Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Common Language...

Have you ever heard the old saying that Americans and the British are one people seperated by a common language? (I haven't got the quote exactly right, I know) Of course, nowadays, the Aussies, NZs, Canadians and anyone else who speaks English should be in there too. One of the great things about this blog and our group is the common ground we've all found; from GH nerves to favorite books and movies to a love of HEA. What makes us different, and adds so much spice, is the way we each write to HEA, the experiences which have led us to where we are, and the vagaries of laughter and language, publishing, agent woes, and all the fun we have on-loop.

As writers, words are the tools with which we sculpt a story. The funny bits come when we discover where the language has diverged. Whats the funniest example you've had of a confusion over language? Where do you, from your country, shake your head over the way another country uses a word?

We talked about thongs, but one of my favorites is the verb "to shag." Now those in the UK are blushing and giggling because it means to...ahem...make love. In the South of the US, where I'm from, it's dancing. Shagging is an intricate beach-music dance that everyone from granddads and grandmas to the tiny kids get out on the floor and do. I gave a talk to a group of businessmen from the UK. After the Q&A about my business presentation, one man raised his hand and asked why we needed lessons to shag. Ha! Tell me yours...


Joan said...


My first thought...even though I live in the South (Kentucky)...when I hear the word "shag" is carpet. You know. That god awful hairy rug so popular in the '70's LOL

Inara said...

Hey, we've got some lovely shag carpet in our living room!! ;-)

I wish I had a funny story to share, but I settle for loving all the groovy accents. Can't wait to meet all our Packers and match a VOICE with a face.


Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Jeanne! I was traveling in Scotland many years ago and I met a darling man and was able to spend some time with him at his lovely home....ah, the good old days! *g*

But when he asked me if I had any suspenders in my suitcase, I totally freaked. Did he want to hoist me up and swing from the chandeliers? (Not a bad thing, but still...) A few days later, I was shopping in Harrods and walked through the lingerie department and saw the sign: Suspenders. I approached and saw...garters. Sexy, pretty garters. Very nice.

Hello, suspenders are garters? Who knew? OMG, he must've thought I was insane when I explained that I didn't need suspenders to hold my pants up!

Aunty Cindy said...

LOL, Kate! Loved the suspenders story. Mine isn't quite so romantic, but on a visit to Ireland, we asked our cousin's 3 year old son, Michael if he wanted to go for a walk (when he finished helping his Mum "hoover"). He said yes and when I told him to put on his jacket he said, as only an indignant 3 year old can, "That's not me jacket, it's me JUMPER!"

Oh, and Joan, I remember "shag" carpet too well. However out here on the left coast, when I used to play tennis (badly) I had to "shag" the tennis balls that I scattered all over the court. That may have given rise to an expression my brothers used about "shagging your *ss over here"... Or maybe not!

Aunty C

Anna Campbell said...

In Australia, we have a saying about being wet as a shag (a seabird- do you have them?)on a rock or lonely as a shag on a rock. I'm snorking at the pictures that are coming to mind although of course, we have so much British influence here still, that the other meaning of 'shag' is pretty well known. And the shag carpet - wear shoes when you walk on it! Oh, too much info! Do you have snog for kiss? That's another Britishism that always gives me a giggle. It doesn't sound very romantic, does it?

And Kate, you wild woman! I'm looking forward to buying you several drinks in the baaa and hearing more! And they're called suspenders because you suspend your stockings from them.