Archive through September 05, 2007

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Arc 3: Alliance of Light: Stormed Fortress: Status: Archive through September 05, 2007
   By Janko S. on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 03:29 am: Edit Post

Thanks for clearing this up for me, I never even noticed the difference between the ' and ", I just read the story and tried to imagine what was happening. Missed a few meals that way and annoyed my family a bit but that's all. I always bought the first version that was available so now I have a few US mass market paperbacks, some US hardcover and some UK paperbacks...
When I started reading the only translated fantasy book was Lord of the rings and well, it was hard to get that one from the library because at that time I was unable to read it in less than a month, due to my poor English. Which meant that I was advised not to take it home because it was needed for students. I forgot what they studied to need to read that in school but I sure wished to go there at the time :-)

   By Jo on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 04:55 am: Edit Post

Purplepenny I have to agree with you. I much prefer the UK cover art. I have a few books from Amazon which are US editions and the majority have charachters on the front, which I do not like.
I saw the cover art for a book coming out in China and that looked very strange. Looked more like a cartoon character but I suppose it is what you are used to. I can't stand the Rap hip hop American slang, I often find myself shouting at the TV "speak properly". As I have young children I am trying to get them to speak the Queen's English. They are going to school soon so I am probably wasting my time, we will see.

   By Angus on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 08:09 am: Edit Post

And here I expected a mass of outrage at the main characters being turned into surfer dudes, but not a peep in over 15 hours. It is enjoyable making fun of present day slang, which I see Jo picked up on.

As a Canadian, we have something of both UK and American spellings. For instance, we don't drop the "u" in words like "colour" and "honour" like the Yanks do, but we use "z" in the suffix "ize", as opposed to "s". We also say "zed" for the letter "z", instead of "zee", which is an Americanism. Everyone else calls it "zed", even in the latin languages.

I guess I should have taken that linguistics course in my undergrad to understand the changes that take place in language. I rather imagine that the new international community created by the internet will leed to a reverse trend, and that language will start to coalesce instead of fragment. Maybe Americans will have to start using "tyres" on their cars, and the British will have to "realize" that language is a flexible and growing thing.

Jo, don't give up on your kid's diction! They'll use the kids' slang when speaking with their friends, and change their mode of speech when you are around (just like swearing!). At least they will know how to speak at a job or university invterview. It will, however, be a never-ending battle.

I, too, hate the hip-hop language, as it appears to be very much "dumbed-down". However, it is the current trend, and we shouldn't let it alienate ourselves from those who use it. I guess we just have to be the shining example of clean prose?:-)

   By Trys on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 09:26 am: Edit Post

When a language stops changing it's because it has stopped being used and has become a 'dead' language.

I thought z in French was 'zay'?


   By Lyssabits on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 11:53 am: Edit Post

Also I believe it's zeta in Spanish.

   By Angus on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 12:50 pm: Edit Post

I am virtually certain that it is "zed" in French, in which I am semi-fluent if I work really hard at it. I can stand to be corrected by a fluent French speaker, though.

I don't speak Spanish, except what my kids get from "Dora the Explorer" and "Diego, Animal Rescuer".

I wonder about Italian and Portugese?

"Zee" in USA, "zed" in the British Commonwealth of Nations. "Zed" in La Francophonie. "Zeta" in the Spanish Equivalent.

Oh, BTW (:-) just teasing!), it is now two months, two days (add five for shipping to NA) to the release of Stormed Fortress.

   By Trys on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 01:09 pm: Edit Post

My mistake on the French zed. I was relying on ancient memories where B, C, D are all pronounced with the long A sound... shoulda known better. :-)

So from this we might conclude that British zed came from Norman French?

Spanish is zeta or zeda ["SAY-tah" ("THAY-tah," in Spain)]

Portuguese: zĂȘ sounds to my ear like a soft long A.

Italian: zeta

   By Christopher James Hayes on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 01:34 pm: Edit Post

Here in Japan its "zedo" or simply zed as the o comes from the japanese sound system as in japanese there is almost always a vowel sound after a consonant.

Lol, I'll add to people who get wound up by American english! I'm teaching English in Japan at the moment and the previous teachers at my school were american, still trying to get the students to call it "football" (ie the proper name for it!!!!:-) ) instead of "soccer"

Flying home to England on the 8th of November and incredibly frustrated that parcels take a week to get here from home so I can't have stormed fortress sent over to read on the flight!! ARGHHH!! No chance of releasing it 1 week early janny? lol

   By Leonie on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 04:34 pm: Edit Post

Hmmm, here in Australia it's zed, but there are now a number of people referring to it as "zee", which really annoys me, as I am also another who gets wound up by American English.

I also detest the latest thing sneaking in here, which is to refer to biscuits as cookies.....

My memories of highschool French suggests "zed" is correct.

As far as soccer goes, well we call it soccer here as well, but that's because the term football is used variably, dependent on the state you live in. In Western Australia (where we come from originally), football refers to Australian Rules, or AFL, as it does in Victoria and South Australia. Here in New South Wales, football refers to Rugby League. I'm not completely sure about Tassie and Queensland, but I'm reasonably sure footy is AFL in the Northern Territory. How's that for confusion in one country?

I'm a physio, and it's great when someone here comes in and says "I hurt my knee at footy" - at which point I reply with, "And which footy exactly was it?"........:-)

   By Lyssabits on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 04:57 pm: Edit Post

I've always been curious about this... if cookies are biscuits.. then what do you call biscuits? Is there another term, to make the distinction between sweet and savory items of basically the same constituent ingredients? Or do you just say sweet biscuits and savory biscuits, like with crepes? Or no, and you kinda have to get it from context?

Also our French post-doc says it's zed, so hopefully that'll put that point to rest. ;)

While I understand people being annoyed with slang from other countries infecting local jargon (obviously since I find single commas annoying).. I'm really not sure I'm comfortable labeling any one term as "correct" or "incorrect" except in context. It'd obviously be incorrect for me to call football soccer when in Europe, speaking to Europeans.. but it's perfectly correct when I'm in America speaking to Americans. ;)

   By PurplePenny on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 05:36 pm: Edit Post

I love this thread :-)

Zed - I believe that we got it (like everyone else) from the Greek Zeta. "T" and "D" are often interchanged in English, especially in the North, thus the names Radcliffe and Ratcliffe were originally the same family and "Bradford" is pronounced more akin to "Bratford".

The old English word for the letter "Z" was Izzard.

Football - I think that we can claim to have the original football since the game originated here in the UK (and was banned!) :-) Soccer is Association Rules football, Rugby is the game played according to the rules developed at Rugby.

ize/ise - "ize" is not an Americanism - for many words both are correct. Both the Oxford English Dictionary and Fowler recommend using "ize" (unless, of course, it is a word that cannot take the "ize" suffix).

Biscuits/cookies - I don't think cookies has crept in here for biscuits yet. The things that I know as cookies are not like biscuits, they are softer. There is a wonderful medieval recipe (found on Bosworth Field and believed to have been dropped by Richard's cook) for a very cookie like confection called "Jumbles".
The Americanism that has crept in to food vocabulary here (and which *really* annoys me) is "muffins". They're not muffins, they are overgrown fairy cakes! Muffins are a bread not a cake. Muffins are split and toasted then spread with butter and honey or cinnamon sugar. Mmmmmmmmm... now I want a muffin.

Another thing that is really annoying me about modern English usage (but I don't know where it originated) is the untriggered reflexive pronoun. That it using "myself", "himself", "herself", "yourself" or "ourselves" where it should be "I/me", "he/him", "she/her", "you" or "us".
I noticed it first in telephone sales ("Hello, we're phoning people such as yourselves..."), then it started cropping up in business ("Please return it to myself or my colleague"), now it is common use. I came a cross a really silly case of it in a blog: "Himself and myself went shopping". What?

   By Lyssabits on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 05:48 pm: Edit Post

Hehehehe, we have muffins... we just call them english muffins. Mmmm, english muffins.

   By PurplePenny on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 05:56 pm: Edit Post

I'm not sure what we call the food that you call biscuits. They seem to be a bit like scones. Are the things that you put on top of a Cobbler called biscuits? We put scones on top of Cobbler.

Here the distinction refers to texture: cookies are soft and gooey, biscuits are hard (coming from the French for twice baked): both are sweet. I can't think of anything savoury that we would call a biscuit.

   By Leonie on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 06:01 pm: Edit Post

Lyssabits wrote:

"I've always been curious about this... if cookies are biscuits.. then what do you call biscuits? Is there another term, to make the distinction between sweet and savory items of basically the same constituent ingredients? Or do you just say sweet biscuits and savory biscuits, like with crepes? Or no, and you kinda have to get it from context?"

First of all, I'm not totally sure what the US version of biscuits actually means! I had always thought that Americans used "biscuit" to refer to scones.

A biscuit (or "bickie") is either sweet or savoury, but usually refers to a round, square, get the picture..... either hard or chewy, flavoured carbohydrate based piece of baking. Most are sweet, and the phrase "tea and bickies" would have the conotation of a sweet biscuit. Some are cream filled, some are chocolate coated, some have chocolate or fruit or nuts in them. They are generally yummy! Some of our best known varieties are Anzacs and Tim Tams.

Here in Australia, our muffins are distinguished by the term "English muffins" which are the variety described by PurplePenny - very nice with butter, and you can sandwich eggs and bacon inside them.

   By Leonie on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 06:04 pm: Edit Post

Scones of course are very nice, however, what is "Cobbler"? (Except for being a bottom dwelling fish, which is quite tasty, however I cannot imagine putting scones on top of it)

When I think scones, I think jam and cream, and sometimes butter and sultanas, or pumpkin, and very occasionally savoury.

The lemonade recipe is so good!

   By PurplePenny on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 06:05 pm: Edit Post

Some friends who visited the US said that the things they were served as "English Muffins" were not muffins either - they were teacakes. But a quick look at Wikipedia confirms that US English Muffins are indeed the same as our muffins.

Oddly, Wikipedia claims that we also call them English Muffins. Huh? I've never heard them called any such thing! Why would we call them that?

   By PurplePenny on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 06:17 pm: Edit Post

Anzacs! I love Anzac biscuits.

Cobbler is a dish like a pie but with scones on the top instead of pastry. Here in the UK it is a meat dish but I think that in the US it can also be sweet.

Scones - definitely jam and cream (or cream and jam depending whether you favour the Cornish or the Devon method). Savoury scones often have cheese baked in.

(This is not good - it is gone midnight and I should be in bed but this thread has got me feeling hungry.... must not eat... must not eat... too late to eat....)

   By Lyssabits on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 06:18 pm: Edit Post

I'm definitely not a food expert, so I'm sure someone will correct me. ;)

In my part of the world (and I think it varies in different parts of the US) cookies are either soft or hard, but they're always sweet. I honestly can't think of any really "hard" cookies.. just crumbly cookies and chewy cookies. Oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, gingersnaps...

Scones are scones. ;) They tend towards sweet here, or at least, I always think of them as dessert-like. Usually I find them either with raisins or some sort of fruit. Mmm, they used to sell this glorious mix at the store that were vanilla and strawberry flavored.

Scones are similar to biscuits, but I think there are important distinctions. Scones are made with heavy cream, yes? (The recipes I've used have been) while biscuits are often made with regular milk, or buttermilk. My encounters with scones usually involve somewhat crumbly, sweet, dense bread-like things you eat with tea and clotted cream. Biscuits are flakier, some varieties you can peel apart in layers of flaky dough.. they're always savory, buttery and salty. They have a great texture with a sort of crisp outside and soft, doughy inside. The most traditional way is biscuits and gravy as a side dish, in the south, although you can find places that will serve them like that here in California.

I think everyone's missing out on cornbread. This french post-doc I work with couldn't wrap his head around corn bread until I made him try some. Mmmmm. Although I will never understand his aversion to peanut butter. It's now the standard question we ask all new post-docs who come into the lab.. peanut butter: for or against? It's come out surprisingly along country of orgin lines. The two French post-docs we have hate it. Our UK and Australian post-docs love it. I can't remember if we asked all our Asian post-docs and how that turned out.

   By Lyssabits on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 06:33 pm: Edit Post

Oh, I forgot cobbler. ;) Cobbler is kinda how Penny described it.. except I never thought of the topping as like scones. Cobbler's like a crust-less pie, but does have a crumbly, bread-like topping. I've never seen it made from anything other than fruit. However the topping I think tends to be more like a pie crust and less like a scone in consistency. I think crumbles and cobbler have become mostly interchangeable in here in the US, although I think you kind of have to serve cobbler warm, but I've seen pies and crumbles served at room temp.

   By Trys on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 08:18 pm: Edit Post


The old English word for the letter "Z" was Izzard.

Eddie? <g,d,rlh>

I believe they are called 'biscuits' as that is a derivative form of the word biscotti.

Hard cookie - snaps... such as a ginger snap.

I think American biscuits are most like scones. Baking powder (sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and an acid in the form of salt crystals) is used as the leavening agent.

Fairy cakes? First time I've encountered that term. I like it. :-)

American muffins are cake-like in consistency but are usually not sweet except for the additives... i.e., blueberry muffins have blueberries added.

Cornbread or cornmeal muffins... yum!!! especially with pineapple added.

I did go in search of 'why is American English so different' and it appears the fault most likely lies with one Noah Webster.

FYI, according to Wikipedia (not a 100% reliable source btw) cookie comes from the dutch word koekje which means little cake.