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  1. #1
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    "Separated by a common language"? Tabloid claims British English invading America

    Not sure this is exactly correct (translation: "This is bollocks") but an interesting try nevertheless.

    Brilliant, it's spot on: How the British language has invaded America (Daily Mail)
    They say America and Britain are two nations separated by one common language but linguistically the transatlantic allies are increasingly starting to borrow colloquialisms from each other.

    One U.S. language watchdog, Ben Yagoda, is on a quest to track the British language invasion into the vernacular of the former colonies, pointing out the use of Britishisms like 'brilliant,' 'sport' and 'carry-on' in everyday use.

    And imitation is indeed the highest form of flattery.
    ---
    Mail also provides a "translation" list they took from elsewhere:
    TOP BRITISHISMS HEARD IN THE U.S.
    Barman: bartender
    Bent: dishonest
    Bespoke: custom-made
    Bit: part
    Chat up: to hit on
    Cheeky: saucy
    Cheers: thanks
    Cock-up: screw-up
    Daft: stupid
    Da: father
    Do the washing up: wash the dishes
    Effing: fricking
    Faff: to fuss
    Fancy: to like
    Full stop: a period at the end of a sentence
    Ginger: red hair
    Go missing: disappear
    Gobsmacked: flabbergasted
    Journo: journalist
    Keen on/keen to: to like or be eager to do something
    Kerfuffle: commotion
    Loo: bathroom
    Minder: one who looks after something
    Move house: to move
    Nutter: crazy person
    On holiday: on vacation
    One-off: something that only happens once
    Posh: fancy
    Run-up: lead-up
    Sacked: fired
    Snog: to make out
    Sell-by-date: expiration date
    Spot-on: perfect
    Tick: check a box
    Top up: fill to the top
    Trainers: sneakers
    (Source: britishisms.wordpress.com/list-of-entries/)
    more at the link

    So....any U.S.-ers use any of these? Heard any used here?

    I'm a hopeless anglophile, I have spent untold years reading British literature, but one of the only phrases I've used at times (somewhat self-consciously) is the rather archaic "bang to rights" (not listed above): "They've got him bang to rights," i.e., hook, line and sinker; nailed with the goods; no defense for this crime (etc.). Oh, also, calling someone a "daft bugger" is pretty irresistable too. I've heard people use "gobsmacked," but that feels like stealing. But a "nosy parker" translates in any language. Let's see...."effing," have used that not knowing it was specifically Brit English. Bet there are others on the list which fall in that category.

  2. #2
    Marie is offline Daughter, if you don't remember us...who will?
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    Interesting but probably a bit of a stretch. See how I used "bit"? LOL

    Words that I have commonly used all my 50 American years of life or have heard others commonly use and a few that I only use/hear occasionally (and meaning the same as the British versions):

    Bit - "Hang on a sec, I'll be done in a bit."
    Cheeky - "He's a cheeky little bas****."
    Daft- "Don't be daft, of course I want some chocolate!"
    Effing - very common - "That idea is so effing stupid."
    Fancy - this is pretty old-fashioned. "If you fancy that car then why don't you buy one?"
    Posh - also old-fashioned. "We stayed at a posh hotel."
    Sacked - a little old-fashioned.
    Spot-on - "His speech was spot-on."
    Gobsmacked, Tick and Bent (very infrequently).

    Ginger - isn't that a Conon O'Brien thing?
    Top-up - one of the pay by minute cell phone companies uses this expression to mean "add money to your account so it's fully funded again"

    "Trainers" always cracks me up because I imagine a child's potty training pants, not shoes.

    I don't think anyone would say "do the washing up" to mean dish washing because we already use "wash up" to mean clean yourself up (hands, face) - "Let me wash up and I'll be right over." Same thing with "move house" because we just say "we're moving", no further explanation of 'house' necessary.

    I also thought that Cheers meant goodbye.

    Some of those words/phrases on the list are obvious slang and maybe some of the younger people are using them and I have a feeling that people Simon Cowel from American Idol has something to do with it.

  3. #3
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    i have been married to a Brit for 10 years and his language hasnt rubbed off on me LOL some of my redneck words have rubbed off on him, though!

    we maintain our accents just fine, and still find some words/phrases that need explanation.

    oh wait. i did get "lady-bits" from him!

  4. #4
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    Looking over list again.....I've used kerfuffle for a hundred years; didn't know it was a British usage......nutter, yes, great word......am never going to call my sneaks "trainers"....."mustn't grumble" is an unlisted favorite (or should I say, "favourite").....another is the construction "I am sat in front of the computer," product of way too much Brit lit reading..... "minder" is useful ("Don't tell me Ms. Lohan is out without her minder!"). "Minger" is a good one, whereas "minge," well, er, (cough-cough).

  5. #5
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    One on the list I picked up from my parrot: "Bloody hell." Don't know where she got it, but I've since learned it from her. MayraMM want a cracker?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MayraMM View Post
    One on the list I picked up from my parrot: "Bloody hell." Don't know where she got it, but I've since learned it from her. MayraMM want a cracker?
    i also got Bloody 'ell and knackered (wore out/tired)
    he got Ya'll which almost makes me wet my britches when he says it LOL

  7. #7
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    "Trainspotter" is a handy word, even (or especially) when used apart from its original meaning.

  8. #8
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    And now Guardian's gotten into the act with an article penned by a Yank:

    Britishisms in American English? Brilliant!
    The British are coming! The British are coming! For decades, you British have been kvetching (or as you might say, "whingeing") about the way we Yanks have been spritzing our two cents plain ("sparkling water" to you) American argot into the limpid, lambent loveliness of the Queen's English.

    And though I generally try not to be "chippy" about the widely held view that my countrymen and women are bunch of rubes and yahoos on display most recently in Downton Abbey, where Shirley MacLaine's caricature of a rich American finally drove me out of the room with annoyance whenever I am asked to assent to the proposition that American influence is driving the English language to hell in a handbasket, my response is: get over it!

    Well, that's the polite version. I mean first of all, when did the British need any help from anyone else with being vulgar? Ever heard of Geoffrey Chaucer? And second of all, just as I hope we are properly grateful for the immense linguistic riches bequeathed to us by Shakespeare and the committeemen who wrote the King James Bible (and no, I'm not being ironic. Americans don't do irony or so my children tell me), so you ought to thank us for the swell examples of colloquial communication found in Hollywood films like His Girl Friday or Bringing Up Baby. I mean what's not to like?
    ---
    the rest at the link above

    I do like and use "whingeing" also.

  9. #9
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    "Daft as a brush" anyone? Doolallytap?
    England's dancing days are done...

  10. #10
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    Mithering? Minging? Minge AKA front bottom
    England's dancing days are done...


  11. #11
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    Bent meaning "dishonest" appears in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE by Tennessee Williams in 1947. Or rather it's antonym appears: Mitch to Blanche, "I don't mind you being older than I thought, but I was foolish enough to think you was straight." (Mitch means "as modest as you act". He has found out Blanche has a reputation for being promiscuous.)

    "Bent" and "straight" meant dishonest and honest in the U.S. in the 1940s; you can also hear the words in film noir of the period from Hollywood. Later, the same words came to mean homo- and heterosexual.

    I'm not sure the author is describing a new process here, though no doubt the ease of modern communications has sped up the exchange of words.

    CORRECTION: after more reflection and a little research, I think I'm wrong about Mitch in STREETCAR. He would use "crooked" as the opposite of "straight", not "bent."
    Last edited by Nova; 09-28-2012 at 08:50 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Bent meaning "dishonest" appears in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE by Tennessee Williams in 1947. Or rather it's antonym appears: Mitch to Blanche, "I don't mind you being older than I thought, but I was foolish enough to think you was straight." (Mitch means "as modest as you act". He has found out Blanche has a reputation for being promiscuous.)

    "Bent" and "straight" meant dishonest and honest in the U.S. in the 1940s; you can also hear the words in film noir of the period from Hollywood. Later, the same words came to mean homo- and heterosexual.

    I'm not sure the author is describing a new process here, though no doubt the ease of modern communications has sped up the exchange of words.
    Same in England re: the homosexual meaning*; that was an earlier usage than the other two: bent meaning crooked and bent meaning illegal or stolen, as in "bent goods."

    ETA
    I'm wrong about the timeline of the "bent"s (see below).

    *"bent as a nine bob note" being one of the examples given; here, I've heard "queer as a three dollar bill"
    Last edited by wfgodot; 09-28-2012 at 08:54 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    Same in England re: the homosexual meaning*; that was an earlier usage than the other two: bent meaning crooked and bent meaning illegal or stolen, as in "bent goods."

    *"bent as a nine bob note" being one of the examples given; here, I've heard "queer as a three dollar bill"
    I don't think the sexual orientation meaning was earlier, godot. That's a pretty recent concept. I believe (but don't have time to reread the entire play) that "bent" meaning "dishonest" appears in John Gay's THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, written in the early 1700s. The idea and word "homosexual" weren't coined until the late 1800s.

    Also, "fancy" meaning "to like" appears in OKLAHOMA! in 1943 (and every cowboy movie ever made), so I don't know how that qualifies as a "Britishism" 70 years later. Granted it has remained more common in British English and probably crossed back over, but the word has a long history on this side of the pond.

    I think I'm wrong about STREETCAR, however, and I'll correct my post above. Mitch would have used "crooked" as the opposite of straight, not "bent".

  14. #14
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    P.S. to wfgodot: Yes, "queer as a three-dollar bill" was quite common in the 1950s and 1960s to mean homosexual.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I don't think the sexual orientation meaning was earlier, godot. That's a pretty recent concept. I believe (but don't have time to reread the entire play) that "bent" meaning "dishonest" appears in John Gay's THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, written in the early 1700s. The idea and word "homosexual" weren't coined until the late 1800s.

    Also, "fancy" meaning "to like" appears in OKLAHOMA! in 1943 (and every cowboy movie ever made), so I don't know how that qualifies as a "Britishism" 70 years later. Granted it has remained more common in British English and probably crossed back over, but the word has a long history on this side of the pond.

    I think I'm wrong about STREETCAR, however, and I'll correct my post above. Mitch would have used "crooked" as the opposite of straight, not "bent".
    You're right. I read the thing wrong. Mid-1900s to mean gay, early 1900s for the other two.

    http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/b.htm

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