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|Question for Englishman / Englishwoman|
What does this slang term mean
I'm in the USA and I find those English folks from the ole country have funny sayings.
If you pave the parking lot they say tarmac instead of pavement, and that's not so bad - most everyone can figure that one.
I guess the one that sticks in my crawl the most is the use of "one-off" to mean a one time event. Boy-oh-boy, how are you suppose to know what that means.
But what I'm asking is this:
What do english folk mean when they say, "you don't know you're born."
Is that the equivalent of you don't know squat or what exactly does it mean?
"You don't know you're born", means that you don't know how lucky you are, as used by older people, e.g. "You kids today - you don't know you're born."
Here's something I previously wrote about the differences in US and British English ...
"Many of you will already know that the English language took two separate paths when the Pilgrim fathers landed in north America. The American writer, Bill Bryson, addresses this subject in his excellent book, "Made in America".
"Why did the Americans save such good old English words as skedaddle and chitterlings and chore, but not fortnight or heath? Why did they keep the irregular British pronunciations in words like colonel and hearth, but go down our own way in with lieutenant and schedule and clerk? Why in short is American English the way it is?"
My own theory is that this really has nothing to do with differences in the cultures of America or the UK per se. At the time of the colonisation (colonization) communication between the two nations was primitive so, then as now, language continued to evolve but it did so separately, at least until the introduction of modern media and communications in the 20th century, Since then it has begun to once again merge into a single language. It is not uncommon to see people from the UK using American spelling and who cares? We know what they mean!"
Mark Knopfler has a song by this title and I wondered what it meant --- I'm learnin :)
Ahhhh.... separated by a common language.
Quick tip for anyone from the UK visiting the southern US. If you smoke, do NOT under any circumstances tell a bunch of rednecks that you are going outside for a quick fag.
hehe --- going outside for a quick fag --- gets a chuckle, but under the circumstances you describe it would get a look of surprise / puzzlement / disdain or all of the above.
As was discussed during the last couple of days what is even worse in the South, (Myrtle Beach) is going out for a quick shag :o)
Err.. you probably want to be careful with this term, SlimKim. Only some of us from Britain are English - some of us are Welsh and some of us are Scottish.
Beedeedubbleu for instance is not an Englishman, he is a Scot. I have dual parentage, so I am neither - I can only describe myself as a Brit.
However, we are all, according to our passports, British - at least until the constituent nations secede from the present nation state.
Never yet figured out why so many from the United States insist on referring to the UK as "England".
A concur wi' that!
|Only some of us from Britain are English - some of us are Welsh and some of us are Scottish. |
How long until someone from NI points out their omission?
Perhaps I should also point out that only some of us from the United Kingdom are from Britain? >;->
|If you pave the parking lot they say tarmac instead of pavement |
Of course, the pavement is what pedestrians walk on in the UK. It's a sidewalk in the US.
As a Brit married to an American lady and living in the USA, all I can say is, it only gets harder with time -- but it's worth the effort.
If I say I'm going to the shop, my wife thinks I'm going to make a metal casing or something similar - I have to go to the store, or the supermarket. At least I can just about get away with calling the local Wal*Mart an ASDA.
Our family was pulling into a parking space at the visitor's center at Canal Park in Duluth, MN a few years ago when a fellow with a British accent - standing in the next space, but well out of the way of our car - suddenly began waving his arms at his companions and shooing them away from us. He was shouting something about "Take care, take care, this guy is coming in!" We thought it was kind of funny at the time, because we couldn't possibly have turned tight enough to hit his group anyway and hence his warnings had been pointless. It seemed less funny a couple years later, when we found out that "guy" in England means "idiot" or "fool." ;)
From what I understand of England, this man had spent too much time in London, where (I've heard) a person can easily be run over simply by standing on the sidewalk! ;)
|when we found out that "guy" in England means "idiot" or "fool." |
I think someone is winding you up. "Guy" means the same in the UK (noting again the use of England as opposed to Britain or UK)) as it does in the US.
|...in London, where (I've heard) a person can easily be run over simply by standing on the sidewalk! |
Indeed, you have heard correctly. On the pavements of London pedestrians are not safe - from cyclists.
Back to the original theme of the thread; "Don't know you were born." I, for some reason, always associate this expression as typically being said in a broad northern, possibly Yorkshire, accent.
For those in the UK then; didn't the late Brian "Beware the moors, lads!" Glover use this expression to great effect in one of his many TV roles?
If "guy" means the same thing there as it does in the U.S., then why is it that some English (or British, or U.K.) people seem to use it in the context of "fool" or some such way? Maybe the meaning of the word varies from one locality to another? I wouldn't know - but I do know that some friends from other forums have used "guy" in very negative ways, normally in relation to themselves. For instance, "I must have really looked like a guy doing that," when talking about something stupid they'd done.
|(noting again the use of England as opposed to Britain or UK) |
Could you explain the difference to me? I never really have grasped the relationship there. I always thought England was the seat of the British Empire, and that the British Empire was collectively known as Britian and/or the U.K. Hence someone from the U.K. wouldn't necessarily be from England, but would be from Britian, and someone from Britian would be from the U.K. but maybe not England, yet someone from England would be from all three. Or am I all wrong here?
And not to stray too far from the original topic, I would have thought "you don't know you're born" would have meant something similar to "if you had a brain you'd take it out and play with it," or, "you'd forget your head if it wasn't attached." (Those being two favorite sayings of my late Great-grandmother.)
Britain, or more correctly, Great Britain, is the large island where England, Scotland and Wales are located. It also includes the smaller offshore islands such as the Isle of Wight (but not the Isle of Man).
The United Kingdom covers the island of Great Britain plus the six counties of Northern Ireland.
You may also hear reference to the British Isles, which refers to an archipelago of islands including Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Orkney, the Hebrides, Shetland Islands, Channel Islands and others. British Isles isn't a popular usage in the Republic of Ireland.
|If "guy" means the same thing there as it does in the U.S., then why is it that some English (or British, or U.K.) people seem to use it in the context of "fool" or some such way? |
What people? I have never heard of this.
|I always thought England was the seat of the British Empire |
Don't they teach you guys any history across the pond.
The British Empire has not existed for about fifty years. It once included all the countries that Britain had colonised such as Canada,India, Australia, Rhodesia, South Africa, USA, etc. As these countries broke gained their independence the term was changed to the more politically correct, "British Commonwealth."
As Ken Hughes says, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of the four countries of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland along with a few smaller Islands. The reason that we non-English and even some of the English people don't like this is that it's a bit like referring to the USA as California. It is not uncommon in Scotland to hear Americans talk about Edinboro, England. Very annoying!
To put it in a US context it's a bit like you hearing me saying that I am going to California on holiday (vacation) next year. You then say, "No kidding? Where are you going?"
I reply, "Boston". ;)
BeeDeeDubbleU, pffft Americans. lol :) Guy does mean the same: a man, a bloke.
As far as im concerned Scots hate being called English (or its just me), Im proud to be scottish infact i do believe its like calling an American a Canadian what do you feel about that?
I always laugh at Americans saying "pants" as trousers. Here in Europe as far as i know pants are a form of underwear! hehe
Does that mean that Superman wears his pants outside his pants?
|...Scots hate being called English... |
Call a Scot "English" if you want first hand experience of a "Glasgow Kiss". Lol!
|Don't they teach you guys any history across the pond. |
Yes, quite a bit, in fact I'm very well versed in history, but I will say that "recent" history, say the last 70-100 years, normally doesn't get the same attention as many other periods in history receive. We tend to hit the highlights (WW I & II, Great Depression, etc.) but things not pertaining directly to the U.S. tend to be overlooked. Hence my mistake.
Regarding "guy," I'll have to bow to your definition of the word - but I say again, at least one of my English friends (he lives in London, does that make him English?) has definitely used that word in the context I cited before. It seemed kind of logical when I thought about it, considering that the origins of "guy" comes from those dummies of Guy Fawkes you "blokes" burn up every year! ;) (I always thought "bloke" was a disrespectful term over there, too, but I guess maybe it isn't?)
This thread sure is an eye-opener as to cultural differences. All the more reason for me never to leave my own country - I'd never survive anywhere else! ;)
|This thread sure is an eye-opener as to cultural differences. All the more reason for me never to leave my own country - I'd never survive anywhere else! |
Hehe! you just need to leave and explore! Im sure bloke doesnt mean anything bad and yes your friend is English.
Have you never heard of the English, Irish and Scottish jokes?
Bloke/man/geezer/fellow/guy/chap - all mean more or less exactly the same thing - a male adult. There are no derogatory connotations to any of them. :-)
|Have you never heard of the English, Irish and Scottish jokes? |
You mean like the English and the Scottish getting into a battle? You know, both sides run short of ammo, so the commanders tell their men to say "bangety-bang" because the other side is so dumb they'll think they're being shot and will die anyway, and when they get at close range they're supposed to say "stabety-stab" because they don't have bayonets, but the other side will think they're being stabbed and will die then, too. So the battle rages with both sides shouting "bangety-bang" and "stabety-stab" until it's down to one Englishman and one Scotsman. Accounts begin to differ here as to which man played which role, but the men began moving towards one another. One calls out "bangety-bang," but the other continues to come at him. As they get close, the first man says "stabety-stab," but still the other comes on. He actually walks right over the first man and goes on without even looking. As the first man, badly trampled, "shuffles off this mortal coil," he hears the other man saying "tankety-tank" over and over!
Is that the kind of joke you mean? ;)
I'm almost certain the Scot was the one saying "tankety-tank," but don't quote me on it! ;)
Could you explain the difference to me? I never really have grasped the relationship there.
|(noting again the use of England as opposed to Britain or UK) |
There are one or two things to get hold of if you wish to understand the inhabitants of those islands located within the North Sea, north of France and west of Germany:
To describe this by story:
- The islands are densely inhabited.
- The inhabitants love a good fight, and exhibit fierce loyalty towards their home.
- Homes are both small and multi-diverse in their character.
I was born in Hull, Yorkshire (north-east England) and went to university in Newcastle. The latter is about 150 miles due north of Hull and--although it is also located in "England"--is fairly close to the Scottish border and a very different place indeed to Hull. My first journey from Hull to Newcastle by road was made by hitching lifts. The road north (called "The Great North Road") was under construction at the time, and the car was diverted east into the wild-lands of Northumberland. The driver stopped to ask a local for directions. That man was very helpful and spoke to us for many minutes, with much arm-waving and finger-pointing. The driver thanked him and drove on. Unfortunately, no-one in the car could understand one word that the local had spoken. It truly was as if we were driving in a foreign land.
Whilst most inhabitants of the UK will understand the broad-brush detail of the nature of the islands well enough, it is fair to say that very few will understand the fine detail of anything other than their own locality, which usually means their own valley.
The entities known as "England", "Britain" (and particularly) "UK" are mostly derived from political machinations and, frankly, it would be better if they could be avoided. However, to try and help:
There are 5 broad natures in these islands, comprising the areas currently known as Scotland, Ireland (island of), Wales, West Country (Devon + Cornwall, etc) and the rest of England. Some of the 5 get on well with others, others do not. Politicians (and kings) have worked to place all 5 under the same dominion, and this has been more or less successful at different times. The term "UK" (United Kingdom) has come out of those efforts. "Britain" is from a much more ancient source, being derived from the names of these islands as known by the Phoenicians and ancient Greeks, and connected to "Britannia" and legends of the religious and mystical powers of the lands. "Great Britain" was, once again, referring to the various islands united in common purpose. It is a thread, or theme, which runs throughout the history of these lands.
Oh no - it's started again! Lock it - quick!
(Kind of a shame we lost this one though :( )
"you don't know you're born." = " you're still wet behind the ears" ( for the Americans )..
BTW for the french ..all inhabitants of the British isles are reffered to as "les anglais" .."the english" ..this applies wether it is radio or tv or the web or teaching ..and wether the person speaking or writing about "les anglais" is the president or the plumbers 5 year old kid ..or their teacher ..
( one is considered to be being extremely pedantic if one points out that they are making an error and explain the differences )
they even include us Irish as "les anglais"!
AlexK - good point Ill never forget have a 'conversation' with someone from the black country.
I couldnt understand him - I got only a few words and gathered an idea about what he was saying. Truly terrible.
I think we have a wider range of accents than America.
|Oh no - it's started again! |
What was the name of that TV programme?
Leosghost, your French speeling is better than your English (British) :)
My spelling is weird in both languages..you are just more aware of the discrepancies when I write in English ..
| This 69 message thread spans 3 pages: 69 (  2 3 ) > > |