Aussie/American English

Apr 15th, 2005, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
umm, somewhere up there shouldn't "school/shoal of fish" be "fishes". Bit like saying a "herd of cow" or a "gaggle of goose" or come to think of it a "school of child"??
pat_woolford is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 62
Hi--more on the dived/dove issue below, but let me introduce myself first.
I'm an Aussie who grew up in NSW and who's lived in New York for many years. As a copy editor for a major international magazine and several publishing houses, I deal with this stuff on a daily basis--even occasionally "translating" books from British to American English. I'm constantly amazed at the differences--e.g., in one recent British book I came across the term "one-off," which is not generally used in the U.S., meaning "unique." Another British term that I never hear here is "naff"--I forget what that means--I constantly have to ask British friends to remind me.
When I first came to the US, I asked a doctor's receptionist when he had surgery. Since he was a GP (internist), she said that he didn't do surgery--the correct term here is "office hours."
As for dived/dove, according to the latest Random House Collegiate dictionary, the preferred US spelling is "dived," with "dove" as a variant--but many people here seem to want to go with "dove" for some reason.
As for US TV shows, they bear only a slight resemblance to real life here, e.g., in "NYPD Blue" they keep talking about people "booking," equivalent to getting away, or "shooting through" in Oz-speak. However, my American husband, born in Brooklyn, has never heard that term in his life, and I've only ever met one other person who's used it.
So Bart got away with saying "wank"! I guess that got past the censors because they didn't know what it meant!
There are great differences regionally in the US--someone earlier remarked about kids calling their parents "sir" and "ma'am" in US TV shows. That's a Southern custom--you don't hear it around the Northeast.
My pet language peeve is George Bush's (and others') pronunciation "nuc-u-lar" Good grief! How hard is it to say "nu-cle-ar"! I hasten to add, most educated Americans know how to pronounce it correctly!
As to Lizf' s comment that she doesn't understand Americans, come on over and spend some time here--and go several different places around the country--New York, Boston, Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, the Southwest, California. etc. --and you'll begin to understand the people, and the vast diversity in this nation--and that most of the stereotypes fostered by TV have only a faint resemblance to reality.
pears43 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Pears43 - I thought you said you were Australian? You've obviously "lost it love" as you cannot recognise when you are being had a lend of. Been around probably 39 of the US States. Lived in N.AM for 2 years, not influenced by American TV 'cause I don't watch it nor do I watch Aussie TV either, which has to be as bad as Canadian and that says something! Notice JohnInMiami knew I was having a go at him!
lizF is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Liz, I suppose a pedophile could be a foot fetishist. Reminds me that a female workmate in Sydney who one day was regaling us with the story of how she'd been approached one night by a strange, furtive man in the dark and deserted car park of a suburban railway station, offering to buy her shoes for $100. "Oh, my goodness me," said a horrified older lady, "what did you do? Call the police?" - "Of course I didn't," she replied, "I sold them to him. I only paid $40 for the bloody things." True story.

If I'm not mistaken the long "s" that looks like an "f" appeared some time after Chaucer. Another little tidbit I picked up somewhere is that the "y" in "ye olde" isn't a "y" at all but does actually stand for the "th" sound - something to do with an Old Norse letter, 'thorn'. So "ye olde" should actually be pronounced as ... "THe old"! Today's Useless Information contribution.

By the way, I'm a little concerned to hear the British term "high street" creeping into Australian English. Repeat after me: it's the MAIN street!! I hope that all the spluttering old codgers form the North Shore who write letters to the "Sydney Morning Herald" complaining about this or that latest Americanism will take up arms against this new foreign invasion.

Not to mention very small towns that used to be just very small towns suddenly becoming "villages". How bloody preciously twee - jeez, gimme a break!
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 394

I just want to give advice for any Aussie in the US that feels like a nice cold shandy on a hot day. Do not describe this drink to the bartender as lager and lemonade. Please use the term 7 up. It was horrible btw.
Tassietwister is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 110
Geez Neil - it's not "Main Street" - that sounds like a Bob Seger song. It's the MAIN DRAG.

Huh. And you call yourself an Aussie. LOL.

BTW - I live in a village.
guykb is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 06:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 266
A few random thoughts...

Lager (beer) & lemonade?? That must have been vile!

I first heard "al-loo-men-e-um" on that BBC television show where the gardner, his mate Tommy and the hippie girl go and fix up people's back yards over the weekend. We couldn't figure out what they were saying when we first heard it.

Pears43 - welcome to the Australia board! Don't mind Liz, part of her charm is that she has a go at everyone! We love her anyway!

Neil - bloody preciously twee?? Isn't a "twee" the thing koalas sit in and sleep all day?

Liz - you've been to more American states than I have!

JohnInMiami is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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* John, you're right - it's also the thing under which a rombat may dig a burrow. (Hey, are we turning Japanese here?)

"Twee: .. affected, dainty or quaint.." (Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary, 2Ed)

* A shandy not only sounds revolting, it IS revolting. I'd excuse lemonade being mixed with Victoria Bitter maybe, on the grounds that there's nothing you can do to make VB worse.

* guykb, isn't "drag" an American import? ("Main Street" incidentally was a novel by Sinclair Lewis, I think.)

* And for Liz, from the authoritative Fowler's Modern English Usage, first published 1926 (my edition Oxford University Press, 1965):

"It seems desirable that ... all words in common enough use to have begun to waver between the double letter and the simple e (as 'pedagogy' now rarely pae-, 'medieval' still often '-aeval', 'ecumenical' still usually oe- or ae-, 'penology' now rarely 'poe- or pae-) should be written with the e alone, as 'phenomenon' now is..."

This is turning into a paedant's picnic!
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
orite then Neil, i will try and git beter at it. bt will take tim i think. I red john loks book writen in 1594 with al the eses being efs and after a tim you can do it orite. Fowler was an old fart enyway and I dont no what webster wood have thawt about it al.
As 4 u jon in miami - i thawt that u and B were going to stay with me and thus wood not need money sew u cood have come enyway 2 oz.
lizF is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 10:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 110
Are we all double plus happy now?

I forgot to say, in my village the main street is called high street, as it is in the nearby regional city. Must be a Victorian thing, as is the consumption of VB, you northern heathen.
guykb is offline  

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