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SpringHeeledJack
13th Sep 2013, 17:31
Translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness becomes internet hit - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/10280244/Translation-table-explaining-the-truth-behind-British-politeness-becomes-internet-hit.html)

I thought that the examples are so true, in a general sense, and have seen non UK english speakers misunderstand what was being said, especially regarding the "that's not bad" and so on :p



SHJ

VP959
13th Sep 2013, 17:49
My late father always used to say, when asked, that something was "quite pleasant". It became something of a family joke, as we all knew that he really meant that he hated it.

I think this British (or perhaps English) habit of being somewhat indirect causes most of the misunderstandings that seem to arise between ourselves and our transatlantic cousins. It's not for nothing that our two nations are oft described as "two countries divided by a common language"

rgbrock1
13th Sep 2013, 17:52
VP959 wrote:

causes most of the misunderstandings that seem to arise between ourselves and our transatlantic cousins

Also exhibited by the use of the term fanny. As in a woman's fanny. Which has a completely different meaning here (buttocks) than there (er.. um... er... pussy... cat)

:E:E:E:E

fenland787
13th Sep 2013, 17:57
Yeah, did a bit of a double-take the first time I went int REI in Seattle and saw a rack of Fanny Packs.......

rgbrock1
13th Sep 2013, 18:03
Not exactly what you had, initially, in mind eh fenland? :E:E:E

G-CPTN
13th Sep 2013, 18:10
Cool!
Wicked!
Way out . . .

fenland787
13th Sep 2013, 18:15
Not exactly what you had, initially, in mind eh fenland?
Too right, but at least, unlike a newly arrived in the US colleague, I didn't go in to Staples and ask where the rubbers were........

SpringHeeledJack
13th Sep 2013, 18:16
A slap on the face alerted me to the fact I might have said something inappropriate when on quipping to a young American lady that "I'll knock you up at 6.30am tomorrow morning". I was indicating that I'd wake her up so that we could go off to do something planned for that day. She understood that I intended to get down to business and get her pregnant.....:O We sorted it out to everyone's best interests.



SHJ

Um... lifting...
13th Sep 2013, 18:17
Not been over the pond in some decades, G-CPTN?

On the other hand, the bums in the UK are not the same as the bums in the US.

And naff? Move along, nothing to see here.

Ye Britons had no one to blame but yourselves during the war. What's a GI to do when the local lads suggest: "Whyn't we got out for a pint and knock up some local girls?"

rgbrock1
13th Sep 2013, 18:23
Um...lifting:

Or worse: "Whyn't we go outside and blow some fags?"

:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

VP959
13th Sep 2013, 19:51
Also exhibited by the use of the term fanny. As in a woman's fanny. Which has a completely different meaning here (buttocks) than there (er.. um... er... pussy... cat)

Too true!

Years ago I was at Sun'n'Fun with SWMBO. Being a pilot, I had an air side pass. To get air side we had to go through a security check, where SWMBO was asked by the security guy if he could look in her fanny pack.

The look on SWMBO's face was a peach.

(here these small bags worn around the waist are usually called bum bags)

funfly
13th Sep 2013, 21:50
When I was at Art College the tutor used to say "Interesting' if our art work was crap.

RedhillPhil
13th Sep 2013, 22:31
Ah, bum bags, or as I saw them labelled in the National Trust shop on Box Hill, "Posterior Pouches"

Andu
13th Sep 2013, 23:04
Out here in the Antipodes, (it's important to note that our recent first female Prime Minister, who was born in Wales, would pronounce that 'anty-PODES' and hyperbole as 'hyperBOWL') ...

...where was I? Oh yes, here in the Antipodes, the visual image that immediately comes to mind if someone mentions seeing two sheilas outside wearing thongs is somewhat different to the image that comes to an American's mind. (In Ozmate, thongs are (usually rubber) flip flop sandals, also known as 'Yokohama riding boots'.)

I also struggle with the meaning I was taught for 'momentarily' and what Americans think it means. "I'll be with you momentarily" coming from an American has a totally different meaning to the same sentence coming from an Australian (and, I assume, an Englishman).

Tankertrashnav
13th Sep 2013, 23:09
You're in good company Basil. Robert Browning used it in his poem "Pippa Passes" in 1842.

Then owls and bats
Cowls and twats
Monks and nuns in a cloister's moods
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry

Apparently he thought it was some item of nuns' clothing. His reaction when he was put right is not recorded!

Hydromet
13th Sep 2013, 23:56
When I was at Art College the tutor used to say "Interesting' if our art work was crap.
"Nice frame" has the same meaning.

Hydromet
13th Sep 2013, 23:58
When I was at Art College the tutor used to say "Interesting' if our art work was crap."Nice frame" has the same meaning.

Australians going to the UK or NZ were occasionally embarrassed by asking for Durex when they wanted adhesive tape.

lomapaseo
14th Sep 2013, 00:27
I learned from my gaandfather to use as few words as possible when answering inane questions at the dinner table like "do you like the food"

He would just reply 'it eats" and leave it at that.

My wife can't stand that answer when I use it

Clare Prop
14th Sep 2013, 05:12
As a kid growing up in England I had terrible trouble negotiating the minefield of politeness. Never quite able to reconcile "Don't tell lies" with "Don't be rude" I was often sent to bed hungry or kicked under dinner tables for saying exactly what I thought, misunderstanding what other people meant and couldn't care less about the apparent terrible consequences of being Struck Off Someone's Christmas Card list or Not Being Invited Back :confused: I would probably be diagnosed as a personality type somewhere on the Austism spectrum now, but then I was just a very confused child surrounded by contradictory adults.

So, until I came to Australia where people say what they mean and mean what they say, I learned to use the word "Quite" when totally at a loss of what to say or how to react. Great way to shut down a conversation, and apparently used as a withering put-down by Princess Margaret in her heyday.

mikedreamer787
14th Sep 2013, 06:55
I got over the UK/US "fanny" problem by totally
avoiding the word altogether...and simply saying
either pussy or arse/ass/bum as appropriate.

My face was then less slapped and knackers less
kicked after I adopted that.

sitigeltfel
14th Sep 2013, 07:00
Why call them fanny/bum bags, when everyone wears them to the front?

B Fraser
14th Sep 2013, 07:16
I do appreciate a good bit of understatement. I wonder how astronauts of different nationalities would have coped on Apollo 13.

Americans - "ahhh, Houston, we have a problem".

Brits - "Sorry to bother you with this Houston but we're trying to work out what just happened. We could be in a tight spot. What can you see at your end ?"

Italians - "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh !"

Australians - "Farkin' 'ell, she's gone tits up, get the bloody book out"

Indians - "Houston, can we be putting you on hold please, we are doing the needful and will revert to you as soon as possible, thank you for calling Apollo 13"...... "Sanjay, turn everything off and count to 10, then turn it back on. I know you say you have done that already but please do it while I am talking to you".

Like This - Do That
14th Sep 2013, 07:21
Wasn't there an arrest made in the US a few years ago of an Australian lass who said "fair dinkum" and was accused by the hostie of swearing? As Steve 'Stingray' Irwin might have said: "CRIKEY!"

wings folded
14th Sep 2013, 07:29
Ah, yes, "momentarily".

American cabin announcements that we would be taking off "momentarily" had me wondering why the crew began the roll if they knew they were going to abort.

I also hoped that the runway was a decent length.

DC10RealMan
14th Sep 2013, 07:41
There was also a British General in the Korean War who when asked by his American superior how things were going replied "Things are a bit sticky" whilst his position was overrun by thousands of Chinese soldiers.
The American General didn't send help as he thought that things were under control.

mikedreamer787
14th Sep 2013, 08:17
I wonder how astronauts of different nationalities would have
coped on Apollo 13.

Rednecks - "Hoost'n our shit aint workin' and needs shootin' at."

Aussies - "Houston all the doobalackies've suddenly fcuked up
and we haven't got a bloody clue what's going on. Can you tell
us how we can unfcuk 'em?"

German - "Houston ve haff problems mit der lektrikverks unt der
navigaten mashinnen. Haff Bus B untervolt unt oxyverks kaputen!"

English - "Er....Hewston we seem to be in a sticky wicket so to
speaak. Errrm, the chaps and I had a tete-tete up here and then
chewed the cud as it were as to our present disposition and we
were wondering if perchance you could provide some mode of
recovery to our sudden quandary?"

RGB - "Houston we've experienced a severe electrical problem
but the mission is still Go. We're gonna kick back and party till
tactical moon orbit achieved, then go down and kick lunar ass.
And Rangers can survive without candy-ass shit like oxygen.
Hoooaah!"

Airship - "Houston I would like to point out to you there is some
diabolical devilry going on in this US manufactured crate which
I am unable to fathom at this time. It strikes me as dubious that
NASA, replete with the so-called best engineering brains on its
payroll, would design a system where electrical faults such as a
simple Bus B undervolt in concert with variable unknowns that,
inter alia, may or may not be experienced ex-terrestria were not
considered nor thought out correctly? As such this smacks of
hypocrisy of the highest order. So I expect without any measure
of hindrance nor excuse that you people sort out your act and
assist in getting this craft safely back to Earth with crew intact."

Drapes - "Houst'n if you furriners had designed a proper lecky
system like us Brits dun we wouldna be in trouble. And where's
me sextant? You Murricans expect me to navigate nought one?
Bloomin' heck, the flamin' Admiralty woulda certly included it
in me 'pollo kit!"

Clare Prop
14th Sep 2013, 09:05
Apollo 11 from an Aussie perspective...great movie!

The Dish Trailer - YouTube

tonker
14th Sep 2013, 10:07
I was travelling to Belfast in uniform when the Captain of the Easyjet announced that the wind was a 'sporting westerly wind"

The elderly Irish gent next to me asked what "sporting" means in English Pilot.

F**king gale i replied.

Molemot
14th Sep 2013, 10:10
One day, stamping passports at Terminal 4 Heathrow, I had an American come to my desk..he was wearing a sweatshirt on which was emblazoned the words "Merchant Banker". He had been given it by his UK colleagues and he wore it proudly, for it proclaimed his profession. I leaned forward and asked "Have you ever heard of Cockney rhyming slang?" After my explanation, he scuttled away....

tonker
14th Sep 2013, 10:32
Because i used f...star x 2 then cked.

radeng
14th Sep 2013, 11:04
At a number of ITU meetings, some of us developed a similar dictionary of terms used in international meetings. It's a bit long...but a few samples






This is an information document = This document goes into such boring depths of detail that no-one in their right mind will ever bother reading it, and it’s far easier to just accept the conclusions without arguing. Most of it is bullshit anyway.

This proposal requires detailed consideration = It’s a load of rubbish, and would never have been written if the author hadn’t been drunk, insane, or under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs (or all three).

I have pleasure in thanking Mr. Y. for his input = I wish the old fool would bugger off and stop annoying me.

Mr. Z is to be congratulated on his able chairmanship = He’s a totally incompetent useless bastard, and was only appointed to the job because we want his country to vote with us.

Thank you Mr. Chairman =

Thank you OR
You bastard, you’ve lumbered me OR
You stupid idiot - do you realize what you have just done OR
F*** you, too.

What can I say = Let me have some time to find the document

We should issue a liaison statement = We’re going to say ‘Bollocks’ to another committee

Appropriate = If you don’t like it, Tough!

The answer to that question is in section X on page Y = You stupid bastard, the information is in there and you’d find it if you could get your brain - if you have one.- out of reverse.

We must thank the drafting group chairman for his efforts = The idle bugger has actually got off his behind for the first time in ten years and got something useful done - probably by someone else -

I think we’d better take this off line = I’m making a bloody fool of myself in public, and want to get out of it.

belfrybat
14th Sep 2013, 12:57
Brits in Apollo 13:
"Ah, Houston. I'm afraid we're having a bit of a bother here."

Pelikal
14th Sep 2013, 14:33
I'll bear it in mind :uhoh:

VP959
14th Sep 2013, 14:48
What I've always found odd is that many Canadians are more like Brits when it comes to their sense of humour.

Years ago, when flying from Halifax, NS to Moncton, NB one evening, in a fairly heavy snowstorm, we had a go around on landing, followed by a PA announcement from the captain that conditions were difficult and he'd not been able to see the runway. The second approach was also missed, this time the PA announcement was "You may have noticed we missed that landing as well. The good news is that I got to see the runway that time, so maybe it'll be third time lucky".

Um... lifting...
14th Sep 2013, 14:51
American cabin announcements that we would be taking off "momentarily" had me wondering why the crew began the roll if they knew they were going to abort.

It's all about context. I believe you'll find that there is more than one definition for 'momentarily'.

So are you correct?

Up to a point, Lord Copper.

Teldorserious
14th Sep 2013, 15:23
Personally I find that whatever cultural ingrained sensibility twards being 'civilized' as manifesting itself through excellent educated articulation and civility to be quite endeering in the upper crusts of British Society. Not having lived there, I can't illuminate as to this being a facade or veneer, but our fascination with rednecks and idiots in the US, has me pondering if I might do quite well living in the UK.

People such as Christopher Hitchens and Elizibeth Hurley come to mind as excellent examples of British education and articulation. Comparitivelly US citizens come off like red neck Down Syndrome retards regardless of their actual education or professional merit.

wings folded
14th Sep 2013, 19:03
It's all about context.

No, it is about usage. I do not use American english. Americans of course are perfectly free so to do.

I believe you'll find that there is more than one definition for 'momentarily'.
Indeed. An American definition and a non American definition.

Mike X
14th Sep 2013, 19:20
You may all be wrong, of course. But I digress.

P6 Driver
14th Sep 2013, 19:29
I would have contributed to the thread earlier but being English, I was waiting my turn in the queue and didn't want to be seen pushing in.
:)

Um... lifting...
14th Sep 2013, 21:09
No, it is about usage. I do not use American english. Americans of course are perfectly free so to do.

You most certainly do. You most certainly did in the quote cited above, and we are happy to see you broadening yourself. And no, it is indeed about context, as you so clearly stated in your earlier post where you so eloquently laid out the physical context of your scenario. You are nowhere near so limited as you would have us believe!

That aforementioned scenario held you aboard an American airplane (BA flies aeroplanes, AA flies airplanes, both are correct within context). I am fairly certain that few American airplanes serve Norwich (the one on your side of the pond and not the dozen or so that we have, you understand), so you must have been outside of Norfolk (how daring and brave of you). It's about context (there's that word again), and two definitions are in a number of dictionaries, to include the OED, which last I checked, was still the authoritative reference used in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Now, brew up a nice cuppa and have a nice British snack, like a curry or doner kebab.

Mike X
14th Sep 2013, 21:27
Um... lifting...

Tell us what's bothering you, dear sir.

Nothing that can't be solved with some fruit salts and a chat, old boy !

funfly
14th Sep 2013, 21:47
'Nothing queer about Corruthers'

may have to explain that one to our trans-atlantic friends.

RJM
15th Sep 2013, 01:50
'Ladies and gentlemen, we have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress' - BA captain Eric Moody after volcanic ash stopped BA Flight 9's engines over Indonesia.

Capt Moody described the subsequent successful landing at ash-afflicted Jakarta as 'a bit like negotiating one's way up a badger's arse'.



'I'm just going outside and may be some time.' - Lawrence Oates, 1912.

wings folded
15th Sep 2013, 07:13
um lifting

I am so grateful for your linguistic help, and in particular the importance of context.
A short while ago I was drawing the attention of my grandson to a very attractive evening sky, with clouds back-lit by the setting sun, and a long contrail.
I invited him to admire the trail left by the aircraft (sic). Thanks to you, I now realise my error. I should have made a phone call to the local ATC unit to establish the state of registration of the aircraft, and, had it been American, I should have said "airplane" to him, so as to conform to the correct context.

I now know what to do.

Worrals in the wilds
15th Sep 2013, 08:39
Oh yes, here in the Antipodes, the visual image that immediately comes to mind if someone mentions seeing two sheilas outside wearing thongs is somewhat different to the image that comes to an American's mind. (In Ozmate, thongs are (usually rubber) flip flop sandals, also known as 'Yokohama riding boots'.)
Yep. Nearly caused an altercation when during the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in the UK, a large Cockney British and Irish Lions supporter was asked by an unwitting young Australian Quarantine inspector if he had any dirty shoes or thongs in his luggage.

'Do I look like the sort of bloke who wears a thong'? he responded aggressively, as everyone within earshot fell about laughing and the supervisor rushed in with a hasty lecture in cross-cultural English. Fortunately he saw the funny side and a national memo went out to all Australian border staff about how Poms call thongs flip flops and g-string underwear thongs.
It didn't have pictures, which the plebs considered a wasted opportunity. :E
Australians going to the UK or NZ were occasionally embarrassed by asking for Durex when they wanted adhesive tape.
In the 1980s the Aussie fasion brand Esprit produced t-shirts with their logo on the front in large print that were mandatory wearing for teenage girls. I know two of them who went to France in their trendy shirts only to be horrified to find out (after wearing them for a fortnight) that in France it's a well known brand of feminine hygiene product. :ouch: