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Old 07-11-2011, 02:11 PM   #46
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Over here we say "he lit a cigarette".
Or casually, "he popped out for a fag".
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:17 PM   #47
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Over here we say "he lit a cigarette". Over there it's "he lighted a cigarette"
I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say "lighted", tho' I've read it a few times. Written language is often different than spoken language.

When I was growing up in the 40's - 50's, I often heard time expressed as "half past six", but never "half until (to/’till) seven", but I have often heard “quarter past six” and “quarter to seven”. Since the digital revolution, it’s more often 6:15, or 6:30, or 6:45; but in the US Navy it was 0615 (1815), or 0630 (1830), or 0645 (1845); and I would sometimes have to get up at “Oh Dark Thirty”

Then there’s the whole AM-PM thing!
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:23 PM   #48
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My accent is very neutral. I didn't grow up in a region of the US with a heavy accent. I'm very polite and try not to be a stereotypical obnoxious American. Usually when I tell them that I'm not from Canada they tell me about this or that family member that they have that is.
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:58 PM   #49
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I think it depends on age, most people of my age (early twenties) and under would say five thirty five, because we use digital clocks. The only exception is for half and quarter past which is more likely to be said as half past six rather than six thirty.

Older people tend to say twenty five to six as they were brought up with analogue clocks. Personally if I hear that it takes me a few seconds to figure out what the person is going on about.
I have all analog clocks in my house -- except for my alarm clock. I have digital clocks on the stove and microwave, but to tell time I use the analog wall clock above the sink. My watch is also analog.

I don't really look at the time; I just look at the relative position of the hands to see where they are compared to what time I am checking against. This is why I prefer analog over digital, since with digital I actually have to do math and figure out minutes.

I think my seven year old likes to ask me the time when we are in the car just to hear what I will say. I mentally convert everything back, so if the clock says 6:55, I'll tell him it is 5 to 7.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:13 PM   #50
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My accent is very neutral. I didn't grow up in a region of the US with a heavy accent. I'm very polite and try not to be a stereotypical obnoxious American. Usually when I tell them that I'm not from Canada they tell me about this or that family member that they have that is.
Ahh, it's the politeness that's confusing them....
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:47 PM   #51
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For a formal time, such as a dental appoint,net etc, we would use the 24hr clock time as it is a definitive time. The same for meetings, ie 15:45 or 09:20.
However when speaking it would generally be quarter to four in the afternoon and either nine twenty or twenty past nine, in the morning in the above examples.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:36 PM   #52
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I'm British. I remember teaching English in Spain 20 years ago and having to get my American girlfriend at the time to explain "twenty of six" to me, which was in all the teaching books we were using.

On a side note one expression I find odd in American English is 'off of' as in 'get off of me' instead of 'get off me' which Jim Butcher uses a lot in The Dresden Files. I assume it's colloquial.

Also something I first spotted in Janet Evanovich's books, and I'm now seeing everywhere is: 'a couple million dollars' or 'a couple bullets' instead 'a couple of million dollars' or 'a couple of bullets'. That seems a bit odd to me.

Bill Bryson has a lot to say about the differences between British and American English in the book Mother Tongue, and from what I can remember, his conclusion was that when these differences show up a lot of the time it's because American English tends to use old fashioned words or expressions or grammar forms that have fallen out of favour in British English.

And yes, I spelt favour right, and the irregular past tense of spell come to that, whatever Noah Webster's committee had to say on the matter.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:58 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbanana View Post
Also something I first spotted in Janet Evanovich's books, and I'm now seeing everywhere is: 'a couple million dollars' or 'a couple bullets' instead 'a couple of million dollars' or 'a couple of bullets'. That seems a bit odd to me.
Even within the US, the dropping of the "of" seems to be a regional colloquialism. Having traveled the US extensively during my military career, I’ve seen it in some areas and not in others. As I think back, it seemed to be more prevalent in southern (south eastern?) regions. Of course that travel occurred over a considerable period of time, and it could have been related to different decades too.

Last edited by wodin; 07-11-2011 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:44 PM   #54
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just to add to the soup (since nonBrit info is already in) in Poland the usage of "half-till"; "5/10/20 past/to"; is also common. 15min duration or quarter of an hour has its own word: kwadrans, so its: k. till or past an hour in case of h:45 or h:15. A duration of 45 min 'd be described as 3 k just like you 'd say half an hour in case of a 30min duration.
in case of h:25 or h:35 the expressions "five before/after half-till" could be used.
All this applied to a 12h based clock reading (so never half-till 23 in case of 22:30)
As far as dates are concerned it's always DMY. In my 1st schoolyears it was even common to note the month in Roman numerals. (I should check if that changed)

P.S. I always hated english 12h notations notoriously mixing up am and pm.
I still wonder why there are clocks on the island instead of sundials simply marked "before teatime/teatime/after teatime"
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:17 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbanana View Post
I'm British. I remember teaching English in Spain 20 years ago and having to get my American girlfriend at the time to explain "twenty of six" to me, which was in all the teaching books we were using.

On a side note one expression I find odd in American English is 'off of' as in 'get off of me' instead of 'get off me' which Jim Butcher uses a lot in The Dresden Files. I assume it's colloquial.

Also something I first spotted in Janet Evanovich's books, and I'm now seeing everywhere is: 'a couple million dollars' or 'a couple bullets' instead 'a couple of million dollars' or 'a couple of bullets'. That seems a bit odd to me.

Bill Bryson has a lot to say about the differences between British and American English in the book Mother Tongue, and from what I can remember, his conclusion was that when these differences show up a lot of the time it's because American English tends to use old fashioned words or expressions or grammar forms that have fallen out of favour in British English.

And yes, I spelt favour right, and the irregular past tense of spell come to that, whatever Noah Webster's committee had to say on the matter.
Being from New Jersey myself, I would say "a couple million dollars" in casual conversation, although it comes it more as an elision "cuplah" off the printed page. To actually say "They dug a couple bullets outta (da) wall" is more New York City to me ("Brooklynese"). Similarly, in spoken American, it's really "Get offa me!" On the other hand, back when I was addicted to Eastenders, I found the expression "moving house" horribly redundant.

I hadn't realized that "gotten" was the older past participle of "get" until recently. I suppose the phrase "ill-gotten gains" is still used there though?

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For a formal time, such as a dental appoint,net etc, we would use the 24hr clock time as it is a definitive time. The same for meetings, ie 15:45 or 09:20.
However when speaking it would generally be quarter to four in the afternoon and either nine twenty or twenty past nine, in the morning in the above examples.
Interestingly, I could see replying "Try back around quarter of/to four" to a question "When do you think she'll be back?" rather than necessarily 3:45. The of/to is pretty much interchangeable, though pronounced "quarter-ah" and "quarter-duh" in New Jersey.

Last edited by SeaBookGuy; 07-11-2011 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:26 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by mrbanana View Post
On a side note one expression I find odd in American English is 'off of' as in 'get off of me' instead of 'get off me' which Jim Butcher uses a lot in The Dresden Files. I assume it's colloquial. Also something I first spotted in Janet Evanovich's books, and I'm now seeing everywhere is: 'a couple million dollars' or 'a couple bullets' instead 'a couple of million dollars' or 'a couple of bullets'. That seems a bit odd to me.
I have spent most of my life in the western half of the US. I typically keep the "of" and don't drop it. The expression I notice often is that in the US we typically say "would/could have" whereas my English colleagues always say "would/could have done".

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For a formal time, such as a dental appoint,net etc, we would use the 24hr clock time as it is a definitive time. The same for meetings, ie 15:45 or 09:20. However when speaking it would generally be quarter to four in the afternoon and either nine twenty or twenty past nine, in the morning in the above examples.
That's interesting. Now that I think about it, if I'm meeting someone in a casual environment like dinner or a drink, then they usually quote the time to me as say "eight" rather than "twenty". Sometimes it's hard to tell if they are adapting to my American English as much as I adapt to their language.

On a completely off-tangent point, one of my colleagues recently asked me if in America we still call our language English or if we call it something else.

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Ahh, it's the politeness that's confusing them....
Yes, it must be the politeness! I have wondered about that, actually. It's not as if all Americans have to be rude and loud and wear tracksuits & trainers.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:35 PM   #57
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Being from New Jersey myself, I would say "a couple million dollars" in casual conversation, although it comes it more as an elision "cuplah" off the printed page. To actually say "They dug a couple bullets outta (da) wall" is more New York City to me ("Brooklynese"). Similarly, in spoken American, it's really "Get offa me!" On the other hand, back when I was addicted to Eastenders, I found the expression "moving house" horribly redundant.
Reminds me of my trip to Australia. When people heard I was from NJ they kept trying to get me to say "How you doin" When I did they all laughed. They didn't think people really spoke in that way. Of course, they also thought The Sopranos and Jersey Shore were fiction.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:49 PM   #58
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Reminds me of my trip to Australia. When people heard I was from NJ they kept trying to get me to say "How you doin" When I did they all laughed. They didn't think people really spoke in that way. Of course, they also thought The Sopranos and Jersey Shore were fiction.
That happens often.

Other Americans who had never spent any time in New York thought Andrew Dice Clay was an exaggeration rather than an accurate depiction of what one finds in NYC.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:14 PM   #59
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Reminds me of my trip to Australia. When people heard I was from NJ they kept trying to get me to say "How you doin" When I did they all laughed. They didn't think people really spoke in that way. Of course, they also thought The Sopranos and Jersey Shore were fiction.
There's a joke about 18:00 being the New Jersey state mandated time to eat dinner. A friend told me in her neighborhood there was a "sophisticated" family -- who ate at 19:00!

When my parents and I went to Portugal it was difficult to find restaurants that started serving as early as 19:30; they had set that as the absolute latest they could wait.

I'm amazed that Stephanie Plum's antics are so wildly popular all over. I've never seen the Sopranos myself, nor encountered too many folks in New Jersey so stereotypical ... Queens was another story!
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:51 PM   #60
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My friends and I always laugh at the fact that the stereotypes of NJ in those shows like Jersey Shore and Housewives of NJ are actually people who were either born across the river in NYC or are the children of parents who were born in NYC. That whole Brooklyn/Mob-wannabe accent is so not NJ.

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Interestingly, I could see replying "Try back around quarter of/to four" to a question "When do you think she'll be back?" rather than necessarily 3:45. The of/to is pretty much interchangeable, though pronounced "quarter-ah" and "quarter-duh" in New Jersey.
Actually, it's more "quardder-ah" and "quardder-duh", though a "cuplah" or "cupalah" million dollars sounds right to me.

Folks here get their houses/homes "robbed" not burglarized. Cigarettes are "lit" not "lighted". We never call the Atlantic Ocean "the Pond"; it's "the Ocean", because it's really the only ocean that counts. We really do say that we're going "down the shore", not "to the ocean" or "to the beach".

In the town in NJ where I grew up, we used a wonderful word, "aina" (long "a" sound + "nah"), often sounded with a question mark or an exclamation point. The closest definition would be "ain't it" or "you're speaking the truth" or "no shit". It was like an "amen" to another person's statement.

"I'm tellin' yah, if he comes home late one more time, his mom's gonna whip his behind!"
"Aina."

"She said that she heard it from her mom who heard it from her aunt."
"Aina?"

"I slipped on that ice comin' down the hill from the tracks. It's like glass over there."
"Aina!"
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