After a year with PriusChat...

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Oxo, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Oxo

    Oxo New Member

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    I’ve now been a subscriber to PriusChat for exactly a year and have owned a Prius for a year so here are a few words to mark the occasion. I log on at least once a day. Not that I read all the posts, probably between 5% and 10%.

    But PriusChat usually has entertaining, informative or amusing stuff in it as well as being not only a valuable source of information about the Prius but also having interesting things about American motoring generally, American attitudes (especially political), and the American vernacular. Some of the political posts are especially interesting or provocative but as an outsider I try to avoid responding.
    One Topic mentioned the cost of medical treatment, etc. in the USA. As one who has never had to pay a medical or surgical bill of any sort the figures came as a shock to me and it made me reflect on what impact medical expenses would have on my personal finances if I was not a UK citizen.

    I’ve sometimes found the American vocabulary puzzling. No doubt I’ve lived a sheltered life but I did see a lot of Hollywood films in my youth and I visited California and Florida for a few weeks in the 1980s. So I know that ‘gas’ is a liquid you put in your car, not a gas you burn in the kitchen. But among words I’ve found difficult are ‘rocks’ and ‘sucks’ as verbs. Rocking is something done by boats (not at all pleasant) or what you do in a rocking chair so it’s a big leap of meaning when it describes something admirable.
    Same with ‘sucks’. Babies and vacuum cleaners do it. How did it come to describe something contemptible?
    The meaning of ‘totalled’ (irreparable, can’t be used again) is instantly clear but it was some time before it dawned on me that ‘mileage’ in the USA means ‘miles per gallon’. Here ‘mileage’ means any distance, not just for a gallon. (e.g. “The car’s mileage is 82,000â€).

    Another word which puzzles me sometimes is ‘dude’. I suspect it has always been derogatory slang in the USA and a foreigner would be wise to avoid using it. For a statement such as, “This dude was going too fast and totalled my car,†a speaker in the UK might say “This idiot was going too fast and now my car is a write-off.â€

    Cars have never interested me much so I’m not a motoring enthusiast. In fact I only use my car for journeys of 50 miles or less, preferring rail travel.
    So last year I’d scarcely heard of hybrids until I saw a Prius in the Toyota sales room. But it seemed a good idea so I bought one and PriusChat information about the details has been a godsend.

    So thanks to Danny et al and all contributors. Keep it going!

    :rolleyes:
     
  2. Michgal007

    Michgal007 Senior Member

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    I came to USA to study about 7 yrs ago, from Sri Lanka. It took me a while to understand "american english". I am still learning new slang words...
     
  3. paprius4030

    paprius4030 My first Prius

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    Oxo I enjoyed reading your post. It reminded me of my uncle in France who I visited when I was very young in the 60's. He was an English teacher in High School, and his class was unique in that he taught the "American" version of English instead of the"King's English". He was very interested in all our slang sayings. It was so funny watching him call his mother in law "an Old Bag" while we were there. But hey I always tought "The boot" was something you put on your feet in winter, not the truck of a car LOL..
     
  4. Charles Suitt

    Charles Suitt Senior Member

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    :) Top of the day Oxo

    Are you tellin' me that slang expressions are absent in the UK? We've enjoyed numerous visits to your island kingdom and find "The Queen's English" also has its unique expressions not to be found in grammer texts.

    I must agree that some of the "American English" slang expressions are crude (just like some folks are crude) and I refrain from their use. I found the UK slang expressions generally more sophisticated.

    Thanks for your post, my British cousin..!!
     
  5. Rangerdavid

    Rangerdavid Senior Member

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    I too enjoyed reading your post, Oxo. I'm glad you are a member here, and in fact, i wish you would add some of the British slang, so we might become familiar with the "slang" terms used in the UK as well. I also have visited your grand country, the country of my ancestors, and find the UK and its citizens completely intriguing, but I could never get used to driving on the left side of the road!!

    thanks for your post. :D :D
     
  6. mootsman

    mootsman New Member

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    "Dude" is not derogatory. It's been around for years and has never been negative. "Sucks" used to be considered profane but is now so common most folks have forgotten the origin. Our health care system is indeed problematical for those not covered. On the other hand, folks from other countries who have free care often come here for treatment....it's complicated.
     
  7. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Oxo @ Sep 23 2006, 08:02 AM) [snapback]323856[/snapback]</div>
    Oxo,

    "Dude" is a complicated and multifaceted word. The typical use would be equivalent to "Bloke" (or "Cove" in an earlier age) in the UK vernacular. However, it can also be used as an exclamation of sorts as in "Dude! The Newcastle Side just smashed Wigan yet again!".

    For more on the subject check out Dude on Wikipedia.

    "Rocks" is derived from "Rock 'n Roll" not from the motion. If you like a particular band you might say that they "Rock" and you would get the idea across even if they were a string quartet not Jimi Hendrix. Naturally the expression has carried over and can be applied to pretty much anything now.

    It's definitely not as confusing as "Bad", which during the 80's meant good. I don't think anyones really using that one anymore, I havn't heard it in an age.
     
  8. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Ahhh, I so enjoyed studying Linguistics and Etymology. You have reminded me of those days, Oxo. Also, I spent quite a school year teaching in Ireland and did my own bit of slang discovery.

    Thanks for the insight and your thoughts. Your post rocks, you don't suck, and dude, I'm getting good mileage. :D

    I hope you hang around for at least another year.
     
  9. Starfall

    Starfall New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Michgal007 @ Sep 23 2006, 09:30 AM) [snapback]323861[/snapback]</div>
    I was born here & I'm still learning! And it's not just slang.

    English is such an evolving language as a wonderful Chicago Tribune article from January 8, 2000 (TRUE TO THEIR WORDS OF PREFIXES, SUFFIXES AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN) shows. Each year we adopt or create new words which are fascinating because they reflect our culture. Here's a quote from the beginning of that article:

    "In 1905, people were in love with a brand-new word: "Jellybean."
    In 1951, there was "rock and roll." In 1962, "car pool." In 1963, "Duh."
    In 1972, "Watergate." In 1981, "wannabe." In 1984, "yuppie."
    In 1994, "go postal." In 1995, "World Wide Web." And in 1996, "soccer moms."

    Tony, the American Dialect Society (http://www.americandialect.org/index.php/amerdial/categories/C178/) notes that "truthiness" is the 2005 "word of the year" & "meet-up" (local special interest meeting organized through a web site) was voted among the most likely to succeed in 2004. It's a fascinating site for word afficionados.

    Meanwhile, if anyone really wants to be up on his/her slang, try working in a high school!
     
  10. Cheap!

    Cheap! New Member

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    Oxo
    I had to stand in Que to read your post. I loved it but I had to mind the gaps.

    Well I must go and get some banngers and mash.

    Bob's you uncle.
     
  11. Oxo

    Oxo New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Charles Suitt @ Sep 23 2006, 10:42 AM) [snapback]323884[/snapback]</div>
    No - slang is very common here and much of it is of American origin. I often have to ask my kids what words mean. "Omigod," says a girl of about 12, "it's really, like, WICKED!" on receiving a gift.
    "What the hell does she mean?" I ask my son. "She likes it a lot," he explains.

    What I find curious is that the coarsest words, which were really taboo in my younger days, are quite ancient in origin and are now used among all levels, both sides of the Atlantic. I remember the shock I had when I first saw the word "f**k" in a newspaper. It was in 1960, when a publisher was on trial for obscenity in Lawrence's novel "Lady Chatterley's Lover". Today the verb is heard as an expletive in numerous films and TV plays and frequently appears in print but I don't hear people of an older generation using it much, if at all. You even see and hear it in foreign countries. Last year I was in Italy for a few days and noticed some Italian graffiti daubed on a wall which included the F word in English several times. I know a bit of Italian but I don't know any taboo words in that language!

    Years ago, when I was a teenager, my father, talking about a neighbour who used the taboo words a lot said to me, "You can always judge a man's intelligence by the adjectives he uses." I'm not sure if that's still true.
     
  12. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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  13. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Oxo @ Sep 23 2006, 12:53 PM) [snapback]323968[/snapback]</div>
    I guess your dad wasn't a fan of D.H. Lawrence. :D
     
  14. Starfall

    Starfall New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Sep 23 2006, 02:20 PM) [snapback]323976[/snapback]</div>
    Fascinating.

    Does anyone have an English equivalent?
     
  15. SoopahMan

    SoopahMan Member

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    Awesome post, Oxo
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Oxo @ Sep 23 2006, 07:02 AM) [snapback]323856[/snapback]</div>
    Rocks comes from when Rock music was pop music in the US; first music rocked (because it was Rock), then bands rocked, then anyone rocked. "Santana rocks man!" Of course now it's all rap, so I guess we may find that "Betty krunks dude" could have the same meaning someday.

    My friends and I often say, "That sucks nice person," which I think spells out why the short version "sucks" means "bad."

    My friends and I have always used the word "dude" as a neutral word for any male. It's the same as "guy" and maybe the same as your "bloke." The word technically comes from ranches - there were Dude Ranches, referring to the animal crap on the ground, but then inferred it meant the men attending to those animals, and ultimately in a positive way. Hey - America loves a poop joke.

    Newer words out here are:
    "Mad" which means "very."
    "Hot" which has a ton of meanings based on context - it could mean an attractive girl ("that girl's mad hot"), it could mean someone bringing a gun unexpectedly ("hey watch it I think those boys rolled in hot"), and it could just mean cool/good ("Oh that's mad hot!" referring to anything - a good poker play, a new car, a cool sports replay).
    "Sick" can have the same meaning as that last meaning of hot, though it tends to reflect skill ("That guy is sick at dribbling," or simply, "Alstott is sick dude, sick.") - it infers that for someone to be that good at something, there must be something wrong with them.
    "Wicked" also means "very" but only in the Northeast and to some degree in California.

    And in some parts of Pennsylvania, people have dismissed the need for the words "to be" from grammar:
    Pennsylvania: "Smell this. I think it needs washed."
    Anywhere else in the US: "Smell this. I think it needs to be washed."
     
  16. sub3marathonman

    sub3marathonman Active Member

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    I'm just thankful I don't smoke. I don't think I could bring myself to ask for "a pack of fags." Not that there's anything wrong with it.
     
  17. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Starfall @ Sep 23 2006, 05:13 PM) [snapback]324068[/snapback]</div>
    There used to be a good Britspeak page but I think it's gone. I did find these though:
    http://englishclub.8m.com/usuk1.htm
    http://englishclub.8m.com/ukus1.htm

    To the OP, I used to work w/a bunch of British folks in my previous group at work including a guy in the office next to mine. The British terms I heard out of him, some coworkers and sometimes on TV always amused me such as bloke, bollocks, lorry, motor way, central reservation, boot and bonnet. Some other funny ones to (me) were the definitions of pants vs. trousers and fag.
     
  18. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Starfall @ Sep 23 2006, 05:13 PM) [snapback]324068[/snapback]</div>
    What ever do you mean?
     
  19. mcbrunnhilde

    mcbrunnhilde Opera singin' Prius nut!

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Sep 23 2006, 10:31 PM) [snapback]324154[/snapback]</div>
    I wonder if the OP meant to ask for the British equivalent of that site (i.e. a Brit's guide to speaking Yank).
     
  20. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Michgal007 @ Sep 23 2006, 10:30 AM) [snapback]323861[/snapback]</div>
    I have a friend who came to the USA from India to study. Filling out forms before a placement test, he asked a young lady next to him if she had a rubber he could use; in his case a rubber being something you use to erase mistakes. In her case, being from the USA, a rubber is a condom - not at all the same thing. :lol:

    Tom
     
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