Language Quirks

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Language Quirks

Postby H » Tue May 14, 2019 8:59 am

Came across some UK-US differences with a few lacking in definition...

Writer's entry:
In America, broiling your food refers to exposing it to direct, intense heat. To Brits, this same act is typically called “grilling.” You can see where the confusion lies.
Example: “For dinner tonight, I think I’ll broil some salmon.”

Not from my over half-century of U.S. usage:
if I broil it, it sits in water (usually to drain off oils/grease) — which would douse a grille
(allowing the water to evaporate and sear meat is also called char-broilling).
if I boil it, however, it's drowned in water (such as my corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner).

Writer's entry:
Though there is an equivalent term in the U.K., the suffix here is what’s different. The British use “normality” instead of “normalcy,” and they consider the latter Americans’ a strange alternative.
Example: “After so much upheaval in my life, I just want a bit of normalcy.”

Oops, how un-American of me — in this case my normalcy would be normality... as a normality, antway.
An equivelent term? Both words are current in an American English dictionary.

Writer's entry:
According to Food&Wine magazine, southern Italian immigrants to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries gave Americans the word “arugula” to describe this leafy green. However, you won’t find the word on menus in the U.K., where “rocket” (derived from the French “roquette”) is used in its place.
Example: “Could you add a bit of arugula into the salad?”

I could but normally wouln't. However, there are many from other origins in our mix, including native members; even when starting as English colonies we had our own specifics — care to cook up some English muffins in your wigwam?

Writer's entry:
To Americans, a backhoe is an excavating machine consisting of a digging bucket at the end of a two-part articulated arm that is typically used to move large amounts of material, like soil or rock. But if you utter this word in the U.K., don’t be surprised if people are left scratching their heads. According to Brits, one should call a digging device “a digger.” (Come to think of it, they may be on to something…)
Example: “We’re going to use a backhoe to excavate the construction site.”

Yes, dear writer, they may be onto something because yours is not a complete definition for this American. On our farm a backhoe was a digging unit that pulled towards the control vehicle. If the digging operation was away from the control vehicle, effectively moving forward, it was not a backhoe.

Any American knows a sidewalk is a paved area alongside a stretch of road for pedestrians. However, in the U.K., “sidewalk” means, well, nothing. As far as Brits are concerned, this area is called “a pavement.”
Example: “In New York City, you’ll get plenty of dirty looks for riding your bike on the sidewalk.”

Dirt, gravel, stone and brick gave way to primarily asphalt roads and, most often, cement walkways. Often road and walkway (yes, another less specific term) are both covered by pavement and there are vast miles of paved roads with no such accompanying walkways; more often we speak of the road/street 'pavement' while, somewhat more often, of the walkways with their material composition; a sideroad has another meaning, so the U.S. road's/street's companion is a sidewalk.

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