americans can no longer think of any way to use
"furlong" or "fortnight" except in that joke.

--Derek

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Derek Jones
d...@primenet.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

russ...@wanda.pond.com

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Sep 22, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/22/95
to
In article <43v1q1$e...@nnrp4.nfs.primenet.com>,
Derek Jones <d...@primenet.com> wrote:

}Actually, what I think you found out is that there is one, and only one,
}surviving popular use of the word "fortnight" in the American on-line
}subculture. (Evidently the same goes for "furlong".)

I believe "furlong", like a number of other obscure measurements like
the pre-metric inch, survives in surveying and other things involving
land.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com russ...@his.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

John Holder

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Sep 22, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/22/95
to
Thus spake David S. Raley (Ral...@ix.netcom.com):
] The funniest use of "fortnight" I can recall is a unit of measurement

] used in VAX computer systems: microfortnights. Since a microfortnight
] is about 1.2 seconds, why not jsut use seconds? I suppose the people
] at DEC must have an interesting sense of humor.

Well, 72 cycles / microfortnight sounds faster than 60 cycles/second,
no?
;^)
John

Mark Clements

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Sep 22, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/22/95
to
In article <43v1q1$e...@nnrp4.nfs.primenet.com>
d...@primenet.com "Derek Jones" writes:

> I can think of some others that come close. "Unforseeable" is almost always
> followed by "future".

Or circumstances.

> And is "blithering"
> ever followed by anything but "idiot"?

Or fool. Or in references to lunacy, e.g. blithering like a madman.
The propositions are the same, but the sentences differ.

It is hard to classify words like this in any case, because they
fade in and out of fashion. People often pick up on archaic words
and start using them (perhaps just to be 'different') and they return
to (at least semi) common usage.
--
___ ,';_,-,__
Writing is just backwards reading. /~_ ,',' |O|,:,\,
Reading is just clever seeing. / /,',' /--|_|-;:;|
Seeing is believing. ( )',_) ) ):;)
To write, you must believe... >\,(__ / /:;;|
:...Mark...//~ /:;:;:\

David S. Raley

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Sep 23, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/23/95
to
russ...@wanda.pond.com wrote:


>I believe "furlong", like a number of other obscure measurements like
>the pre-metric inch, survives in surveying and other things involving
>land.


The furlong is also used in American horse racing for races that are
less than a mile in length (since short races don't get the big
publicity, it's rather easy to miss this). So if you want to use
furlongs in your adventure game, you should set it at a race track.

DSR


Greg Ewing

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Sep 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/25/95
to

In article <librikDF...@netcom.com>, lib...@netcom.com (David Librik) writes:

|> >> 11
|> >> 6.0 x 10 furlongs per fortnight (the speed of light)
|>

|> The reason this joke is funny in the US is that both "furlong" and
|> "fortnight" are weird ancient ways of measuring that nobody uses.

I don't know about the UK, but the joke works well enough
for me here in NZ (New Zealand, that is). The only context
in which I've ever heard the term "furlong" actually used
in seriousness is for measuring horse racing tracks...

|> - David Librik
|> lib...@cs.Berkeley.edu

Greg Ewing, Computer Science Dept, +--------------------------------------+
University of Canterbury, | A citizen of NewZealandCorp, a |
Christchurch, New Zealand | wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan Inc.|
gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz +--------------------------------------+

John W Kennedy

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Sep 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/25/95
to
In <43v1q1$e...@nnrp4.nfs.primenet.com>, d...@primenet.com (Derek Jones) writes:
>To segue into another barely-on-topic contest, are there any other words
>that have one and only one popular usage? For example, I have never heard
>the word "extenuating" unless it was immediately followed by "circumstances".

Easy. "diametric".

>Sometimes you hear people use the word "ye", but only when followed
>by "olde", to mean (in a comical, eccentric way), "venerable or antique",
>as in, "I'm going to boot ye olde computer now."

There are two different "ye"'s. One is a form of "you", but the other is a
mistake, confusing an obsolete letter (still used in Icelandic) that was
pronounced "th" with "y", which it somewhat resembles.

>In the same way, we Americans can no longer think of any way to use
>"furlong" or "fortnight" except in that joke.

Not so. Horserace tracks are still measured in furlongs. I suspect the term
may also still be used by surveyors, who traditionally use a completely
different system of lengths:


1 Link 7.92"
1 Rod (or, sometimes, 1 Perch) 25 Links 16' 6"
1 Chain 4 Rods 100 Links 66'
1 Furlong 10 Chains 40 Rods 1000 Links 660'
1 Mile 8 Furlongs 80 Chains 320 Rods 8000 Links 5280'

1 Perch 1 Square Rod 272.25 Square Feet
1 Acre 160 Perches 43560 Square Feet
1 Square Mile 640 Acres 102400 Perches 27878400 Square Feet


Greg Ewing

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Sep 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/27/95
to

In article <43v1q1$e...@nnrp4.nfs.primenet.com>, d...@primenet.com (Derek Jones) writes:

|> Sometimes you hear people use the word "ye", but only when followed
|> by "olde",

I don't think there was ever any such word as "ye" - I believe
the "y" is actually the obsolete letter thorn, which happens
to look a bit like a "y" if you don't know what it is.

|> d...@primenet.com

Greg

Magnus Olsson

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Sep 28, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/28/95
to
In article <44aci0$r...@cantua.canterbury.ac.nz>,

Greg is correct in that there isn't, and has never been, any definite
article "ye" in the English language.

Before printing was invented, a special letter was used for the "th"
sound in "the". I think this was the same "thorn" letter that's still
used in Icelandic. I tlooks like a slightly curved "d" with a bar
across the stem.

Some printers didn't have this letter in their fonts, and used "y"
instead.

Shop signs like "Ye Olde Englishe Magicke Shoppe" are modern
constructions that have about as much in common with medieval English
as the famous "Blinklights" signs have with German.

Neil K. Guy

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Sep 28, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/28/95
to
JZahn (jz...@aol.com) wrote:

: >> PRISE JEWEL FROM SETTING WITH SMALL JEMMY


: >You slip the jemmy between the stone and the gold, and with great
: >exertion lever it out. The gigantic diamond of sumatra tips, and falls
: >out, hitting the carpet with a thud.

: What's a JEMMY?

Maybe that's what we should call the award given to the winner of the
I-F competition... though I'm partial to the "Iffy" awards also.

- Neil K.

--
Neil K. Guy * ne...@sfu.ca * te...@tela.bc.ca
49N 16' 123W 7' * Vancouver, BC, Canada

Gareth Rees

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Sep 28, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/28/95
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Magnus Olsson <m...@marvin.df.lth.se> wrote:
> Greg is correct in that there isn't, and has never been, any definite
> article "ye" in the English language.
>
> Before printing was invented, a special letter was used for the "th"
> sound in "the". I think this was the same "thorn" letter that's still
> used in Icelandic. It looks like a slightly curved "d" with a bar
> across the stem.

There's some slight confusion here. Old English had two letters in its
alphabet that are both transcribed in modern English as `th'. The bad
ASCII art below gives the lower-case form of each:
_. __
Thorn | _ Eth \/
|/ \ (also Edh) /\
| / ___\
|_/ / \
| | |
| \____/
/

If your display can cope with ISO 8-bit characters, then:

Thorn capital Ş
lower-case ş
Eth capital Ğ
lower-case ğ

In Old English, Thorn and Eth were used without distinction for voiced
and unvoiced th, but modern phoneticians use Thorn to represent unvoiced
th and Eth for voiced th.

sound examples IPA ASCII-IPA
---------------------------------------------------------
unvoiced th thin, three lower case theta /T/
voiced th the, then eth /D/

In a typeface without a Thorn it is traditional to use a Y instead; so
"Ye Olde" is pronounced "The Old".

Followups set to alt.usage.english.

--
Gareth Rees

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