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June 16, 2007

Yes, a little fermented curd would do the trick
Posted by Avram Grumer at 02:59 AM *

Anyone else wondering what the deal is with Americans using the British whinge instead of the perfectly good American whine? I’ve been seeing it more and more often the past couple years.

Comments on Yes, a little fermented curd would do the trick:
#1 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:14 AM:

I suggest bleedover from too much Harry Potter fanfic.

#2 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:24 AM:

i don't use it often,but i like the way it sounds. It makes me feel like Allingham's Lady Amanda.

#3 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:45 AM:

Wot, wot?
It makes us sound more posh.
Pip pip, cheerio, and all that.

#4 ::: Legionseagle ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:59 AM:

Actually, we got it from the Australians, who castigated our cricket team as "whinging Poms" during a particularly disastrous tour of Australian in 1979-80.

#5 ::: Farah ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:01 AM:

They aren't the same word. "Whine" tells you the note on which the comment is sung.

"Mo....meee" is the classic whine or "it's not fair!!!!", and I would use "whine" to describe any complain sung in a similar tone. So Paris Hilton is whining.

But whinge is closer to the Yiddish kvetch, a sort of on-going irritating protest.

#6 ::: Keith R.A. DeCandido ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:07 AM:

Oh, stop whinging.......

#7 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:24 AM:

In my case, trying to emulate the great Justine Larbalestier. Maybe she gets around.

#8 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:53 AM:

My experience of the word "whinge" here in Australia is that it is used to complain in an annoying way about usually trivial matters. Someone with a genuine grievance would never be regarded as whingeing--except possibly the party causing the grievance, as in, "Oh, don't listen to him, he's just whingeing as usual."

The thing about "whingeing Poms", though, quite apart from its application re that touring English cricket team, refers mainly to the English immigrants of decades ago who, we hear, were always complaining about how much better life back in Blighty was compared to life here in Oz.

#9 ::: Gwen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:19 AM:

I think some people believe it makes them look more intellectual or cultured if they adopt common English spellings or word choices. The word they're really searching for is "affected".

The two words are often used differently over here, although I do know some people who use them interchangeably.

#10 ::: Vanessa ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:20 AM:

I've been saying "whinging poms" for many years, having been infected long ago by Barry Humphries' The Wonderful World of Barry McKenzie.

Also, "whinge" is so much more chewy a word than "whine." Not about the posh at all.

#11 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:30 AM:

I've seen whinge used in threads on gaming discussion forums where persistent whining is combined with a sense of entitlement, for example, a demand for game features that give the requester an unfair advantage over other players, justified by little more than noting the player is "a paying customer". I think that there is an element of "cringe" in there somewhere, but mostly by dismayed onlookers.

#12 ::: Melanie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:43 AM:

I'm going with the HP fanfic theory, too...

The funniest thing, though, is the occasional rant from the slightly out-of-touch..."Don't you people know how to spell the word 'whine'? There's no g in it!"

#13 ::: RichM ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:53 AM:

I think we Americans should make up our own word and force it on the other English-speakers. Something like whindge should serve well.

Not that anything like that has ever happened before.

#14 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 06:42 AM:

In my case, I blame my affectations on an early, impressionable exposure to Mary Poppins which fascinated me with the Disneyriffic version of Old Blighty. (To a 6yo, Burt's "Cockney" accent was spot-on.)

To this day, I find u's spontaneously creeping into my spelling and saying things like "And Bob's your uncle."

#15 ::: Elaine ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:19 AM:

I've managed to resist using whinging, but have a much harder time not using the Australian "chuffed." Is there an American cognate for chuffed?

#16 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Elaine: Stoked? Pumped?

#17 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Elaine: Stoked? Pumped?

#18 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Keith @ 6:

Took the words right out of my mouth! Or...errr...fingers, I guess.

I shall now go make tea.

#19 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:04 AM:

I guess it's part of the increasing globalization of language? (I like the HP Fanfic theory too though.)

Marketplace did a story years ago about the increasing use of "At the end of the day..." in American speech. IIRC, their conclusion was that the musical, Les Miserables, was responsible for injecting the expression into American popular culture.

Hmm... why do I have this strange urge to eat some fermented bean curd?

#20 ::: Marcos ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:28 AM:

It could just be an attempt to be more universally understandable. IME, Brits are confused by the American use of "whine" to mean "whinge"; engines whine, people don't.

Or maybe it's just a case of wanting greater precision. I do personally tend to adopt terminology from various jargons and dialects if it makes a convenient distinction that avoids either ambiguity or long strings of modifiers in regular ol' 'Merkan English...

#21 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:30 AM:

Tangential but similar: when did Americans start using the word 'wanker'? (*) It irks me a bit, as I think Americans never get the tone right. (And as I'm Australian, you can count that as whingeing instead of whining. Ta.)

I blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer myself - I'm pretty sure Giles is responsible for using the word a bit, but I'm not a hardcore Buffy watcher, and perhaps my mind deceives me.

(*) after the publication of Jack Vance's _Servants of the Wankh_, that's for sure. I remember reading that book with great discretion when I was a kid, as my schoolmates would have been merciless if they saw the title.

#22 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:34 AM:

The question is, are they whinging about the colour of aluminium?

#23 ::: Peg Kerr ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:40 AM:

Oh, but it's so much fun to say.

#24 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:41 AM:

Adam Lipkin at #22 wrote:

> The question is, are they whinging about the colour of aluminium?

Whether it's grey or gray?

#25 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:50 AM:

I thought that whinging was what Indiana Jones does, like in Raiders of The Lost Ark...

"I'm going after the Nazis."
"How, Indy?"
"I don't know. I make this as I go."

#26 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:51 AM:

(21) Steve Taylor
I too blame Giles. The character was one of the first well-rounded* Brits inserted into American fandom in an American show. Dr. Who doesn't count - it's the juxtaposition of Brit-ness with slangy American that lets these delicious words dribble in.

An equal case could be made for the Gaiman-Pratchett-Adams-Stross Pentavirate,** but that's another kettle of fish.

In currently playing popular culture, Curtis Stone on Take Home Chef candidate for a slow leakage of Oz-zy-isms.

*for various values of well-rounded in American TV. I mean, the actor actually had some range, and they did some neat stuff with the character.
**the legendary fifth member is still secret. Any guesses?

#27 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:03 AM:

kimiko at #26 wrote:

> **the legendary fifth member is still secret. Any guesses?

Can we have Alasdair Gray as the fifth horseman(*)? He deserves it.

(*) Though he is self described as "an elderly Scottish pedestrian". Horses may be out.

#28 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:05 AM:

Why on earth would you want to let some poor Iraqi or Turkish ethnic rot? Don't they have enough trouble?

What? Spelled How? Oh ... never mind.

#29 ::: Elayne Riggs ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Although I'm married to an Englishman, I first encountered "whinge" on blogs. I think it's one of those words that bloggers feel is more fun to type than "whine," it seems to give things an extra kick, particularly when liberal political bloggers are complaining about right-wing bloggers (the full-time whinging hobby of some).

#30 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:10 AM:

kimiko @ 26

An equal case could be made for the Gaiman-Pratchett-Adams-Stross Pentavirate,** but that's another kettle of fish.

If we're talking about fish, then the fifth one must be Wanda.

#31 ::: Eric Scharf ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:13 AM:

Clearly, the American elision of the 'e' in the gerund ("whinging" instead of "whingeing") makes it a new American word.

What I'm curious about is the pronunciation. In fact, I can't recall ever hearing it pronounced, and I know a couple Americans who spent years in Australia (unless the 'g' is silent and thus homophonic with "whining"). This would argue for the predominance of the written transmission.

#32 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:15 AM:

Elayne Riggs at #29 writes:

> Although I'm married to an Englishman, I first encountered "whinge" on blogs. I think it's one of those words that bloggers feel is more fun to type than "whine," it seems to give things an extra kick, particularly when liberal political bloggers are complaining about right-wing bloggers (the full-time whinging hobby of some).

Now the odd thing about that is that I find "whine" stronger than "whinge". If you say I'm whingeing about something I can tolerate it, but if you accuse me of whining, that's fighting words.

'Whine' has connotations of weak character, while 'whinge' has connotations of being a natural human failing - something we all do, that has to be put up with. I'm not sure if that interpretation is just a personal quirk, or would be common to all Australians.

Ok. I just asked my wife and she agrees with me. Bless her.

#33 ::: Matthew ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:24 AM:

At one early point in my life, I listened to the BBC radio version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy on almost a daily basis, and on weekdays watched a Monty Python episode on public television. Being a geeky kid, I quoted from both at length. My mother, who didn't really pay attention to either show, could tell which I was quoting because I did the accents differently.

I've since expanded to other British comedy shows (any other I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue fans?). While I don't use too many British words or spellings, I have this incredible urge to say anything funny, even things like knock-knock jokes, in a British accent. (And the really sad part is my British accent sounds unlike anything you'd actually hear anywhere in the British isles...)

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:29 AM:

Well...it's silly to talk about us 'Merkins deliberately imposing our slang on other English-speaking countries. We've done it quite extensively already, without quite meaning to.

American Heritage calls whinge "chiefly British," and traces it to a dialectal alteration of a Middle English term, traced from an Old English term. That would appear to debunk the Australian origin theory, though Oz may have preserved and repopularized it. That sort of thing happens all the time (for example, the American English spoken in Appalachia is similar in many respects to Elizabethan English).

So Oz never did give nothing to the Brit man that he didn't, didn't already have. (Not literally true, of course; I just couldn't resist.)

At any rate, whinge and whine come from (different) quite respectable OE sources.

Whine literally refers to that high-pitched sound that very unhappy dogs make. You've all heard it, I'm sure. When you say someone is whining, you're saying that their tone overwhelms their words, and that you are no longer listening. "Communicate like a dog, and I will pay no attention to what you say; the fact that you're unhappy has been noted."

My nephews quickly learned (I told them explicitly, but they learned to believe me) that whining would get them nowhere with me. In fact, I made it clear that there were times when whining would lose them something they could get by asking nicely! There were times when just saying "you're whining" was enough to get them to stop, change their tone, and ask politely. I was inordinately proud of them (and myself!) when this happened!

Elaine 15: Do you mean true cognates (terms derived from similar sources), or just terms used for similar meaning? If the latter, TexAnne's suggestions are excellent. If the former, the answer is no, as far as I can tell. Chuffed hasn't made it to the American Heritage dictionary. The nearest thing is chuff, which is defined as "a rude, insensitive person; a boor."

Determining whether this is, strictly speaking, cognate to the Ozian term is left as an exercise for the reader.

#35 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Matthew at #33 writes:

> I have this incredible urge to say anything funny, even things like knock-knock jokes, in a British accent.

I did French in high school, and while I don't retain much vocabulary, somewhere deep in my mind I've learnt that French is what people speak when they're not speaking English.

When I have to communicate with anyone who's not an English speaker I have to supress the urge to speak to them in French.

#36 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:35 AM:

Eric 31: Nah, that's a standard difference in US and UK spelling. Aging, cleansing, fading.

#37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 35... I've learnt that French is what people speak when they're not speaking English.

A genoux devant Zod!

#38 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:48 AM:

Steve Taylor @#21: I picked up "wanker" from "Whose Line is it Anyway?" (improv comedy show) - they threw the word around quite a bit in their musical numbers. The version I watched, anyway--it had some American comedians but a British host. I think there was a later version that I skipped.

Wank is a useful word because it's not obviously vulgar, to American ears anyway, whereas calling someone a jerk-off is a bit more direct.

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Steve 35: Californians often do the same with Spanish. I remember during the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, certain reporters saying sah-rah-HAY-voh. This was, however, better than the BBC reporters, who seem ignorant of any language other than English (maybe French); they all called it Sarah J. Vough.

#40 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:59 AM:

i think it's because people like to be pretentious.

#41 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Mary 38: I've been using the word 'jackhole' lately. I like it because it can be used freely in mixed company (i.e. company that includes people who aren't from the land of "fck this fck that fck you fck me" like I am), and because everyone knows exactly what other words it refers to.

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Xopher @61
It's a good word, but it always puts me in mind of a jackalope. Which is maybe a little more cute than you had in mind.

#43 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:20 AM:

41, not 61

(Not the product of a time machine; with a time machine I could be into July and living somewhere that isn't so grey, so cloudy, that it's triggered my SAD in midsummer. So not a time machine, just useless me.)

#44 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:38 AM:

abi: I like you, and am mildly glum.

#45 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Xopher 39:

Californians often do the same with Spanish. I remember during the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, certain reporters saying sah-rah-HAY-voh.

I've heard British reporters say Kim Jong-il as "Kim Yong-il". They evidently think that J is pronounced as Y in all languages except English. (And never mind that Korean isn't written in the Latin alphabet anyway.)

#46 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:40 AM:

LOLz, Xopher

#47 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:44 AM:

"Whinge" sets my teeth on edge.

"Wanker" makes me laugh.

I cannot explain these things. (Ok, I can. I'm unreasonably annoyed by the way "whinge" replaced "whine" among fanfic authors, at least the ones I hang out with, wholesale and with no apparent difference in connotation. It's like they think it makes them sound cooler. And any use of "wanker" makes me think of the fantastic scene in Preacher where Cassidy mocks Les Enfants du Sang, so it makes me giggle on that basis alone.)

(Incidentally, that's the connotation of 'wanker' in my head at least -- someone who takes themselves far too seriously.)

Steve Taylor, I always think the same thing about French being what people speak when they're not speaking English. When I took Japanese in college, I had to make a strenuous effort not to switch to French in the middle of sentences.

#48 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:46 AM:

Connie H #14: Do you also say 'and Fanny's your aunt'?

#49 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:47 AM:

What's the Australian meaning of "chuffed"?

The meaning I grew up with in the UK is "rather pleased" or "very pleased." Being Mancunian, "extremely pleased" could have been "dead chuffed about that."

#50 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:48 AM:

(Incidentally, my comment is not meant to imply that fanfic authors are not cool! I just meant that it seems affected.)

#51 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Yesterday I paid my semi-annual visit to the ophthalmologist. As I was waiting for the office to open, I noticed an advertisement for glasses that came in 'vibrant colours' (spelling as in original). This is in Atlanta. (On the other hand, I've had a student who seriously asked me what 'centre' meant.)

#52 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:53 AM:

Serge #37: LOL!

#53 ::: another person with too many books ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:54 AM:

re: British vs. Oz
I picked the (very occasional) usage up from my ex, a kiwi-Brit (dual citizenship, dual residency). Not only did my vocabulary acquire all sorts of oddities, but the hybrid speaking voice ruined my ability to divine accents correctly.

Other candidates for blame:
-- LiveJournal (I mean, really, British fans pressured me to Join the Cult).
-- British friends who insist on visiting the States periodically. Our language would remain so much more PURE if they'd simply stay at home.
-- @21: Giles works, too.
-- (d) All of the above?

#54 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Elaine @ 15: Nah then, lass, what's tha mean, the Australian "chuffed"? That's good Yorkshire, I'll have thee know, and I'll be reet dischuffed if tha claims othergates, choose how.

#55 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:56 AM:

sdn #40: So if I call your comment whinging, I'm being pretentious?

#56 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Fragano @ 51

I noted on a business trip to Toronto a store called "Color Your World." It took me a while to figure out why it looked wrong.

#57 ::: another person w/too many books ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 10:59 AM:

kimiko @26: pentavirate's fifth member

A draft choice to be named later? A guest spot?

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Fragano @ 52... Tu es la bienvenue.

#59 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Serge #58: For a second there I thought I'd become a new superhero called The Welcome...

#60 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:22 AM:

What I enjoy is the British gift for utterly withering put-downs. Now that I have the latest Word magazine (thanks, Serge!), I can revel in things like their description of the old TV show Crockett and Tubbs -- "Vacuum-brained fashion-plate no-marks, faffing about on the Florida Keys in eye-hurting pastels" -- even if I don't know quite all the vocabulary. ["Faffing about" = "farting around"?]

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:23 AM:

abi @ 43... I think it's time for me to pick up my flat hat and my cane and start tap-dancing until I see at least a glimmer of a smile on your lips. And be warned that I've never tap-danced and so the results would be atrocious. The sooner you smile, the sooner my torture of Fred Astaire's art will end.

#62 ::: David Dvorkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:25 AM:

"Whine" is American? That's news to this immigrant.

#63 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:31 AM:

A few of my friends (and yes, they're HP fen) use it-- seemingly as sort of a cross between "whine" and "cringe," as in "Liz is whinging about having Skeevy Dan as a supervisor this summer."

I've also heard it as "to be obnoxiously indecisive" out in Indiana, as in "my roommate has been whinging about her major all semester."

But in neither case was it a perfect synonym for 'whine.' I avoid it because I can never remember how to spell it.

#64 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:34 AM:

I picked up "whinge" due to the fact that my primary online "home" for several years was a predominantly-British newsgroup.

My tendency towards -our and -ise spellings, on the other hand, goes back much much further.* I blame that on reading too much original-spelling BritLit when I was a kid. The American versions of many such words just aren't quite natural to me; I still have to make a conscious effort to eliminate the British spellings from my writing at work. It takes too much energy for me to bother doing so in casual settings.

Aluminum, however, only has one I, no matter what anyone says.


* Oddly, the only word for which I prefer -re over -er is "theatre". I do use "theater", but only in the context of movie theaters. The strange thing, to me, is that I'm not actually the only person to make that distinction.

#65 ::: C.E. Petit ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:36 AM:

55: You say "pretentious" like it's a bad thing.

My excuse is simple: I lived and studied in the UK for much too long, and anything to separate myself from HRH Ronald I's idea of "culture" sounded like fun to me (and was a necessary component of my work). And chemists use "grey" and "aluminium" anyway... even aside from my cousins the Greys (yes, those Greys, or at least an American branch thereof). Hmm. Now that was a little bit pretentious.

#66 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:36 AM:

I think probably it's been bleeding over from ficdom and websites. I know I also use wanker, git, bloody, wot, and zed. (I also usually spell in a horrible bastardised mixture of Canadian-English and US-English because I lived in Canada and read too many English fantasies when I was a kid. Also, I think grey with an e just looks better. My cousin says this is pretentious.)

Honestly, we're just continuing the great lingual tradition of stealing words from anywhere we like and incorporating them into the local language.

#67 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Google "mold" (American English) and you get many more hits for the fungi and businesses advertising mold removal services. Google "mould" (British) and the results are somewhat more eclectic, yielding a number of people with the surname Mould.

#68 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:56 AM:

I read whine and whinge differently, pretty much the way that several people upthread mentioned. Whine is related to tone of voice (thanks for triangulating on this, Xopher) and whinge simply being a (somewhat affected to American ears) synonym for gripe or kvetch.

One reason to preserve whine is the rise of Long Island wines, which is clearly preferred to the Long Island whine of, "Daddy, you said we could go to the maaaaaalllllll!"

#69 ::: docwhat ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:58 AM:

I learned it from an aussie friend. He described the difference as "Children whine. Adults whinge."

Ciao!

#70 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:01 PM:

Steve Taylor @ 35:somewhere deep in my mind I've learnt that French is what people speak when they're not speaking English.

My related discovery is that I seem to file everything under "English" and "not-English", so when I'm trying to speak German with someone and can't find a word, sometimes a French word leaps out and forcibly inserts itself into the sentence - with appropriate German word endings.

#71 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Larry @70
The "English/Non-English" distinction goes to written language as well.

When we were in high school, my best friend and I invented a couple of alphabets. We abandoned them after a year or two.

In university, I started studying Greek, and found that my nearly forgotten invented characters were getting into my Greek alphabet. I had to revive the alphabet and start actively using it in parallel to the Greek before the interference stopped.

(I still use it for references to passwords and other very private information.)

#72 ::: Suzanne M ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:14 PM:

I picked it up in much the same way I picked up most of the British words, phrases, and spellings in my vocabulary. That is, through watching British TV and reading things (books, blogs, forum postings, etc.) written by Brits. Every now and then I'll make an effort to stop using it for fear that it sounds too affected, but I invariably give up.

Like Jennifer @64, many British spellings are so firmly entrenched that I have to consciously Americanize my spelling at times. I'm not sure I've ever spelled 'grey' with an 'a'. I used to make the 'theatre'/'theater' distinction, too, but the -re ending seems to have taken over completely now.

#73 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Larry 68: "Her favorite w[h]ine: 'I wanna go to Miaaaaaami!'"

Do people in UK and Oz and NZ know from 'kvetch'? It's been my impression that borrowings from Yiddish (or "Yiddicisms" as I sometimes call them) aren't really understood even in the American Midwest.

This comes as a shock to some New Yorkers. I remember a Lanford Wilson play (Serenading Louie, 1970) set among Irish Catholics in Chicago. "You should see the nosh in the kitchen," says one of the women. Well, no, Lanford, she wouldn't (perhaps today, but not 35 years ago). And he's from Missouri and ought to have known better.

#74 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:16 PM:

I think a possible candidate for the first popular use of the word wanker in US culture predates Buffy and the intaweb. When Phil Collins guest-starred on an episode of Miami Vice, back in the eighties, his character delivered the line, "He is, what we would call, a 'wanker'." I recall being astounded that he could get away with that; didn't they (the director, the studio, the audience) know what it meant? A moment's reflection and I concluded that they probably didn't.

Apropos Buffy, I don't recall Giles using it; it's not exactly in keeping with his academic air.

#75 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Xopher, #73, Nosh is yiddish? Established British english word for food, I thought; no surprise, really, that Irish emigrants would be using it.

#76 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:22 PM:

NelC 74: No, but the Ripper would. And I think it was in one of those eps, but my memory is spotty* at best.

*No, my memory does not have acne.

#77 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:27 PM:

NelC #75: 'Nosh' was introduced into the language of London by 19th-century Jewish immigrants into the East End.

#78 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Two different words, as has been said. My mother used it at us when we were kids ("Stop all that whinging and whining!") and I'm pretty sure she got it from her mother et al. as part of her received normal vocabulary. Mom was born and raised in a Pennsylvania coal patch* in the 1920s—1940s.

There were some relict words from Irish vocabs still lying around when I was a kid: my paternal grandmother used "dear" to mean "expensive" and the one insult that could get a rise out of me when I was young was "amadhaun." I couldn't have defined it precisely but it was perfectly obvious to me what it meant.

*a phrase with a local meaning: a very small town usually owned (or formerly owned) by a mining company

#79 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:33 PM:

Xopher @ 73 - Here in the Northwest, I find that the Yiddicisms work, but people have problems with the occasional Italian cross-over. If you tell someone that they're giving you agita they have no idea what you're talking about.

#80 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:36 PM:

Steve Taylor @ 35 When I have to communicate with anyone who's not an English speaker I have to supress the urge to speak to them in French.

When I moved to Germany, the Danish I took years ago in college started trying to bubble up, along with bits of high school Spanish.

Someone told me that when you learn a foreign language as an adult it goes into a folder in your head labelled foreign language. When you end up someplace where English isn't the default language, your brain tries to pull words from that folder.

#81 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Bill Bryson, in his book "The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way" talks about how the english (and, I suppose, American) wholesale adoption of terminology allows for the acculumation of connotations (i.e. some other languages cannot distinguish between a house and a home, etc.). As has been amply shown in this thread, whinge and whine are taking on similar but distinct definitions...allowing for finer gradations of meaning.

...so what was the fuss about again? :P

#82 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Xopher @#76:

*No, my memory does not have acne.

So we need not fear encouraging you to express yourself?

#83 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:50 PM:

NelC 75: Yep. Yiddish nash from the verb nashn from Middle High German naschen, to nibble. So if it's a standard UK term, Yiddish has found its way there too, answering my previous question.

Btw, another example of American usage: national origin terms are commonly used to describe ethnicities here. So when I say "Irish" I mean Irish-Americans, not immigrants. We'd say "Irish from Ireland" or "Irish immigrants" if we wanted to talk about the actual national origin Irish.

Also, Irish Catholic is a different religion than Italian Catholic (in actual practice), even though they're both ostensibly Roman Catholic! But that's another thread.

#84 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:51 PM:

I got it from interacting with non-USians in the IETF.

#85 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Xopher, 73: For me, New York leads not so much to Yiddish words as Yiddish-esque syntax, e.g. a sentence I produced on my third morning there. The desk clerk claimed he hadn't enough in his drawer to cash my traveler's check, and I said, "Fifty dollars you don't have?!"

#86 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Ron 78: You'd be surprised how many Irish words have found their way into English. If you have a slew of something, for example (Ir. slua, host), or someone makes a snide crack (craic fun, enjoyment). If one of our UK friends says "Smashing!" they're using an Irish borrowing (from Ir. is maisin, that's wonderful).

Nahuatl is also a source for a lot of words, but it's less surprising, because they're terms for things that were unknown in Europe, like chocolate, ocelots, avocados and guacamole (no, I'm not omitting the serial comma; those two are derived from the SAME Nahuatl word), etc.

Chris 82: You would not be impressed at how I express myself. I will suppress the urge to express how my repressed memories oppress me, and compress my lips in silence.

#87 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Huh, it's happening there too then? I thought I was just hearing it more because I'd moved to Canada.

Are they pronouncing the letter Z as "zed" down there too now?

Other things to look for include Mazda commercials that pronounce the A as in "cat" instead of as in "father," and strange changes in Nabisco brand snack foods. Up here they're made by someone or something called "Mr. Christie," though with the same logo. And they taste different. Oreos have less filling, for one example.

My wife actually imports U.S. Wheat Thins when she can because the Canadian ones are so different I can actually sort them visually, and they aren't nearly as good.

Well, honestly, I think the states could only be improved by more Canadian, British, Australian or whatever elements creeping in. Except for the Wheat Thins. Please keep those the way they are.

#88 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Liana 80: I recently studied Spanish via CD, and the way this particular system worked was that they had a speaker say something in English which you were supposed to repeat in Spanish. One time the speaker said "I have three pesos" and I got all the way to the end and realized I had no idea what the word for 'peso' was.

No, it's even funnier than that. After doing nothing but Spanish for half an hour, I suddenly came out with "U menya yest tri..." and was groping for the Russian word for 'peso' (which is most likely 'peso' too, but that's neither here nor there).

My blog post about that was titled Ya govoryu nur ein Bißchen de Español.

TexAnne 85: That's a standard New York syntax to emphasize the fifty dollars. He probably didn't notice.

#89 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Xopher 86: I get the impression all that depresses you. I renew my former-expressed offer: come on out and drink espresso with me under our cypress tree, and presto! Express decompression.

#90 ::: Rachel Heslin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:20 PM:

From #35
I did French in high school, and while I don't retain much vocabulary, somewhere deep in my mind I've learnt that French is what people speak when they're not speaking English.

When I have to communicate with anyone who's not an English speaker I have to suppress the urge to speak to them in French.

My problem is that, as much as I love languages, I'm a bit of a dilettante. Because of this, I tend to subconsciously categorize things as "English" and "not-English," which unfortunately has me occasionally spewing forth complete incoherencies made up of bits of French, Spanish, Serbian and Russian. Not real useful.

#91 ::: Mary R ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:22 PM:

I happen to know that a great deal of British slang arrived in my house with the broadcast of Robot Wars on PBS. "Well, that's gone totally pants" is a wonderfully useful phrase.

Non-indigenous slang words have meanings that are recognized by the hearer, but the pejorative associations aren't necessarily there. Being told not to whine takes you back to childhood, being told to stop whing(e?)ing keeps you in the present.

#92 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Xopher 88: Yes, I know. I'm just astonished that *I* said *that* after *two days*.

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:36 PM:

TexAnne 92: Shows you have a talent for dialects.

Hey, one thing I forgot to mention. My mother had this friend named Coreen Balaban ("Balaban?" said my friend Judy. "She's either a Sephard or she married a Spanish guy." "She married a Sephard," I replied), who taught her all about Judaism, and she picked up all kinds of Yiddish words.

As a child and not very good yet at figuring things out, I assumed that a word she pronounced "yezooshmaddia" was one of those. It was only when I started studying languages that I realized that it was spelled "Jesus Maria" and was emphatically NOT Yiddish! (It's Bohemian/Czech, in case you care.)

#94 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Misc stuff from random places:

-- I'm pretty sure I got "whinge" directly from Monty Python, since I can exclude/predate most of the other sources mentioned.

-- "Pentavirate" is another one of those Greek/Latin hybrids like "homosexual" and "automobile" in a recent discussion on another thread (though I would guess "pentavirate" was admirably invented on the spot); the all-Latin version would be something like "quinquevirate", but I have no idea what the missing half of the all-Grrek version would be.

-- In a much older thread several months ago, there was a discussion about "grey" vs. "gray" whose general consensus seemed to be that "gray" was a slightly browner, drabber colo(u)r than "grey", which was more ethereal and silvery (probably from imprinting by Tolkien). There wasn't a similar sense of agreement about "purple" vs. "violet", however.

-- Harry Potter doth bestride the modern world like a colossus. It's fascinating to compare the US/UK versions and observe how less and less stuff gets changed as the series progresses, so that increasing amounts of Brit lingo are getting absorbed into US usage. This leads to some odd things such as US urchins dismissively using the adjective "ickle" without knowing that JKR based that spelling on the Cockney glo'al sto'; they pronounce it with a hard K clearly enunciated in the middle, as if contracting the first two words in the sentence "Ick will harm your fish if left untreated".

-- I've been attempting to teach myself Japanese as a lackadaisical hobby. Recently (and possibly because of a recent trip to Quebec), the sight of a vaguely familiar kanji will cause the French equivalent to pop into my head. Unfortunately, since I haven't taken French for a very long time, I'm not always sure what that French word meant in English.

#95 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Larry @ 79, about Yiddicisms in the PNW: all I know is that when I was a junior in high school, Pat's Bookery couldn't keep The Joy of Yiddish in stock.

Although I also have it on good word that The Goldbergs was highly popular on Yelm Prairie in the '30s.

#96 ::: sharon ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:44 PM:

This thread is, of course, the dog's bollocks.

#97 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Julie @ 94

"Ickle", including spelling, predates Rowling by some way -- it's babytalk for "little". "Ick'll" sounds like a reasonable pronunciation to me, unless you mean they're hitting the K really hard.

I'm vaguely learning Japanese as well, and have a tendency to switch into it whenever I try to recall my school French. C'est warui, n'est ja nai?

#98 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:58 PM:

I blame dyslexic fingers. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

#99 ::: Shannon ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:01 PM:

In terms of the usage of the word "wanker," I've heard it used several times in one drunken rant by a British person to mean "obnoxious, posh/pretentious idiot." My friend was referring to an obviously rich undegrad who said some rather demeaning words to us (graduate students).

#100 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Xopher #36: Who spells "fading" with an "e" in the middle? What an odd thing to do.

#101 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Faren Miller @60 : "Faffing about" is not the same as "farting about." Faffing about is when you're intending to get something done but not getting very far because you're distracted/don't really want to do it / can think of lots of things better to do than writing up your PhD thesis... The New Oxford Distionary of English defines the verb "faff" as bustle ineffectually

Jennifer Barber @ 64 It took me AGES to work out that the reason Americans pronounced "aluminium" as "aluminum" was because they also spelled it without the second "i".

Then I was visiting a friend and she asked me to hand her the "oregano": pronounced in the American manner with the emphasis on "reg". I couldn't work out what she wanted until she pointed to the jar. Oh, she wanted the "oregano" -over here it's pronounced with the emphasis on the "ga" and a long "a" - almost oregarno (sorry, I'm no linguist and cannot write this with the proper symbols.)

As a Brit who grew up reading a lot of American-written SF, and hearing American English in TV shows, I get most American slang, but I have to remember that many Americans don't know nearly as much British slang. I remember the British: American lexicon produced for Glasgow Worldcon in 1995 - very funny, particularly when you worked out some of the most potentially embarrassing mistakes.

To quote: "And it's not just pronunciation that makes English so difficult when: A bum in the USA is a tramp, a bum in Britain is something unmentionable, a fanny in the USA is a behind, while a fanny in Britain is even more unmentionable. inspired by Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue - The English Language". Sent to us by Ronald Baron, , August 1999"

Somthing else people on Making Light may enjoy is the poem "English Pronunciation" or "English is Tough Stuff". It's available on a number of web sites, and easiest to find by Googling for "Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters near Paris"

(e.g.: http://pauillac.inria.fr/~xleroy/stuff/english-pronunciation.html
http://lists.village.virginia.edu/lists_archive/Humanist/v03/0134.html)

WARNING. Don't try to eat or drink while reading this!

#102 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:21 PM:

More bleedover: it's very odd to hear our Hawai'i newscasters use the phrase "went/gone missing," but it's becoming more frequent. It describes the phenomenon perfectly, but the phrase hasn't gotten to the point of me accepting it without notice.

#103 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Xopher @ 73: It's been my impression that borrowings from Yiddish (or "Yiddicisms" as I sometimes call them) aren't really understood even in the American Midwest.

I've lived in central IL my whole life and use these expressions all the time, having picked them up from TV and friends. I've never noticed that people had any trouble understanding them.

#104 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Given the influence American English has had in the UK over the last few decades, it's only fair that something travels the other way.
As a *real* Mid-Atlantic-an, it's quite interesting to see which side of the pond has the more interest in the locals' English usage (American wins). For my self, English English is much more influential, but last weekend in a conversation I realised I probably don't consciously register whether a book I'm reading has English or American spelling unless I really read slow.
Also, my home on the net for years and years was a predominantly British newsgroup (waves at Jennifer #64), so that helps.
For all that, I'm still living down the 'So you've been to America a lot' my host family said when I first came to England at age 15. TV has a lot to answer for.
dcb#101: Thanks for that poem, going to circulate that at work

#105 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:23 PM:

#97 ::: James Moar wrote:
I'm vaguely learning Japanese as well, and have a tendency to switch into it whenever I try to recall my school French. C'est warui, n'est ja nai?

*ROTFL* C'est completement taihen, nee!

I've never forgotten the long pause that came after my complaining to a british friend (on the phone, while packing my suitcase for a trip) that I couldn't find my pants and suspenders.

#106 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Let's see... I see "whinge" all the time, but don't use it -- it feels pretentious.

"Wanker" I saw for the first time when I started reading political blogs, especially Atrios.

I do use "It's all gone pear-shaped" which I lay completely at the feet of Terry Pratchett.

My kids, in spite of my best efforts, occasionally use "smeg" and derivations thereof, derived from watching Red Dwarf.

Also, when did people start saying "no worries"? I hear it all the time. Is it Australian in origin? I went to Australia in 1991. Being a Californian, I found myself saying "Have a nice day" to people, only to be met with confused looks.

Xopher @35, a fried of mine used to get into arguments about the proper pronunciation of a certain street name in Atlanta (he was a New Yorker). My friend: "All the locals mispronounce it! It's supposed to be 'Pons day Lee-own'!" Other person: "No, 'Pons day Lee-own' is a Spanish explorer. 'Pons duh Lee-on' is a street that runs from Midtown to Buckhead."

Oh, and Sharon @96? "This thread is the dog's bollocks"? As opposed to it being the dog's breakfast?

#107 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:04 PM:

This whole discussion reminds me of a quote I came across a few weeks back:

"The English language doesn't borrow words: it follows you down a dark alley and hits you over the head then riffles thru your pockets for loose grammar" - LadyTevar

#108 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:13 PM:

I find different languages layer themselves in my head, rather than dividing themselves into English/Not-English. The reason I know this is because, invariably, if I'm groping for a word in German and can't find it then the relevant one in French will present itself to me, while French will default to Welsh, and Welsh to English - never in the other direction.

#109 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:14 PM:

pat greene at #106, we have a highway out here named Likelike. You can imagine how much fun that is for visitors. (It's roughly lee-keh lee-keh.)

#110 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:21 PM:

My favorite Britishism of the last few years is "gone all pear shaped." Hee!

For whine and whinge, I say "Word" to #5 Farah on meaning and #32 Steve Taylor on implication. Someone you're friendly with says you're whinging, eh. Someone you're friendly with says you're whining, no longer are you really friendly, eh?

#65 C.E. Petit: "Those" Greys... Jean Grey? (Mouseover link) Hm. I bet Jean Grey and Jane Grey are related, because that would be hilarious.

#73 Xopher: In an intro to linguistics class I took in college we got to see a hilarious video of how people see what they expect to see... "Could you pronounce the word written on this card for us?" Brusque New Yorker: "Schlep!" quick What, you were maybe expecting something? glare at camera. Confused Texan in cowboy hat: "Shhh...elp?"

#101 dcb: A video in chemistry class in high school included a British guy going on about al-yu-min-i-um. I watched for like five minutes, kind of wondering what material he was talking about, maybe some alloy? before I realized that was his way of saying aluminum.

#111 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Pat Greene @106
I do use "It's all gone pear-shaped" which I lay completely at the feet of Terry Pratchett.

I ran a role-playing game at a convention that happened to include a lot of Dutch attendees. Although their English was excellent, they didn't have the British idioms down.

The players made a plan, written on a flip-chart, for their particular caper (it was a battle in a worker's revolution in Zelazny's Amber...complicated). By stage two of six, it had all gone horribly wrong. One of the British players walked up to the flip chart and drew a very large pear on it.

That was an explanation that strained the rules of staying in character.

#112 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:41 PM:

@#107: Who is LadyTevar, and why is she stealing lines from James D. Nicoll?

#113 ::: Painini ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:48 PM:

dcb #101: You may be more faithful to oregano, but I was quite confused when I stayed with my mother's friend in Reading and she asked if I liked toffee with dinner. I thought that was more a dessert food?

Tofu, of course, I like quite well.

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Madeline F @ 110... I bet Jean Grey and Jane Grey are related

Guess which actor was in 1986's Lady Jane and in the X-men movies...

#115 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:54 PM:

I think I need to propose a new law.

"In any discussion of language difference and language change, the probability that someone will bring up a famous quotation from James D. Nicoll, H. Beam Piper, and/or William Caxton approaches 1."

(Have I left anyone out?)

#116 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:00 PM:

@#47,@#99 : I suspect that the reason that "wanker" has additional connotations of "self-important", "overly serious", and "pretentious" is because the rhyming slang for "wanker" is "merchant banker"...

#117 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:01 PM:

Painini @ 113

Um. We pronounce it "tofu" with a "u": to-fuw. I've never heard it pronounced "toffee". Curious.

My mother-in-law remembers the time an American was wandering round London asking how to get to "Chay-ap-si-day". Nobody knew. Eventually my mother-in-law figured it out and gave directions to "Cheapside" (cheep-side).

Then there was the Australian trying to reach "Low-ga-bo-row-ga" in the UK. More normally, Loughborough is pronounced "Luffbru" (or close to that).

#118 ::: Painini ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:09 PM:

Sam Kelly, #108 - I've always thought of them as different language tracks, too, and there are definite patterns of default. My (very poor) Japanese is prone to Mandarin substitutions; Spanish will end up with a 'demo' where 'pero' belongs. If I don't know a word in Mandarin, though, all bets are off. Which may be why I keep hesitating to dabble in Russian.

#119 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:11 PM:

@#34: "(for example, the American English spoken in Appalachia is similar in many respects to Elizabethan English)."

I've seen this asserted elsewhere, and it always sets off my UL-meter. On doing some research, I found the following paper, in which the claim is given closer examination:

"In the Mountains They Speak like Shakespeare"

Quoting a bit from it:

The more one reads and thinks about it, the less exact meaning "Elizabethan" and "Shakespearean" have. In the popular mind they appear to mean nothing more than "old-fashioned."

[...]
Finally, the Shakespearean English idea ignores many things that linguists know to be true. All varieties of language change, even isolated ones, and contrary to popular impression mountain culture has been far from isolated over the past two centuries.9 In vocabulary, mountain speech actually has far more innovations (terms not known in the old country) than holdovers from the British Isles. The Shakespeare myth reflects only simplistic popular views about the static nature of traditional folk cultures, especially those in out-of-the-way places.

#include <nicoll_quote>
#include <piper_quote>
#include <caxton_quote>

#120 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:13 PM:

Linkmeister @109, I can just imagine. Fewer people would have a sense of Hawaiian pronunciations than of even, say Spanish or French ones. (And even Spanish is not necessarilly all that familiar: it took many years before I stopped looking for "La Hoya" on a map of Southern California.)

abi @ 111 How did the Dutch react? It seems to me such a wonderful phrase that seems just right on its face, but I wonder how much of that is cultural and language based.

As an aside, the Wikipedia article about the phrase contains this gem: "It was used in the movie Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, by the character Joshamee Gibb when explaining the fate of the Isla De Muerta. This may be a modern term however." [emphasis mine]

Because, of course, POC was such otherwise such an exmplar of historical correctness. And considering that the OED places the phrase's origins in RAF slang, then yes, I'd say it was modern.

#121 ::: Painini ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:17 PM:

dcb: My anecdote loses at universality? Mea culpa, mea hen culpa.

What she said was more like 'toffu', but my brain substituted an e and justified it as 'that softer Southern accent'. The short o just threw me off entirely.

#122 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:18 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @ 107

Regarding English stealing from other languages, I'm reminded of the wonderful story about the high-up American (General, Diplomat or Politician, I can't remember which) who apparently said: "You can't trust the Russians; they don't have a word for 'detente'."

#123 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:23 PM:

Painini @ #121

Mea culpa also. I'd forgotten the American pronunciation has the long "o" - "tow-fuw" rather than "to-fuw".

#124 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:26 PM:

pat greene @120:


It would have taken less explanation if one of the players had not got into the spirit of the Revolution by bringing vodka.

#125 ::: Paul Woodford ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:29 PM:

I hear it a lot from members of the Hash House Harriers, a running club with British and Australian roots.

#126 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Larry Brennan @ 79

IIRC there's been a Jewish community in Portland since the 1880s. There are several Jewish families among the Hundred Families (or what passes for them here). So it's not surprising that some Yiddicisms have crept into the language here. On the other hand, no matter what anyone says, you can't get a first class bagel or even a second class piece of whitefish here. And there are still people who try to pass off smoked Alaskan salmon as nova*.

* Bless 'em, Alaskan salmon is one of the great delicacies of the world, but the fish isn't the same species as the Nova Scotia fish, and the smoking process isn't the same.

#127 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:55 PM:

James Moar @97: "Ickle", including spelling, predates Rowling by some way -- it's babytalk for "little". "Ick'll" sounds like a reasonable pronunciation to me, unless you mean they're hitting the K really hard.

Hmmm. Without knowing exactly what the authentic babytalk sounds like, it's difficult for me to gauge how much harder the K is being hit, but iirc when I've heard American kids say "ickle", the word gets very clearly enunciated (with a definite K sound in the middle) and no longer sounds anything like "little" (which may've already been the case in common Brit usage).

On one clip on the DVDs of the new BSG, Jamie Bamber discussed his American accent and noted the near-impossibility of applying it to certain words, such as "bugger" and "wanker".

#128 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:57 PM:

re: Terry Pratchett - is it the terminology pear shaped? What about pancake shaped? Somehow pancake-shaped has entered our lexicon here with me and my boyfriend, and we don't know why or how the etymology on it works. We do read Terry Pratchett, so it's possible we just misheard pear-shaped.

#129 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 06:07 PM:

21, 26, 53: Wanker. I'd associate that with Spike more than Giles.

abi @43: Time machine. I was wishing a Tardis on you; it would have been handy for the Amsterdam accommodations. I'd loan you mine, but I don't got one. Too bad; it is a perfect answer for all sorts of problems (transportation and storage problems in particular; it wouldn't even have to travel in time to make me happy). Such suggestions aren't really helpful though...

Totally off topic: Xopher, there is a series of comics featuring the Indian gods. Issue 1 featured Ganesha.

#130 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 06:26 PM:

@#128: Terry Pratchett uses both of the phrases "pear-shaped" and "pancake-shaped" to mean "badly wrong" ("went all pear-shaped"; "go pancake-shaped")

#131 ::: r@d@r ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 06:35 PM:

you're all wrong: it's hugh grant's fault.

as for the blogosphere, it's atrios' fault.

i am sensitive to a lot of american regional coloquialisms. as a child of the northwest in the 70's i recall the shock of the new at hearing an older, more cosmopolitan and sophisticated second cousin from the east use the terms "excellent" and "wicked". thanks to mike myers the former is now ubiquitous. do kids say "wicked" now?

#132 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:09 PM:

Perhaps the proper American equivalent of "to whinge" isn't "to whine," but "to bitch?" But bitch is a (mild) swear word, so whinge is more acceptible.

Say, when I was a kid, "swear" was a verb or an adjective used to modify "word." When did it become a standalone noun? Or is that a regional thing, rather than an age thing?

#133 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:21 PM:

"Swear" has always been a verb. As in "to swear an oath," or make a solemn promise, or to invite god to cause problems for you if you don't follow through with your promise.

Sort of the opposite of "to curse" which would be to ask god to cause trouble for whomever you are cursing.

#134 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:22 PM:

Mary Dell #132: 'Swear' has been used as a noun (as a synonym for 'oath') for centuries:

Who all in France have taken a sware
That they will have no Prothestant heir.

(Thomas Wharton, Lilliburlero, 1688.)

#135 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:32 PM:

Oops #134 should be addressed to Ursula's number 133. I am going to shoot myself at once.

#136 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:33 PM:

I first heard "wanker" in a pub deep in Wales. I was already having some culture shock because I was expecting they'd be singing "Men of Harlech" in the pub, and instead I found they served chips with spaghetti and the jukebox was filled with Tammy Wynette songs. After some sappy American country songs, someone decided something perkier should be dredged up from the jukebox, and a song called "I'm a wanker" began to moisten the air. It was quite literal -- one line referred to "Mrs. Hand and her five lovely daughters."

I know "ickle" from the baby talk of the teenage Miss Pratt in Booth Tarkington's 1917 novel Seventeen:

Giving forth another gentle scream, Miss Pratt hopped prettily backward from Jane's extended
hands. ``Oo-oo!'' she cried, chidingly. ``Mustn't
touch! P'eshus Flopit all soap-water-wash clean.
Ickle dirly all muddy-nassy! Ickle dirly must
doe home, det all soap-water-wash clean like NICE
ickle sissa. Evabody will love 'oor ickle sissa den,'' she concluded, turning to William. ``Tell 'oor ickle sissa MUS' doe home det soap-water-wash!''

What does bother me is Americans turning "knickers in a twist" into "panties in a wad." Somehow it sounds far more vulgar, and not in a good way.

#137 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Swearing...I habitually say σχυβαλα! when things go wrong.

I was glad I'd switched to classical Greek rather than using the English "shit", after I caught my three year old using it this afternoon. This way she'll only offend Classicists.

#138 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:42 PM:

Rob 129: Thanks, that's cool!

Mary 132: Nouns can modify other nouns in English, despite what you may have been told. Note that 'health department' does not denote the same thing as 'healthy department'.

#139 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Fragano @135
I'm shocked, just shocked, that you should ever make any form of error. Particularly with regard to comment numbers.

Excuse me. I am going over to the corner to faint now.

#140 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:46 PM:

abi 137: We should all use Chinese. We'll offend more people, it's true, but everyone will know we're Firefly fans.

#141 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:50 PM:

Xopher @140
All going well, I will have a Chinese relative in the next year or two. I think I'll stick to a language that I'm the best in the family at pronouncing.

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:58 PM:

abi 141: And, conveniently, one whose native speakers have all been dead for millennia. Not quite as good as Middle Egyptian, where the pronunciations can only be guessed at, but good enough.

#143 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:05 PM:

So if I call your comment whinging, I'm being pretentious?

if you're american, yeah.

#144 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Abi #139:

When I commit an error it's a beaut,
I'm driven mad when I can't be precise,
order's what separates human from brute;
when I commit an error it's a beaut.

Now some might say that this response is cute
but that with me cannot cut any ice;
when I commit an error it's a beaut,
I'm driven mad when I can't be precise.

#145 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:10 PM:

sdn #143: Oh, jolly good then.

#146 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:10 PM:

Gwen, #9: Hear, hear! I have a friend, very thoroughly American, who likes to talk about "when I was at university," and various other British-flavored idioms, and it comes off (at least to me) as completely-unwarranted affectation. You don't make that kind of a change in your speech patterns without very deliberate effort. (The university in question was in Alabama, so he doesn't even have the excuse that it was a British university!)

Full disclosure: I have to admit here that I have one little British affectation of my own -- a personal preference for "grey" over "gray". But I believe that both spellings are acceptable in American English, and they're pronounced the same way. :-)

Xopher, #34: 888888888888888888888888888888888
(throwing a handful of peanuts at the punster)

Mary Dell, #38: I find "bloody" to be useful for the same reason. It's something I can say out loud in public when I'm annoyed, without being accused of using language for which I should be jailed.

Xopher, #73: I would venture to guess that anyone who's had Jewish friends would get a lot of Yiddishisms.

Julie, #94: As one of the 3 people in the world who has not read any of the Harry Potter books...
1) Oh, so that's where that comes from!
2) *puzzled* How else would you pronounce it?

Tangential but related: Did anyone else cringe once or twice during the LOTR movies when Viggo Mortenson's American-English accent stood out painfully against the otherwise completely British-accent background? I'm thinking particularly of his version of the "band of brothers" speech before the Black Gate.

#147 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:15 PM:

In the 1980s, before "wanker" was widely known in the US (see NelC #74), the writers of the TV series Married With Children decided that Peggy Bundy's maiden name had been Wanker. Her relatives were frequently mentioned and sometimes showed up in person, and by the time the studio realised what the writers had done, it was too late to retcon it out of the series.

#148 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Owlmirror @ 112

Aha! That's where I remember the quote from!. Thanks, Owlmirror, now I don't feel quite so amnesiac. I remembered the quote, didn't remember where I saw it, or who to attribute it to, so I googled, and got exactly one hit: the one I copied into my post, including attribution. It didn't sound quite right, and I'm glad someone caught it.

My apologies to anyone who's due them for that mistake.

#149 ::: Martin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:02 PM:

For me 'whinge' is an insult - e.g. 'whinging pommy bastard'. As an Australian that makes it a term of endearment. 'whine' is a descriptive term that compares your noise to the annoying high pitched noise of some dogs or machinery so is much worse.

#150 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:14 PM:

Lee @146, wrt "ickle": Huh. I didn't realize that the native Brit pronunciation of "ickle" also sounded out both the K and L; I'd thought for some reason that the spelling represented (as previously mentioned) a glottal stop (or glo'l sto') between the two vowels, without any actual consonant sounds in the middle.

IIRC in LOTR, Aragorn was supposed to have a vaguely Irish accent to mark his cultural difference as a Dunadan of the North, but since in the movies he seemed to be the last one of them-- if Helm's Deep really needed an army of reinforcements, shouldn't the Rangers've been a more obvious choice than the Galadhrim?-- it wasn't easy to tell how much of it was the role and how much of it was actually him.

Viggo is supposedly fluent in several different languages-- iirc he spent long stretches of his childhood in Argentina and Denmark-- so I would've thought he'd be good enough at consciously shifting his pronunciations to not slip up while in character. Then again, I have no real idea.

#151 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Way back when I was young and attending Mr. Jefferson's university, I had a roomate who had just returned from a couple of years' worth of University in Edinburgh. We both were on "family meal plans" (our parents sent us a small check every month) and one month the bank misplaced both our checks and refused to assist us in any way while they investigated the matter.

She looked at me and said veeery calmly: well, that's a right cockup,isn't it?

It's still one of my favorite phrases, dished out seldom but appropriately (for example, when IT decides it's a good thing to upgrade the java environment without looking at the needs of the library's IOS).

#152 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Ron Sullivan writes in #78:

There were some relict words from Irish vocabs still lying around when I was a kid: my paternal grandmother used "dear" to mean "expensive" and the one insult that could get a rise out of me when I was young was "amadhaun." I couldn't have defined it precisely but it was perfectly obvious to me what it meant.

My father, born in Ayrshire of a Scots mom and an Irish dad, used that word at soccer games.

He came to America at around age 11 and had no trace of a Scottish accent. Except when watching soccer. Or talking with other people from the Auld Country. He would throw around other Gaelic words (I think they were Gaelic) but I didn't manage to learn them.

I suspect, though he never said, that he was mistreated as The Kid Who Talked Funny in school, and quickly succeeded in acquiring the accent of Rochester, New York. Which, much later, he gave to me.

#153 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:35 PM:

r@d@r @ 131: Here, around Boston, they use wicked, but only as an intensifier -- as in "that's wicked cool." And it's considered a slightly déclassé regionalism.

Lee @146: I can't speak to your friend's motives or actions, but I do take issue with your assertion that "you don't make that kind of change in your speech patterns without a very deliberate effort".

I offer myself as a counter-example -- I was mistaken for years in high school and college as "probably Canadian", on the basis of my speech patterns. What happened: I was a huge fan of the radio drama "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". From that one program, and posssibly having a different spectrum of vocabulary choices, I absorbed enough to confuse people.

Mind you, no Canadian has ever taken me for anything but an American.

#154 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Petit@65: \this/ (ex-)chemist never spelled it "aluminium", and neither did Asimov (who did a column about why it was chemically/linguistically wrong).

Xopher@86: ... snide crack (craic fun, enjoyment) ...
That sounds like a stretch; "crack" as noun or verb is always sardonic, where "craic" as I've seen it used is straightforward.

Bruce@126: Species might or might not be separable in a blind taste test (especially depending on \which/ of several western species you were offered in place of the one Atlantic variety), but I'm stunned that people would confuse cold- and hot-smoked fish. It's interesting to hear your description of Portland; we were gushing over a west-coast driving trip at my Jewish sister-in-law's wedding when somebody cut it off with "But there is \no/ decent deli between Portland and San Francisco." If he accepted Portland at your description, I hate to think what we'd have been offered if we'd found a "deli" in the wilds.

#155 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:47 PM:

Carol @ 136: I'm pretty fond of "undies in a bunch," which sounds both vulgar and trying-not-to-be, and sounds in my head like the central Massachusetts accent (Worcester/Framingham axis) of my cousins.

#156 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Linkmeister (back @109) - I just got back from a trip to your fair island for my husband's high school reunion. I've visited with him enough that I have most of the Hawaiian pronunciation rules down, though he still enjoys teasing me with certain street signs. From this past trip, I remember Kuamoo (koo-ah-moh-oh, for those who care), and what I don't remember specifically was something with far too many A's in the middle for normal English pronunciation.

#157 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:36 PM:

I first heard wanker while watching Prisoner Cell Block H back in 81 or 82. Its one of those words where you feel a kinship as soon as you see it.

#158 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 12:59 AM:

Owlmirror @116:
IIRC it was Neil Gaiman who coined wunch as the collective noun for bankers.

Xopher @73:
Yes, but only from American books & TV.

Sharon @99:
And also the bee's knees, the cat's pyjamas and grouse.

#159 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:15 AM:

I agree with Victor S @153, about Lee @146, that some of us pick up odd speech patterns without any effort.

I can't be the only person here who has spoken in LOLcat, can I? Or had some trouble after reading James Alan Gardner's Ascending? ...I have been thinking about the joy of LOLcats; if they are mostly popular among teenagers, programmers, linguists, and philosophers, then maybe they've just found the groups of people that parse for fun.

#160 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:32 AM:

Olivia @ #156, I've lived here nigh on 27 years, and I still screw up pronunciations of some words. In my case it's mostly syllable emphasis that trips me up: Ka-LA-Kaua Ave, Ka-PI-o-lani Blvd. Mostly it's that names (and those are both royal names) have accents where my Mainland eyes and ears don't want to put them.

#161 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 02:39 AM:

Steve Taylor, #35, I've been trying to learn Spanish because our city has many new people who only speak Spanish, but I know French much better and when I'm talking and my brain realizes I don't know a Spanish word, it just shoves the French word out of my mouth and embarrasses me. The French is not much use because all the Vietnamese who have moved here also speak English.

Larry Brennan, #70 ^^^

#162 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 03:32 AM:

Serge @114--

That would be Patrick Stewart.

Re: "whing(e)ing," I don't recall ever hearing it pronounced, but I mentally pronounce it with a hard "g"...is that incorrect?

#163 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 05:10 AM:

Syd @ 162 --

"Whingeing" is pronounced with a "j" sound.

#164 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 06:00 AM:

Xopher @ 142:

I'd heard in an anthropology class that middle-kingdom egyptian was rather similar to Icien (from Northern Uganda). Or rather, that Icien was closer to middle-kingdom egyptian than to anything else that the linguist who encountered it could figure out. That's probably of very little use for pronunciation, though.

Ok, end digression.

#165 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 07:51 AM:

Mary Dell at #132 writes:

> Perhaps the proper American equivalent of "to whinge" isn't "to whine," but "to bitch?" But bitch is a (mild) swear word, so whinge is more acceptible.

Good call! I don't know that it's a perfect match, but it's much closer to the spirit of the word than 'whine'.

As for swearing, I've had the same conversation with a whole bunch of other Australians who've spent a few months in America - bit by bit you stop swearing, because the Americans around you for the most part don't. At least by comparison to Australians.

#166 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 07:53 AM:

Oh - and I forgot to say:

If 'bitch' is American for 'whinge', what's American for 'wanker'?

'jerk' is about the best I can suggest, but I think it's a near miss.

#167 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Ron Sullivan at #78 writes:

> There were some relict words from Irish vocabs still lying around when I was a kid: my paternal grandmother used "dear" to mean "expensive"

Hang on! You mean American's don't use 'dear' as a synonym for 'expensive'? I'd never realised.

Some days it can be hard to keep track of who says what.

#168 ::: Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 09:32 AM:

Pants.

#169 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 09:47 AM:

Steve Taylor #166: 'Republican'.

#170 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 10:12 AM:

In my case, it's from spending time with good friends who are from that part of the world. I'll tend to use more British vocabulary while visiting them, and for a few days after I get home.

#171 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Fragano Ledgister at #169 writes:

> Steve Taylor #166: 'Republican'.

Which in Australian translates very roughly to 'Liberal'. Note capital letter!

#172 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Stephen 164: That's fascinating! I understand that the guy who did the Egyptian recension for Stargate cross-referenced with Coptic vowels where possible. (For those who didn't know, in the movie they spoke real, actual Egyptian as far as consonants and grammar were concerned, and the movie hired a real Egyptologist to translate the lines (and invent vowels).)

#173 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 12:25 PM:

dcb (#101): Thanks for the info on "faffing about". Fairly subtle distinction from the US "farting around," but there is a difference.

As for "ickle", the American equivalent in baby talk would be more like "itty bitty" or "itsy bitsy" (of spider and water spout fame). One Briticism I find very useful in referring to things like baby talk is "twee" -- much better than "cutesy".

What dialect came up with "smarmy"? There's a real estate ad on Phoenix TV where the realtor's vocal style is complete smarm.

#174 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Steve Taylor #171: Not 'Pauline Hanson'?

#175 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:04 PM:

James Moar @ 93: "I'm vaguely learning Japanese as well, and have a tendency to switch into it whenever I try to recall my school French. C'est warui, n'est ja nai?"

Aaah! You're making my high-school French and my college Japanese fuse with my current Chinese! C'est feichang warui! Qing tomete s'il vous plait! Honto ni zhe shi tres bushufu!

#176 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:08 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 169

"Republican" is not really inclusive enough. After all, there are wankers who aren't Republicans.

#177 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Steven Taylor @ 165 talks about Americans not swearing: I've been forced out of my natural dialect, which uses profanity, obscenity, and scatology like punctuation by contact with those from outside the Pacific Northwest, who've long bought the Big Lie that people swear because they don't have an extensive enough vocabulary to use better words.

Me, I agree with Mark Twain who said (to paraphrase, or possibly to quote him misquoting himself, which he did a lot) swearing has a healing power much like prayer.

#178 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:19 PM:

CHip @ 154

But there is \no/ decent deli between Portland and San Francisco."

Delete 'decent' and that's probably a true sentence (I haven't checked out the deli in, e.g., Klamath Falls, but then I don't get hazard pay).

I once performed the comparison between San Franciso and Portland in the course of a few days. On the last morning of a trip to SF, Eva and I had breakfast at David's, probably the best deli on the West Coast. Then a week or so later we went to Rose's which was at the time considered the best deli in Portland (since deceased). No contest at all. Worse, as I said, the bagels at Rose's were not top-notch, and it went downhill from there.

I have nothing against modifying ethnic food or fusing recipes from different cultures; that's hybrid vigor. But if you advertise something as the clear quill, you ought to get it right.

#179 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Pat @106

"No worries" is Australian- seemed to be the universal "no problem" / "I'll take care of that" / "think nothing of it."

I was there in 2005 and picked it up as a useful substitute for "no problem." I like it because it promises more than just 'no problem.'

Clew @159
I can't be the only person here who has spoken in LOLcat, can I?
After that thread started here on ML, I had to get my partner to grok lolcat, otherwise he can has misunderstanding? I still won't pick up my Emily Dickinson, just in case the lolmeme tries taking over.

I watch my writing carefully right after reading books with a strong tone. After Pynchon's Mason and Dixon it took a week to get back to late 20th century US standard.

#180 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:28 PM:

#159 ::: clew
"I agree with Victor S @153, about Lee @146, that some of us pick up odd speech patterns without any effort."

Around my house we call that "being a linguistic sponge." It happens to me more often than it happens to Juan, but still.

People often ask me where I'm from, particularly if I've been traveling lately. Sometimes I'm almost tempted to say "Faerie" and let it go at that, but usually I tell them "I grew up in Wisconsin, but I'm a linguistic sponge and I have friends from all over."

#181 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:38 PM:

James @163--thanks! Of course, now I have to mentally reread every HP reference to "Little Whinging" just get it squared away in my head... ;)

#182 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:41 PM:

"...just TO get it..." I usually proof much better. Blast.

#183 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Heresiarch @175: Aaah! You're making my high-school French and my college Japanese fuse with my current Chinese! C'est feichang warui! Qing tomete s'il vous plait! Honto ni zhe shi tres bushufu!

Aiya! Mein cerebrum se duele; arrêtez-vous kudasai!

#184 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:56 PM:

As an impressionable youth my semi-illicit midsummer reading in bed was dominated by old books, at least pre-WW2 in style, and often Victorian. There's a scene in Ungava where it is cold enough to cast a pistol bullet from mercury, and R.M. Ballantyne wrote a good many other adventures in strange places. And then there was Captain Marryat, with Children of the New Forest.

I think some of that antique style lingers in my speech and writing.

And I'm also reminded of this by a huge tranche of their works appearing in Project Gutenberg. They're mostly stories of young men going off into remote places and have adventures. In some ways, it's a precursor of a whole sub-genre of science-fiction, right down to the asexuality of the setting. New worlds, strange cultures, and no real hope of rescue if anything goes wrong.

#185 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #176: This is true, but life under the current administration has done much to demonstrate that all Republicans are wankers.

#186 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Some of the discussion in this thread reminds me of the story (I seem to recall that it was written by Robert Craft, but I may be wrong) I read in Encounter æons ago which involved a German expatriate living in Capri who when asked about the meaning of some German term stated 'Ach! j'ai dimenticato mein German.'

#187 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Pat @ 106 (hi, Pat!): I used to live in a smallish southern city with a fairly exclusive neighborhood called "Bewna Vissta"

#188 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 03:12 PM:

If 'bitch' is American for 'whinge', what's American for 'wanker'?

jerk-, jack-, or jag-off

#189 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Steve Taylor: The brain building a map for "not-native language" in older learners is well known.

I speak, with various levels of practice/fluency, four languages. In order of acquisition they are, English, French, ASL, Russian (present fluency is English, Russian, French ASL).

When I was studying Russian my French got very good, for awhile. Now when I try to speak French, I have to fight subsituting Russian vocabulary when I can't recall a French word.

One of my fellow students did her first exam in a strange mix of Cyrillic letters, and French words. The teachers had no idea what she was writing.

#190 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 04:14 PM:

Xopher (#73) Re yiddish:

I don't know. I learned to speak in Ohio, and there are a lot of yiddishims I leared in/from/around Cleveland.

re Stargate: The Maguffin in that drove me nuts. Absent a means of writing, there's no way they were still speaking Egyptian.

I have friends who went to visit family in China; his grandmother had a hard time talking with people she grew up with, the language had drifted so much.

American soldiers in WW2 were amusing to the the Ialians, because the Italian they spoke was so old-fashioned.

Compare Chaucer to Shakespeare, and Shakespeare to modern.

/soapbox

I have all sorts of strange linguistic quirks. I read a lot as a kid, (so surprising, no?). Doyle, Roy Chapman Andrews, Heinlein, Charles Kinglsey, P.L. Travers, Kipling, Milne, C.S. Lewis all sorts of poetry, natural history, history, etc.

Some of it British, some of it American, some of it Irish, some of it translations. A lot of it in older editions.

So my sense of what a word ought to look like was expanded. I like "-ise", sometimes like "-our", and think "in hospital" is the better locution.

Grey, and gray, are different concepts to my mind's eye.

I am, as much as any well-read user of English, dialectly polyglot, and acquisitive.

So this is whine/whinge issue is a non-starter to me. They are different words, with different meanings, and the spread of them enriches me.

#191 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Steve Taylor @ 35:
somewhere deep in my mind I've learnt that French is what people speak when they're not speaking English.
and Larry Brennan @ 70
My related discovery is that I seem to file everything under "English" and "not-English", so when I'm trying to speak German with someone and can't find a word, sometimes a French word leaps out and forcibly inserts itself into the sentence - with appropriate German word endings.

I do exactly the same thing, only in my case English is my default foreign language, so that when I try to construct a sentence in German, English words intrude...

#192 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 05:09 PM:

Terry @189:
Had a similar experience when first in New Zealand having grown up in Malaysia. The first few months of school involved translating math(s) problems from English to Malaysian, working it out, then translating the results back to English.

#193 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 05:24 PM:

#117 DCB: The story about 'Chay-ap-si-day' might, I suppose, have been a tourist, but it sounds much more like one of the supposed re-namings of downmarket areas of London (allegedly to improve property prices). Flanders and Swann mention 'Battersia', the most famous. But there's also St. Ockwell (and his divine brother-in-law St. Reatham), Cla'am, Crouchant and so on.

#194 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Bruce @ 126 & 178 - Yeah, no good bagels or whitefish here. I was in DC a few weeks ago and got a surprisingly good bagel in Bethesda - the only defect was a dusting of cornmeal on the bottom.

There's a deli just a couple of blocks from my apartment (Roxy's on N 36th in Fremont/Seattle) that has good pastrami and corned beef and real pickles. It turns out that they airlift it all in from New York. The rye bread has a heavy Scandinavian influence, but I guess that can't be helped.

#195 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Bitching can sometimes be venting. But there is never any excuse for whinging.

I live near Accord, a rural town that is pronounced "ACK-ord." It's so embarassing to sometimes find myself pronouncing the popular Honda car's name that way.

#196 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Alison Scott @ 193

I do know what you mean aboout "upmarket pronunciations. However that definitely wasn't the case in this instance. "Cheapside" is just the name of a road, not an area.

My mother-in-law remembers the incident clearly. Definitely a North American tourist - perhaps from somewhere with a lot of Native American place names? The pronunciation she told me about sounds vaguely that way to me.

And if we're going Flanders and Swann, everything south of the River has been renamed "Brighton"!

#197 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Laina @ 80 - the languages I've studied all went into separate folders, and I can access only one at a time. If you'd asked me in Russian class how to say something in Japanese I would have stared at you blankly.
Perhaps relatedly, it may take me several minutes to tune in and recognise a language I should have identified quite quickly. Eavesdropping during a bus trip I went from being unable to even identify the language family of the speakers to realising they were speaking perfectly comprehensible Hochdeutsch.
No career in the UN for me.
-Barbara

#198 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 06:28 PM:

me @ 196

Forgot the footnote:

"The River" is the River Thames, London, UK.

Londoners pretty much always just call it "the river" not "the Thames". I knew I'd been living here too long when I said "south of the river" one day.

I'm not a Londoner, I'm a Mancunian*! I just live in London...

*Um. Footnote for the footnotes, as it were: "Mancunian" = comes from/lives in Manchester (UK).

#199 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 07:55 PM:

At school, I knew I had to give up German when someone asked me the time in a French lesson and I said, "Il est elf ühr et demie."*

I didn't realise "pear-shaped" was a Britishism or that it was so old. I remember exactly where and when I first heard it; it was in 1997.

Serge at #37: it's really odd that you should quote that. I only saw it for the first time this afternoon.

*Giving up French wasn't an option, but I had been told to choose whether I wanted to carry on with German or Latin next year, since there wasn't room for both in the timetable. Also, I loved Latin.

#200 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:08 PM:

All this talk about "the city" (which for me, a rural American whose reading tends UK-ward, is The City of London and none other) and "the river" leads me to ask: is there anywhere outside of my native area which refers to The Mountain, and if so what is it.

(Disclaimer: if it is not a tricorn compound volcano, then it's not The Mountain).

#201 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Carol Maltby at #195 writes:

> Bitching can sometimes be venting. But there is never any excuse for whinging.

Disagree there - if you substitute "whining" for "whingeing" that matches my understanding of the words.

How I understand it: someone who's whingeing/bitching might conceivably shut up and get back to what they were supposed to be doing, but someone who's whining - never.

#202 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Terry 190: Oh, of course of course. Linguistic drift would have ensured that. But of course...if they had Ra enforcing a complete lack of cultural change...

Nahh. No frellin' way.

My point wasn't that it made sense. My point was that the Egyptian that they (quite implausibly) spoke was real.

Now, Ra...he would probably keep speaking Egyptian just as he did when he was young. Most people do that, and arrogant, narrowminded people are much less inclined to change their speech. A Goa'uld (not that that term was used in the movie) would be pretty much the ultimate in narrowminded arrogance. I suppose linguistic drift among his immediate companions could be dealt with by summary execution.

#203 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:31 PM:

Xopher, 202: It'd be more like Old Church Slavonic, or classical Arabic--a special language for talking to one's god. So of course the Abydonians talked to Daniel in the god-dialect.

Here endeth the fanwank.

#204 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:38 PM:

JESR@200 - Well, to me "The City" is either Manhattan (the other four boroughs are part of the city, but not The City) or San Francisco, depending on the context. It could also be Central London, specifically the financial district, but for me that's a distant third.

dcb@196 - Perhaps the tourist was unwilling to believe that a street could actually be called Cheapside. It's a name no realtor would let stand, at least not in the US. Then again, Dogpatch is an increasingly trendy pocket neighborhood in San Francisco...

#205 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Julia, #187, that would be in Virginia, right?

#206 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 09:22 PM:

Bruce, #126, re bagels: What's your opinion of Noah's on NW 23rd?

#207 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 09:49 PM:

Marilee @ 205: NC. I'm not surprised there's more than one, though.

Larry @ 204: Manhattan as "the city" is actually an archaism - it dates back from before the boroughs joined when going from brooklyn and queens into "the city" was actually going to another city.

#208 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 12:43 AM:

JESR: "The Mountain" is, in Alaska, Denali.

TexAnne: Slovonic, Classical Arabic, and Hebrew (pre-Isreal) and Latin, all had something a dead language needs to survive; phonetic alphabets.

That's how Mandarin speakers can communicate with Catonese speakers (even though they really are different languages): they have a common set of symbols for ideas, independant of the sounds.

Barbara Gordon: There are some odd bits of compartmentalization, cognates are opaque to me, I have to look them up in dictionaries; they don't feel right. This is more true in Russian than French. I think this is because of the alphabetic difference.

#209 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Ah, fun mispronunciations. We get some of those internally to .au, particularly when people from the East coast are talking about suburbs and towns on the West coast. Why? Well, it all has to do with place names, a great many of which were collected via the "surly native" method. The local Nyoongar dialect has a particular syllable which means "this place has water"[1], and that syllable is "up" (pronounced like the opposite of down). Simple enough to master, you'd think. However, put the name of a location ending in this syllable in front of someone from the East coast, and they wind up pronouncing it to rhyme with the last bit of "hoop".

Then there's the name of the suburb Mirrabooka, which is pronounced with a short "i" and a short "oo" - "Mirrah Bookah" is the closest version for international consumption. Emphasis is on the first syllable. However, over several dozen telethons, I've realised that this fairly obvious pronunciation doesn't occur to the average t'othersider, who gives it a long "oo" ("hoop" again) and puts the emphasis on the second syllable.

My own theory has something to do with the fact that Wagga Wagga (in NSW) is pronounced as "Wogga Wogga", and the inherent daftness of those who choose to live on the far side of the country. *grin*

(Oh, and when I say "the city" I'm meaning the city of Perth, although I'm much more likely to label it as "going into town" as my mother and grandmother did - particularly if I'm going there to shop).

[1] This is the official meaning. My own theory is that it actually means something like "dimwit", and the Nyoongar people are too polite to tell us.

#210 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 02:04 AM:

I don't think there are any good synonyms for wanker or wanking in American English; that's why they've proved so popular. There's nothing that conveys quite the same sense.

Now that I think about it though, those two words have very different meanings, don't they? A wanker is someone who is self-absorbed and pretentious, but wanking is just being passionately interested in an esoteric or useless topic (TexAnne's "fanwank"). The first has a much more negative connotation.

#211 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 04:33 AM:

Mark @ 206

I don't usually get over to the Noah's in NW, but there's one within walking distance of my house, and I stop there every so often. I figure they're probably pretty much alike. The bagels are about the best you can get in Portland (you could argue about whether Kornblatt's are better, but I'm inclined to say not), but that still leaves them behind the real deal.

Making a bagel involves 2 cooking processes: boiling and then baking. Many inferior bagel makers ignore boiling completely, which results in a bagel that's not as chewy as it should be: it ends up being a strangely-shaped kaiser roll*. Noah's aren't quite that bad, but they lack the chewiness they need. And in general the "toppings" are miserly, not enough poppy seeds or sesame seeds, and the onion? it's as if onions are an endangered species. Oddly their bialys are provisioned with onions the way their bagels should be.

I won't get into the question of who could possibly have invented blueberry or chocolate chip bagels. One assumes that particular blasphemy will be punished in due course by the traditional fire and brimstone.**

* And if that's not ironic, pray tell what is?

** Opinions? Oh no, not me.

#212 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 06:53 AM:

by way of amplification, should it be required, for Sharon's comment @96, my understanding of 'the dog's bollocks' is 'something that really stands out'.

Consider the rear view of an uncastrated dog of some breed with an upstanding tail.

And we now have the alternate version 'the mutt's nuts'.

#213 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 10:43 AM:

JESR (#200): if it is not a tricorn compound volcano, then it's not The Mountain. Oddly enough, the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff are a tricorn compound volcano (at least I think so -- after the top blew off umpteen thousand years ago, it looks more like three than one), but they still get the plural. And the biggest one is Humphrey's Peak, a name with no euphony whatsoever.

No takers on the origins of "smarmy", as in my question above?

#214 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Faren Miller @ 213:
No takers on the origins of "smarmy", as in my question above?

This site suggests that it's related to "smear" and probably derives from the verb "smarm" (to smear or bedaub, perhaps as one might smooth one's hair down with oil or grease). It looks like it dates back to 19th Century England, perhaps Dorset.

Someone with access to the OED can probably give a better answer than that...

#215 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Bruce re Bagels: There are a small number of acceptable adulterants. Egg, salt, poppyseed, onion, sesame seeds, black pepper (this last is recently accepted, and somewhat controversial). Pumpernickel and rye are borderline, but not anathema.

All others are abominations in the sight of God, and all right-thinking men; though the level of heresy varies (garlic is less odious than pizza, blueberry is just plain wrong, but chocolate chip is beyond all hope, etc.).

Meg Thornton re place names:

When I was in Monterey, studying Russian, I kept hearing about "Jocelin Soup Road", which made no sense to me.

About five months into my stay I was driving my girlfriend to the local airport, or something, and saw it; "Jocelin Cyn Rd". Being a long-time resident of Calif. (from late childhood on), the abbreviation of canyon to cyn, was transparent to me.

But DLI is an army school, most of the students weren't "from around heah," and so they didn't know what it meant. But they had just learned (in my shcool, this was an idiolectic interpretations, the korean, japanese, etc. students didn't have this problem) Cyrillic, and "cyn" looks just like the word "soup", (which is a cognate).

But it took me five months, and seeing it out of the corner of my mind, to understand.

#216 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 11:42 AM:

Faren @213, Peter @214, the Concise OED on the shelf behind me only offers:


'v.& n. Brit colloq. Verb 1 transitive (often followed by down) smooth, plaster down (hair etc.) usually with cream or oil. 2 (intransitive) be ingratiating. Noun. obsequiousness.[originally dialect (also smalm) of uncertain origin]'

Doesn't really get us much further.

#217 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Bruce @ 211 - Noah's. Fluffy. Feh. Blueberry & chocolate chip? Heresy. I think they steam their bagels.

Back in the old country (Canarsie, Brooklyn) there were two bagel shops across from my junior high - one had better bagels, the other better bialys and they had pletzels on weekends. Nothing measures up to the memory of dense chewey bagels with a fine crumb and a crisp, thin shiny crust that would crack like an oil painting when bent.

I miss the luxury of having a choice of bagels (and there were way more than two shops in the neighborhood) each slightly different, but all good.

The trade-off of living in the Northwest is that the beer is SO MUCH BETTER than anything available on the east coast. So are the handmade breads - not quite as good as in Northern CA, but close.

#218 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Re meanings of "the City":
This map from the Dialect Survey has some interesting variations (US only). New York City is by far the most common, but it's closely trailed by "other" (presumably, whatever large city is closest to where people live). The largest counts after that are for Chicago, Boston, DC, and L.A.

#219 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 01:12 PM:

Terry Karney # 215: About five months into my stay I was driving my girlfriend to the local airport, or something, and saw it; "Jocelin Cyn Rd". Being a long-time resident of Calif. (from late childhood on), the abbreviation of canyon to cyn, was transparent to me.

Unlike what happened the first few times I saw some "Cyn"s further north, in northern Monetery/southern Santa Clara counties. I was absolutely convinced that there had been some sort of outbreak of Welsh, either direct from the Old Country or via the Main Line. It took me some months of road trips down from the Peninsula to realize that maybe some topography was involved.

#220 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Faren Miller @ 213, the thing which makes Mt. Rainier The Mountain is that it rises about 10,000 ft above the ridgeline as a single mass, and because the Cascade crest is so abrupt on the west side there are no intervening peaks to make that its height and bulk less spectacular. Mt. Hood is in the same relative position, but since one can see both of them and compare their bulk, it doesn't get the unique article as often (and not at all in precontact mythology, where it's referred to as a lesser rival or a suitor to Tahoma).

I'm prejudiced: the Seattle view of The Mountain always seems diminished, to me, as it has profile instead of full symetrical full face.

#221 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 03:16 PM:

JESR: re The Mountain.

I spent seven months at Ft. Lewis (in a chunk, I've probably spent about a year there, total).

Ranier is something else. Denali is supposed to be the same, only moreso. It's also called, so I've heard, "the Weathermaker" because it is so much higher than everything else (and so high) that it has the habit of having its own, very localised, weather.

I prefer Ranier from the south, but it's wonderful anytime it shows its face.

It also makes me weak in the knees when I ponder what would happen should it warm up, or blow its top.

#222 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 03:51 PM:

JESR #177: Me, I agree with Mark Twain who said (to paraphrase, or possibly to quote him misquoting himself, which he did a lot) swearing has a healing power much like prayer.

I was going to reply: "Bloody effing brilliant!" but then realized that it would, in the eyes of some in the thread, seem pretentious. Then I read PNH on the subject in the other thread.

#223 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Terry Karney, I've derived this scenario about why so many out-of-state, Viet Nam era vets retire to my neighborhood: they came back from the steaming tropics, got off their transport on a bright spring or summer morning, turned around and saw The Mountain, and that's it, they had to come back.

So far I'm running about 80% agreement when I ask people about it.

(I haven't seen Denali, yet, and the photos all make it look as if there are a lot of intervening peaks between the lowlands and the peak. Of course the only person I knew well enough to ask was in Talkeetna, and that's sort of like Ashford, too close to The Mountain see it).

#224 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Terry Karney, I've derived this scenario about why so many out-of-state, Viet Nam era vets retire to my neighborhood: they came back from the steaming tropics, got off their transport on a bright spring or summer morning, turned around and saw The Mountain, and that's it, they had to come back.

So far I'm running about 80% agreement when I ask people about it.

(I haven't seen Denali, yet, and the photos all make it look as if there are a lot of intervening peaks between the lowlands and the peak. Of course the only person I knew well enough to ask was in Talkeetna, and that's sort of like Ashford, too close to The Mountain see it).

#225 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 04:24 PM:

One of the side-effects of growing up in the Bay Area is that 'the City' is San Francisco and 'the Mountain' is either Mt Diablo or Tamalpais (depending on where you were: I belong to the Diablo group).

#226 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 04:41 PM:

#213, 214, 216: on the origins of 'smarm'... oed.com confirms Peter Erwin's roots (#214) - smarmy from smarm (v.), 'of obscure origin,' first appearance mid-19th c. Dorset. It was another 70 or 80 years before the metaphorical adjective emerged.

#227 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 05:52 PM:

PJEvans #225:

From my point of view, living down on the Peninsula and working in San Jose, there was no Mountain, because you couldn't see either of them. (I did go to the top of each at least once.) If I thought "Mountain", I was probably referring to Mt. Hamilton, which is nowhere near as spectacular or iconic. I was more likely to be thinking of "range", as I got a choice of two; we called them the "brown mountains" and the "green mountains", even though we knew perfectly well that they had names.

#228 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Joanne @227, see, from where I sit (in view of Rainier and the Olympics) if it's brown or green, it's no mountain at all.

#229 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 07:22 PM:

JESR @228: if it's brown or green, it's no mountain at all.

Exactly! I grew up south of Seattle, and then moved to the Bay Area (Peninsula, as with joann @227). If it doesn't get snow or have the potential to explode, it's not a mountain. Thus, I spent 18 years in the Bay Area feeling like I was surrounded only by foothills, and not sure where "The Mountain" was. I'm back up in the Portland area now, and seeing Mt Hood out on nice days makes me feel all warm and cozy inside.

#230 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 08:03 PM:

In the Virginia Tidewater area, The Beach is Virginia Beach.

#231 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Larry Brennan @ 217

Second your comment about beer in the Northwest (and the West in general compared to the East). Where I grew up (PA) the only real choice of decent beer was imported: Danish or German, basically; I never saw English beer there. And then Tuborg started bottling in the States, and after awhile Carlsberg started making special (or not-so-special) batches for export, and something happened to Heinekens, and there was nothing for it but to move west.

#232 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 08:46 PM:

Re: The Mountain

There's at least one spot in the Willanette Valley, Bald Peak, south and a little west of Portland where on a clear day* you can see five mountains: Mt. Hood, Mt, St. Helen's, Mt. Rainier, Mt Jefferson, and Mt. Washington. I'm told the air used to be clear enough to see the 3 Sisters as well . But "The Mountain" has to be Mt. Hood. It dominates the landscape around here.


* Fewer of them all the time.

#233 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 09:06 PM:

Bruce, there'a a point on my property where it used to be possible to see Baker, Rainier, Adams, St Helens, and the Olympics; then the neighboring trees grew up and St. Helens got shorter, and the air got too brown to see Adams or Baker except on cold, windy, clear days, of which we get, what, one a year?

Also, about beer: for decades the only "gourmet" beer on this coast was Anchor Steam, unless one was of the specialized few who appreciated Lucky Lager Bock for the particular wonder it was. Or you could go to Pike Place and drink what was on the list at the Athenian Lunch bar.

Then someone started importing- Samuel Smith, Belgian Alembics, and so on and so forth- and about simultaneously the microbrewery sorts showed up.

(BOOM: massive interruption by spouse, all further thoughts destroyed by the distraction bomb. Fishtail beats McMenamins, though).

#234 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 10:13 PM:

Larry Brennan @218: That's also a matter of opinion; to me, beer made with western hops tastes like the brewer used grapefruit rind instead. Worse, some brewers now talk about "bringing out the citrus character of the hops"! Hops aren't supposed to be citrusy; that taste just means they're burbanked monstrosities instead of decent hops. (I bought a SN Bigfoot a couple of years ago and couldn't take more than a sip; the hops were a little less intolerable after several months.)

JESR@223: it may depend on where you see it from; I recall riding practically to the base of the north face of Denali and still being close to sea level. There were other peaks and ridges in the area, but IIRC all below the ~8,000 feet that we flew back at (Denali is ~20,000).
233: That's \lambic/; whatever you're doing with an alembic, I don't want to drink it. No thanks. No Jekylls in my family tree....

#235 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 10:36 PM:

Lambic, sorry- switching pairs of similar words again, oh, well.

In any case, I suspect the Eastern vs Western hops differences come from the same place as the Florida vs California orange flavors; I complained once to an old friend who's a professor of citriculture at Florida Southern University that modern oranges were much too sweet for my taste, and he said "there's no such thing as a too-sweet orange." Lately, there's been a substantial number of heirloom navels making their way into commerce, with a lower sugar content and more aromatics, that are selling well on this coast.

I like grapefruit-ish beer, I like to be able to taste some yeast, and I prefer beer that tastes of malted grain rather than baked bread. And since I can have at most one beer a month, I end up talking about it an order of magnitude more often than I drink it.

#236 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 11:38 PM:

Sorry, it's not a tricorn compound volcano -- not even slightly -- but in my lexicon, "the mountain" irrevocably refers to the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton, Ontario. It only took a year of living there to cement the term.

When I lived in New Jersey, I learned to say "the City" when I meant Manhattan. Oddly, there doesn't seem to be a comparable designated "City" in the Greater Toronto Area.

#237 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Sylvia: In the Bay Area, The City is San Francisco. Now that I am thinking about it, there's very much a definite feeling of ENTERING when you go into SF from the bridges. A very delineated sort of territory, so to speak. Does New York proper have this as well....? I can see Manhattan, being that it's on an islandy part, right? (I've never been to NYC, although I'm hoping now that I'm only four or five hours away.)

#238 ::: Errol ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 12:43 AM:

For a fine distinction, Aucklanders go to "The Mountain" (Mount Ruapehu) to ski, but "The Mount" (Mount Maunganui) for the beaches (both a few hours drive away). This while there are 40-odd volcanoes in their city.

#239 ::: Errol ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 12:45 AM:

For a fine distinction, Aucklanders go to "The Mountain" (Mount Ruapehu) to ski, but "The Mount" (Mount Maunganui) for the beaches (both a few hours drive away). This while there are 40-odd volcanoes in their city.

#240 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 12:50 AM:

PiscusFishe @ 237 - The sense of entry into SF via the bridges or a ferry is pretty real. Heading north from the Peninsula, there's not much of a sense of entry until you're almost downtown and can see the skyline.

Manhattan, however, does give a real sense of arrival, even if the only indication is a particularly long stretch of tunnel between two subway stations. Oh, and all of NYC except for the Bronx is islandy. Staten Island is very much an island, and Brooklyn and Queens are the westernmost portion of Long Island.

#241 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:35 AM:

JESR: re Puget Sound: I had a mixed opinion of it at my first experience (January, with lots of field time).

If I didn't know people in the area, I don't think my time at Ft. Lewis would have endeared it to me (Robi's Camera, in Lakeview, notwithstanding) but Seattle fandom probably didn't save my life, but it did make it possible to reclaim my sanity; and with it retain my relationship, return to a, mostly normal, life, etc., but I digress).

The weather suits me (though it's not as conducive to plants as I would like), there is great photographic opportunity and the food is great.

Even if Ranier scares the piss out of me.

It was when I went to Basic that I discovered I needed to see mountains to be comfortable living someplace. Ocean is nice, woods are ok, but the shoulders of the world have to be visible. The Angeles Crest is great (Mt. Wilson is in sight, as is Mt Baldy/San Antonia). I live at 900 ft. Three miles away the peaks are almost 9,000.

San Luis Obisbo as it's own, "Seven Sisters" and they are much like Ranier, etc. They rise, volcanic and impressive, above the mere hills around them.

Green, and brown are fine with me (though snow in the winter is fine), but the rocks/scarps are what I look for.

When it comes to beer, Cascade hops are ok, but not my favorite (and easily overdone), but there are so many brewers out here, that I can find people who do them well.

The search is worth it.

#242 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:08 AM:

I know the thread has moved on, but fwiw...

I spent today hopscotching through villages in western Alaska (for work), and one of the women on the charter (who is from a village of ~260 people) said "Blast!" when she realized she forgot to take pictures in the village we'd just left. I'm fairly certain "Blast!" is British, it's certainly not Athabascan.

JESR - Being able to see Denali clearly does depend on your location. If the weather is clear, and you are in the right location, you can see it from up here in Fairbanks, and from various spots along the Parks Highway. I'm with you regarding mountains unless it has snow, it's just a hill, or a foothill.

Tomorrow I'll be venturing forth to the Brooks Range, where there are more real mountains to be found.

#243 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:31 AM:

Julia @187 (Hi, Julia!) I am so glad I was not drinking anything when I read that. I can just hear it being spoken in my head, in my sister's voice... She's lived in Jackson, Mississippi, for thirty-five years and has a real accent and I can just imagine her saying that.

Joann @227, I always thought that the green ones didn't really count as mountains, but that's just me.

PiscusFiche @237, of course there's a sense of entry. That's why all the $4.00 a pop bridge tolls ($5.00 for the Golden Gate) are collected on the way into town, so you'll be sure to savor the experience.

#244 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:43 AM:

Terry @241 I'm the opposite. I could live without seeing a mountain for the rest of my life. They're beautiful, and I enjoy looking at them, but they are not necessary for my heart to be at ease.

I do need to be within an hour's drive of an ocean, though. I need to visit the ocean every so often, but more than that, I need to have it close enough that I can see it on a moment's notice if this world simply becomes too much. Ideally, I would live within sight, sound, and smell of the sea, but that's not financially feasible for me. At least not right now.

And, although I love the Pacific, my favorite large bodies of salt-water are the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Lately I have feeling intensely homesick for them. Maybe in some perverse way because hurricane season just started.

#245 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 05:24 AM:

Meg @209
This is the official meaning. My own theory is that it actually means something like "dimwit", and the Nyoongar people are too polite to tell us.

Ah, the Your Finger You Fool landscape naming methodology.

#246 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Re: not a mountain unless there's snow. When I was a little kid in San Jose (Before Global Warming), there *was* sometimes snow on Mount Hamilton. But for a really lovely snowy mountain I always think of Shasta, both because I've been within view of it on many old vacations and because one of my cousins -- a professional photographer -- lives around there and shows it a lot in his pix.

Having spent most of my life in the East Bay, I'm not fixated on ocean or beaches but I do like to have mountains in view. It used to be Tamalpais; now it's Granite Mountain nearby, and Mount Bill Williams looking a lot like Tamalpais (with additional snow in winter) beyond the Rim, far to the north-west of us.

PS: Thanks for the info on "smarmy". It does sound oily, somehow. Onomatopoeia! (And you bet I had to look up the spelling of *that* in my handy Webster's Instant Word Guide.)

#247 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Yes indeed, Avram, a little fermented curd does go well with whine -- perhaps best served on a cheese-board made of wenge (a suitably-hard wood with an interesting grain).

#248 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 11:14 AM:

joann @ 227

Well, those domes do help picking it out. Umunhum had the radar station when I was living there, although they took the antenna down before I left. (Massive moving object on top of a mountain: of course it gets attention.)

In the San Fernando Valley, the closest we com to 'the Mountain' is either Oat Mountain (northwest side) or whatever-it-is between Griffith Park and Cahuenga Pass (southeast side). Neither of which is really a mountain, but they do show up. And just about everything around here comes in brown most of the time, except the parts that are grey rock.

#249 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 11:43 AM:

P J: re brown. When Maia spent a semsester in England she started to feel off, almost SAD.

Then she saw a dead tree. The brown revived her flagging spirit.

She grew up, had spent her entire life, in piedmont of the Angeles Crest. A lack of brown was strange and unatural. She found the endless shades of green downright oppressive.

#250 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:59 PM:

Larry Brennan @240: The sense of entry into SF via the bridges or a ferry is pretty real. Heading north from the Peninsula, there's not much of a sense of entry until you're almost downtown and can see the skyline.

Oh, I don't know, what about rounding Hospital Curve? You're nowhere near real downtown yet, next exit whatever they call Army Street these days, and all of a sudden Whoomph! It was my theory that part of the reason that bit was called Hospital Curve was that you got so distracted by the sudden appearance of The City that you sort of lost track of your driving.

Oh, okay, you're looking for a long-transition liminal experience. You're right, there's not one of those. But I think that sense of entry can come from more than just axial engagement, such as you get on a bridge, or coming down a long straight hill. There's also the "triumphal" arch approach, which is probably a bit closer to what we have here, in which the destination is not fully revealed until you've gotten through the archway or passageway. All liminal experiences involve a sense either of anticipation or of surprise/shock. Long-transition experiences are all about anticipation; others involve surprise instead. But you've no less made a transition for having undergone the latter. (And, in fact, once you've negotiated the territory, subsequent experiences of the same route will involve an anticipation--of the surprise.)

#251 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:03 PM:

PJ @225, Joann @227,
Growing up in San Jose, I always thought of the mountains as Hamilton (with the observatory domes) and Umunhum (with the mysterious radar station of doom). Places without mountains (or seas, or big rivers) don't feel right to me- there's no edge, and edges mean mystery. (Although flat means one can see that lovely "thunderclouds like flocks of sheep, fading off into the distance" view.)

And Mountains-to-me have a treeline, so the rain-shadowed inland hills felt a bit larger than the Redwood tree covered Coastal Range.

As a kid, when we'd go up the peninsula I never noticed the Santa Cruz Mountains as such: they were the place where the fog broke- the edge of the Sea of Pearls.* Now that summertime fog is building, I tell myself it isn't gloomy in the Sunset, it's just that I'm living under the sea. Doesn't help at the moment.

Faren @246,
Shasta- that's always a spectacular mountain. It's just a bit shorter than the tallest mountain in California (14,000 feet) but because Shasta stands alone you see 11,000 feet of rise from the valley floor.

The first time I took my partner to Shasta for a vacation there'd been a storm and low clouds hid the mountain:
"You say there's a giant volcano 10 miles thataway?"
"Just wait until tomorrow"
Imagine being surprised by Mt. Shasta.
The nearby "hills"- and they do look tiny compared to Shasta- are up to 10k feet high.

I've previously recommended taking the drive around Mount Shasta, which includes the "glass mountain" made of obsidian and Burney Falls, a waterfall that comes through (and over) the rocks.

-----------
* "The Sea of Pearls is what a layer of fog looks like when you drive, hike or bike above it to a ridgetop lookout... long-distance views that can extend 30 to 40 miles... The fog below really does look like a sea. Hilltops poke through the surface and look like islands. Often the sky is crystal clear above the fog layer. That means at sunset, when the sun hits the fog layer out to sea, a fantastic array of colors can refract through the fog for miles below."

#252 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:12 PM:

Kathryn #251:

I always thought of the Santa Cruz Mountains as really big containers of Mystery. All those twisty roads, abandoned logging trails, funky old vacation camps, and redwoods out the kazoo. And you've gotten well into the nearest local equivalent of the Black Forest (in which my parents--maybe with me along--once got royally lost) and so you're in the middle of Mirkwood or Sherwood Forest, and yet you *know* the ocean is less than ten miles away from where you are.

(Besides, right there off 17, there's a Mystery House or whatever; how could you not accept the general presence of mystery?)

All this speaking as someone for whom the sound of the tide is one of the most healing things in the world. What in *hell* am I doing 200 miles from the nearest salt water?

#253 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Re being surprised by Shasta (which is a lovely mountain, and one of the highlights of the Coast Starlight from Seattle to LA, though we got it both ways because of delays):

There's a joke about Seattle.

Guy is transferred from someplace else.

He gets a window office.

Some months after he settles in, the clouds part, and the entire floor hears him say, "What the hell is that!?!" as he is hit in the psyche, for the first time, by Mt. Ranier.

#254 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Terry @ 241:

"The weather suits me (though it's not as conducive to plants as I would like)"

It's all a matter of perspective - my parents (from Massachusetts) visited for the first time last January, and my mom couldn't stop going on about how we still had roses.

#255 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Re Shasta, Rainier, and the matter of USDA or Sunset Zones:

Something grows everywhere; what people have trouble getting used to is that nothing, barring pigweed and tansy ragwort, grows everywhere.

And the San Gabriels are, indeed, true mountains: I might be biased because the first time I got a good look at them I'd been taken with the whim to walk from Hancock Park to Pico and Hoover on a December day when there had been snow overnight and I got to watch it slowly climb up the side and be replaced with the blue-green of distant pine forest in clean air.

Shasta I'd only seen from I-5 until the last time we went to the Bay Area by train, and the Coast Starlight was eight hours late; as nasty as that was on most levels, we managed to be at Dunsmuir (forgive me if I'm wrong, all the atlases have vanished) just after dawn, and I got the chance to see her up close and personal.

I had a call yesterday from a friend whose father and stepmother have suddenly and inexplicably moved from Guildford, Surrey to the northwest; they rejected Portland as "too sprawling" and are now making noises about Olympia being too cold, meanwhile making my friend somewhat regret having bought a house with a nice guest suit.

#256 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Zone maps...

Here's the Arbor Day Foundation's 2006 zone map of the US.

Funny, I don't remember being in a zone 10. A great many people aren't in the zones they remember from when they started gardening, even if that was just 20 years ago.

To show how much has changed, they made a fun(?) Flash animation of zone changes 1990-2006. Note the big east-west stripes of land now one zone higher. There's just a few western mountain or desert spots which went down a zone, but it isn't much.

Not compared to how Kansas through Pennsylvania have just about entirely lost Zone 5, and the Gulf states have lost Zone 7.

#257 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 07:31 PM:

JESR@235: there is some local taste involved, but there's also the fact that the hop varieties grown in the northwest were bred to have a high total assay of the primary family of bittering compounds, without watching changes in the proportions among them OR between them and some additional compounds that also affect taste. Typical assay of a classic European hop (there aren't any "eastern" hops, although somebody has been trying to revive New York hop farming) is 2-3.5%; the northwest monsters were running over 13% when I was homebrewing (16 years ago).

</soapbox>

#258 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 07:43 PM:

CHip, sixteen years ago is ancient history in Northwest hops culture- especially since five or six years ago there was a root aphid plague and a lot of old vines ended up being replaced (at least in the Willamette Valley; I don't know anyone farming in Yakima anymore). There's at least four varieties mentioned in some microbrewery ads, is all I know for sure.

#259 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Contrarywise, those of us who live around DC don't call it The City, we say "The District."

Tania, #242, I say Blast and I've never been on British soil (choosing my words carefully there -- I've flown into a US base and flown back out without getting offbase).

Pat, #244, I need to live near a rescue squad and hospital.

#260 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Bruce Cohen, when did you first do your deli comparison? I am in fact, older, and although I count myself a Portlander, the time is approaching when I will have to admit I've lived longer out of Portland than in it. There was a time when Rose's was a great deli, but that was when Rose herself was alive. Even before she died (and that was at least 40 years ago) she had kind of lost control of the place. We knew it was too late when we walked by on Yom Kippur and saw that it was open (Rose closed for all the holidays). We stepped inside to ask why, and the woman we spoke to didn't know what we were talking about. Never went back. But the New Yorker Kosher Bakery survived for some years after that. (Much smaller business.)

#261 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 03:07 AM:

Re the San Gabriels.

They are (if John McPhee is to be believed) possessed of three singular traits.

1: They are the fastet growing mountains in the world.

2: They are the fastest eroding mountains in the world.

3: As a result of those two things, they are the steepest mountains (as a range) in the world.

I love them. The differences between the various ranges (I say there are three ranges, the front, which lets one see the basin, and on clear days Catalina, the second range, which is all mountains, everywhere one looks) and the back, which allows one to see the desert, and Edwards Air Force Base) are amazing.

I've been warm, and then below the clouds, and snowed on (the sherrif's S&R team was glad to see us, not only did we walk out to our car, but we had the right gear too), I've seen ice on the trail in Oct., and enjoyed a "rain forest" (it ain't what I'd call rain forest, but the micro-climate is lush, and green, even in the hottest, and driest of summers).

I've been in the Cascades, the Carpathians, the High Sierra, the Ozarks, the Appalachians, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the Santa Monicas, the San Bernardinos, the Coast ranges of San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Napa, and Sonoma, the Tehacapis, the Santa Susanas, the Manti La Sal, the Huacucas, the Superstitions, the Urals, the area around Seoul, Aviemore (in the Scottish Highlands) the Rockies, around Boulder (where I got to touch the oldest exposed rock in the US), and the ones I like best; to walk in, and to live near, are the San Gabriels (though the Highlands are probably a close second, for different reasons).

#262 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:31 AM:

Bruce Cohen:

Delete 'decent' and that's probably a true sentence (I haven't checked out the deli in, e.g., Klamath Falls, but then I don't get hazard pay).

Well, there's a shop in Burien that's been doing German-style meats since the Seattle World's Fair that is so good it has a thriving business shipping stuff to Germany which might be acceptable if you're a carnivore, but I defy you to find good rye bread out here. I've never had rye bread from the East, but all the New Yorkers I know agree that what we have here is horrid. I've thought of asking someone in New York to red-label a loaf of Levy's as a birthday present or two.

The entire bagel thing is funny on several levels. If you'd ever had the bagels that sell in plastic baggies at, say, Albertson's supermarkets, you'd never complain about Noah's bagel again--my wife bought them for me a couple of times before I got across the idea that they were to bagels as "English Muffins" were to crumpets. Picture unsweetened marshmallows made of wheat and you'll get the idea.

I always try to go shopping at QFC with one of those friends from New York around March 15th, since QFC has one of the local bagel makers do green bagels for St. Patrick's Day. Think of Linda Blair without the split pea soup and you've got a vague idea of her reaction...

Fragano Ledgister:

This is true, but life under the current administration has done much to demonstrate that all Republicans are wankers.

My wife and her family would disagree. They are what we in Washington State used to call, after a former governor, Dan Evans Republicans--basically they believe in fiscal responsibility with the public purse, that what you do with your own body is your own business, and that you can work with Democrats on mutual goals without calling them supporters of Oedipus's love life. You can imagine the reaction they have to most of those currently in office as Republicans, and how discouraged they are over what's being done in the name of their party.

#263 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:58 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale (#251): Ooh, the "glass mountain" and Burney Falls! Brings back further memories of childhood vacations. I still love volcanic "glass."

Joann (#252): Besides, right there off 17, there's a Mystery House or whatever. If you're talking about San Jose, not Santa Cruz, that would be the Winchester Mystery House. I once lived about a mile from it, though my parents never took me on the tour. (As a kid, I didn't much care -- or maybe was too chicken to want to go.)

#264 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Faren #263:

No, *not* the Winchester Mystery House, which is right out in civilization in front of god and everybody only a block or two away from the flying-saucer-shaped Century movie complex thing, if that's still there and called that.

The thing I have in mind is, some googlefu reveals, called the Mystery Spot, and it's on Mystery Spot Road, which is *way* off 17 (take the Branciforte Drive exit just south of Felton). So it's lots nearer Santa Cruz.

#265 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 12:35 PM:

To the Bruces Durocher and Cohen, I have been reliably informed that your best bet for a decent bagel in the Northwest is to attend the annual Bagels, Blintzes, and Books fundraiser at Temple Beth Hatfiloh.

I haven't been since they moved to their new location at the old Christian Science church and leased the old clapboard temple to K Records.

Also, about lox: I grew up on salmon, and until I was a senior in college, my ideal was real stick-grilled over alder coals, either sockeye or humpback, second favorite was hard-smoked dog salmon, the consumption of which is both a hobby and a form of isometric exercise. Then a friend at TESC came home after winter break with a couple of pounds of Nova, and it was good, but lacking the "real ocean" flavor I'd learned.

So far, when it comes to fish, I like salmon raw, cold smoked, salted, gravlax, ceviche, grilled over alder coals, salted and hotsmoked, pit roasted, en papilotte, properly fried in panko, teriyaki, oven roasted, and every other way except cut into steaks and fried in bacon grease (ugh), but the Atlantic stuff persists in lacking "ocean," and the farmed stuff has the same relationship to real salmon that BC Hydroponic Tomatoes have to the home-grown kind.

#266 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 11:08 PM:

JESR: where do you think they got the new rhizomes from? I vaguely recall seeing similar numbers since then, and would in any case be astounded if they'd stepped backwards in intensity; in theory the breeders could work for balance, but I've seen no indication that they're doing so. (It's not just the effect of concentration; I've had an ale so massively hopped that even a British IPA-nut thought it was too much, and there was no citrus in it.) The worst news, though, is that the burbanked hops are spreading; specs at recent beer festivals have mentioned Target and Challenger being cultivated in Kent.

#267 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Speaking of the Winchester Mystery House, Michaela Roessner wrote a great book, Vanishing Point, that starts at the WMH. It engendered my first email to Patrick, saying I had the SFBC version and asking why when I got to a place where there were supposed to be equations, there was instead a large blank spot. He kindly told me I'd have to ask SFBC.

#268 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Joann (#264): Oh yes, the Mystery Spot -- I'd almost forgotten that one.

Marilee (#267): I was lucky enough to work with Michaela (Mikey) during her few years at Locus. Great gal! I like her books, and her artwork too. (I have a couple of pieces, and they're some of my favorites.) During our move to AZ in 2000, when we finally straggled into the Roessner-Herman residence after our van broke down and sat for far too long by the freeway, she and Richard made us wonderfully welcome.

#269 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Faren @268

I'd almost forgotten that one

You hadn't visited it, then. Because on visiting, you'd get a 'Mystery Spot' bumper sticker on your car with a stick-force that all the wizards of Cern and Fermilab would not be able to understand*. On discovering the futility of attempts to remove it, your car- Yugo or Ferrari- becomes a permanent billboard.

Or so I've heard.

I'm saving a Mystery Spot visit for any peculiar out-of-town guests who need a Mystery Tour... I haven't been to the Mystery House either. I've been to the Rosicrucian Museum- Mummies!- but not the Lace Museum.

I know people who live just past the Mystery Spot: they have to worry for their guests' parking, as the Spot's stickermen can get overenthusiastic.

----
* my understanding is that the molecular methods of ordinary glue and stickiness isn't quite mapped out. But those bumper stickers change the forces of weak and strong.

#270 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Older @ 260

I moved to Portland in 1978, but didn't really get settled enough to start investigating the city until Spring of 1979. By that time Rose's was OK, but certainly not NY or SF quality. It went downhill from there pretty quickly.

I recall that in the '80s there was a bakery in Raleigh Hills (convenient to where I lived then) that everyone raved about. I was unimpressed, and became completely underwhelmed when I asked why they were closed on Sundays and got the answer: "There won't be any customers, everyone's in church."

#271 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 262

If you'd ever had the bagels that sell in plastic baggies at, say, Albertson's supermarkets, you'd never complain about Noah's bagel again

I have had the Fred Meyer bagels, which are about the same, I expect. Ptui! However, they do have one use: they make fairly good grilled cheese sandwiches. But bagels? Please.

Yeah, green bagels. And every St. Pat's Day everybody insists on drinking green beer. Sorry, guys, even a fox in a box can't make that work.

#272 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Re: bagels (various posts)

I grew up in a very Jewish area. I really miss being able to take proper (small, hard-on-the-outside, dens-and-chewy-on-the-inside) bagels for granted. The ones you can get in the supermarkets really are not the same. To steal from Hitchhiker "almost, but not entirely, completely unlike..."

#273 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 03:41 PM:

On another site I hang out at, we've got two terms for things which claim to be a bagel but aren't: the really bad, grocery store-type ones are "fagels" (fake bagels), and the "good, but not a bagel" sort--including those that have Things Mixed In, like raisins or sundried tomatoes or other things that don't belong on a bagel--are "bread doughnuts".

I grew up occasionally accompanying my grandmother on her Sunday morning visits to a local bagel place; she was part of a group of people who met there every week for decades, and by the time I was going they'd long since started bringing their own portable picnic tables to set up outside so as not to hog the few permanent tables all morning. One of the owners knew the regulars' birthdays, and would usually bring out a cheesecake to celebrate. The best salt bagels I've ever had, too.

Alas, when the owners decided to retire, their kids weren't interested in taking over and there's now a hardware store in its place. I've yet to find a satisfactory bagel in Atlanta since.

#274 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 04:40 PM:

Jennifer Barber @ 273 - Raisin bagels (and even Raisin Pumpernickel bagels) can be real, provided that they meet the size/texture/crust criteria. I take this position on the basis of their being widely available in Brooklyn and Queens when I was growing up.

Blueberry bagels, on the other hand, are so beyond the pale (or the eruv for that matter) that they're not worth consdering.

#275 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 04:53 PM:

I just don't accept as "bagels" anything that's got Stuff baked into the dough. Things sprinkled on top are one thing, but mixed in are quite another, for me. I know someone from New Jersey who feels the same way, but I freely admit we may be alone in this.

#276 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:07 AM:

Jennifer Barber @ 275

Oh, I'm not such a purist that I won't eat a sundried tomato bread doughnut. They actually good. But they're not bagels.

And you would have to mention salt bagels. mmmmmm.

#277 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 09:23 AM:

They actually good. But they're not bagels.

Exactly. I don't care that people like them--I don't happen to, but I'm a very picky eater. I just care that people erroneously call them "bagels". :)

#278 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 11:10 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale (#269): Ah yes, I *did* go to the Rosicrucian Museum. This discussion (side-thread) is rousing a lot of memories from my pre-teens, truly dredged up from the depths! Luckily, these don't include nasty Freudian traumas, unless undiagnosed myopia counts.

#279 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 01:05 PM:

Faren #278:

Even diagnosed myopia counts as trauma, although I can't really think of a Freudian angle ... *unless*: do you also insist on things being in the same place all the time, and become sort of disoriented when they've migrated?

#280 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2007, 11:17 PM:

JESR:

To the Bruces Durocher and Cohen, I have been reliably informed that your best bet for a decent bagel in the Northwest is to attend the annual Bagels, Blintzes, and Books fundraiser at Temple Beth Hatfiloh.

I'll keep an eye out for it. There's a nice little bagel shop in West Seattle called Zatz A Better Bagel that does all types of bagels--real bagels and strange add-ins to keep the walk-in trade happy. Don't know how authentic they are overall, but clearly they try on some level...

#281 ::: Link ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2007, 05:24 AM:

I work in a wine growing area called 'Wingen' (pronounced like Injun.) Where we have locally produced Wingen Whines. Heh.

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