We had huge problems with language in Ecuador this summer - not between Ecuadorians and us Brits but between the two 'English-speaking' nationals - British and Americans! The main confusion occured with 'paddling' - in Britain this means standing in the sea up to your knees, whereas the American term for this is apparently wading, which means something slightly different in British English.
And don't even get me started on pronunciation differences!
Interesting, that. There are many such examples, affording endless mutual amusement.
We wade in water too, and it is certainly a matter of depth. We could "wade ashore" in water from thigh-depth to armpit-depth! Do you have armpits?
Paddling, I would say, is done in water from very shallow up to about calf-depth for us. Knee-depth at a stretch. That seems to leave about six inches unaccounted for.
Roberta, or anyone, could you lend a hand here please?
A grammar question which I find tricky to answer.
Right. This is the nearest thread I've got for this question, which is not about Americans at all, but some Canadians are involved.
I wrote yesterday to the BBC to complain about the news item reporting the used submarine which broke down in mid-Atlantic on the way from the UK to Canada.
They said the sub was "stranded".
I said it couldn't be stranded because you need a beach or a sandbank for that. It wasn't aground anywhere, it was just adrift, without motive power.
So what do others think? Are the BBC standards slipping (again), or am I in a minority here?
Were they right to use "stranded" in the sense of "unable to help itself", or not, as I believe? My two biggest dictionaries, admittedly not new, support me, btw.
Absolutely spot on etymologically, McT. I think it sounds silly to call it stranded anyway. But for most people I think the meaning would be 'immobilised; without capability of moving without help' or something similar (not unable to help itself.. it had a radio, and could get help, and the people got off didn't they?). It is like using 'desert' island only of hot ones, when of course they just have to be deserted. The original meaning has been eroded.
All the same, I support your stand. No need to be cast adrift on the sea of English grammar.
Found this - and it seems, as if the BBC could have a point:
stranded: unable to leave somewhere because of an inconvenience such as a lack of transport or money:
- He left me stranded in town with no car and no money for a bus.
- If the tide comes in, we'll be stranded on these rocks.
Btw: the only printed book about differences English/American English [later published than the Stevenson from 1972) seems to be ...
'Dictionary of Lexical Differences Between British and American English"* , by some ... (''Ewwwwww!'' :wink: ) Persians. (Which actually means, 1/8 of the content isn't only useless for me because it is to the Persian language related - but because it's in Arabic!)
* by Mohammed Hossein Keshavarz et. al., rahnamapress, n.d.
I even went on Merriam-Webster online to see what kind of a fist the Americans make of it (never the first port of call) and it gave this
So, mein lieber Walter, the BBC do not have a point, they are wrong
wrong wrong wrong wrong
wrong wrong wrong
Oh sorry, did I answer my own question?
And: yes :wink:
[Today, it reads like this on BBC:
The salvage vessel Anglian Prince began towing the sub, which was adrift 140km off the coast of Ireland, on Thursday night.
Well it seems the BBC's use of the word "stranded" was comprehensible to all, but at least a bit of a stretch. After all another perfectly accurate and equally pithy and evocative word was available to them.
The submarine was ADRIFT in the North Atlantic; afloat and able to communicate, but without the ability to continue the voyage to its new home.
I do agree with McTag's distaste for the usage, in that "stranded" derives literally from a referench to a beach. The metaphorical overtone the BBC was likely after is arguably better communicated with the correct term - adrift.
Thank you George, and I agree too with Clary in that it sounds silly as well as wrong to use "stranded" in that context.
If the Beeb replies to me, I will let you all know.
Yes, please! But I did notice they didn't use stranded in today's news, only adrift - so perhaps someone there read your letter or even reads this thread...
Wouldn't that be something? A2K is actually influencing the way BBC presents the news! (Or, at least, McT is.)
Nary a word from the Beeb yet; the trail grows cold.
A week is a long time in News offices.
From where does the American phrase "I'll take a raincheck" come from?
Don 1 -- that phrase comes from the game of baseball. When a game is cancelled because of inclement weather, it is the custom in America to issue a 'rain-check' to disappointed ticket holders, i.e. new tickets for the next game in lieu of a refund for the old useless tickets.
Thanks Andrew, I've often wondered about that.