Regional variation in words

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by seebs, May 21, 2015.

  1. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    The drama over the use of "spastic" in a Weird Al song caused me to find out that the term has, not two, but three distinct regional senses:
    1. Generic insult roughly like "klutz", not particularly offensive. (Most American English.)
    2. Highly-0ffensive slur for people with particular disorders. (UK English.)
    3. Emotionally-neutral medical term for those disorders. (India.)
    I mentioned this to a friend, who mentioned having once used a word which was mildly-insulting in American English, and extremely insulting in Australian, like, "grounds for physical violence" levels of insulting.

    And now I'm nervous because I can't think of one of those and wonder what it is and whether I'm likely to hit it.
  2. AbsenteeLandlady123

    AbsenteeLandlady123 Chronically screaming

    I'm racking my brain and can't think of anything off the top of my head. Some racial slurs have more oomph over here than others.
  3. TwoBrokenMirrors

    TwoBrokenMirrors onion hydration

    Brit here who managed to entirely miss that spastic was a Bad Word when I was a kid and used it once and everyone stared at me and I got very confused and upset.
    I think I may have been infected by Americans, or somehow stumbled across some talk from people who wanted to reclaim it or something, and assumed it was okay as a result...
  4. Emma

    Emma Your resident resident

    The Dutch equivalent of the words is still used to describe medical conditions in the Netherlands. Spasticity vs. rigidity.
  5. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Wait is it for like...epilepsy, or what?
  6. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    I know spastic still gets used as a medical term here (Australia), but it's also an insult. Same with retarded, I still occasionally hear it used as a medical term, but it's nearly completely now used as an insult. Usually by teenagers, but you do still hear it said by adult (like one of my friends.........).
    (I am guilty of frequently saying it when I was 12...)

    I don't know if being called spastic is an, "I'll fight you," word but then again I don't really hang out with fight-y people?

    We have some racial slurs here that don't get used in other places. I've seen Americans shorten things to "Abo" (I can't think of what that actually was right now) and all the Australians are like, "Uh hey that's actually a racial slur against Aboriginal people here, maybe... Don't do that..."

    Once, an Australian actor dude was in America for an award show, and there was a black actor, and he said, "I like the boy!" to the black actor and everyone was like, "OH MY GOD," and he was very confused because he didn't realise it was bad to call black men boys, the guy was just younger than him and he was trying to express that he liked him.
  7. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    My favorite story is betaing an Australian's fic, and busting it in giggles when they mentioned a male character putting on a jumper.

    They meant what the us calls sweaters, ie wooly knit warmth shirt, but in the us (at least, west coast) "jumper" is a kind of dress usually worn by little girls.

    The mental image was pretty great.
    • Like x 2
  8. Fish butt

    Fish butt Everything is coming together, slowly but surely.

    I'm not too sure, but there seems to be a bit of an argument in the Netherlands on whether the Dutch version of the N-word is just as bad a slur as the English version or not. When I left three years ago I saw more and more people go 'can you not?' when the word was spoken, but I'm not sure if that trend is still going. But I do remember having a lot of arguments about it - I hate the word myself and I never use it, but a lot of acquaintances of mine used it and defended their use as 'this isn't America' or 'they use it for themselves, why shouldn't we?'

    On another note: thankfully more and more people are addressing the use of blackface during St. Nicholas, and I'm pretty glad they are! Black Peter is really offensive in my opinion, and I think we should just go back to a Krampus-like devil. I'm surprised Tumblr doesn't erupt with shock and horror about the Dutch on November/December, but maybe I'm following all the wrong(right) people.
  9. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    *shhhhh! Tumblr doesnt know about the netherlands yet.
    • Like x 3
  10. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    I was so confused when I heard people referring to dresses as jumpers. SO CONFUSED.

    Also apparently, what we call scones are biscuits to Americans. What we call biscuits are cookies to Americans. Though we also say cookie, but cookie more denotes a very sweet biscuit that usually has stuff like chocolate chips in it. I don't know if Americans think scones are something else, too.
    • Like x 2
  11. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Scones are dense fancy british food you only get at like, tea houses and starbucks.[​IMG]

    Biscuits are fluffy flaky layery rolls you pop out of one of those cardboard tubes and eat with jam or gravy.
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  12. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    Ah, okay! So you call scone what we call scones! I have never seen those kinds of biscuits before, though. Biscuits are sweet, sugary pastries. I don't even think we have anything analogous to those kinds of biscuits .-.
  13. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Oh my god i want to make you biscuits right now. They are so good, not sweet at all just buttery and flaky and soft and youve never had a biscuit that is the saddest thing ive ever heard. :(((

    Come to my house, i will bake you biscuits and sausage gravy to eat them with.
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
    • Like x 5
  14. Fish butt

    Fish butt Everything is coming together, slowly but surely.

    @a tiny mushroom when you say biscuit do you mean this?


    Because that's what this means for me in Dutch and French. Also refers to a type of cookie that is baked twice "bis" + "cuit"
  15. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    @Lissiel They sound really nice =O Please bake me some, I feel like I am missing out!

    @Fish butt Yep! That's what I'm talking about. Aah, does biscuit mean "baked twice"? That's really cool!
  16. Fish butt

    Fish butt Everything is coming together, slowly but surely.

    @a tiny mushroom yes it does! My mother was exploring some old recipes and came across one for biscuits prepared in this manner, and I remember coming to that realisation and her going 'uh... Duh?'

    Also I think cookie in Dutch (koekje) is more the generic umbrella term for all kinds of small flaky pastries, while biscuit is a more specific kind of cookie. At least that's how I use it in Dutch:

    Maria Kaakjes
    • Like x 1
  17. Aondeug

    Aondeug Cringe Annoying Ass Female Lobster

    My favorite regional difference will forever be the word fanny.
    • Like x 12
  18. Fish butt

    Fish butt Everything is coming together, slowly but surely.

    Another fun language fact: the Dutch word beschuitje comes from biscuit! But a beschuitje is NOT a sweet pastry, but a form of dried toasted bread! We traditionally eat it with butter and 'muisjes' (powdered sugar and aniseeds)
    • Like x 1
  19. Aondeug

    Aondeug Cringe Annoying Ass Female Lobster

    The word biscuit is quickly becoming one of my favorites now. Also this reminds me of when a friend and I decided to puzzle through just why the fuck jumper means what it does to UK people. Apparently the answer is a confused course of exchanges starting with Arabic. In America jumpers are just...Those weird inflatable house things that people jump in when they're like five.

    Or at least they are where I live.

    Well that or well.
    Suicide victims who throw themselves off something.
    • Like x 2
  20. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    haha, i don't know if this is entirely relevant ("spastic" reminds me of it) but denzel crocker is often referred to as "spazzing" on fairly oddparents when he does his FAIRY GODPARENTS thing. which makes sense, considering the american definition (fop is american) but yeah...

    anyway, i think as "spaz" and "spazzing" and all that as basically the term for what crocker does. like, i just literally made that word, in my head, about one of the things i sperg about, fop, not so much whatever it means the rest of the time. as though it is a technical term for "saying FAIRY GODPARENTS in a certain way," haha. i see "spaz" or "spazzing," and immediately think of crocker...
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