Words befuddle me at times
January 25, 2017 4:39am CST
It's not as bad as it was when I joined here 10 years ago, but I still get caught by them at times. Such as when @JudyEv posted about her 'Caravan'. Here in the GREAT United States of America (too much Trump in my diet lately) this is a camper. A 'caravan' brings forth the image of a line of camels and their attendant riders crossing a desert. And even then, I was not sure at first if a 'Caravan' was an RV (recreational vehicle/motor home) or a camper. But thanks to The Wonders Of The Internet™ I did finally figure out what it was. But it's been fun, meeting people from all over, and then trying to decipher what they are actually saying in Americanese (which is kind of like English but not how the English use it if you catch my drift.) And then at times I find myself using a phrase that every American understands perfectly what I said, but I have to explain it to others because it appears to be an Americanism (something said mostly in America). Sometimes, the words can be similar...like 'bonnet' and 'hood' for parts of a car...different terms, which both can apply to something worn on the head, and mean the same thing when talking about cars, although when referencing headgear, they are two different things. But then you have 'boot' and 'trunk'. A 'boot sale' makes me think a particular type of footwear is being sold, whereas a 'trunk sale' may make me think of large pieces used for shipping/storing things. But they are the same thing for cars. It's no wonder we misunderstand each other here at times.
12 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
Language can be such a tricky thing. I came to the USA as a college student, from a country where a rubber is an eraser . But my funniest moment (keep in mind that I went to a church affiliated school that was VERY conservative) was when I informed a male friend of mine that I needed a screw. My glasses has come unhinged and I needed to replace the tiny screw that held the arm on. The response was shocked silence...and then I realized what I had just said .
With my sister living in Ohio, I have often heard her telling me about the different uses for the same word comepare to 'over here'. For example here we use a trolley at the supermarket while going round and picking up the things we need to buy. I don't remember what you use there and I'm sure you will tell me
• Boise, Idaho
We come from all walks of life and countries in the world. I can certainly see where there are some misunderstandings here at times. I do hope that most are coming from positive places and not trying to be rude or mean on purpose. English is a great language and very interesting since some words come from other countries.
• Bunbury, Australia
I nearly always put bus/motor home now for our bus. I forget not everyone reads my EVERY post. :) In much of Europe our motor-home was a 'camper car'. A camper here is more likely to be a trailer with canvas pop-ups/fold-outs which turn it into accommodation. And I put 'chooks/chickens' now too. (Fancy calling a full-grown chook a 'chicken'.) Another one is the different names for what I call an 'op shop' (opportunity shop) which I often have to explain. It seems more likely to be a thrift shop, charity store, goodwill. etc. Hopefully all this is making us all more tolerant of others.
Many years ago I was needing to mop up my children in a restaurant. I asked the wait staff for some serviettes.....they looked at me blankly. I repeated....serviettes.....then I mimed wiping the child's hands and face.....he said....oh....you mean a napkin...