The Differences between American and British English (Part 2)

Jordi   Friday, July 02, 2004, 16:33 GMT
A fortnight is a period of two weeks and it is used in all Commonwealth English, as far as I know, and I'd never say "do you guys", which sounds quite American to my ears at least.
Damian   Friday, July 02, 2004, 17:02 GMT
Just logged on and cannae stop long.....your link looks interesting so I will log into it later....I have to have some tea now.

Fortnight......always used here for two weeks, or 14 days (or nights)

my dictionary says: feowertiene niht (14 nights) in OE

When I find myself with nothing better to do I often muse (a harmless occupation). I imagine being whisked back in time by magic, like going to sleep in 2004 Scotland and waking up in say 1400 Scotland (or England) . Then going out and about and trying to communicate with the people I meet then....should be a load of fun. I worked out that to be reasonably able to converse with people and to understand and be understood, we would not be able to go further back than say the 16th century. I am talking about this country (UK) as it was then. Of course, regional accents and dialects were MUCH stronger then so the whole scenario would be much more complicated. So maybe to be on the safe side...the 19th century may be a better bet for complete comprehension. Who knows fascinating topic. I'm randering now ooops sorry...rambling on.

Anyway got to go...thanks for that link...I will log on and comment. bye
Dulcinea del Toboso   Friday, July 02, 2004, 21:17 GMT
Steve, the grammar in the BBC article is correct. The verb conjugations are not off.
Ryan   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 05:15 GMT
I understand the rationale for using plural verbs with countries, although it isn't done in the US, but what about for "team?" It seems to me it would be better to have "team" be a singular noun and "teams" be a plural noun so one can tell the number of the noun apart by seeing or hearing the particular conjugation of the verb. Besides, the connotation of team is that they are "one body," not a multitude of people.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 05:28 GMT
The plural is used for teams, corporations, and the like.

For example, "Jaguar have announced a new driver for testing at Silverstone"
Damian   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 07:20 GMT
I really like the The Netherlands

I'm not too sure on this, but I think Dutch people prefer to call their country the Netherlands (Nederland) rather than Holland. British people usually say Holland. I've never heard anyone say: "I'm going to the Netherlands". It's a wee bit of a conundrum really, isn't it? Several different names for a physically small country...the Dutch live in Holland (or the Netherlands)..... one of the Low Countries. Interesting.

I don't know of any Dutch people in this forum?
Damian   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 07:22 GMT
I don't think that last post of mine really belongs in this thread! Well..perhaps...the "plural" thing.
aussie   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 07:31 GMT
Holland is actually incorrect in referring to The Netherlands. Holland is only a part of the entire country - this is where there is confusion
Pieter   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 08:58 GMT
FYI: The Netherlands is comprised of 12 provinces. The provinces of North Holland and South Holland together only make up a third of the Netherlands. So calling the entire country "Holland" annoys the inhabitants of the other provinces. This would be like calling Scotland "England".
Correction   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 16:36 GMT
>>This would be like calling Scotland "England".

Don't you mean 'This would be like calling the UK "England"'?
Damian   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 17:28 GMT
EEEEEEKKKS! Calling Scotland "England"?????? I am organising an army of angry Scots (not a pretty sight!) to sail across the North Sea to seek revenge! LOL :-)
Ailian   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 21:37 GMT
>How is anybody going o confuse PIN with pin, i mean ,
> i don't see any context in which the meaning of pin would
>be ambiguous,

Well, in the southern areas of the US, it could be PIN, pin, or pen. ;) We're used to over-defining things in our speech because the words sound *exactly* alike when we pronounce them. So there'll be an ink pen, a stick pin, a safety pin, and just PIN (or PIN number). In fact, I think that if I heard "PIN" alone then I would think of the number only, especially if I weren't listening to everything else said in the sentence.

Re: Steve
>Anyways, I was reading an article and I noticed that some of the
> verb conjugations were off. Here

It's just a different realization of what is plural and what isn't. Are group nouns plural? Are they not? Dialectal variation. =D A team is composed of many people (much like the government), thus one could realize it as being a plural noun (as it seems to be done in the UK).

Aren't things like this just exciting? ;)

My very Irish grandfather would become absolutely enraged when people would ask him if he were English. I can only imagine what Scots would do in the situation.

And, as it was mentioned above: I loathe the phrase "you guys" (and "you's", for that matter) for the second person plural. Can't people just use "y'all" or "you all" and be done with it? ;)

Thinking of that, actually, I read this amazing bit in a historical linguistics book on a survey conducted in the mid-twentieth century of the various pronouns used in the UK (predominately England and Wales, I believe) for the second person singular and plural. Is "you" simply the norm now for both, or do different regions have their own separate way of expressing the second person singular and plural?
Elaine   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 22:51 GMT
"Well, in the southern areas of the US, it could be PIN, pin, or pen. ;) We're used to over-defining things in our speech because the words sound *exactly* alike when we pronounce them. So there'll be an ink pen, a stick pin, a safety pin, and just PIN (or PIN number)..."

You are so right. This lady at works keeps saying "pin" when she means "pen", and "pen" when she means "pin". It drives me crazy b/c I never know what exactly she's referring to. One week she was going around collecting money for an order of company "pens". Days later we get a shipment of stupid overpriced pins. Then another week she was talking about how she purchased an encraved "pin" for her daughter's teacher. I felt pretty stupid but I had to ask her if she meant "ink pen".

So sometimes, it's necessary to be redundant so that you won't be misunderstood.
Damian   Thursday, July 08, 2004, 15:23 GMT
I saw a letter in the paper today headed "Lost for Words"

It was from a guy in Dorset, England to say that he had been to watch an American blockbuster movie. He said the special effects were stunning but the plot, if there was one, was lost to him because all the characters were speaking a language which was new to him called Mumble. According to him it seems to be an evolved form of English now used by Americans in most of their films.

He suggests that all American films are subtitled. ;-)
Random Chappie   Friday, July 09, 2004, 01:06 GMT
How about the clarity of the English spoken in British films?