mardi 13 janvier 2009

Can You Help..?

...
"The position of a foreigner with complete command
of the same language has great advantages".
George Bernard Shaw
.
Daughter, 2000, with what she called her African hairstyle..!

Daughter
(who is, to all intents and purposes, bi-lingual)
regularly comes home from school with new (American) English words
and expressions to enrich our predominantly (English) English vocabulary...
it would appear, to get the entire class speaking American English
by the end of the school year
(Nothing like being passionate about your subject, Good Luck to her, I say!)
Unfortunately, I can't always answer the many,
many questions Daughter has with regards to these new words
and expressions, and I would imagine, her teacher
is more than tired of her constant
questionning...

Here are just a few examples,
maybe you can help out...

If "feeling sick" means felling ill, what is the word for
feeling sick..?
.
Why is a main course meal called an "entrée"..?
.
If "cookie" means biscuit, what if you want a cookie and not
just any other type of biscuit..?

If "cream" means milk, what do you ask for if you want
milk and not cream..?

If "pocket book" is a purse what is a small
(pocket) book called..?

If a toilet is a bathroom, what do you ask for if you
want the bathroom to have a bath..?

If "pants" are trousers what do you call
your underwear..?

If petrol is called gas, what's the word for gas..?

What is a bumbag or fanny pack..?

Why is is thought rude to host your own
birthday party..?
Apparently somebody else does this for you, this can't be true,
can it..?
..
Thanking you all, in advance,
on behalf of aforementioned Daughter..!

8 commentaires:

Jennie a dit…

I always thought the British "feeling sick" meant something like "I feel like I'm going to throw up" in American English. But I could be wrong!

I have no idea why we borrowed entree and then changed the meaning. it is pretty confusing.

Cookie has a very specific meaning, so for all the other types of British biscuits, there are tons of other names (like cracker) but of course I can't think of many right now because i'm always confused as to what exactly biscuit refers to in British English (and even French)! Biscuit in American English, on the other hand, only refers to the small buttery bread that we eat with breakfast or dinner.

I have never understood the use of "cream" in either dialect, so I can't help with that one. The cream that Americans use with coffee is actually a mixture of milk and cream, so that's why it's called half and half - but most people just say cream, to confuse everyone. :)

I don't know what a pocket book is, but purse to me means a small hand bag where you keep your wallet (American meaning), and purse does not mean a wallet, unlike British English.

We use bathroom for everything. Also restroom in public places. Or washroom in Canada. Toilet is a bit vulgar to me. I would never ask "where's the toilet?" that's like saying "where's the john?" or "where's the crapper?" Something my uncles would say, but not me.

Underwear is underwear. For women, you can also say panties but I absolutely hate that word!

Gasoline is shortened to gas, which is the same word, but different meaning as the other gas (=not liquid or solid).

Ah fanny packs. I can only imagine what Brits think of when they hear that name... LOL I didn't even know that fanny had a different meaning in British English until 2 years ago. It's a pack or small bag that is attached around your waist, and kinda hangs over your front or back (American fanny).

I don't think it's rude at all to host your own birthday party. I've never heard that it is, so I can't say that I understand this one. You should always throw your own party and invite your friends. Surprise parties, on the other hand, are a bit different...

And now my head hurts! :)

Callie Grayson a dit…

i had to laugh at this and the comment from jennie.
it is strange how words change meaning from place to place. Or there is no word similar.. here is my go at your questions: they may be similar to jennie's

'I am feeling sick' or "I am ill or I am feeling ill" mean the same thing from "I feel like i'm going to throw up" or "I feel achy" or "I feel congested"

we use the word cookie for sweet items (sweetened with sugar, or honey or treacle)
biscuits are just made with milk, flour, salt, eggs and baking soda or powder instead of yeast (similar to bread) but made in single servings.

in the US we have lowfat milk, 2% milk, milk, 1/2 & 1/2, creme, and heavy creme.
I use either 1/2 & 1/2 or creme in my coffee and ask for it accordingly.
I don't under stand why you would use lowfat or 2%, moderation is the word in my life (what do they place in the milk instead of the fat?? in the lowfat milk?? that is my question)

we use coin purse to place coins, wallet to place dollars and coins if it has that section
purse to place wallet into
then we also have bag & tote to place purse and other items into.
I hear the word pocket book used when there is a check book in the wallet (my mum calls it a pocket book, she writes checks were I don't so I use the word wallet)
then there is also the word "billfold" that is a wallet that folds in half. Usually carried by men.

Yes, we use bathroom everywhere but we also use:
Restroom, this is because back in the day when women started working in the work force they would have a lounge area for resting, women were considered fragile and in need of rest during their monthly cycle and could rest in the bathroom/washroom on small fainting sofa's or lounges.
But in the south, the word "commode" is used. for example "I need to go to the commode" we know the piece of furniture commode used to hold the chamber pot, so in the south they use the commode in lieu of toilet.
I have also heard the term "head" "pisser" and "john"(i oversee construction, so I work with a lot of men) these terms are not very lady like.

Underwear, items for under the cloths: panties and bras
I don't mind the word panties but it is more intimate to say panties then underwear.

we don't use fanny packs that much here any more. Everyone uses messenger bags (which is similar to a postal bag, slung over the shoulder across the body) I am sure is you ask a teenager today what a fanny pack is and they will look at you funny. They had to make the bags bigger for everyone to carry their laptops.

The US is very big, I grew up in Southern California and live in Chicago Illinois... words and phrases sometimes have different meanings or pronunciation. I have to ask sometimes and they always look at me funny. but hey, they speak in a strange manner here in chicago. (they say their vowels incorrectly)
but
then again, I have family all over: California, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Scotland, England and Australia so
I think I speak strangely since I pick up on all the accents and words. People are always asking me where I am from.

Do you have the work yummy?
in Scotland my family had to ask me what that meant.
Yummy, tasty, morish,

callie

High Desert Diva a dit…

If "feeling sick" means felling ill, what is the word for
feeling sick..? I say I'm feeling sick, or I'm sick.
.
Why is a main course meal called an "entrée"..? Americans failing French 101.
.
If "cookie" means biscuit, what if you want a cookie and not
just any other type of biscuit..? We only use biscuit when referring to a bread roll.

If "cream" means milk, what do you ask for if you want
milk and not cream..? Very few people I know actually use cream. So the term cream & sugar usually just means milk & sugar.

If "pocket book" is a purse what is a small
(pocket) book called..? Pocket book is an East Coast term for purse...I don't know anyone on the West Coast who uses it. Paperback would be the term for a small book that theoretically could fit in one's pocket.

If a toilet is a bathroom, what do you ask for if you
want the bathroom to have a bath..? Maybe this is another West Coast thing, but I don't know anyone who says "I'm going to the toilet."

If "pants" are trousers what do you call
your underwear..? Panties, or undies.

If petrol is called gas, what's the word for gas..? As in farts? Gas.

What is a bumbag or fanny pack..? A really unattractive zipper pouch worn belted around the waist to carry one's money...not pretty.

Why is is thought rude to host your own
birthday party..?
Apparently somebody else does this for you, this can't be true,
can it..? No.
.

Anonyme a dit…

Poor thing. She must be majorly confused. I think maybe the teacher should stress that he/she is using the words in their American (or maybe North American i.e. including Canada in some cases?) context.

Being of a more British persuasion:

A cookie is a particular type of biscuit; the big, soft American biscuit. So if you want a cookie you ask for a cookie. Unless, of course, you are in America.

Cream and milk are different; cream is the thicker of the two. So just ask for milk if you want milk. Unless, of course, you are in America.

You put money in a purse. Sometimes credit/debit cards too. In America it is sometimes called a pocketbook.

A toilet is a W.C.; or the room which houses the W.C. You have a bath in a bathroom (but some bathrooms also have toilets).

Pants are underwear. You can wear pants under your trousers.

You put petrol in your car and you use gas mainly for household purposes.

Béatrix a dit…

c'est très amusant comme questions mais la pauvre elle doit effectivement trouver qu'entre le frnaçais , l'anglais et l'américain ça ne doit pas toujours être facile: en tout cas elle est super mignone.
Entre le café crème ou le café au lait, les caleçons sous les pantalons, les cookies et la salle de bain avec ou sans baignoire ..elle doit s'amuser..bon je sais pas si j'ai tout compris...!!

High Desert Diva a dit…

Oh...funny.

Ok-gas as a heating source is either propane, natural gas or furnace diesel. For a vehicle it's either gas or diesel (and now bio-diesel), never petrol.

It's been fun to read through the various answers. I notice different answers to the questions...I hope you're not more confused now than when you started!

Claire a dit…

this is hilarious! i agree that american english can be strange at the best of times.

your daughter's african hairstyle is precious and very african indeed!

l'air du temps a dit…

hello, i've tried to leave a message a few times to no avail. my computer has been moody, let's see if this one goes through...

it's so much fun this exercise on language and how kooky it can be. it's so cool that your daughter is doing well in her studies and the language thing is coming along so well. she's inspiring! and quite cute with her hairdo!

thanks for the 'shaw' quote. it's brilliant.

and speaking of brilliant, because your english is flawless i assumed you were an english, american, or canadian expat living in france. is this not the case my dear?