Author Topic: Writing across a pond  (Read 4427 times)

Offline Andy Shackcloth

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Writing across a pond
« on: February 17, 2009, 04:21:01 AM »
Hi All,

Just recently hit a sticky point in a story which hopefully will be posted on an American based website.
The brakes locked on when the protagonist was discussing if the victims 'Knickers' were noticed at the time.....

Problem 'knickers' in America refer to either golfer’s long shorts (apparently) or grand-ma's long legged underwear that we would call bloomers. NOT the sexy flimsy connotation I required and TOTALLY out of character for the victim

A couple of phone calls later and the pan-Atlantic word I needed was 'Panties'.

So my question is: - Is there a web resource anyone knows about that cross references things like this?

After all would your Hicksville private eye have afternoon tea or...

Don't you just love language?

Shack

Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2009, 04:25:00 AM »
yeah, the meaning of both knickers and panties are known in Australia, yet we widely use another term still: undies. However, we're more likely to use knickers than panties.

I wouldn't worry about it... use the terms of your own language and your characters' language. I've come across many foreign terms in novels and it's actually expanded my vocabulary.

With your work, it's the context that will give the clue as to what 'knickers' are.
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Offline fire-fly

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2009, 05:04:20 AM »
I needed this type of question answered at one stage and googled it with Aussie to American word use or some such thing and it gave me several sites to look at for the different meanings. Give it a go for your country of origin and see what it comes up with.  ;D ;D
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Offline Andy Shackcloth

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2009, 05:06:14 AM »
“I wouldn't worry about it... use the terms of your own language and your characters' language. I've come across many foreign terms in novels and it's actually expanded my vocabulary.”

Unfortunately for me, I had based my characters as Americans, so for an American detective to talk in his own voice, about a sexy young victim whose fate may have been sealed by the fact that Mr. Nasty had taken an amorous interest because he saw her wearing grannies bloomers. . . Nah, me I am going to worry.

I do agree that mostly you can get away with some things; our language is wonderfully adaptive to new influences, if I used sup, drink, sip, glug, swig I probably would not lose too much to the small hiccup to the reader. But traps for the unwary are still there, some more damaging than others. Is a ‘Fag’ a cigarette, a Gay, a state of exhaustion?

Or

“Topper yet again took out his temper on his fag and for the rest of the day his life was living hell.”

Fag = private school gophor

And I apologise because I have absolutely no idea what 'fag' implies in Australia.

Offline Vienna

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2009, 05:14:46 AM »


and try sitting on your "fanny" in the uk  ;D
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Offline fire-fly

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2009, 05:16:33 AM »
Cigarette or gay usually mate. It gets very confusing to say the least.

Ahhhhh the fanny, not the same as the US for us Aussies either.  ;D ;D
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Offline Vienna

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2009, 05:17:49 AM »
 ;D
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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2009, 05:46:10 AM »
http://www.bu.edu/mfeldman/Slang/british.html (the British-to-American Glossary)

http://www.travelfurther.net/dictionaries/index.htm

Yes, the proper American word is panties.  G-String if you want to be a bit nastier. Undies for a bit lighter. Underpants if you want to be a little stiffer ... um, no pun intended.  ;D

Edit: I had no idea a crutch was something else... Anyway, the second one is pretty solid.  Good luck!  ;)

Wolfe
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 05:55:26 AM by Wolfe »

Offline Andy Shackcloth

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2009, 05:58:04 AM »
Thanks Wolfe, That is indeed what I need.

Although Knickers is not included  :(, I think I will send them a mail :).

Hmm, Now I wonder if I can include some of these as a missunderstanding in a plot, Hmm, cogs turn.

Shack

Oops, Knickers are in the second link, I seem to have missed them first read. Silly me.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 06:01:53 AM by Andy Shackcloth »

Offline Hugh

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2009, 06:38:14 AM »
This might sound like a naïve question, but why make your character American if you don’t know the lingo?  Would not an American web site accept a Cambridge based protagonist, about whom you could write from first-hand knowledge?  (In one of your posts you mention wishing tube trains went as far as Cambridge)

After all, American men wear suspenders, whereas Lincolnshire faggots are tasty.  I’d suggest you write in language you know, and if some people don’t understand it, well … knickers to them. 

Hugh  (living twenty miles from Cambridge)

Offline Vienna

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2009, 06:49:55 AM »


would that be cambridge massachusetts Hugh??? ;D ;D ;D ;D
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2009, 07:10:04 AM »

After all, American men wear suspenders, whereas Lincolnshire faggots are tasty.  I’d suggest you write in language you know, and if some people don’t understand it, well … knickers to them. 


My Yorkshire Gran served me up 'a dish of brains' which made me decidedly uneasy until I learned that 'Brains' were a well known brand of faggot ;-)

When she was in the land Army Mum used to bundle up faggots with wire and then 'trim them straight' with a 'faggoting hook', which is a specialised version of a billhook.  The resultant neat bundles of twigs were then used as fuel in 'faggot ovens', or as 'holestoppers' in fences and hedges.  Jamming a couple of faggots into a hole in a hedge filled the gap temporarily, and within a season's growth the hedge would grow though, into and around the temporary plug, thus making it an integral part of the hedge.

During WW2 a visiting American serviceman told Grandad that my Mum was 'a saucy young lady and need a good fanny warming'.  Mum stood there with her mouth hanging open waiting for the explosion, but Grandad had served with Americans in WW1 and knew the alternative meaning.

When I was at school the phrase used for scrounging a cigarette was 'bumming a fag'.  Innocent days ;-)

Language is a many splendoured thing.  However, as someone else said, many strange words still make sense in context.

Gyppo   
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2009, 07:17:24 AM »
yeah, the meaning of both knickers and panties are known in Australia, yet we widely use another term still: undies. However, we're more likely to use knickers than panties.


I worked with an Aussie for a while who referred to all bum coverings - male and female - as yoops, as in 'I saw her yoops' or 'the dirty bugger wasn't wearing any yoops'.  When I queried this it turned out to be derived from UPs, a contraction of underpants.  he is the only person I've ever heard using it, so unless it was  a short-lived example of Aussie slang which never really caught on it may have been been one of his 'family words'.

Gyppo

PS:  Useful links there, Wolfe.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 07:19:45 AM by Gyppo »
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Offline Hugh

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2009, 08:22:41 AM »
Ha ha, Vienna.  And I don't mean Haverhill, Mass, when I say twenty miles from Cambridge.

Ah, Gyppo.  Brains faggots in gravy  — can’t beat ’em, so long as you don’t read what’s in them.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Writing across a pond
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2009, 08:29:28 AM »

Ah, Gyppo.  Brains faggots in gravy  — can’t beat ’em, so long as you don’t read what’s in them.


There are times when - truly - ignorance is bliss ;-)

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1