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November 16, 2013 10:03 am  #1


Britpick Resources

So, whilst wondering whether the British call a footpath a footpath, I came across a Wikihow link that is extraordinarily useful.

Anyone got any other useful resources?

How to Understand British Terms - it's aimed mostly at Americans, and provides a comparison between British and American differing terms.


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November 16, 2013 9:09 pm  #2


Re: Britpick Resources

Thank you Wholocked, I could definitely use something like that.

What I'm using is Oxford Advandced Learner's Dictionary of Current English by A. S. Hornby. Gives a lot of good examples of the differences between British English and American English. With illustration, which is really nice when you're a non-native speaker.


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November 17, 2013 5:12 am  #3


Re: Britpick Resources

Wholocked wrote:

So, whilst wondering whether the British call a footpath a footpath, I came across a Wikihow link that is extraordinarily useful.

Anyone got any other useful resources?

How to Understand British Terms - it's aimed mostly at Americans, and provides a comparison between British and American differing terms.

 
You probably figured it out but as an Aussie who married a pom and lived in the uk for 3 years, the English call footpaths ' pavements'.  They do have things called 'public footpaths' but they are more like walking trails!


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November 17, 2013 5:54 am  #4


Re: Britpick Resources

NotYourHousekeeperDear wrote:

Wholocked wrote:

So, whilst wondering whether the British call a footpath a footpath, I came across a Wikihow link that is extraordinarily useful.

Anyone got any other useful resources?

How to Understand British Terms - it's aimed mostly at Americans, and provides a comparison between British and American differing terms.

 
You probably figured it out but as an Aussie who married a pom and lived in the uk for 3 years, the English call footpaths ' pavements'. They do have things called 'public footpaths' but they are more like walking trails!

Hehe yeah I did - that site answered the question. Sometimes I think being Australian makes it even harder than being American, because there's an assumption there that Aussies & Brits say all the same things.


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November 17, 2013 7:52 am  #5


Re: Britpick Resources

Hehe yeah I did - that site answered the question. Sometimes I think being Australian makes it even harder than being American, because there's an assumption there that Aussies & Brits say all the same things.

 
Yes, I agee! Neither Americans or Brits have any idea about thongs for instance! And I think we all mean different things by pants, bathers and runners. And donn't even  get me started on fannies..


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September 3, 2015 9:45 pm  #6


Re: Britpick Resources

Perhaps you might be also interested in this - a WIP still at the beginning, but promising:

Predatrix's Brit-Picking Notes   http://archiveofourown.org/works/3475871

and this:

a brit-picker's guide to writing one direction - by twigcity http://archiveofourown.org/works/2025819/chapters/4394256

Last edited by Harriet (September 3, 2015 9:48 pm)


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September 4, 2015 1:24 am  #7


Re: Britpick Resources

Those links are very useful, thanks Harriet. I now wish I'd kept notes from all the fics I've read where I've spotted Americanisms. As an Aussie I do notice them occasionally, but they sometimes slip past me because we use quite a lot of American words and phrases here too. As Wholocked and NotYourHousekeeperDear have indicated, it can be confusing for us colonials 


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September 4, 2015 1:34 am  #8


Re: Britpick Resources

I would agree, ukaunz.  I'm aware of some British terms either because I've read them or heard them in shows and movies, or simply because we use them here in Canada as well.  But sometimes we use the American one, or we use the American and British interchangeably.  I saved both of those resources for future reference in case I'm not sure (although I often google stuff if I'm not sure, though I'm sure I still miss some).  
In fact, while reading one of these links I remembered how there was one Sherlock story I wrote where I used "faucet" in the narration and then afterwards "tap" in the dialogue.  After reeading the guide I went and changed "faucet" to "tap." That was one of those that never occured to me it could be wrong.

Last edited by Yitzock (September 4, 2015 1:35 am)


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Clueing for looks.
 

September 4, 2015 2:12 am  #9


Re: Britpick Resources

One fic I read recently had something similar (can't remember exactly what), and it made me think: if an American (or Canadian?) writes a story set in the UK and uses American spellings eg. "color" or "recognize" but uses the correct British English words in the character dialogue, that isn't really be a problem. But what about using words like "faucet" instead of "tap" or "couch" instead of "sofa"? It does kind of spoil the authentic feel of the story... but if the characters themselves aren't using the words, if it's the author's voice (rather than actual dialogue or internal dialogue) it shouldn't really matter, in a way. The writer is telling the story in their own language, which happens to be American English. If it was written in French, they would use the French words for tap or sofa or whatever. Hmm. Anyway, that was my random thought for the day, I'm not sure if it makes sense to anyone else 

Brit-Pick Hints for Sherlock Authors - this looks good, very comprehensive
https://archiveofourown.org/works/259535

Here's another good list of British vs American words
https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/british-american.htm

Last edited by ukaunz (September 4, 2015 3:54 am)


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September 4, 2015 6:56 am  #10


Re: Britpick Resources

ukaunz wrote:

Brit-Pick Hints for Sherlock Authors - this looks good, very comprehensive
https://archiveofourown.org/works/259535

LOL, and that one is even funny, thanks 
 


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September 4, 2015 12:32 pm  #11


Re: Britpick Resources

ukaunz wrote:

One fic I read recently had something similar (can't remember exactly what), and it made me think: if an American (or Canadian?) writes a story set in the UK and uses American spellings eg. "color" or "recognize" but uses the correct British English words in the character dialogue, that isn't really be a problem. But what about using words like "faucet" instead of "tap" or "couch" instead of "sofa"? It does kind of spoil the authentic feel of the story... but if the characters themselves aren't using the words, if it's the author's voice (rather than actual dialogue or internal dialogue) it shouldn't really matter, in a way. The writer is telling the story in their own language, which happens to be American English. If it was written in French, they would use the French words for tap or sofa or whatever. Hmm. Anyway, that was my random thought for the day, I'm not sure if it makes sense to anyone else

I can see what you mean.  In my example, faucet was narration and tap was spoken initially.  Also in Canada we spell it "colour."
But I would agree that it's a bit more jarring when the wrong word is used in the dialogue than in the narration, from my experience reading.

Also, another thing about the couch vs. sofa, thing: I'm not sure how this holds up, but I remember learning that they generally used the word sofa and then I listened to Benedict reading Metamorphosis for BBC and the word "couch" was used many times, so I was a little confused.  That's also one of those instances where sofa and couch are used interchangably in Canada, so I can slip up sometimes.  I have one story I wrote where I used couch in the narration and I don't think I ever went back to fix it just because I wasn't sure how wrong it would have been, and it was narration.


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September 4, 2015 1:23 pm  #12


Re: Britpick Resources

Frankly, I'm much less bothered by spelling or even differing terms than by factual things: When a writer seems to forget that people drive on the left in the UK, for example... Or when John donates his time for a once-a-week "free clinic" (though I admit that I still don't know how exactly you get treatment from the NHS). Or when everybody is waving handguns around (but of course Moftiss are the first to blame there)...

 

September 4, 2015 1:34 pm  #13


Re: Britpick Resources

I can see why that would seem worse.  I thought everyone knew about what size people drove on.  I've never seen the free clinic thing in a story.  I thought it was funny what you said about "waving handguns around," although wouldn't some criminals have them? Although to be honest  that is the only context I remember ever seeing guns in a fic, either that or it was John's gun.


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September 5, 2015 12:17 am  #14


Re: Britpick Resources

Wasn't Metamorphosis originally written in German? So it would depend on which translation you were reading I suppose. In the one Benedict read, the translator may have been American, if they used the word "couch". Then again, I don't know what the German word would be. I tried putting "couch" into Google translate for English to German and it came up with "couch", but when I translate "couch" from German to English it translates as "sofa" 

Last edited by ukaunz (September 5, 2015 12:18 am)


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September 5, 2015 6:25 am  #15


Re: Britpick Resources

It was always a "couch" when I was a child.  Over the years I've changed it to "sofa".  Maybe it's a regional thing.   Or even an age thing: I think my parents' generation where influenced by American films and picked up some of the language. 

 

 

September 5, 2015 1:30 pm  #16


Re: Britpick Resources

I guess it could be either one of those explanations, Liberty.  Neither one would surprise me.  Even in Canada we have that.  In fact, there are some Canadians who call it a "Chesterfield," a word whose origin I have absolutely no knowledge of.  My mom had one friend who used the word, but otherwise I would always use couch.

And I thought about the Metamorphosis translation, how it might not have been a British person, but at the same time I feel like they would change it if they felt it was very wrong to read the word "couch" on a British broadcast.  But I suppose if they were translating it there might not necessarily be a better equivalent, but still I feel they would make any appropriate changes.

Interesting.


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September 5, 2015 4:26 pm  #17


Re: Britpick Resources

Yitzock wrote:

... I thought it was funny what you said about "waving handguns around," although wouldn't some criminals have them? ....

 I think it was Wellingtongoose who wrote that criminals in England nowadays do not carry handguns, because they might well be caugt and not be arrested for the "actual" crime they committed (because it might not be provable) but for possession of a handgun. That's 5 years of prison, obligatory.

Incidentally, when in England Nick Stone (Andy McNab's "hero" who makes Mary look like an Angel) threatens people with either an air pistol (acquired for scaring off squirrels) - Brute Force - or a steak knife (left in its packaging until the last moment "An open knife is an offensive weapon. One still in its packaging is a birthday present for your mum.") - Zero Hour.

Regarding the side of the road to drive on: I'm sure the author of the story I'm thinking of (I've forgotten both the author's and the story's name, the subject matter was Sherlock normally not driving because he drives too fast and would spend all his time arguing about speeding tickets) would answer "on the left" when asked. But the story as written doesn't work - you just can't pull over to the right on an English multi-lane road. If there even is a single multi-lane road in all of England...

And Chesterfield seems to be a style of sofa (http://www.londongallery.net/en/content/8-history-of-chesterfield), - or maybe it's an alternate name for a sofa with ambitions http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png
(I'm knackered right now and the typeface on this page is much too small for me, so I won't go into it further...)

 

September 5, 2015 4:29 pm  #18


Re: Britpick Resources

Well, I suppose there could always be exception for the gun thing, especially in fiction. I can see why that would be a reason not to have one, though.


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Clueing for looks.
 

September 6, 2015 1:41 pm  #19


Re: Britpick Resources

ukaunz wrote:

Wasn't Metamorphosis originally written in German? So it would depend on which translation you were reading I suppose. In the one Benedict read, the translator may have been American, if they used the word "couch". Then again, I don't know what the German word would be. I tried putting "couch" into Google translate for English to German and it came up with "couch", but when I translate "couch" from German to English it translates as "sofa" 

Yes, it was. And regarding the time in which it was written I would assume that Kafka used the word "sofa". In German, we say "sofa" and "couch" as well and today use them interchangeably. In Kafka's time, however, one would have probably used the older term "sofa". 


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January 28, 2016 10:11 am  #20


Re: Britpick Resources


Eventually everyone will support Johnlock.   Independent OSAJ Affiliate

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