CHAT: Explaining English to the Americans (was: Hymn to Ikea)
|From:||John Cowan <cowan@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, February 26, 2004, 12:25|
Joseph Fatula scripsit:
> > ploughing
> Coughing comes to mind, but I doubt there's a connection, given the
> context. Maybe it means something like "wading"?
A mere spelling variant of "plowing". Sherlock Holmes once broke a
case based on the villain's American spelling of "ploughs" as "plows".
In this case, American spelling is actually the conservative one.
> > trolley
> I've never seen an Ikea, but I doubt they're large enough that people
> need trolleys to get around in them. What does this mean when it
> isn't a sort of train car that runs on a city street (usually pulled
> by a cable buried in the asphalt)?
A shopping cart. However, what you are describing is a cable car; these
exist only in San Francisco, though they were once far more common.
Trolleys/trams/streetcars are powered by electricity drawn from an
overhead wire. Technically, "trolley" refers to the wheel on a springy
arm used to maintain contact with the wire; "trolley" begat "trolley car"
which was shortened to "trolley". Most trolleys nowadays use pantograph
connectors instead, however, as they are considerably more reliable.
> > queue
> Already encountered, but always jarring to see it used like this. It'd be
> like if you said "the readying of people waiting to claim one", meaning the
> same thing.
I wish I said "queueing" (but I can't, of course, if I wish to be
understood); my native term "getting on line" (New York and Minneapolis;
elsewhere "getting in line") is verbose by comparison.
> > settee
> Goatee? Something that has been set?
That on which one sits, but specifically a sort of two-person sofa.
Some call it a "love seat". This is not dialectal.
> > chicanes
> Usually that's spelled chicanos here in the US...but you probably
> don't mean that, do you?
Deceptions. This is definitely not dialectal, just obscure.
On behalf of a probably bemused And, I will explain that "Chicano"
is a dialectal variant of "Mexicano", and means a Mexican-American;
its use has political implications of non-subservience.
And finally, a "hajj" is the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims must
make at least once in a lifetime provided they can afford it.
There is / One art John Cowan <jcowan@...>
No more / No less http://www.reutershealth.com
To do / All things http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
With art- / Lessness -- Piet Hein