Monday, October 15, 2007

Our Not-So-Common Language

The quote about America and England being two countries separated by a common language is still true. I thought I was pretty savvy, but I'm still finding one or two things that surprise me. Flat for apartment, car park for parking lot, lorry for truck, lift for elevator, we're used to these words. New ones I've noticed include scheme for plan, as in "The Nation Health scheme calls for...." Scheme to me has ominous overtones of something slightly shady. Americans straighten things out while the English sort them out. Have a problem? They'll sort it out or wait until you get it sorted out. The newest phrase for my collection is amenity skip. Is that what the bellman does when he brings you extra shampoo in a hotel? Or does it mean you're going to do without the shampoo altogether? Nope, it's a large trash container -- like a Demsey Dumpster -- provided for a group of flats or houses. I haven't completely caught on yet, but I find myself joining the locals in having a lovely time, drinking lovely tea accompanied by lovely little biscuits (cookies) and everything is simply brilliant!

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