CHAT: English words (was Re: Hymn to Ikea (was: Re: CHAT: F.L.O.E.S.))
|From:||Ph. D. <phild@...>|
|Date:||Friday, February 27, 2004, 0:53|
Joseph Fatula wrote:
> From: "And Rosta":
> > I share my office with a new colleague who has come back
> > from 20 years in LA (after speaking Britishish Indian English
> > for her first 20) & is having trouble readjusting and reacquiring
> > all the Briticisms she had had to lose. "Queue" was one she
> > mentioned. Another was the telephone being "engaged", which
> > apparently tickles Californians no end. (Are public lavatories
> > either "vacant" or *"busy"* in America?)
> You'd be hard pressed to find a "lavatory" around here, though
> about half the people in this city would understand that "lava"
> means "wash" . . . But to answer your question, a public
> bathroom would be either "vacant" or "in use", depending on its
I would say that most Americans know what a lavatory is, although
we don't use the word ourselves. But when I watch Jay Leno asking
questions on the street, I'm not so sure. "Occupied" is also used
to refer to a restroom which is in use.
> > Sofa? Couch? Chesterfield? I forget what you call them. They
> > sit on them all the time in Friends.
> Haven't seen it, though I know what a sofa/couch is. Chesterfield sounds
> like something you made up just to yank my chain, but that probably means
> it's a real English word.
When I was a child in the 1960s, my older relatives (here in Midwestern
USA) called them Davenports. (I know of nothing called a Chesterfield
except a brand of cigarettes.)