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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 To do / All things With art- / Lessness -- Piet Hein


Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>Clang, clang, clang (was:Re: CHAT: Explaining English to the Americans (was: Hymn to Ikea))
Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>