[mythtv-users] British vs. American English (was MythTV requires a better name)

Ryan Steffes rbsteffes at gmail.com
Thu Sep 20 16:19:01 UTC 2007


On 9/20/07, migmog <migmog at gmail.com> wrote:
> My favourite (with a u) one is about furniture...
>
> Chest of drawers  == Dresser
> Dresser  == Hutch
> Hutch == Pet rabbit's house
>
> Also, why do Americans insist on saying meaningless things like
> 'I could care less'
> 'continue irregardless'
> 'there's still a ways to go'
> 'two pair of blue jeans'
> 'if I would have known then I would have gone'

Allow me to elucidate.

I could care less is equivocal to I couldn't care less, and is an
example of the pesky American habit to emphasize through
contradiction.  Other examples include the phrases of the general
construction "is not the {form extreme}".  The idea is meant to convey
that something isn't as bad as it could be, but it's close.  As in:
Americans could care less about soccer (implied: but it would take
effort).

Irregardless is a word long fought over by grammar fascists.  It's
actually of the exact same construction as "not withstanding", but a
lot of people don't know that word either.  The efforts to have the
word irregardless banned are right up there with the people who
believe literally should only refer to things that have concretely
happened.  Both groups of people are often surprised to find out that
both irregardless and literally have been "misused" for as long as
they have been "correctly", which is an extremely long time.

I'm not sure what you're confused about with the still a ways to go.
I guess there's still a ways to go before we understand each other
fully.

The pairs, in pairs of blue jeans (and also pair of glasses, and pair
of gloves) refers to the construction of pants as a set of more or
less identical things.  It's also extremely old and ingrained in our
language, back to when most of these objects COULD be separated.  The
straight dope has a somewhat interesting write up on it:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_249b.html

The final form is just sounds a bit like bad grammar, but extremely
common, especially in areas of the country that were influenced
heavily by non-English languages.  The funny bit is that many poor
grammar constructions are condemned as sounding "uneducated", when in
actually they reflect non-English cultural heritage.  In this case,
it's because many languages require both parts of the sentence to
match in form; English just doesn't happen to be one of them.  Many
southern language constructions draw heavily from Spanish, German, and
French constructions.  English lost the plural thou in the last few
centuries, and southerners just stuck it back with the convenient
y'all!


If I'd've had more time, I'd've written more about the pairs of pants.
I think I explained it well enough, irregardless, and if you don't
understand now I could care less,

Ry


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