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Divided by a common language

It would seem that on an English-only website, we could understand each other all the time, right?

laugh smiley

If you are like most of us, you have discovered that the longer you hang out here, the more you find we are indeed members of a number of countries divided by a common language.

This is bigger than being a pond issue; it crosses entire hemispheres!

So here is a chance to share some of your experiences of language surprises.

What have you learned about how "those other countries" distort YOUR English?

First | Prev | 270 replies, page 1 of 14 | Next | Last

Posted 30 Jul 06, 1:36am by Saxonia [Linkquote]

Ha ha! Yes, well there is the date for a start........ cheeky smiley
We put the day then the month then the year. eg Today is 30-7-06.
I mean, it makes sense. There are days in a month and months in a year. Why would anyone want to swap the day and month around? rolleyes smiley

Posted 30 Jul 06, 10:25am by Sharona [Linkquote]

When someone asks you verbally what the date is, do you say "July 30" or do you say "30 July"?

wink smiley

I'm just saying....

Posted 30 Jul 06, 10:33am by Jeff [Linkquote]

30th July 2006 makes sense.

2006 July 30 also has a kind of logic about it (which is probably why I enter dates on my computer that way).

I can't see why anyone would muddle them about to come up with July 30th 2006 cheeky smiley

Posted 30 Jul 06, 10:43am by PeaceRose [Linkquote]

I'd say '30th July ...'

Actually, I'm more likely to say 'I don't know'...

Posted 30 Jul 06, 2:38pm by Goldfish Stew [Linkquote]

Actually I'd say "The 31st of July."

Posted 31 Jul 06, 8:58am by Cilla [Linkquote]

How about the word "bungalow".

In the UK it is quite a prestigious dwelling, often more costly than a house. However, in Oz, I understand that the word "bungalow" is sonewhat derogatory - meaning a shack. Am I right?

Posted 31 Jul 06, 9:30am by MaryFL [Linkquote]

I'm not in Oz, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents. Where I am (central Florida), a 'bungalow' is a very specific style of housing, which is found mainly in the historic part of town (yes, there is one). It has a porch in front, a few steps before the front door, and a front roof overhang resting on pillars. Some have an attached carport and/or a screened-in porch. Most are old - built in the 1920's, and weren't very valuable until recently. Now, they're being being renovated and getting quite valuable in the process.

Posted 31 Jul 06, 11:35am by Cilla [Linkquote]

Are they always single storey - as they are in Britain?

Posted 31 Jul 06, 11:44am by MaryFL [Linkquote]

Most are, but I don't think it's required. This one looks like it's got two stories.

Posted 31 Jul 06, 11:46am by Cilla [Linkquote]

In Britain that sort would be called a dromer bungalow

Posted 31 Jul 06, 11:50am by Cilla [Linkquote]

Oops sorry - I pressed submit instead of Preview - I meant DORMER bungalow

Posted 2 Aug 06, 1:13am by Saxonia [Linkquote]

In NZ we don't really have bungalows. A single storeyed house is a house, or cottage, or villa. A villa has become specifically an older house, wooden with bay windows and much sought after in a desirable location blah blah.
A cottage is actually anything from a seaside house to a house for housing your farm worker/manager to any old house.
A two storeyed house is a house (or a mansion).
Then there's the bach at the beach......

Posted 2 Aug 06, 3:43am by Goldfish Stew [Linkquote]

Then there's the bach at the beach....

Or a crib if you're down south...

When my folks arrived in New Zealand they got horribly confused when invited to a dinner party and told to "bring a plate." Fortunately, before the day arrived they had asked whether they should bring cutlery as well - at which point they discovered that in New Zealand "bring a plate" actually means "bring some food to share." Other immigrants have not been so fortunate, and I have seen people arriving at a shared meal bringing their own crockery under a misapprehension.

Posted 2 Aug 06, 4:43am by Jeff [Linkquote]

I recently came across a 120 year old invitation to a social event here asking people to "bring a tray". I guess they weren't meant to be empty either!

Posted 2 Aug 06, 6:32am by Cilla [Linkquote]

Saxonia and Goldfish Stew:

I'm visiting NZ later this year - hopefully when your cold winter gives way to a beautiful warm Spring.

Will I need a special dictionary to translate the language?

On a previous visit it was not the language but the accent that confused.

Instead of Fish and chips - NZers seem to eat "fush and chups"

Does that mean your name is pronounced Goldfush stew?

Posted 2 Aug 06, 4:54pm by Steven [Linkquote]

which is found mainly in the historic part of town (yes, there is one).

Really? Over here the historic part of towns are over 500 years old.

Most are old - built in the 1920's

My house was built in the 1880s, and it isn't considered old.

Posted 3 Aug 06, 6:24am by Jools [Linkquote]

Cilla, when I went to stay with friends in NZ a few years ago I was very jet lagged when I arrived. I couldn't sleep the first night so I went out for a walk in the early hours of the morning and a woman came up to me and said she'd lost her cud's pit ket and had I seen it. I shook my head blankly and she went on to say that it was rid, fet, with darker ligs and if I saw it she luved in the bug house in the nixt siction.

I went home to have a lie down.

Posted 3 Aug 06, 6:33am by Goldfish Stew [Linkquote]

On a previous visit it was not the language but the accent that confused.

It's not all that hard. New Zealanders are the only people in the world to speak without an accent - every other nation and culture has an accent. So I don't see where the problem should lie.

Posted 3 Aug 06, 12:45pm by Steven [Linkquote]

Of course New Zealand has an accent. It's Australian with short clipped vowels instead of long whiney ones.

Posted 4 Aug 06, 12:07am by Saxonia [Linkquote]

Hey Jools - you've got ut deed right!! But that would be 'Lynn of Tawa' speaking. We educated sorts don't speak quite that badly (I hope!)

Lynn of Tawa was an imaginary character that one of our TV actresses invented and she got plenty of laughs here in Nyo Zild.

Cilla, keep us informed of your holiday plans; perhaps we could meet up. (Wow, a St P meet!)

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