International English

Subject: International English
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 15:16:00 EST

At 09:39 AM 3/28/96 EST, you wrote:
>On Mon, 25 Mar 1996, David Ibbetson <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM> wrote:

>>> I think in British English, while most software, and its manuals, emanates
>from the USA. I'd hate to count the times I've searched under what, to me,
>is the natural term, found nothing and guessed what the manual writer has
>called the topic. I've no examples ready to hand, but I expect US readers
>can remember examples in non-US-documented programs that they've used. <<

>If you think of some examples, could you post them? Things like "bonnet" for
>"hood" have no relevance here, and that's all I can think of.

>Melissa Hunter-Kilmer
>mhunterk -at- bna -dot- com
>(standard disclaimer, which maybe isn't enough these days)

There are actually a lot of small-scale opportunities for misunderstanding
the Brits. A flashlight, for example, is an "electric torch," and
"endorsements" are motoring violations. And remember that while software
accounts for most documentation, most misunderstandings probably occur over
mechanicals. A "wrench" in Brit English is usually a sharp jerk on an item,
while a "spanner" is the tool you use to wrench it with.

I know of a situation in which an American was making an operator-assisted
call in England. When the person at the other end answered, the operator
immediately popped onto the line, asking "Are you through?" The American, of
course, said "No, I've started talking," which he did for a few seconds when
the operator again broke in, asking "Are you through, Sir?" Only after
several rounds of this did the American realize that she was asking if he
was connected, not if he was finished.

Tim Altom
Vice President
Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice)
317.899.5987 (fax)

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