This tag is for questions related to English as spoken in Great Britain, and sometimes Ireland.

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3
votes
1answer
28 views

Allophones of /ə/

In (non-rhotic) British English there seem to be two major allophones of the phoneme /ə/. The first which can be heard in potato, career or the weak form of from as an [ə]. However, there's also a ...
33
votes
4answers
5k views

“Maths” for “Mathematics”; where does the S come from?

So in US English we shorten mathematics to math, and in the UK they say maths. Where does the 'S' come from in the UK version? For some reason I had it in my head that this was just because it's ...
4
votes
8answers
917 views

Dinky cars (toy cars)

I came across this term while proofreading an unpublished poem by an Irish poet. The context is not important so I'll just say that it is clear that it means “toy cars”. I Googled the term and see ...
1
vote
2answers
307 views

“Named for” vs. “named after”

As a Brit, I'm used to the phrase named after being used to say how something got its name. For example, in Wikipedia's List of eponymous roads in London, we read that Addison Road is named after the ...
0
votes
2answers
29 views

A term for Not Applicable in the context of UI/UX

I want to give an option to a user to check if an option is not applicable for her. However the two words in "Not Applicable" are too huge for my GUI. Suggestions Would be greatly appreciated :)
0
votes
1answer
50 views

What does plate mean in “we're running you in two plates”?

I find the following line in Tom Stoppard’s play The Invention of Love. Mark Pattison, Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, is speaking to entering students in the 1860s: . . . if ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

rent a car, rent out a car, hire a car [migrated]

English not my native language. I'm trying to understand what would be correct in British English. If I want to use a car for some time. I can say, "I want to rent a car". But from my knowledge there ...
-1
votes
1answer
24 views
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Difference between 'get at' and 'get on at'

E.g. 'My boss is always getting on at me even if I haven't done anything wrong.' 'Her parents keep getting at her for skipping classes.' I'm wondering whether these phrasal verbs have ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

What are the origins of using the abbreviation “v.” for “very”?

Looking to figure out where the abbreviation "v." originates from. I know "v." was heavily used in "Bridget Jones Diary," but that movie came out over a decade ago and was British. What are the ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Question about prepositions/conjunctions (from, to…)

Can you please tell which (if any) of the following is correct? Where are you coming from?/From where are you coming? Who will you give it to?/To whom will you give it? What for?/For ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

A single word meaning 'easy yet powerful'?

I'm looking for a single adjective to describe a piece of software which is very easy to use, but has powerful features for users who have access and knowledge. It's for a succinct marketing ...
4
votes
3answers
427 views

Titles of British Lords [closed]

In an old episode of The West Wing, a British Ambassador is referred to as "Lord John Marbury". Ignoring that once he became Ambassador he'd be Mr Ambassador, what are the possible correct addresses? ...
0
votes
4answers
44 views

What are the following actions called

If you speak, and another person keeps doing/saying the following at near enough everything you say: Oh here we go again Oh bloody hell Sarcastic laugh Mumbles something to show disapproval but ...
9
votes
8answers
7k views

Confused by the British having “dinner” in the afternoon” and “tea” in the evening

I’m having problems with meal names in the UK. I’ve just learnt that dinner can refer to the afternoon meal, and that tea can refer to an early evening meal. Is this specific to a certain area in the ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

“And to you” or “you too”?

I really like to chat with English folks, so I have wished them Merry Christmas. To my surprise I have noticed the following pattern — the British answered "and to you", but Americans "you too". The ...
5
votes
2answers
217 views

What did “eating 'mad cow'” mean in the 1800's?

In the December 1885 Lippincott's Magazine article COOKHAM DEAN, about an artistic area 40 miles up the Thames from London, Margaret Bertha Wright (an American author) wrote: Probably nine-tenths ...
2
votes
3answers
871 views

“make” vs “incur” in this sentence

Like humans beings we incur into mistakes. Like humans beings we make mistakes. What's the correct sentence in British English?
2
votes
2answers
177 views

Help in demystifying the meaning of 2 sentences from an academic journal article!

1.) This is basically an english translation of a section of a Hittite Law code: "If someone wounds a man and makes him ill, he shall nurse him. He shall give a man in his place who will work in his ...
1
vote
3answers
937 views

Can you begin a sentence with an emotion?

Is it incorrect to begin a sentence with an emotion? For example: "Afraid and alone, he no longer wished to continue on." I'm translating some work from a foreign language into English, but I ...
6
votes
7answers
10k views

Does “pants” more commonly mean “trousers” or “underpants”?

In the UK, I've heard pants being used as slang for underpants (or was it in Bridget Jones' Diary?), whereas in India it almost exclusively means "trousers". Describing the meaning of "put your pants ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Does “hosting a dinner” mean it is paid for?

Does "hosting a dinner" (in the UK) mean it is paid for, or just that it is being organised on behalf of the attendees?
11
votes
3answers
432 views

How was “ben't” used, and when did it cease to be used?

In Jane Austen's The Watsons, the maid of the titular family utters the following sentence: "Please, ma'am, master wants to know why he ben't to have his dinner?" I have never encountered ben't ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Using pray instead of please in a sentence - Why? When? [closed]

I hear (mostly from people in the Humanities department) sentences that use pray instead of the word please: "Pray tell me, when will you be back?" Assuming that I haven't made any mistakes in the ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

“Sport” vs “Sports” Origin

I was recently reading this article on the use of "math" vs. "maths" as a collective noun (Americans use the former, Brits the latter). However, the trend seen in "math/maths" is reversed in ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

The Equivalent Term for Pharmacy in the UK

In the States, we use the term "pharmacy" or "drugstore," but what is the equivalent in the UK? I checked two sources, but came up with nothing.
1
vote
1answer
49 views

“All the unemployed” vs “every unemployed”

The right to work implies the obligation on the part of the government to give a job to all the unemployed. Can I replace all the unemployed with every unemployed. If yes then OK, but if not then ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Recognizing a Welsh accent

For an American, I'm pretty good at UK dialects. I can immediately tell an Irish or Scottish accent from a typical (educated, Londoner) English accent. But I'm on shaky ground with Welsh accents, ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do English people pronounce 'sixth' as 'sicth'? [duplicate]

It's common practice in Ireland (and the US as far as I know) to pronounce the x in the middle of sixth: six-th [sɪksθ]. However, I've noticed from visits to England as well as watching British ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

Footwear: Runners. Sneakers. Trainers

There's a type of shoe which I, being Irish, would call runners. They're comfortable for running or walking in. The British call them trainers, probably because they can be used for sports or ...
11
votes
8answers
8k views

Does British English use the term “heel” for the end slice of bread?

I'm Irish, and hence speak Hiberno-English. Here is a photograph of some sliced bread: The topmost slice of this (that's crust on the end), is called "the heel". Is this meaning for "heel" ...
-2
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the correct British / Irish English spelling of Yoghurt? [closed]

Is it youghurt, yoghurt, or yogurt? Is there a correct spelling, or are they all correct?
8
votes
3answers
422 views

Are there any studies on changes in British English to become more like American English?

With the spread of American popular culture (movies, books, franchises, etc.) and technical jargon (manuals, Web syntaxes, default spell-check settings, etc.), I'm wondering if there have been any ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

what does this mean “ I got 70 + application forms” [duplicate]

Today I saw, someone has written I got 70+ application forms What is the purpose of the plus sign in that statement?
9
votes
2answers
434 views

How did Persian words arrive in English?

Some Indian words which have entered modern English, such as 'bazaar' and 'cummerbund', are of Persian origin. So it seems they have completed a journey from Persia to Western India to present-day ...
0
votes
2answers
116 views

“Mobile” vs. “cellphone” in AE

I already heard Americans use the term "mobile" for "cellphone" -- which I thought was chiefly BE -- and so I wish you could tell if such usage of "mobile" has any currency in GAE? Unless it might be ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Difference in [ə] pronunciation at the end of a word in British and American English

I grew up speaking American English (San Diego to be specific). When I hear someone who speaks British English say a word that ends in [ə], like banana, I hear a weak but distinct 'r' sound attached ...
6
votes
10answers
40k views

Is there a rule in British English about how to pronounce “either”?

There are two common pronunciations of "either": British /ˈaɪðər/ and American /ˈiːðər/. If Americans are more or less consistent in this regard, then the Brits seem to be freely using both. In fact, ...
1
vote
1answer
797 views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...
11
votes
5answers
8k views

How should I pronounce “Worcestershire” as a rhotic English speaker?

I'm aware that the English county of Worcestershire is pronounced in Britain as ['wu:stəʃə], more or less. However, this is a non-rhotic pronunciation, and it feels very unnatural for me to use this ...
6
votes
9answers
1k views

What could be the equivalent term in British or Australian English to the American English word “hillbilly”?

In Wikipedia, “hillbilly” is defined as: … a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Pronunciation of “lorry”, “worry” and “sorry”

I have always pronounced lorry as "lur-ee" (as if to rhyme with worry), for as long as I can remember. Everyone else I know pronounces it as "lor-ee" (as if to rhyme with sorry). Which one is ...
13
votes
4answers
16k views

Why is 'forty' spelled without a 'u' in Canadian/British English?

I was writing in Word today (with the Canadian English dictionary enabled) and it kept putting a redline under "fourty" which I couldn't understand. A bit of searching says that, even in British and ...
27
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are Leicester & co pronounced as they are?

What is the origin of the pronunciation of words like Leicester, Gloucester, Worcestershire? Presumably, the spelling predates the pronunciation but what is the history here? What language do the ...
4
votes
2answers
316 views

Cockney wh-dropping

The Cockney accent typically, or at least stereotypically, drops the initial /h/ from many a word. Does it drop the initial /h/ from who, whole, whore, and whose? Wikipedia says yes, but I seek a more ...
20
votes
5answers
11k views

Reason for different pronunciations of “lieutenant”

While Americans (and possibly others) pronounce this as "loo-tenant", folks from the UK pronounce it as "lef-tenant". Why?
14
votes
2answers
4k views

“Oestrogen” and “oesophagus” — why are they spelled differently in British English?

Within Biology, there are some biological terms that differ in spelling between the British English and American English dictionaries. For example, oestrogen and oesophagus, as well as the word ...
12
votes
7answers
9k views

How do I spell the truncation 'Cas', as in 'Sports Casual/Sports Cas'?

How do I spell the truncation 'Cas', as in 'Sports Casual/Sports Cas'? It may be UK only, and may have been spawned by Alan Partridge. Cash/Cas are not right. *As in a slang term, "he was acting all ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Why English pronunciation differs so much from written language, compared to German?

Given that English is derived mostly from German, when Anglo-Saxons (German tribes) migrated to Britain, how do you explain that although German has a strict correspondence between written language ...