So this is an example of the creative misuse of language.
Grammar Man says:
This is a great example of wordplay! So yeah , maybe some Americanisms are just Americans having a bit of fun with the language.
This is a half hour instead of half an hour.
And this is from EJB in Devan in the UK.
So he thinks Ďhalf an hourí should be correct and a half hour is incorrect.
But now, come on. A half hour is pretty clear and there are other examples of this, like youíd have a half pint. A half pint, thatís half a glass of beer. Right, a half pint, so why canít we have a half hour?
I think itís all right.
Grammar Man says: I suspect this person has a half brain.
Hahaha mmm O Grammar Man here you go again. Right!
This is A ďheads upĒ.
This is from R. Haworth in Marlborough.
A heads up, for example in a business meeting. Letís do a Ďheads upí on this issue. I have never been sure of the meaning.
Well, I suppose this means if everyone in your team is working on a project. They are kind of - they got their heads down. Their heads are down when they are working and they are focusing on just their own thing. They are not looking at each other. They are not communicating because they got their heads down. So if you do a heads up on something I guess it means that everyone looks up.
Iíve just received a text message.
If you do a heads-up it means everyone looks up and they kind of look at each other and they communicate whatís going on. So to do a heads up is like to have a meeting. Have a quick meeting just to check whatever one is up to and what the progress of the project is. Letís do a heads-up. It could be maybe to bring attention to something. You know if you bring attention to something then people will put their heads up so that is a heads-up. I suppose you could say itís not very sophisticated to say, letís see Ďheads-upíto make that into a noun. Just those two words into a noun, you know, itís a bit unconventional but thatís what it means. It is an example of a kind of a cliché that might be used in management speak or business, sort of this kind of business English. You find a lot of idiomatic language in business English because somehow they like to be deflectable with the language just to be efficient sometimes. But it can result in slightly annoying or cliché bits of language.
Grammar Man says:
Iíve never claimed to understand what happens in business meetings.
So he is saying, well, I suppose this is something specific to the business world and he is not really sure what it means either. Okay.
Iíll check the text message that I got. Let me see. I didnít put my phone on silent while I was recording this. Ah, that is from my mom. Thatís nice. Itís always about Christmas presents. Christmas is coming up and everyone is asking each other what they want for Christmas. So I have to tell my mom what I want for Christmas. Oooh, what would I like? What would be good as a Christmas present? I mean obviously I have got to be sensible. I canít just ask for like a helicopter. That would be good. Maybe I should scale it down a bit and just go for a jet-pack.
to scale sth. down:etwas herungerschrauben
to scale down the expectations:die Erwartungen herunterschrauben
Ein Raketenrucksack (auch Jet-Pack oder Jetpack) ist eine auf dem Rückstoßprinzip (meist heißer Verbrennungsgase basierende, tragbare Antriebseinheit, mit der sich eine einzelne Person frei in der Luft (oder im Weltall) bewegen kann. Der Begriff Jet-Pack ist eine Ableitung des englischen Wortes für Rucksack (Backpack) in Anspielung auf die Tragweise des Gerätes.
It might be a good idea. No, I think I am gonna just ask for a jacket, actually from my mom. So mom if you are listening to this you can get me a jacket, maybe a leather Ė like a brown leather jacket. I might send you a link. My mom listens to this sometimes. In fact, she is not being very well. Sheís had flu and sheís been in bed with flu. So mom if you are listening to this I hope youíre feeling better. I hope that you are back at your feet again and we are very much looking forward to coming home for Christmas, mom, looking forward to that, right. Actually mama wonder what do you think, what are you thinking of this episode? because I know sometimes you donít like Americanisms. Maybe I have to talk to you about that at Christmas. I might even record it so that the listeners to Lukeís English podcast can listen it and just learn, just learn loads of English while they are doing it.
Yes, right, moving on.
Train station: My teeth are on edge every time I hear it. Who started it? Have they been punished?
Thatís from Chris Capewell in Queens Park in London.
So he doesnít like the expression train station. I suppose he thinks that railway station is better. In fact he hates train station so much that his teeth are on edge every time he hears it. If your teeth are on edge it means you are Ė ooch
finally it is really difficult, itís really horrible to hear. So it makes you squirm and it makes you shudder and cringe. Aaah, your teeth are on edge. ahh I canít stand it. Who started saying train station? Well, itís unknown. Is it specifically American? Maybe, but come on, whatís wrong with train station. I mean really itís a station. Trains thatís where you go to get a train. Trains stop in them, letís call it a train station. I donít see the problem. Railway station is well, fine. I mean railway is the track that the trains travel on but, you know, itís pretty much the same thing, isnít it? There is nothing wrong with sayingtrain station. Just in the same way that there is nothing wrong with saying railway station. Itís just another way of saying the same thing. So there is no need to punish people for saying train station, Chris, come on, man.
Grammar Man says:
Have you been punished yet for talking out of turn? Go and stand in the corner and donít come back until you have a good point to make.
Am I talking out of turn?:Ist meine Bemerkung fehl am Platz?
Okay, letís take a little break from the list now and letís hear from an American reader. So this is a comment from Melanie Johnson and she is a master student in applying linguistics here in the UK. She is actually from America but she is living in the UK and she is studying a masterís degree in applied linguistics. So I am sure that she is gonna have quite a balanced view on this subject. Being American, living in the UK and generally being very educated about linguistics. Letís hear what she says: So she says:
The idea that there once existed a ďpureĒ form of English is simply untrue. The English spoken in the UK today has been influenced by a number of languages, including Dutch, French and German. Speakers from the time ofWilliam the Conqueror would not recognise what we speak in Britain as English. This is because language variation shifts are constantly changing.
Five years ago you might have found it odd if someone asked you to ďfriendĒ them, but today many of us know this means to add them on Facebook. The increased use of technology, in combination with the rise of a globalised society, means language changes are happening faster than ever, especially in places with highly diverse populations like London. Young people are usually at the vanguard of this, so itís no surprise to find London teenagers increasingly speaking whatís been termed ďmulticultural ethnic EnglishĒ.
Changes in word use are normal and not unique to any language. But English does enjoy a privileged status as the worldís lingua franca. That began with the British, but has been maintained by the Americans. Itís difficult to predict how English will evolve, but the one certainty is it will.
So she is saying something I think we pretty early made that point that you know the influence of Americanisms on British English is all parts of a natural way in which language changes over time and you can either understand that and go with it or you get very angry and annoyed and complain and throw your toys out of the pram. Right letís move on.
We are almost halfway through the list and we are twenty-three minutes into the podcast. So, letís go. So, this is from Chris Fackrell in York in the UK and he says: To put a list into alphabetical order is to Ďalphabetize ití Ė horrid! So he thinks the verb Ďto alphabetize something is horrible. That means put it in alphabetical order, for example: I alphabetize my record collection.
Well, I donít know. Is it really intrinsically horrible to say alphabetize? I mean itís rather a long slightly clumsy-sounding word: Ďalphabetizeí and you might say itís a bit basic to just take the word alphabet and turn it into a verb. But itís pretty effective, isnít it? You know what I mean, to alphabetize something means to put it into alphabetical order itís certainly easier to say.
Grammar Man says:
There is no doubt, we Americans are notorious for transforming nouns into verbs. If we hadnít introduced this practice, imagine how annoyed youíd be always having to say, ďIíll add you as a friend on Facebook,Ē instead of, ďIíll friend you.Ē
Okay, I think we get the point. to To say Iíll friend you is just a much quicker, much easier way of saying ĎI will add you as a friend on facebookí. I suppose the same applies to alphabetize. Right!
People that say ďmy badĒ after a mistake. I donít know how anything could be as annoying or as lazy as that.
Thatís from Simon Williamson in Lymington, Hampshire in the UK. My bad. Okay, so for example if you - letís say, you take the wrong bus with your friend and you are riding along and your friend says: ĎOh no, we are on the wrong bus. We are going the wrong direction.í And you go, Ďoh yes, sorry,my badí. That means it was my fault. I did a bad thing, I chose the wrong bus in this case. My bad,,eeh ye, my bad. Yeah, I suppose itís not very grammatical. You canít say my and then an adjective. You have to say: My followed by a noun, donít you? I mean you might say: ĎMy bad mistakeí. But essentially itís my bad , sorry, itís my mistake. My and a noun. So saying my and an adjective. Yeah, itís a bitÖ itís not really grammatically correct. But still itís clear what it means. I means: I did soemthing bad. So
Grammar Man says:
For a while I thought the British were actually more sophisticated than us. Then I picked up an issue of The Sun. My bad.
So not really answering the particular point, but he is saying that he thinksĎmy badí is okay. Taht you can say it. In fact, he makes fun of the British saying that he thought we were sophisticated and then he picked up an issue of Ďthe Suní.
Well, Ďthe Suní is a newspaper in the UK and I agree with Grammar Man, itís not sophisticated at all. Itís a deeply unsophisticated - very sort of sort of small-minded and itís the sort of newspaper that sells papers by doing stories about celebrities and showing pictures of girls with their boobs out.
So guys, if you are in England and pick up a copy of the Sun, there is just a naked girl on page three. In fact itís one of the most popular newspapers in the country, one of the most best-selling newspapers and theyíve had a naked girl on page three for years and years and years. Itís almost like an institution. But is that really a serious way to, you know, sort of Ė conductjournalism?
to counduct business:Geschäfte leiten
to counduct negotiations:Verhandungen führen
No itís not. So itís not a sophisticated paper. They have ridiculous stories, a lot of them not really true. They get their information in a very dodgy way and only recently there has been a bit scandal about how the tabloid papers in this country were kind of hacking into peopleís mobile phones and things like that.
dodgy dealings:krumme Geschäfte
dodgy weather:unstetes Wette
thatís a dodgy situation:das ist eine riskante Situation
I agree, the Sun is a pretty awful paper. Nevertheless if you read it, itís full of idioms and itís full of phrasal verbs. There is loads of language that you can learn from the Sun. But as a piece of journalism Ė no, itís not very sophisticated. Right.
This is from Tom Gabbutt in Huddersfield in England. And he says: Normalcy instead of normality really irritates me. Normalcy instead of normality, so I might say; in New York after the hurricane it took a long time for things to get back to normalcy or for things to get back to normality. Well,
Grammar Man says:
These words are in fact different, and people should be corrected when confusing them. Though I donít think the confusion is particularly American. Are you confused?
So he is saying that actually these two words are separate words and itís true a lot of people confuse them but he doesnít think thatís just the Americans.
Normalcy and normality okay, we have to google this one: Normalcy okay there is normalcy vs. normality.
Okay this is a website called Grammarist.com and normalcy vs normalitythere is no
normality and normalcy are different spellings of the same word. Okay, so that kind of contradicts what Grammar Man said: Normality is cenuries older though and many
usage authorities consider it the superior form. Nouns ending in -cy are usually derived from adjectives ending in -t-for example, pregnancy frompregnant, complacency from complacent, hesitancy from hesitant-while adjectives ending in -l usually take the -ity suffix . Normalcy is unique inflouting this convention.
to flout sth.:sich über etwas hinwegsetzen
So maybe there is a case here for saying that normalcy is kind of wrong and normality is okay.
Well, we will see. Maybe in the future everyone is going to start saying normalcy, but I doubt it. I think weíll continue to say normality.
Normalcy Ė normality. Normality is longer. Itís got four syllables, so maybe normalcy is a slightly more efficient word.
As an expat living in New Orleans, it is a very long list but ďburglarizeĒ is currently the word that I most dislike.
expat:im Ausland Lebender
Thatís from Simon in New Orleans. But I suspect he is a Brit. Okay,burglarize. Well, you know the word burglary? Or to burgle something. Well, aburglary is when someone breaks into a building in order to steal something. So itís a kind of theft. So breaking into a building to steal something is calledburglary and the person who does is called burglar and in British English the verb is to burgle something, like you burgle a property Well, hopefully you donít burgle a property but people do burgle properties sometimes and so Simonís complain is that burglarize is an unnecessary verb. That we already have burgle. But I suspect in America they donít really use burgle.
Grammar Man says:
Again, you should thank us for making a habit of verbing nouns.
Alright, okay, well done, yes. Well done for verbing nouns but we already haveburgle, we donít need burglarize. Burglarize, it sounds funny to us because we already have the verb burgle. So if we add -ize on it is like Ė What? unnecessarily long Ė burglarize, burglarizationisms.
Thatís a common complain that Brits have about Americans in their English is that they unnecessarily lengthen words.
There have been a number of instances of burglarizationism i ties over the past few months isationisms okay, but burglarize?
yeah I am not that bothers I think itís just that we use burgle and the Americans donít.