Americanisms (was RE: Sorcery and Cecilia and Desert Island books)

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Mon Jan 17 08:13:02 EST 2005


Otter dangled:

> If you speak American English, what would you call the following:
>  - a carbonated beverage?
> - the thing that contains your groceries?

I see a very long thread coming up. Shall I take the bait?

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I wait to see what others are calling it, and then go with the flow. I can't
always keep straight which variant is proper where. I'm pretty sure a
carbonated drink is "pop" in Pittsburgh, but "soda" in Cambridge,
Massachusets. But it may be the other way around. In some places it's a
"cola", even if it's not Coca-Cola, and then Coca-Cola is referred to as
Coke. Or else you call Coca-Cola "Cola", and Coke is something different
altogether. Also, it's carbonated in the U.S., but in the U.K. it would
probably be fizzy. Unless its sparkling, which is usually reserved for posh
drinks, like bottled water, cider, or champagne. Then there's "squash",
which can be fizzy or not, depending on where you buy it, but is usually
citrus-fruit flavored. Likewise "lemonade", which in America would be made
with lemons and sugar, and in England would be fizzy. Or carbonated.
The thing you put your groceries in is usually a shopping bag, unless it's a
grocery bag. However you are less likely to get ridiculed for confusing
groceries with shopping than you are for confusing pop with soda.

What I'd really like to know though, is what do you call the thing with
wheels you use to push around your baby?

Is it:

A. a pushchair
B. a stroller
C. a baby carriage
D. a pram
E. a perambulator
F. none of the above

If I remember correctly, A. is American for what a baby sits in upright, B.
is the British equivalent of A. C. is American for what a younger baby lies
in, D. is the British equivalent of C., and E. is what Mary Poppins uses for
John and Barbara. But I may be hopelessly confused.


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