Words befuddle me at times

By JJ
@JolietJake (39966)
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 Internetâ„¢ 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
13 responses
@Platespinner (18095)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
25 Jan
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 .
2 people like this
@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
I've heard of rain boots referred to as rubbers as well
1 person likes this
@mysdianait (63977)
• Italy
25 Jan
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
1 person likes this
@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
A shopping cart. Trolleys are big things for carrying people.
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@mysdianait (63977)
• Italy
25 Jan
@JolietJake Like a wheelchair? What do you use a buggy for?
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@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
@mysdianait A wheelchair is for a person (singular). A buggy may be for a baby, or it may be drawn by a horse and hold multiple people, or it may be the person needs an exterminator to get rid of the bugs.
@celticeagle (114391)
• Boise, Idaho
26 Jan
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.
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@JolietJake (39966)
26 Jan
I used to have a bit of fun with p1kef1sh and some of the other British users describing to each other what some sentences sounded like...
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@celticeagle (114391)
• Boise, Idaho
26 Jan
@JolietJake .......I remember him. Entertaining chap.
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@Jessicalynnt (48190)
• Centralia, Missouri
25 Jan
plus no tone or body language to help us catch things like scarcasm, er I meant sarcasm. hehehe
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@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
Snarkasmâ„¢
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• Centralia, Missouri
25 Jan
@JolietJake that too lol!
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@lealuvy2j (1998)
• Philippines
25 Jan
English can be quite confusing since many words can be used as a noun, verb or adjective. For example a simple word like "store", its meaning would be highly dependent on how you would use it.
1 person likes this
@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
I store things at the store.
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@paigea (21035)
• Canada
25 Jan
My husband grew up here (Canada) but his first language at home was not English. He argues with me about the use of some words that can be nouns as well as verbs, though he has spoken English for more than 60 years!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (97342)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Jan
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.
1 person likes this
@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
I almost wanna say "I got so mad I chooked them' now. They grow up to be chickens. They are only chicks at first.
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@JudyEv (97342)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Jan
@JolietJake No, no. They grow up to be chooks, CHOOKS!!
2 people like this
@Morleyhunt (15947)
• Canada
25 Jan
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...
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@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
Now see, I'd have got you a mop and bucket and asked why they were all over the floor anyway.
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@Morleyhunt (15947)
• Canada
25 Jan
@JolietJake it's that language thing...
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (50134)
• United Kingdom
25 Jan
I think one of the most confusing differences between us is the use of the 'floors'. To Americans the 1st floor is what to the Brits is the ground floor, so your 2nd floor is our 1st floor, and so on all the way up the building.
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@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
Yeah, I got a bit confused years ago when someone fell out a first floor window and broke a leg (I was reading a book). Finally figured out it was a second story window to us.
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@NJChicaa (28536)
• United States
25 Jan
I like hearing/reading these alternate terms for things
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@JolietJake (39966)
25 Jan
You mean like facts?
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@Mike197602 (13501)
• Worcester, England
25 Jan
There are loads of US/UK words that are different. I think I know most of them now
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@paigea (21035)
• Canada
25 Jan
Someone should post a list of translations.
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@dawnald (84132)
• Shingle Springs, California
25 Jan
Man, I tried to put one of those English bonnets on my head, and oy I had such a headache!
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@fishtiger58 (30304)
• Momence, Illinois
25 Jan
Caravan makes me think of my Dodge van, but yea I know what you mean
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