Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 53
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,193
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts

    The British English Thread

    Hopefully this'll be entertaining.

    This thread stems from a debate I had recently with a colleague here in Slovakia. She's never been to an English speaking country, but she believes she knows the language better than I, because she studied British English, and I'm just an American. I looked up some differences on wikipedia, which, when organized well, fits nicely on three pages.

    But I'd like to know which of the differences are just a matter of style, and which would be considered a mistake on an essay in school, for example. Plus, I'd like to know more about slang and how to use it - I have to admit, as an America, I know little of this. So, any proper Englishman who can answer with authority on the subject, I'd appreciate it greatly.

    First question, on the subject of rhyming slang, when you use the word "Brahms", what's the best way to say it?

    "Let's go get Brahms," or "Let's go find Brahms?"

    Can you say that, or do you just say it for things like, "Man, he's really Brahms."


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Abyss, Manchester UK
    Posts
    2,925
    Thanks
    1,202
    Thanked 2,272 Times in 737 Posts
    Brahms is usually used with Liszt. As in "Brahms and Liszt"!. It's Cockney rhyming slang for 'pissed', as in 'drunk'.
    Last edited by Aly Fell; December 6th, 2010 at 01:45 PM. Reason: slepning

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    3,430
    Thanks
    643
    Thanked 1,484 Times in 719 Posts
    That's cockney rhyming slang , not something 95% of the population would ever say.

    Edit: beaten!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Abyss, Manchester UK
    Posts
    2,925
    Thanks
    1,202
    Thanked 2,272 Times in 737 Posts

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    In my own thoughts.
    Posts
    1,359
    Thanks
    434
    Thanked 561 Times in 256 Posts
    Why are you talking to this afterbirth in the first place?
    Just wear an ipod every time she starts talking.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,232
    Thanks
    679
    Thanked 863 Times in 364 Posts
    I love the English language, British English especially for the accents.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    The Frozen North (Canada)
    Posts
    1,180
    Thanks
    382
    Thanked 416 Times in 201 Posts
    Canadian English is best.
    MY WEBSITE: PaintedSky.ca
    MY SKETCHBOOK: Ook's Book - Karyl Craves Your Approval

  9. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to KarylGilbertson For This Useful Post:


  10. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanks
    111
    Thanked 1,860 Times in 604 Posts
    Here's something you'll never get from watching TV; almost nobody in England uses cockney rhyming slang and those that do are (a) born and bred in the East End of London (b) over 50 and (c) wankers (there's a good English word - 'wanker'). I was born in London and I've never once in my life heard anyone using cockney rhyming slang other than as a piss-take (another solid British phrase). My grandfather was an Eastender and retained the accent all his life, yet he'd rather have given up speech for good rather than utter a single word of rhyming slang. For your own good, forget it exists.

  11. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Baron Impossible For This Useful Post:


  12. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Estonia
    Posts
    646
    Thanks
    209
    Thanked 172 Times in 95 Posts
    I study British English. In my school, if I were to write organization (in stead of organisation) or color (in stead of colour) or the like, my teacher would correct it but not take points off because of that. If I have written the entire work in BE he would take points off if I used 'gotten' somewhere in stead of 'got', otherwise not. Basically he doesn't mind which we use as long as we're consistent, it's just that a lot of standardised tests are based on BE so he wants us prepared. That's as far as grammar goes. However, I belive I am free to use candy/apartment/elevator/drug store etc. instead of their more British counterparts sweets/flat/lift/pharmacy (even on the standardised tests).

    I am not a native speaker though but this is the gist I have gotten (shit) of the official differences.
    Last edited by nofu; December 6th, 2010 at 07:58 PM.

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to nofu For This Useful Post:


  14. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,193
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    I know what Brahms means, but how would you use it in an actual sentence? And this thread isn't about the coworker, it's about my interest in British English - even/especially rhyming slang.

  15. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanks
    111
    Thanked 1,860 Times in 604 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by nofu View Post
    I study British English. In my school, if I were to write organization (in stead of organisation) or color (in stead of colour)
    The first one's interchangeable although the second should really be 'colour'. You'd get marks taken off in an English exam over here for that (and, soon, in any exam because the government is finally going to introduce mark-downs for incorrect grammar and spelling in all disciplines).

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Baron Impossible For This Useful Post:


  17. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    317
    Thanks
    72
    Thanked 146 Times in 59 Posts
    Baron Impossible: I now read everything you write with a brittish accent. I haven´t noticed before that you were from England.
    Last edited by OHI; December 6th, 2010 at 03:41 PM.

  18. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,193
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    So, 1st question, how would you use Brahms and Liszt in a sentence?

    2nd Question, concerning collective nouns, such as countries and words like, group, band, team, etc. In America we treat them as singular. In British English, they could be treated as singular or plural depending on context. According to Wikipedia, these sentences are correct in British English:

    "Spain are the winners of the match."
    "Clash are a band."
    "the team is in the locker room. The team are fighting among themselves."

    Question: I assume this is correct, but what if you made them singular? Would it be counted wrong on a test?

  19. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    14,050
    Thanks
    4,223
    Thanked 6,727 Times in 4,633 Posts
    "I'm a bit Brahms", is the only way I've ever heard it. This is from someone who says,"Pon Rep," to wind people up.

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to Black Spot For This Useful Post:


  21. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    127
    Thanks
    1,357
    Thanked 204 Times in 50 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Impossible View Post
    and, soon, in any exam because the government is finally going to introduce mark-downs for incorrect grammar and spelling in all disciplines
    Thank goodness. I know that there was talk, for a time, that they would allow text-speak in written exams >.<
    'Science is one cold-hearted bitch with a 14 inch strap-on' -Vince Masuka

  22. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanks
    111
    Thanked 1,860 Times in 604 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by OHI View Post
    Baron Impossible: I know read everything you write with a brittish accent. I haven´t noticed before that you were from England.
    Go ahead It'll probably be the wrong accent, though. Mine's reasonably broad Lancashire. I say 'reasonably' as even I have trouble deciphering broad local English accents, and as for broad Scottish... forget it. It might as well be Sumerian.

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    So, 1st question, how would you use Brahms and Liszt in a sentence?
    Unless you're discussing classical music, I honestly wouldn't. I'm astonished Black Spot has heard it said out loud because if you came out with something like that round here you'd provoke loud and extended ridicule. I'm saying this for your own good, in case you ever visit

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    2nd Question, concerning collective nouns, such as countries and words like, group, band, team, etc. In America we treat them as singular. In British English, they could be treated as singular or plural depending on context. According to Wikipedia, these sentences are correct in British English:

    "Spain are the winners of the match."
    "Clash are a band."
    "the team is in the locker room. The team are fighting among themselves."

    Question: I assume this is correct, but what if you made them singular? Would it be counted wrong on a test?
    "The team are fighting among themselves" couldn't be made singular without altering the meaning, so that's not really applicable. It would be wrong to say "Spain is the winner of the match". For some reason - popular usage I guess - it would be fine to say 'Clash is a band'. Aside from Clash is no longer a band. And when they were they were 'The Clash'

    Some groups are always plural in UK and US. For example, you would never say 'The police is...'

    Quote Originally Posted by Stricken View Post
    Thank goodness. I know that there was talk, for a time, that they would allow text-speak in written exams >.<
    I don't know when they're introducing it, but not before time.

  23. The Following User Says Thank You to Baron Impossible For This Useful Post:


  24. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Abyss, Manchester UK
    Posts
    2,925
    Thanks
    1,202
    Thanked 2,272 Times in 737 Posts
    You'd do well not to dwell too much on Cockney Rhyming slang, as Baron says, hardly anyone uses it other than as a joke. If you want to know more about it there's this website:

    http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk/

    However, one of the things about British, in this case specifically English dialects and accents, is how varied they are, but the ones that get the attention are generally 'posh' or BBC English, which is pretty accent less, or East End Cockney, which are not representative of all the others.

    I sometimes imagine most people think Brits all talk like this, I know I do:


  25. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Aly Fell For This Useful Post:


  26. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanks
    111
    Thanked 1,860 Times in 604 Posts
    ^ Harry Enfield - haven't seen him in a while. Still funny though

    Meanwhile, Ray Winstone shows us how everyday life plays out 'rand the owd Eastend'

    NSFW


  27. The Following User Says Thank You to Baron Impossible For This Useful Post:


  28. #19
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    14,050
    Thanks
    4,223
    Thanked 6,727 Times in 4,633 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Impossible View Post
    I'm astonished Black Spot has heard it said out loud because if you came out with something like that round here you'd provoke loud and extended ridicule. I'm saying this for your own good, in case you ever visit
    Yes, it was only ever said in an ironic way with people pretending to be cool. Only been to Lancashire on a cricket tour - great beer.

  29. The Following User Says Thank You to Black Spot For This Useful Post:


  30. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Abyss, Manchester UK
    Posts
    2,925
    Thanks
    1,202
    Thanked 2,272 Times in 737 Posts
    When I see Ray 'givin' it aht' I'm grateful I live in Manchester. Incidentally the actress on the receiving end of Rays little tirade is Gary Oldman's real life sister Laila Morse, who plays Mo in Eastenders!

  31. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanks
    111
    Thanked 1,860 Times in 604 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Aly Fell View Post
    When I see Ray 'givin' it aht' I'm grateful I live in Manchester. Incidentally the actress on the receiving end of Rays little tirade is Gary Oldman's real life sister Laila Morse, who plays Mo in Eastenders!
    You can definitely see the resemblence, now you mention it. Oldman wrote the script, I think (edit: and directed). I've been a fan of big Ray since I first saw him in Quadrophenia about 30 years ago - "I'm the Daddy nah, next time I'll fakkin kill yer!" Typical English hardman, our Ray.

  32. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,193
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    "For example, you would never say 'The police is...'"

    I would. In America, sure, the Police is a famous band. It's a weird case, because in all other contexts, police is plural. Whereas, in America we say the Beatles are a band, because it's plural with an s. Each member is a Beatle - a made up word that applies only to those four men. I'm not sure what I'd say for the Eels, the Vaselines, the Aquabats, etc. I can say one member of that group is an Aquabat, since it's also made up, but would I call someone an Eel or a Vaseline? That wouldn't make sense. In America, it'd make more sense to call the performer a "member of the Eels".

    As for the team fighting among themselves, it'd be strange in America to say "is" or "are".
    We resolve this by avoiding it. We say, "The team members are fighting among themselves." "The people of Spain are happy with their win." And, I have to say, this is one of the few times I feel proud to be an American, because it just sounds so much better.

    EDIT: You know, you could see this in America, "The team is tearing itself apart." Could you say that in the UK?

    2nd EDIT: On the topic of rhyming slang, I'd only ever use them as a joke; an American could never hope to use them seriously. But for me they're funny enough to be entertaining, and I love any film with Alan Ford. Nothing's more fun than playing through Snatch and trying to mimic all the different accents. It'd make a fine drinking game.
    Last edited by TASmith; December 6th, 2010 at 04:07 PM.

  33. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    127
    Thanks
    1,357
    Thanked 204 Times in 50 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    You know, you could see this in America, "The team is tearing itself apart." Could you say that in the UK?

    I think that would be acceptable as you are referring to the team as a single entity by using the word 'itself'. If you were to say "The team is tearing themselves apart" then that would be a very obvious mistake as you're combining a word that signifies the plural ('themselves') with the singular 'is'.
    'Science is one cold-hearted bitch with a 14 inch strap-on' -Vince Masuka

  34. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,193
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    Yeah, it'd be a mistake in America too, but that's not quite how they explained it on wikipedia. It's not simply a matter of the pronouns used after, it's something to do with "formal agreement" and "notional agreement". Which is just alien to me. They say this,

    "A committee was formed. The committee were unable to agree."

    The first indicates committee as one unit, while the second sentence refers more to a group of individuals. For me, both sentences ought to be singular. It's just one committee...

  35. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    127
    Thanks
    1,357
    Thanked 204 Times in 50 Posts
    Well it's been a long time since I studied the correct forms and structures of the English language, so to be honest I'd find it quite difficult to explain why a sentence should be so, but the example you used

    "A committee was formed. The committee were unable to agree."
    sounds correct to me. If someone were to say "The committee was unable to agree" I would automatically know that to be incorrect, though I wouldn't be able to say why. Theoretically I would say you're right: If you begin by referring to something in the singular it would seem logical that you would continue to do so. However, when one puts that into practice, it just doesn't sound right, though I couldn't say why. I guess the rules of the English language have been drummed into me so much from a young age that I see it as 'just the way it is' rather than being able to explain why. My strength was always literature as opposed to language
    'Science is one cold-hearted bitch with a 14 inch strap-on' -Vince Masuka

  36. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanks
    111
    Thanked 1,860 Times in 604 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    "For example, you would never say 'The police is...'"

    I would. In America, sure, the Police is a famous band.
    Sorry, I'd got away from bands and was just talking about the police

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    As for the team fighting among themselves, it'd be strange in America to say "is" or "are".
    We resolve this by avoiding it. We say, "The team members are fighting among themselves." "The people of Spain are happy with their win." And, I have to say, this is one of the few times I feel proud to be an American, because it just sounds so much better.
    In the 'Spain are the winners' thing it's actually referring to the team. So if you wanted to avoid it I guess you'd say, 'The Spanish team are the winners', or 'is the winner.' On that topic, though, it is certainly the case that in the US you use more descriptive speech than over here. I like that in a way, genuinely, although I find it ironic that you've removed most of the letters from the words

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    EDIT: You know, you could see this in America, "The team is tearing itself apart." Could you say that in the UK?
    You'd have to, yes, because it's referring to the team as a singular 'virtual' entity rather than a group of individuals.

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Nothing's more fun than playing through Snatch and trying to mimic all the different accents. It'd make a fine drinking game.
    If you want to play a real drinking game to a fine English film, watch 'Withnail and I' and match Withnail drink for drink. Difficult to say how much a non-English person would relate to the film themes, especially the humour, but it's my all-time favourite film by a mile, literally life-changing in its brilliance. Drinking game - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withnai...#Drinking_game

  37. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    2,337
    Thanks
    1,074
    Thanked 2,206 Times in 1,056 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Impossible View Post
    I like that in a way, genuinely, although I find it ironic that you've removed most of the letters from the words
    Blame Webster for that. Apparently he was allergic to "extra" letters. (Maybe he was lazy or something.)

    I got into the habit of adding "u" to words when I was a kid because I thought it looked fancier. I think I added u's to words that were never meant to have them. (I still switch back and forth between British and American spelling on some things.)

    (And then there's "grey" versus "gray", I'm not even sure if that's British versus American or something else... But I've actually found a use for that. When I'm jotting down color notes, I use "grey" as a kind of shorthand for warmish greys, and "gray" for coolish grays.) (Hey, I know what it means, that's all that counts...)

    The one Briticism that gets me every single time is "pants". Any time I read something British that features any gag involving "pants", I think "what's the big deal about pants?" And then I remember "oh, underpants!"

    I wonder how many embarrassing American/English encounters have resulted from confusion over pants.
    Last edited by QueenGwenevere; December 7th, 2010 at 09:42 AM.

  38. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Abyss, Manchester UK
    Posts
    2,925
    Thanks
    1,202
    Thanked 2,272 Times in 737 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Impossible View Post
    If you want to play a real drinking game to a fine English film, watch 'Withnail and I' and match Withnail drink for drink. Difficult to say how much a non-English person would relate to the film themes, especially the humour, but it's my all-time favourite film by a mile, literally life-changing in its brilliance. Drinking game - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withnai...#Drinking_game
    Superb film! "We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now!"

    Here's a question for you, if you can be bothered: which actor takes you from Camberwell to Mars via Tatooine, Fiorina 161 and Coronation Street?

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post

    I wonder how many embarrassing American/English encounters have resulted from confusion over pants.
    I like the word 'trousers' anyway!

    And suspenders. In the UK suspenders hold up stockings, not trousers... er pants... Braces hold up pants, er trousers over here, but you can put braces on your teeth! Oh it gets confusing. What was it Shaw said? "England and America are two countries separated by a common language."

  39. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Savannah, GA
    Posts
    3,091
    Thanks
    1,795
    Thanked 1,557 Times in 608 Posts
    OI!

    That is all.

  40. The Following User Says Thank You to Psychotime For This Useful Post:


  41. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Lebanon
    Posts
    1,496
    Thanks
    230
    Thanked 491 Times in 271 Posts
    Sort of like the phrase "Havin a bubble". Most people would think this would mean drinking some champagne but actually pertains to a 'bubble baf', 'Baf' being the word bath pronounced with the cockney accent. And actually means having a laugh.

    I may not be British but my nanny was and I attended a British school, tho mostly our teachers were either Welsh or Irish.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 54
    Last Post: September 23rd, 2010, 01:29 PM
  2. Obtaining British Citizenship?
    By Ryan K in forum Artist Lounge
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: September 8th, 2009, 09:29 PM
  3. The British Need Help (attn: Uk)
    By jetpack42 in forum Artist Lounge
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: August 3rd, 2004, 04:45 AM
  4. Any British People Out There??!
    By -The Swift- in forum Education & Schools for Artists
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: March 10th, 2004, 04:05 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

There are no members to list at the moment.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Designed by The Coldest Water, we build the coldest best water bottles, ice packs and best pillows.