Americanisms (was RE: Sorcery and Cecilia and Desert Island books)
minnow at belfry.org.uk
minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Jan 17 10:44:20 EST 2005
The fiendish Gili remarked:
>> 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?
Temptress! I am meant to be working!
>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.
Personally I'd put my groceries in the larder, the fridge and the freezer. :-)
>What I'd really like to know though, is what do you call the thing with
>wheels you use to push around your baby?
>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.
In England of recent years, F, because we seem to have taken to calling the
upright infant chariot a "buggy" short for "baby-buggy". I think you have
A and B the wrong way round: I've only very rarely heard "stroller" in
England, whereas they are advertised in the local paper (I have just
checked, since I happened to have one lying around) as "pushchairs".
They're for older infants rather than babies: toddlers have a pushchair,
babies have a pram, either may have a buggy.
Roget's Thesaurus, which I looked in out of interest, has the whole lot
under the heading "pushcart", which I *certainly* haven't ever heard except
as a sort of barrow for selling fruit-and-veg off in the street, belonging
to a coster-monger.
John and Barbara are both old enough to walk, aren't they? I suspect that
Mary Poppins might have had a "bassinet" for a baby; that's a wicker
basket, on wheels when it's for out-of-doors, or a very young child's cot
or crib inside the nursery just sitting on the bed. That one isn't in
Roget at all as a wheeled vehicle, but it jolly well used to be and is in
Chambers 1988 and the S.O.D. 1933 and 1972 as such, dated 1854. It was the
proto-perambulator (and perambulator entered the language in 1857).
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at suberic.net with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at http://suberic.net/dwj/list/
More information about the Dwj