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Fine-Tuning 15, British English/American English

 
 
Kara
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Sep, 2004 11:45 am
Quote:
because of the ankle length skirts they all wore in those days


Laughing
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travelbug
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2004 02:11 pm
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!
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2004 03:15 pm
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.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2004 11:48 pm
Roberta, or anyone, could you lend a hand here please?

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=923882#923882

A grammar question which I find tricky to answer.

Thanks, Mct
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 11:00 am
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.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 11:10 am
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.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 11:19 am
Found this - and it seems, as if the BBC could have a point:

Quote:
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.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 11:28 am
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.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 11:43 am
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

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=stranded&x=14&y=14

So, mein lieber Walter, the BBC do not have a point, they are wrong

wrong wrong wrong wrong
wrong wrong wrong
wrong wrong
wrong

Oh sorry, did I answer my own question?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 11:54 am
Yes.



And: yes :wink:



Your prize


[Today, it reads like this on BBC:
Quote:
The salvage vessel Anglian Prince began towing the sub, which was adrift 140km off the coast of Ireland, on Thursday night.
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 12:29 pm
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.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 03:52 pm
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.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 02:44 am
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...
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 04:25 am
Wouldn't that be something? A2K is actually influencing the way BBC presents the news! (Or, at least, McT is.)
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Oct, 2004 04:49 am
Lord knows it needs it
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Oct, 2004 06:23 am
Nary a word from the Beeb yet; the trail grows cold.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Oct, 2004 11:13 am
A week is a long time in News offices.
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Don1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 03:21 am
From where does the American phrase "I'll take a raincheck" come from?
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 03:38 am
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.
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Don1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 03:48 am
Thanks Andrew, I've often wondered about that.
0 Replies
 
 

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