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Old Jun 13, 2011, 2:23 PM   #21
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But any American will tell you that a jumper is a dress, not a sweater. Though I must admit that the dress jumpers have been out of style for a very long time.
Now I've never heard that before

Can I clarify? - in England a "dress" is a full length garment, ie. it meets all the needs of modesty so covers both the breasts and the pubic/buttock areas, ending somewhere on the legs, maybe the ankles. A "skirt" meets only the lower modesty requirements and generally extends downwards from the waist, again ending anywhere on the legs.

Is this the usage in north America? In England a "cardigan" is a light middle-garment roughly extending from shoulders to waist.
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 2:31 PM   #22
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A fanny in the States is a somewhat more correct version of bum, though both are considered slang and refer to any person's sit-upon part of their anatomy. I've noticed that at least some Canadians will use bum more commonly than in the States, where the word is more often used to denote a person living on the streets.
Again interesting. In English slang "fanny" refers ONLY to the female pubic area (at the front). "Bum" refers ONLY to the buttocks of either sex, whether in English slang or South African proper speech.

I'm familiar with the American use of "bum" to describe a homeless person. Although we're all familiar with that in England (from American films) it isn't part of English usage. I also wonder how that term came about, as it isn't obvious. If truth be known it's probably an old English usage that has died out in England.
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 2:58 PM   #23
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Another interesting variant here. In England a cardigan or indeed any jacket when worn by a man always fastens so the left side (as viewed by the wearer) overlaps the right. Women in Britain wear it with the right side over-lapping the left, just as everyone in America does. I have not the remotest idea how this difference came about.
That harkens back to the day when women had maids to button their clothes, and the maids were right handed, as were (and are) most men, and buttons were designed to be used by right-handers. The maid facing the woman would see it on the woman as does a man on himself.

Napoleon still stuck his right hand under the left flap on his jacket, so he didn't get around to changing that, at least!
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 3:34 PM   #24
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Sounds plausible. I suppose gentlemen were dressed by man servants - how come they didn't make the same error?

Again, how come America is different from England in this?
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 4:47 PM   #25
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Sounds plausible. I suppose gentlemen were dressed by man servants - how come they didn't make the same error?
Men could button their own shirts - the buttons weren't in the back as they were in stylish ladies' garments!

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Again, how come America is different from England in this?
How are they different? I think this came here from (Victorian or earlier?) England with the settlers - not as many servants in the Colonies, but customs died hard - people always wanted to emulate the aristocracy.
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 5:04 PM   #26
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College is another one ... although in recent years in the UK the status of colleges has changed somewhat. However when I was growing up there was always a distinct difference between a University & a College whereas in the USA they seem to be one and the same thing.
Not so much in the US any more - a university has colleges within it, has four-year and often higher degrees, whereas a college either has only a single speciality or only a two year certificate (as in the Community Colleges). College is an older term which once encompassed what are now universities; university is more prestigious and many older multidiscipline colleges have upgraded themselves, as it is easier to attract students and grants. Unfortunately, many unaccredited institutions (mostly trade schools and correspondence schools) have adopted the more prestigious name for the same reasons, which is deceptive, to say the least. There ought to be a law!
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 5:25 PM   #27
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Aaaaahhhhhhh everyone
Getting a bit off topic here ~ hope it's okay.....

While it may have been GBS who created/devised the quote ...
For me in Australia, I find the Americanisation of the universal-english-language quite distressing.

To install some software and to be asked "do you want International English or British English" is an appalling 'choice' ... American is not International English

Our vehicles do not have a trunk, nor do they have fenders or hoods ... they have a boot and mud-guards and a bonnet
Our women do not sit on their ass or fanny ... they sit on their bum (not their vagina)
Our babies never, never wear a diaper, it's a nappy

It saddens me that Australian book authors who get their works published in America HAVE to have the text converted to American before it is printed ... it is almost the case/assumption that American readers have no ability to understand the English language as it is used around the world.
To then read the printed book describing people & places in Australia with all our descriptive language removed and replaced by Americanisms, is very distressing to me and most other Aussie readers

To add a postscript
Several years ago the Aussie & US Gov'ts signed a free-trade-agreement ... since then we have been flooded with US made tv adverts (for US companies like Coke & Pepsi etc etc) that previously were aussie made with aussie actors and aussie voices and aussie language in aussie locations. Now we're flooded with 'yankee-trash' [no offence meant] and locals are beginning to have a backlash against those products ... 'if "they" can't be bothered to learn about us and our way of life, then we're not going to buy their stuff' sort of thing

Australia went metric with weights & measures way back in the 1970s ... and today to see US companies [esp food companies] trade-marking "inches and quarter-pounder" into their product line is an extroadinary slap in the face to the aussie population. Why won't they learn????

Regards, Phil
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 6:08 PM   #28
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Aaaaahhhhhhh everyone
Getting a bit off topic here ~ hope it's okay.....

For me in Australia, I find the Americanisation of the universal-english-language quite distressing.

To install some software and to be asked "do you want International English or British English" is an appalling 'choice' ... American is not International English

Regards, Phil
I hear you - I am a traditionalist, myself, and I don't particularly like the bastardization of our language that is taking place either, but like it or not, times change. The original international language in the Western World was Latin. Then French became the international language, at least among cultured people. Then there was the great British Empire, and everyone around the world who spoke English, spoke British English. After two World Wars and numerous foreign interventions, everyone who speaks English speaks (or at least understands) American English, which therefore by definition is the new International English and the latest International Language (if things had gone differently, it could have been German). Not much one can do about it, as you can't get away from it - of course you could stop watching American movies, TV shows, etc., bar tourists and other foreign travelers, and stop accepting American dollars (which the way things are going, may happen anyway!). You can't buy American made goods, anymore, because there aren't any left to buy - everything is made in China, and the Chinese are buying up Western businesses large and small. We are now even teaching Chinese in some American schools (good for future business opportunities) - could that be the next International Language? May be. Things always change, so count your blessings while you have them!

This is off topic, as you say, but it is an international forum and we do have to communicate with each other, and we seem to be exclusively using English in one form or another, so if it helps further understanding among us, perhaps it is a useful diversion.
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 6:22 PM   #29
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I have a lot of sympathy for your views, Phil - you of all people should read Melvyn Bragg's book. He made me change many of my views. As regards Microsoft's use of language - well it's just that, an ill-educated American company's view on things. Remember that they perverted the word "icon" to mean something it had never meant before. The stole the word "windows" from another American company which had at least been using it in a logical way, and gave it all their own "meaning". And what about the word "status", horribly abused by Mark Zuckerberg' Facebook.

What troubles me is that these companies can do what they like to the language, and automatically it seems to be accepted as the true meaning by so many people.

Anyway, I had wanted to comment on the words "college" and "university". To which I'd like to add "school". This was all pretty straightforward in Britain a few decades ago, but the waters have been considerably muddied by the socialists wanting to remove academic distinctions and level out everyone. In Britain the word "school" generally encompasses educational establishments for children up to around the age of 18. We sub-divide into primary, secondary, etc.

To confuse the matter, a specialist academic unit in a university may also be called a "school". In some universities there is a "school of mathematics", and London University has a famous "School for Tropical Diseases". These are examples of "schools" that are in effect "departments" of larger academic institutions. But in Britain, and I believe Australia, for an adult to say he's "going back to school" means he's going to teach at one of the establishments for children up to c. 18. It does NOT mean he's going back anywhere as a student.

In old-speak in Britain, prior to the socialists offering the description "university" to anyone who asked, and even some who didn't, a "university" was an institution that offered teaching and guidance in academic subjects, and practical subjects treated as academic. It specifically excluded vocational education and training, not because these were in any way inferior but because they were different and required a different approach. Vocational subjects, such as accounting, art, sculpture, often practical mechanical engineering, often architecture, and countless others I can't think of, were studied at Colleges of various descriptions. In those days there was a most excellent concept of "College of Advanced Technology" or "CAT", and these establishments were as distinguished and demanding as most universities, but in more vocational, practical, subjects. A "College" was a lower level establishment with much easier entrance requirements and awarded qualifications. Universities offered "higher" education as did most CATs (before they were devalued); Colleges offered "further" education, at a markedly lower level than "higher". Only "higher" educational establishments could award degrees, and in CATs these were normally called Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), which were the vocational equivalent of an academic degree and every bit as difficult to get.

Sadly almost all Colleges were renamed "universities" in a socialist revamp of the British educational system, just around the same time that they decided everyone should be given a class A pass in any exam because it was iniquitous and socially divisive to recognise different abilities and performance levels. These days most educational awards at any level in Britain are virtually valueless, as everyone gets the top grade. When someone says they have a degree or a pass of a particular exam at a given level, it's necessary to know when it was awarded and (to a lesser extent) by what establishment.

Further to confuse the matter, some (many) universities are sub-divided into what are called Colleges, though this meaning of the word is profoundly different from the above meaning. At a university that has colleges (most don't) each college is a residential unit where students live (or are based, if they're living outside), and in establishments which operate a tutorial system (again, most don't) that is where tutorials are held. The "departments" are the subject-orientated teaching units, and are usually not at the same location as any colleges. So at Oxford, for example, one might be based at one of the colleges and either living in college or in private accommodation outside, one would attend lectures at whatever university department offered the subject one was studying, and would attend (probably several a week) tutorials inside one's college. Similarly at Cambridge, Durham, St. Andrew's (in Scotland, where Will & Kate met), Bristol and some others.

London University is a bit different. It is so massive that each of its "colleges" has full university status in its own right. But this is a one-off.

I don't know whether that explains or merely serves to muddy the waters.
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 7:23 PM   #30
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The original international language in the Western World was Latin. Then French became the international language, at least among cultured people
I think that most Spanish-speaking people would take issue with that! They NEVER used English, and still don't.

After the Norman Conquest (Norman) French became the language in England of the Court, the courts and the nobility. The vast bulk of the population continued to speak - whatever it was that they were speaking. Early English, I expect, evolving into Middle English. That language evolved, as all languages evolve, and part of that evolution was slowly to adopt (Norman) French words. Eventually after several hundred years the King of the day started using English (as it existed at that time), and of course the Court and then the courts followed suit, as did the nascent Civil Service. A major event of profound and wide-reaching significance was the first translation of the Bible into English, just as in the German states (the country of Germany is a recent innovation) it was Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German which largely set the scene for the often-warring states to unite as one country. It was having the Bible in the lingua franca that really crystallised the language and made the clergy, nobles and ultimately the King use it.
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