phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

When you're right you're right!

Posted by Lotg on June 30, 2004

In Reply to: When you're right you're right! posted by Smokey Stover on June 26, 2004

: : : : : : : : : Here's an interesting article about the lack of the equivalent of phrases like "at the end of the day", "at university" and "gone missing" in American English.

: : : : : : : : : :)

: : : : : : : : Could we, like, pass a law in the U.S. against using British expressions? Now that we have BBC America things will really get out of hand.

: : : : : : : Watch out for young people screaming "Brilliant!" at each other. There is currently a series of Guiness TV adverts in the U.S. that feature two guys doing just that, as they engage in positive Guiness-related activities such as inventing the six-pack, drinking responsibly, etc.

: : : : : : The only britishism my teenagers seem to use freely is "wanker". Here in the DC area, children of Foreign Service families are a major source of alien slang.

: : : : : Until I actually read Ben Yagoda's article I was prepared to pooh-pooh the likelihood of Britishisms invading our turf successfully, notwithstanding all those years of bombardment by British actors in movies and on the tube. After all "he's missing" is shorter than the alien "he's gone missing," "at college" is short and sweet and is good for both college and university, as is "to college," if that's where you're going in the fall. Who needs "at University" or "on holiday." On vacation won't do it? I used to read authors like Geoffrey Household and John Buchan, so I learned what is meant by "lie doggo," or "go to earth," or "go to ground." But when would I ever say those things. Or "Step smartly, lads!" I learned about moors, tors, gorse and furze, and find them sometimes useful on crossword puzzles. Self-important frauds who try to mimic Brit-speak are certainly obnoxious. Think of the poor Brits themselves. When they turn on their tellies they are may be doused with showers of Americanisms, not always to their taste. One must, above all, keep one's sense of humor. On one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the new girl, from England, says, "I'm feeling peckish. Where's the kitchen." Girl #2 says, "Huh?" Girl #3: "Peckish is English for hungry." Girl #2: "I though hungry was English for hungry." SS

: : : : Aer you having a "refresh" problem?

: : : The short answer, ESC, is yes; but I think I've figures out as much as I need to figure out (and no more, unfortunately). Thanks for your concern. If you know anything helpful, please advise. Sorry to make such a spectacle. SS

: : Ha ha Smokey, I thought you were just trying to make a really substantial point. I must say, it never occurred to me that there could be an issue about OP's slang and terminology invading the USofA - which is very parochial of me. I'm very aware of the problem the other way around - particularly given the influence of movies and TV. But it hadn't much occurred to me that you guys were being invaded this way too.

: : I do however have a very biased theory about it... that is that I don't think that generally it sounds very strange for other people (eg. British/ Australians, etc) to use American idioms, but I always think it sounds odd when an Americans try to use British and Britishish (yes I invented that word just now) terms. It's as though your accents don't generally lend themselves to adopting these terms. Like I said - I'm obviously biased, but that's how it sounds to me. eg. the adjective (aka swear word) 'bloody', sounds perfectly normal coming from an American/Aussie/New Zealander and probably others, but really really strange from an American. Yet - off the top of my head - I can't think of any Americanisms we repeat that sound out of place. Of course you will say that I can't tell cos it's us - but even when I hear Poms use American terminology in English movies, it doesn't sound out of place to me.

: : However, I'm curious, happy even thrilled to be corrected on this.

: How can you be corrected when you are already correct? I'm delighted to know that Aussies still use the expression "pommies." I'm sure you know that there's quite an industry in Hollywood teaching British actors to sound American, and American actors to sound British. No doubt there are voice coaches for Australians as well. Alfred Hitchcock liked to have both Americans and Brits in his movies. In one such, The Lady Vanishes (one of my favorites), the comic relief is provided by two British sports fans, caricatures of cricket-worship and of Brit-speak, who are so wrapped up in cricket that they are oblivious to all else until the German villains actually stop the train. SS

Sorry to take so long to come back to you on this one Smokey. I've been up on the farm for a few days and there aint no serious technology up there, hence no internet comms. (Which by-the-way is an absolutely delightful thing for a while).

But I digress... wasn't Alfred Hitchcock English born? And if so, could that account for his penchant for British actors? Or was he raised in the New England side of the US, hence my potential misconception?