Telegraph.co.uk's top 10 most annoying Americanisms - we can do better.

Blind_Io

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http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/toby_harnden/blog/2008/12/23/top_10_most_annoying_americanisms

Michelle Obama just sent me an email wishing me "Happy Holidays" and asking me to give money "to causes that are especially meaningful to me and my family" (food banks and deployed troops - not the Obama campaign this time).
She doesn't mention Christmas at all, instead talking vaguely of "a time to celebrate our blessings, the new year, and a new era for our country".
The term "Happy Holidays" is certainly one that grates on this British ear and I confess it's not the only one. Every day, I have to navigate the common language which, as George Bernard Shaw put it, divides our two nations.
But I don't mean simple Americanisms like stroller (pushchair), diaper (nappy), ladybug (ladybird), Mom (Mum), entr?e (main course), Santa (Father Christmas), takeout (takeaway), pre-owned (secondhand), mad (angry), chill (calm down), Santa (Father Christmas) etc etc but the phrases that really make you want to go postal.
Here are the top 10 that, after nearly seven years here, infuriate me most:
1. "Happy Holidays."
Translation: "Merry Christmas but I realise you might be Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Bahai, something even more exotic, agnostic or Godless and I don't want to offend you."
2. "Have a Nice Day."
Translation: "I would like you to have a pleasant time today" or "I hate you" - or anything in between.
3. "You're welcome."
Translation: Meaningless Pavlovian response to thank you.
4. "Do the math."
Translation: "Work it out yourself, stupid."
5. "Let's visit with each other."
Translation: "We should spend time together."
6. "How are you today?"
Translation: "We mean nothing to each other, but let's pretend."
7. "Good luck with that."Translation: "You have no chance at all."
8. "Oh my gosh!"
Translation: "I fear you may feel that taking the Lord's name in vain is blasphemous."
9. "Can I use your bathroom?"
Translation: "I would like to use your lavatory."
10. "Not so much."
Translation: "That's completely wrong." Used on me in classic fashion by a Clinton aide back in February.
Maybe there are others that make your blood boil - or some Britishisms that really get under your skin.
This is the worst my country has to offer? I'm almost insulted! I challenge FinalGear to come up with a better list than this tosh!
 

teeb

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My pet hate is

"I'll write you".

What will you write me? Do you mean that you will write to me?
 

wooflepoof

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Office sp33k:

"oop there he is! hey heeey!"

translation:

"that guy is a f'king jerk"
 

NecroJoe

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My pet hate is

"I'll write you".

What will you write me? Do you mean that you will write to me?
That's a lame one to get upset about. Do you also get upset at: "I'll call you" rather than "I'll call to you?" Or how about "Dont' forget to write."


The author didn't write a very good article. His whole first paragraph of "americanisms" are simple regionally different words.
stroller (pushchair)
To me, if I heard "pushchair" for the first time, I'd think it'd be a wheelchair.

diaper (nappy)
So, are Depends called "Adult nappies" in the UK?

ladybug (ladybird)
It's a bug, not a bird. How is the English word superior?

entr?e (main course)
We use both, pretty evenly. "Main course" makes it sound like there are other courses "salad, appetizer, desert, etc." But if all you're having is one "dish that's a meal" I think entr?e is fine, especially since the word has non-english roots.

Santa (Father Christmas)
It's based on his Germanic-origin name. Donner (Donder) and Blitzen? German for thunder and lightning. If we're going to be picky, why Father Christmas and not St. Nicholas?

pre-owned (secondhand)
We use both. If we're talking about cars, the most common is "Used." Second-hand is often used for smaller goods.

mad (angry)
Greek philosophers believed anger was a mild form of madness.

chill (calm down)
Simply "street" slang. When someone's upset, it's often said they have a hot temper or are "hot-headed." While I don't use it, I think it's hilarious that someone gets so upset about it that they have to write about it in a published column. Dude...chill.

3. "You're welcome." Translation: Meaningless Pavlovian response to thank you.
Genuine curiosity here...what is said in Europe? If someone says "thank you" do you simply stare them in the face, or is there some other quite common phrase that's used? I ask, because in any language class I've ever taken, one always learns a "you're welcome" phrase. I this just an "American thing," that we're taught this?

4. "Do the math." Translation: "Work it out yourself, stupid."
It's meant as an insult. It's not meant as a polite way to say it.

5. "Let's visit with each other." Translation: "We should spend time together."
I've never heard any American say that...from rural Wisconsin, to California (San Francisco area) to me girlfriend who's from Los Angeles, to Boston, MA.

7. "Good luck with that."Translation: "You have no chance at all."
That's exactly what's meant. It's meant as a sarcastic and humorous slant. Besides, I've heard "good luck with that" on TV shows from england.


9. "Can I use your bathroom?" Translation: "I would like to use your lavatory."
So no one in england ever asks to use the restroom, they simple state that they would like to use it, and then wait for someone to notice and offer up its use?

While I admit that there are MANY bizarre things Americans say, and I'm really looking forward to reading the many that will undoubtedly be written here (as a collective, "we" are way more clever than this author) I gotta say...this guy's list sucks ass.
 
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chaos386

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Is it just me, or do you have to have a stick shoved really far up your ass to find "Happy Holidays" offensive?
 

Dogbert

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Is it just me, or do you have to grasp a lot of straws and write a really bad article to find "Happy Holidays" offensive?
There are a lot of genuinely amusing 'muricanisms. How the writer failed to find any of them is beyond me.

"Have a nice day"? That's an annoying Americanism?
 

argatoga

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"I could care less" translation "I am an idiot".
 

otispunkmeyer

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Necro... do the math is hardly insult worthy.

its a pretty weak insult, we need to spice it up with some more hurtful phrases!
 

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What a sad little list, a mix of stuff that is nothing more than trying too hard to fill space and some stuff I've never heard of or don't hear that much. I hear "oh my god" at least 10 times more than gosh, I've never once in my life heard "Let's visit with each other". If you do a search for that phrase you only get this guys list.
 

teeb

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That's a lame one to get upset about. Do you also get upset at: "I'll call you" rather than "I'll call to you?" Or how about "Dont' forget to write."
You're comparing apples and oranges here.

Call is used directly with no 'to'. "I'll call him", or "I think I'll call George Bush a monkey". You would need to phrase it "I will place a call" in order to need a 'to', for example "I'll place a call to Spectre and tell him my frank and open opinion of Jaguars".

Write changes its meaning with the simple addition of 'to' - I'll write a letter; I'll write a letter to Tony Blair. You wouldn't say "I'll write a letter Tony Blair".

So, are Depends called "Adult nappies" in the UK?
Yes. Or "incontinence pants".

We use both, pretty evenly. "Main course" makes it sound like there are other courses "salad, appetizer, desert, etc." But if all you're having is one "dish that's a meal" I think entr?e is fine, especially since the word has non-english roots.
Entree in French means 'entry', literally. And what do you think of, in terms of courses of a meal, if someone said you were about to have your entry? You'd think of the first course. Which the main course is not (necessarily).




Genuine curiosity here...what is said in Europe? If someone says "thank you" do you simply stare them in the face, or is there some other quite common phrase that's used? I ask, because in any language class I've ever taken, one always learns a "you're welcome" phrase. I this just an "American thing," that we're taught this?
If someone said thank you, I'd say "you're welcome".


It's meant as an insult. It's not meant as a polite way to say it.
It could at least be 'maths'.


So no one in england ever asks to use the restroom, they simple state that they would like to use it, and then wait for someone to notice and offer up its use?
Its not our constant lack of referral to it, it's the curiously American inability to call a brick a brick - you need the toilet. Saying you need the bathroom (or as you put it, restroom) means you could be doing anything from powdering your nose to hanging yourself using a towel. Just admit you need a piss.

While I admit that there are MANY bizarre things Americans say, and I'm really looking forward to reading the many that will undoubtedly be written here (as a collective, "we" are way more clever than this author) I gotta say...this guy's list sucks ass.
I'll agree with you there.


Oh, there's another one. If in America, trousers are pants, what do you call pants?
 
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