Talk:English language varieties

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US English?[edit]

"Roundabout, as a noun, refers exclusively in US English to a circular intersection in which entering traffic must yield to vehicles already in the circle."

Where in the US is this? The first time I came across the word "roundabout" as a noun was when I was in Malaysia, which uses "Commonwealth" English. The only word I've heard for this thing in the US is "circle," but perhaps there's some American dialect usage I'm unfamiliar with. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:27, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

As you know it can be very difficult to establish etymologies, but at least those Scandinavians in the Mid West know the word in this usage, Ikan: -- Alice 13:05, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Very well. I will still edit the article to ascribe the noun to "parts of the US," though. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:04, 4 December 2012 (UTC)


One of the wonderful things about Wikimedia software is that you can achieve a really big splash without a lot of effort by using templates.

With this edit one of our most prolific and experienced editors has recently suggested

1) "This topic may not meet the Wikivoyage criteria for a separate article..."

This standard template he placed is rather misleading since the standard pipe leads to the beginning of the article Project:What is an article? and the first four sub-sections there only deal with destination-style articles. This article is not, of course, a destination-style article. Instead it is a travel topic and, at the time of composing this riposte, the standard for non destination-style articles was considerably more straightforward: "Travel topics should have their own articles."

2) "...and should should be merged into American and British English. If you have an opinion, please discuss on this article's talk page. Please do not add new content to this article, but instead add it to American and British English. You can help by copying any relevant information from this page to the new page. Once all content has been copied, this article should be made into a redirect."

I don't think that is a good idea for at least these reasons:

a) This article deals with the differences between different varieties of English - not just those between the British and (sadly misnamed) "American" varieties.

b) This article is already longer and more comprehensive. The American and British English article is just a stub and, if any article is to be merged, the very little new information that is contained in American and British English should be merged into this article and not the other way round. Personally though, I don't see why the different articles with different areas of emphasis can not co-exist.

3) "Please do not remove this merge notice without first gaining consensus for the removal on the article's talk page".

Personally I think this is the wrong order of things. For the reasons stated above and others, I think that consensus should have been reached on this article's talk page before placing this (inappropriate) template.

However, I am not going to remove the (inappropriate) template entirely, but I will amend it now to make it more specific and relevant to this travel topic (as opposed to a destination-style article). -- Alice 00:06, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Firstly, you copy/pasted all information from American and British English to this page. This should never be done, because attribution information is lost and thus copyright is breached.
Secondly, this article covers exactly the same topic as the other article. Of course it is longer and more comprehensive now, because you added your own information to this article, which should have been added to American and British English in the first place. I applied the merge tag, so you can copy your information from here to that article. Then this page should be turned into a redirect. --Globe-trotter (talk) 00:19, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I barely see a reason for having one article on English variation. Two articles makes no sense. Please merge your changes into the original, then propose a name change for the original. Also, the list should be restricted to those words likely to trip up a traveller. -- Cjensen (talk) 00:32, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

GT: Firstly, you are wrong in writing that I "copy/pasted all information from American and British English" Please take care and time to do your homework and stop behaving in such a sloppy, brutal and un-collegiate manner. Why can you not discuss first and win by force of reason rather than brutality

Secondly, it does not cover the same topic in the same way. Do your research and argue a case! Please stop behaving like yours is the only opinion that counts. -- Alice 01:21, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Please merge your changes into the other page and propose a name change for the other page if needed. -- Cjensen (talk) 01:26, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Did you not actually read my rationale above? -- Alice 01:41, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Did you read my suggestion for how to resolve this by working on the existing page and later renaming that if need be? -- Cjensen (talk) 01:49, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I support this. Why start a whole new page? Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:49, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I also support having only one article about American and British English. Wikivoyage is about travel, not linguistics. So our language articles are intentionally kept brief and are aimed squarely at facilitating travel. Here's an idea, Wikipedia or Wikiversity would be excellent wikis for further articles about varieties of English. Perhaps Alice might enjoy writing in further depth about this topic at either of those wikis and a link to such an article might be given at end of American and British English. --Rogerhc (talk) 04:51, 10 December 2012 (UTC)


This article was merged from "English language varieties" to "American and British English", which I think was an error. After discussion at Talk:American_and_British_English#Merge_was_a_mistake!, I have just moved it here.

Note that Talk:American_and_British_English was not changed by the move and is fairly long. Pashley (talk) 23:38, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

A quote[edit]

This likely needs to go into the article.

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” James D Nichols

Just dropping it here for now. Pashley (talk) 13:20, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Wrong article name?[edit]

Shouldn't this article be titled Differences between British and American English ?

As far as I can tell, the scope is very much limited to a discussion between the two. The number of actual 'English language varieties' is very high, even inside the United Kingdom itself. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:47, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

See #Moves above and Talk:American_and_British_English#Merge_was_a_mistake.21 for previous discussion. Pashley (talk) 02:55, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Wow, I am in agreement with User:Alice :) . Seems like this has been well debated already. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:59, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

US Asian definition?[edit]

Is the following accurate for Asians?

    • US — Government usage of the term excludes West Asians (i.e., west of Pakistan), but includes both South and East Asians. In the popular vernacular, "Asian" very often refers to East (and Southeast) Asians exclusively; in most parts of the country, East Asian communities are more established than South Asian communities.

I was under the impression that the US usage applied to people from South East Asia and East Asia exclusively, with people from South Asia not included in this definition. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:57, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia w:American_Asian the definition is actually sort of correct. I would still tidy it up though (i.e. "East Asian communities are more established than South Asian communities" is not really relevant) Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:06, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
updated as per Wikipedia definitions. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:32, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Network routers, include this or not?[edit]

I'm against including the following text in the paragraph about the pronunciations of "route":

(The pronunciation that rhymes with "shouter" is standard in North America for the networking device known as a "router".)

This page has already accumulated an interesting variety of extra words to compare, and so far they all are things that a traveller might reasonably encounter, or which might cause confusion or offense. But I don't see how network routers fits into that. Most travellers aren't likely to talk about network routers, unless maybe they're on a business trip. And anyone who's on a business trip to discuss network routers probably already knows about the pronunciation difference, or will learn it quickly. --Bigpeteb (talk) 18:26, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

What's the harm? Anyone reading this probably has some knowledge of computers. Routers are not so esoteric. I'm far from a computer expert and know what they are. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:25, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I would just ask whether the traveler is truly well served by this long list generally? It is almost as if some people want to make a comprehensive American-British English dictionary to show how much they know rather than a useful guide as to what one might reasonably expect in important differences.
When I saw 'router' added then I really thought the limits of relevant information had been breached. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:34, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Obviously, I disagree, but I'm more interested to know what other words you think should be excluded. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:44, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't actually have any attachment to this article, I just would like to see it targeted in a manner that makes it a useful guide rather than an 'absolutely everything' encyclopaedia of terms.
Obvious candidates that could be removed are a lot of terms which are basically interchangeable. A few for example: carry-on bag/hand luggage, Main Street/high street, last name/surname
Also since 'router' is derived from the word 'route' and is a specialised piece of equipment I would say its inclusion is a bit beyond useful. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:22, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
"Network router", as a technical term, is pronounced the same as in North America by the educated in Argentina, Australia, Britain, Chile, Cyprus, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and West Africa (South Africa is variable) to rhyme with shouter. Of more interest is that all these varieties of English invariably rhyme "route" with shoot (as do francophones when speaking English for obvious reasons). The on-line (normal?) version of this article does not need to be brief or truncated but there may be a case for having an abridged printed version for those that feel the need. -- 03:58, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I think so far most of the terms on the page are useful. Imagine a foreigner who learned American English and decides to go to Britain, or vice versa. If their grasp of English isn't very good to begin with, it might be really useful to have a glossary of travel-related terms as big as what we have now. And since we're not a print guide, we're not limited in the amount of content we can provide, which is why I don't object to anything else we have on the page now. But the difference is, everything we have is somehow related to travel, or something that travellers might likely do or encounter. I just don't see how "network routers" fits under the very broad umbrella of "travel". --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:11, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Shopping center[edit]

From the article:

In the U.S., a "shopping center" usually refers to an open-air venue.

Really? Not in New York, at any rate. A shopping center in New York is essentially an urban mall - a building with a bunch of different shops in it, but no parking lot.

Is there a difference in usage in the rest of the country? What does "shopping center" mean in the part of the U.S. where you live? And what about in Canada? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:30, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

I don't know about the US, but in German usage Shopping Center (also Shoppingcenter, but never "centre") is basically the thing you described above. Quite possibly drawing inspiration from the US. In many cases, individual examples are named xy-center or (confusingly enough) xy Arcaden (as in Erlangen, Munich or Lübeck) Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:14, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm from Eastern Canada. For me, "shopping center" can be used either for the urban places Ikan mentions or for suburban malls. There is a difference of emphasis — "shopping center" makes me think of doing the groceries or back-to-school shopping while "mall" suggests more exotic or luxurious stuff — but the terms are close to synonymous. Pashley (talk) 15:20, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
Kingston (Ontario) had a "Frontenac Mall" (1970s, formerly anchored by Woolco) and a "Kingston Shopping Centre" (built 1950s, enclosed 1970s, demolished 2000s, formerly anchored by Sears). Both were enclosed malls with a bus stop and a large parking lot, with most of the stores facing onto wide inside corridors. One would have a better chance of detecting which was the low-end stuff by the selection of anchor department store than by the name; a Sears or an Eatons trumped Woolco, and just about anything was better than a Zellers or a K-Mart... because those were discount brands, while Sears was comfortably middle class and midrange. (This was before K-Mart went broke and left Canada, Zellers locations were sold to Target and failed spectacularly, all the Woolco locations became Walmart or closed, Eatons went bust and Sears became an investor's nightmare as they were being undercut by low-end stores like Walmart. Maybe I'm showing my age here?) Perhaps the words "shopping centre" are on older malls, as by the 1980s one assumed that the "XYZ Centre" was an retail indoor mall without having to spell "shopping" out explicitly.
There's also the complication that landlords have been known to have a contractor enclose what was an outdoor mall, or (conversely) convert an indoor mall back to stores facing directly onto the car park. A "power centre" seems to be a collection of big-box chain stores facing onto the car park, but it's not uncommon to see indoor malls marketed as a local place name plus one of "galleries", "place", "centre" or "town centre" selected as an arbitrary marketing decision. If the existing facility is named "shopping centre", its newer rival will be "mall" and the later upstart will be "town centre" as either the terms fall in/out of favour with marketers or the landlord tries to find a name different from the existing rival. A "plaza" was a strip mall; one long building with multiple stores facing onto the car park on one side, no indoor corridor. All of these had parking; the lack of anywhere to park was an old town or downtown "main street" pattern where small independent stores in individual (sometimes historic) buildings faced directly onto a busy main street with sidewalks. Usually that was the original commercial district before the malls (under whatever names) came to town. K7L (talk) 16:32, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm an American from the South, and I don't see a problem with the current description. To me, an enclosed building with many stores is a "mall", a building where the store fronts are on the outside of the building is probably a "strip mall", and a "shopping center" is either a single strip mall or an area with multiple independent buildings (some of which could be enclosed malls, but most would probably be strip malls), but definitely not a single enclosed mall. --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:49, 15 September 2015 (UTC)


This is a minor gripe, but it really irks me. I dislike how the slashes used to separate multiple word choices don't allow line breaks. So you end up with awkwardly broken and long text, along with a lot of empty space, like this:

US UK Notes
access road
motorway "Interstate" is the name of a specific U.S. highway system. In actual parlance many Americans use the name or rather number of a street when referring specifically to it (e.g. I-45, Route 66 etc.). UK numbered roads usually take "the" (e.g. "the M25", "the A1") while U.S. numbered roads usually omit it (e.g. "I-95", "US-1"). In the US, a "turnpike" is a toll motorway while a "freeway" has no tolls.
speed bump speed
truck lorry

(line breaks forced so you can see what I see)

At first I was thinking of putting a zero-width space after the slashes so that line breaks would be allowed there, but that litters the source with HTML entities, so it's not a great solution.

But then I noticed there's one entry that uses commas instead of slashes. Well, what's wrong with that? Commas aren't used anywhere else. Why don't we just change them all to commas? Or maybe semicolons, for a bit more visual clarity?

Also, I really want to stick {{nowrap}} on a few entries that have awkward line breaks, like "to go". --Bigpeteb (talk) 20:36, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Californian road parlance[edit]

Apparently the issue of how Californians give directions is at least somewhat culturally noteworthy (a California resident once told me, Comedians make fun of conversations by people from LA being basically 90% about traffic). I think we should link the interested parties to the Californians by Saturday Night Live Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:19, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. I've only been to California a few times for trips. Anyway, since the added description makes the text rather long, I'd rather remove it. Whether or not to use "the" with a road's name is a very minor issue, and it doesn't affect comprehension at all, so it probably doesn't belong here. --Bigpeteb (talk) 13:51, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
That's true. I'm OK with removing that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:22, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
To be honest, this article is already becoming over-long. We have to take care to only include information which is necessary for a handy (and hopefully brief) travel guide, rather than an anorak's‡ personal list. With a few exceptions, the actual vocab is about right, IMO, but a lot of the notes go into more detail than strictly needed. Also, do we really need five paragraphs on weights and measures?
How is this:
"In measures for liquids, the U.S. uses its own variant of Imperial measures (simply called "U.S. customary measures"). An Imperial gallon is 4.5 litres (160 Imperial fluid ounces) but a U.S. gallon is 3.78 liters (128 US fluid ounces). Both sizes of gallon are subdivided into four quarts or eight pints. A handy but very rough approximate conversion is to treat a liter as a quart; actually 1 litre is about 34 US fluid ounces, more than a U.S. quart (32 ounces) but less than an imperial quart (1.4 litres, or 40 Imperial fluid ounces). The difference between the ounce is a little less obvious, with the US fluid ounce 5% larger than its Imperial counterpart. (To add to the confusion, there are also units of weight named "ounce" or "Troy ounce"; 16 ounces weight equal 454 grammes or one pound. The "Troy ounce", only used for precious metals, divides the pound into 12 instead of 16.)"
helpful for travellers? Okay, so maybe a particularly obsessive fuel-conscious driver may want to keep tabs on how she's doing in comparison to home, but do the majority of us really care about stuff like that? Similar to all the exceptions to metrication in the U.S. It just doesn't matter!
Furthermore, some of the information listed does matter, but is in the wrong place on WV. The Toll and Trunk Calls section, for example. Great bit of information, which could save our readers' money and confusion. But what does that have to do with English language varieties? And shouldn't the information be in the 'Connect' section of country articles?
What do you guys think, is this worth considering in a separate conversation? Sorry if this comes across as a rant, but I've been observing this article with increasing concern for a while and believe now may be time to talk about it.
‡We can all agree that this is one word that really doesn't need to be here!
Always best wishes, --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:09, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
I'd say, go ahead and put in the edits you think best. If you delete anything people really strongly feel is important, it can always be reinstated, with a good reason given. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:58, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Makes sense. I'm always cautious to just go ahead with larger changes (especially deletion), so always like to ask first. Thanks, Ikan. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 18:37, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Thank you! I think it's great that you explained your thinking before acting. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:07, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
The paring-down is looking good! So far I only have one question... I had read that UK "napkin" was a faux pas because it means (or meant) diaper, so using that word instead of "serviette" is kind of embarrassing. Is that true, or was that advice outdated or exaggerated? If it's still accurate, then I think the comment on that word pair should be re-added. --Bigpeteb (talk) 17:27, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
I couldn't comment on the accuracy of the information, but if it was ever true, then it was several generations ago. My grandparents certainly say / said "napkin" with no blushing :-) I haven't finished on the cut down yet, still lots to slash! As ever, revert anything you think ought to be in there --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 19:39, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Table shape[edit]

Hi, everyone. I'd like to get rid of the "Comment" column for the table that begins with dreamed and dreamt, since there are no comments, but I don't know how to do that without having the table span the entire width of the page. If any of you know how to get it to look like the previous 2-column tables, please take care of this. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:42, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

Given name[edit]

I think a lot of Americans understand "surname", but are there really any Americans who don't understand "given name"? If we all agree that that term is pretty much universally understood in the U.S., we can remove that line in "Other". Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:21, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

I was just watching Parks and Recreation and one of the characters (Ron Swanson, who is admittedly a bit of an oddball) used the term "given Christian name" and it made me think of this page. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 21:51, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
Some Americans would be confused by "Christian name" (hey, I'm Jewish and don't have one! :-P), but if the term is no longer used, it doesn't matter. This isn't a guide to reading old British novels, after all. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:13, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
Is 'given name' particularly applicable to any variety of English? We should be careful not to mistake terms that an individual may perhaps not hear so often and present them as part of common usage in another culture. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:19, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
I would say not. And would argue the same for "Christian name". Even here, it seems to be used exclusively by elderly people and those with an agenda (the latter group thankfully few and far between, the former unfortunately not). Jokes! --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:59, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
Speaking as someone who mostly knows American usage though as a second language, "Christian name" sounds rather odd or "people with an agenda" to me Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:25, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

"X is also used/understood in..."[edit]

Regarding this edit... I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning. I think it's important to distinguish between vocabulary that isn't mutually understood (such as "zucchini"/"courgette") from vocabulary where there's a different preference, but other terms would still be understood.

If you'd prefer, we could simply list the common term as an alternative rather than explaining it in a note. But I do think it's important to know when you can use the "wrong" word and still be understood, versus when you really must use the correct word. --Bigpeteb (talk) 13:33, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Example: Everyone in the U.S. knows what a pharmacy is: For us, that's just a more fancy alternate word for "drugstore". However, if you ask for a "chemist", some Americans could well be confused, thinking you're looking for a scientist, not a drugstore. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:46, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
You can look at it another way. Our guide teaches people to use the right word that everyone will definitely understand. So there will never be an occasion when , e.g. a Brit in New York who has read this guide asks someone to direct him to the nearest Tube station.
"Pharmacy" isn't an equivalent because it's a word used in both countries. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "main course", "Autumn" and "surname" are not used by Americans, they are merely understood.
The trouble with listing the terms as an alternative is that it implies people in those countries actually use them, rather than merely understanding them. (If Americans do actually use those terms, then obviously you can disregard this point and just list them as alternatives). Cheerio, --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 14:37, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
Think about how this guide would be used. If you're listening to someone speak (let's say a Brit visiting the U.S.), you'll understand most words, but a few will be odd. You can look them up in a dictionary, or you can come to this page, look for that word in the "U.S." column, and see what it equates to in your native UK English. But an American could say "autumn" or "surname"; it's not the most common term, but some people might use it, and if the American does use it then it's already the term the Brit would have picked anyway.
If you're speaking to someone (again, a Brit talking to an American), you want to use a word they'll understand. So you look in the "UK" column for a word, and see what your options are in the "U.S." column for an equivalent word. But if we're asserting that an American would understand "surname" or "autumn", then why shouldn't it be listed as an alternative? If the Brit uses that term, it will be understood by the American even if it's not the word the American would have picked. Therefore why shouldn't it be listed or mentioned? It's completely different from the Brit saying "courgette", which isn't understood at all in the U.S. --Bigpeteb (talk) 16:26, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
Okay, you've won me over. If you add them as alternative bits of vocabulary, I'll be as happy as Larry. But I think it would be a mistake to reinstate the "also understood in..." sentences. Good thinking adding in the 'Learn' section. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 19:13, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, "autumn" is less used in the U.S. but completely understood and accepted, and I think most Americans would understand "surname", but it wouldn't surprise me if some wouldn't and unlike "autumn", I doubt you'll hear it used by Americans. One thing about "autumn" is that the word is used quite a lot in classic songs: For example, there's a jazz standard called "Early Autumn". Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:17, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I forgot "main course": Yes, it is both used and understood in the U.S. Appetizers and mains are common terms, especially in the food industry, but I think nearly everyone understands them. Then again, do keep in mind that I am based in New York City, so I don't know for sure what will be understood in, say, rural West Virginia. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:20, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I object quite strongly to this edit reverting one of mine.
As I see it, when there are three terms like appetizer/entree/starter or drugstore/chemist/pharmacy and the third one is recognised in any dialect, it is quite clear that we should put that one in the comments column & mention that it is usable in both. It is just completely silly to list it in both the US & UK columns; we need to emphasize that it is OK anywhere and make US/UK distinctions only where they actually exist.
Other opinions? Pashley (talk) 18:54, 5 August 2016 (UTC)


This is the latest addition to the table:

In the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, "silverware" refers exclusively to utensils made of silver.

In my own experience in the U.S., this is false: It is perfectly OK to refer to stainless steel cutlery as "silverware". Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:22, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

As an Australian with UK background - for instance cutlery relates to all types - steel and silver, and there is also looseness of the term 'silverware' in Australia, so I agree with Ikan JarrahTree (talk) 23:36, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
I'd be inclined to remove this entry as false, given that we seem to have established that both terms are understood pretty well in at least the US, the UK and Australia and that "silverware" can refer without strong objection to any type of metal cutlery. User:The dog2, would you like to make an argument for retaining the (mis)impression that there is a divide between Americans and British on these terms? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:19, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
It's mainly based on the English I originally learnt in Singapore (which is for the most part closer to British English), and from time spent living in Australia and the US. At the very least, I can say that "cutlery" is the more common term used when we are talking about ordinary forks, spoons and knives. And I did meet a Canadian who mentioned that they use "cutlery" in Canada as well. But from my time spent in the US, "silverware" is way more common here, and some people will not understand you if you use "cutlery". At least based on my own experiences, I understand "silverware" to generally mean eating utensils (including plates and cups) made of silver. But, if the general consensus is otherwise, go ahead and revert it. My impressions could be wrong. The dog2 (talk) 04:10, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Probably not wrong, just your experience vs. other people's experience, so less a question of differences in nationwide uses and more just the circles within which we've traveled. Let's see if anyone else has any views on this. No reason to rush to judgment and act right away. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:27, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
sheesh things vary so much - no rush. just one experience against the slips and slides between generations even, having had british parentage (sic) the company kept etc - usages have strange lives of their own. JarrahTree (talk) 08:41, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes indeed. I could see where some Americans might not know the word "cutlery". I certainly know the word and don't think of it as inherently British at all, but rather, a generic word for utensils that could be used to describe plastic or wooden ones as well as ones made out of metal (whereas it would be strange to use "silverware" to describe non-metal utensils). However, I do think of the word as a bit fancier than "silverware", so I definitely wouldn't be surprised if some Americans with less education than me and my parents don't know the word. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:42, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

As a young British person, I would definitely say "silverware" carries connotations of expensive or old-fashioned models (more like family heirlooms than something you'd buy at Ikea), though perhaps not necessarily literal silver. Then again, I am perhaps not the best example; my family is so un-posh that we don't even use the word "cutlery" most of the time, but rather the slang word "diggers" :D One word related to this I would definitely consider chiefly American (or at least un-British) is "flatware". That might be worth adding. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 00:09, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

I dont know what its like in the uk or usa, but the word ikea has almost become simultaneously an adjective and adverb here in oz, things shift,.... JarrahTree (talk) 10:55, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

So looks like things are a little more complicated than it seems. I'll give it to JarrahTree on this one since he's Australian, but I must say that in my 5+ years living in Australia, I've always heard people use "cutlery" to refer to regular forks, spoons and table knives. At the very least, I've never heard people in Australia using "silverware" to refer to plastic or stainless steel cutlery. But then again, given that American pop culture is quite popular in Australia, it wouldn't surprise me if more American terms have seeped into Australian English since I left. And at least in the English I learnt, "silverware" does not only include silver cutlery, but includes plates, cups, bowls, candlesticks and pretty much any tableware made of silver. The dog2 (talk) 00:12, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

I have lived in both UK and Australia for a good while. Silverware is only used for very formal occasions or by someone who has overdosed on too many 'Downton Abbey' episodes. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:30, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I get that technically, anything made out of silver is literally "silver ware", but I think if you used the compound, "silverware", in the US to indicate bowls or plates made from silver, people would have to think about it for a second. But then again, just how many Americans have ever been presented with such large items made from silver? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:10, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Hmm... here's my take as an American. The most common/generic word is probably "utensils"; everyone understands it, and it covers silver and steel and plastic. "Cutlery" is a synonym, which I think most people would understand (maybe not all; I never really thought about it). I have to agree that "silverware" is a generic term as well; I've used it at home, and I definitely don't own any silver. "Flatware" is understood, and used in stores, but I think it's pretty rare in speech.
All that said... I'm not sure these words are worth including. This page has a tendency to grow uncontrollably, and got a very good pruning about a year ago. I don't think these words are much of an issue, and I think they'd just clutter up the page. --Bigpeteb (talk) 21:51, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Considering we all understand one another's preferred terms (and are a fairly good representation of different English dialects around the world), I have a tendency to agree with you. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:57, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Of course we can't possibly list every word. But I do think that this dichotomy might be a source for confusion at times, especially since there are bound to be many people like me who learnt that "silverware" should refer to items made of silver. As far as I know, people don't use "silverware" to refer to plastic cutlery outside the US. I'm certainly not rich enough to use tableware made of silver to have my meals, put I have been to several museum exhibits which use "silverware" to refer to fine tableware made of silver. Where I could see a possible misunderstanding is if an American were to travel abroad and ask his host where the "silverware" is, since "silverware" is not often used in that generic sense elsewhere. The dog2 (talk) 03:43, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm of the personal opinion that the potential disastrous consequences of an American using this term in say, Singapore, is somewhat on the far fetched side. I feel this list should be limited to genuinely important differences. Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:18, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
People don't use "silverware" to refer to plastic cutlery in the US, either (except for an ironic or humorous effect), only metal cutlery. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:20, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm with Andrewssi2, limit the list to important things. In this case, we have a bunch of native speakers who do not completely agree on the usage anyway, so explaining it for non-natives would be tricky even if it were worth doing. It isn't, so delete it.
See also earlier discussion at Talk:American_and_British_English#Too_much_detail?. Pashley (talk) 14:08, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

A video of some interest[edit]

Might be this. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:42, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Liters, litres and what does international preference mean?[edit]

Okay, I don't want an edit war over this, but why has the spelling "liter" (which is in line with our "Us-English is the default" policy) been replaced by the British "litre"? The edit summary claims it to be some kind of international preferred variety or something, but frankly, I ain't buyin' that... What do you say? Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:58, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Hmm, I hadn't thought about the "prefer U.S. English" policy. I was just thinking that in a section explaining how the U.S. is the only country not to use liters, it would be weird to use the U.S. spelling of liter rather than spelling it "litre" the way it is in every country that actually uses liters.
If we'd rather be consistent with the "prefer U.S. English" policy, that's fine too, it just needs to be changed to match that. No matter what, it was inconsistent before... 2 uses of "liter" and 2 of "litre" in one section. --Bigpeteb (talk) 21:09, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Well "every country that actually uses liters" does include quite some countries not speaking English (e.g. Germany where it is indeed "Liter") and as for consistency throughout the article: That I can get on board with, except of course for those places that talk about spelling differences explicitly... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:17, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Liters are used in the US. You can get 3-liter bottles of Coke in supermarkets. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:28, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
On wp en we have english usage varieties acknowledged - and personally, as a British ancestry Australian, who uses litre, I would be against US centric policy over-ruling variant usages. The constant issue for almost 10 years on wp en has been to remove US centrism in usages or content, what makes Wikivoyage a child of something that other projects try to studiously avoid ? Or maybe i have misread the question and responses JarrahTree (talk) 21:58, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
We have a - imho rather weakly based in fact - policy as to which countries (allegedly or really) prefer British/American spellings that I would rather not see changed without good reason. In all cases that are not clearly one of the countries that "prefers" a certain variety of English (which ever way we get to that point of saying so) we kind of have to set a default standard to avoid this issue cropping up again and again and sapping our resources. We have chosen American English a long time ago and generally speaking there have never been major problems with that besides a few minor gripes here and there. If we were to chose any other default spelling, we would have to defend it against the attack of it being (country/culture/spelling) x centric... Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:27, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for that reply. Yes such issues drain amazing amount of energy time and space and can even destroy some aspects of smaller projects or wikis. JarrahTree (talk) 22:47, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Okay, so it sounds like as per WV:SP this article should use American "liter" except when specifically pointing out that it's spelled differently in British English. Changed. --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:51, 4 December 2015 (UTC)
That gets us into weirdness like "There are 4.5 litres in an Imperial gallon", which you changed back to "there are 4.5 liters in an Imperial gallon". The countries which used the Imperial gallon would indeed explicitly be using L-I-T-R-E so I disagree with this change in this specific context. K7L (talk) 18:00, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
I agree with you in such specific cases. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:54, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Round trip[edit]

Do Canadians use this term, "return", or both? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:32, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

@Ikan Kekek: When I had to fly home to Canada from Europe with a broken leg, I told my insurance company that a one-way ticket would cost $x, and a return ticket would cost $y where you was considerably less than x. They told me I could buy the cheaper ticket as long as it was not round-trip. I don't think that was a matter of a linguistic misunderstanding but of the insurance company flunky being an effing moron. Ground Zero (talk) 11:28, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Short and long scale in Canada[edit]

I took this description from W:Long and short scales

Canada uses the short scale in English-speaking regions, and the long scale in French-speaking regions.

but it's not clear to me what that means. Does it mean that Canadian English always uses the short scale? Or does it mean that in French-speaking regions like Quebec, the long scale is used even in English? --Bigpeteb (talk) 17:04, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

From [1] 'billion' is a thousand million in English anywhere in Canada, including Québec. There is or was a French word « le billion » which is *not* the same as a thousand million in French is a « milliard ». See also w:fr:Échelles longue et courte#Pays utilisant l.27.C3.A9chelle longue. K7L (talk) 01:22, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Is this info likely to be useful, let alone important, to travellers? I'm an English Canadian, did not know this until I read it here, & do not care now that I do. I see no reason to tell visitors about it. Pashley (talk) 15:17, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
It might be relevant insofar as French Canadians are similarly prone to confuse the long and the short scale as e.g. Germans, who also use the long scale (and would mistake "Billion" to mean "Billion" instead of "Milliarde") Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:23, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Pashley. The only practical application I can see is with billion-dollar business deals, but then you'd hope the people involved wouldn't be relying on Wikivoyage to know how much money they were spending! This is not supposed to be a comprehensive list of every single dialectical difference in English, so let's keep it focussed on the traveller. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 15:26, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
News in TV and print uses "billion" and "trillion" a lot, as they discuss government spending, business/financial news, damage from natural disasters, etc. So I think it is something that an average traveler might hear.
Does the point about French and Afrikaans belong in this article? Perhaps not, since this is a page about English, and presumably anyone who speaks the other language (whether the traveler or a native) would already be aware of the difference. But I'm inclined to agree with Hobbitschuster, that ESL speakers might confuse the words because of their native language, and so mentioning it is a useful caution. --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:28, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
You're right, the traveller might hear it, but would any slight misunderstanding (if any) that arose from their not having been made aware of the difference on Wikivoyage adversely affect their travel experience in any significant way? Would their correct understanding of the difference (if we do talk about it in this article) result in any improvement to their travel experience? In case it isn't obvious, I would argue "no" for both of those criteria, and these are surely the criteria we should be using to decide if a piece of information is 'worthy' of inclusion on this page of our travel guide.
The big issue for me is not this relatively minor billion / milliard quibble, but rather that, if left unchecked, this already fat and bafflingly long article will continue to grow, one useless bit of information at a time, until it is stuffed full of trivia with little or no importance to the traveller, that the really vital stuff will be lost. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 20:01, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Removal of "Learn" section[edit]

What do you all think of this edit? I oppose it. Education is a reason for travel; if we can have a Studying abroad topic, we can include terms relating to education that cause confusion, though which ones are sufficiently important to include are fair game for discussion. But moreover, education is a common topic of conversation, and being confused about some basic differences (like the meanings of "private" and "public" schools), while hardly fatal, might be good to avoid if clarity is desired. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:53, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

I think the whole article, including this section, needs a fairly severe trimming; there is far too much trivia. On the other hand, I agree that removing the whole section was an error. Pashley (talk) 03:28, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
You may well be right. Differences involving some of the more technical education terms could be explained in Studying abroad as necessary, but I think at least really common differences, like the disparate meanings of "public school" and "college" in different English-speaking places, should be explained here. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:53, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Also oppose, for exactly the reasons cited. (I already undid the deletion, before I noticed this discussion.) And yes, this article has gotten a bit bloated again; it seems to be a magnet for it. --Bigpeteb (talk) 12:11, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

As I've wrote on several occasions in the past, this article is too long and not focussed on what is important to the traveller. There are many parts of the 'learn' section that are frankly irrelevant (discussing the school systems in various countries for one, since most study abroad is done by university students or adult learners), but the section itself should definitely remain, albeit in a much slimmer form. Best, --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:02, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

What about children of expats or people doing an exchange student program, though? Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:05, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Neither of those groups are likely to be using or relying on Wikivoyage to understand the school system of their host country. And if they were, they wouldn't be looking for it in this article, because it's supposed to be about the English language, not the education system. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:16, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
There is some stuff about expat children in retiring abroad. I have not checked working abroad but it might have some too. I think this might make a good travel topic of its own at some point.
Teaching_English#University_programs mentions some types of exchange student. Pashley (talk) 11:47, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
I'll agree that "kindergarten", "pre-K", and "Year R" are not hugely relevant. If you're planning to enroll children in elementary/primary/grade school abroad, you should know more than just these couple of words. And when I looked up w:Comparison of American and British English#School, I found it enormously complicated. So I agree that it's out of scope, except maybe as a note outside the table that different countries (even within the UK) label school years differently.
What else would anyone nominate for trimming? Personally, I think the rest of the vocabulary in the Learn table is fine, as they're genuinely likely to come up or cause confusion (moreso than some other vocabulary items in this page).
What about the terms under "Same words, different meaning"? I think we certainly need to have something to explain "college" and "university", but maybe the detail can be pruned to just a sentence or fragment per country. (The entries for "football" do a much better job of being succinct, for comparison.) Maybe the vocab for "college" could be presented in a simple table of country vs level (secondary, community college, post-secondary). "Public school" almost certainly needs to stay, since it has so many meanings, some of which are exact opposites. I hadn't noticed "school" before, but I think we can remove that safely. Before seeing it on this page I wasn't aware of the differences in meaning for "student", so maybe that deserves to stay, but could be shortened. "Student union" could stay or go; since it has multiple meanings I think it should stay, but it can be shortened.
Perhaps moving some of this to Studying abroad is a good idea, to help de-clutter this page, although some general terms could still stay. I think people are much more likely to read Studying abroad than they are, say, Shopping, so moving vocabulary out of this page's Learn section is a lot more agreeable than moving it out of the Buy section would be. --Bigpeteb (talk) 17:34, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

Hmm... the "Same words, different meaning" section has picked up quite a few entries. It started out as a catch-all for terms that would be confusing, but don't obviously fit into any one section, like "fag", "gentleman's club", "pissed", and "rubber". But it's picked up a lot of other entries, many of which are quite lengthy.

Is there any reason not to move some of them to a more appropriate section above? There's no reason "football" has to be all the way at the bottom of the page when it could very easily be directly in "See and do". Likewise, a lot of the "Learn"-related items could move directly to that section, and "coriander" and "corn" could move to "Eat". --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:57, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

That seems most useful to me. Other opinions? Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:41, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
It's a sensible suggestion, you've got my backing. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 21:56, 20 June 2016 (UTC)


While the image of Space Shuttle "Endeavour" makes sense for this page once I read the caption, I don't think it will make sense for the average reader. I don't really have any other suggestions, though. --Bigpeteb (talk) 20:16, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Any example of English writing would do. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:36, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
It was me who added the banner and it was really hard to come up with something suitable for this article i.e. something illustrating different varieties of English. If anyone has any better suggestions, feel free to change the banner. ϒpsilon (talk) 16:11, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
I for one think the idea is very clever. Just a shame the space shuttle has been consigned to the history books. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:13, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Possible FTT?[edit]

This article is classed as a Guide. What improvements are needed for a feature? Probably a condensation of the section on education, but what else? Are there other important terms for automobile parts that differ in different dialects of English and should be added? I added hood/bonnet, which is of obvious importance. Are there others? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:23, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

I actually removed hood/bonnet, on the basis that travellers are unlikely to need to know that difference, and it's just an extra entry cluttering up an already-long section. I mean, it should only come up if the car breaks down, right? (Unlike the trunk/boot, which could certainly be mentioned in an average traveller's day, like when they're picking a car to rent.) The person they're most likely to say "hood/bonnet" to is a mechanic, who will probably understand both words anyway, or figure it out from context. If you think this entry is important, then I don't object to leaving it in, but we just had another round of complaining about how long and bloated this article is, so I'm trying to show some restraint. --Bigpeteb (talk) 15:10, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
To me, it's natural that if we're mentioning trunk/boot, we should mention hood/bonnet. I understand the point you're making but don't really agree with it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:34, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
No argument from me. I'm just playing devil's advocate; personally I don't see as much of a problem with clutter in this article. Isn't one of WV's policies that the articles don't have to be as constrained as in a print guide book, since it's an online format where there's little harm in being longer and more exhaustive? --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:06, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
More photos. ϒpsilon (talk) 16:15, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
These guides are actually supposed to be printable. Completely exhaustive coverage isn't desired, inasmuch as some of that coverage could be considered encyclopedic. But I don't think including hood/bonnet comes close to that. Imagine if your car broke down and you needed to call for repairs. It would help for you to know what word to use where.
And yes, more photos would be a good idea, but of what? I can think of something: If there were a photo of the Indian brinjal pickles I used to buy, showing the words aubergine and eggplant on the jar, too, that would be good, though I wouldn't figure on anyone having taken such a photo. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:07, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

How sure are we that we want to make this shorter?[edit]

I just read through this article again. To me, the following sections feel long enough to be worth a discussion:

(1) The football explanations. But I should say that I think they're totally fine, and whoever isn't interested can easily skip the section.

(2) The "Learn" section. This was deleted in toto once before and restored. I don't think all of it is essential, but again, it's easy to skip if the reader isn't interested.

(3) "Numbers"/"Date Formats"/"Weights and measures". I would strongly oppose deleting any of this, because it's so useful for the time when you might need it.

I think where we go with this article depends somewhat on how we view it. If we view it as a reference article, I think it's quite inessential to remove any of its current content. If we instead view it as a breezy, fun article that touches on just the most common and essential differences, it's too long. And my feeling is that good work has gone into making this article what it is now, so I would not like to see any large-scale deletions, though I would have no problem if a decision were made (or, for you Brits, taken ;-) to leave only the most important discrepancies in "Learn" terms here and move the rest to the Studying abroad article. As for football, the details could be moved to the Football disambiguation article to whatever extent they aren't already there, but since the coverage here is really about usage in different parts of the English-speaking world, I think it's better placed here, not there. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:13, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Words for "soda"[edit]

AndreCarrotflower deleted the entry on terms for "soda" for the understandable reason that there's a lot of variation within countries, so this isn't so much a straight difference between the US and the UK. However, the title of this article is "English language varieties", so I think it's relevant to the article that in the US South, you shouldn't be shocked to be asked what kind of Coke you want, meaning what kind of soda/pop, not just Coke Classic or Diet Coke, etc. I would suggest restoring the entry in question. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:40, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

If it's retained, it should be in the form of one of the more detailed notes at the bottom of each section, rather than an entry in the table. This is not a case of a simple UK/US dichotomy, as its presence on the table would imply. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:56, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
That's OK with me and sounds sensible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:35, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Seconded. But (and I'll edit the article to reflect this) the whole thing about ordering "a coke" and getting asked "what kind?" is nonsense. I live in Atlanta, so I ought to know. If you order "a Coke" in a restaurant, you're getting a Coca-Cola. However, if you go to the grocery store to buy some "cokes", you're buying a variety of sodas. --Bigpeteb (talk) 13:31, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Maybe it would be better to display the common terms for soft drinks with a map? There are several of those floating around on the internet and either one of them is under an appropriate license already or we can create a similar one. As for ordering "coke" in my experience (which for the US is quite limited) it is by no means guaranteed that you'll get a Coca Cola. Often they will bring you a Pepsi or other cola beverage. Having - apart from airport layovers - never been to the South (and Atlanta as Coca Cola headquarters may well be different) I lack the expertise to judge whether a waiter or waitress would assume coke to mean another type of soft drink there. Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:08, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Bigpeteb, my first experience of being asked "what kind of Coke" I wanted was in a diner in Greensboro, NC. It turned out they had Pepsi and no Coca Cola. So while I obviously take your word for it that this kind of usage is not universal in the South, it certainly happens. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:55, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Huh, so it does happen sometimes. Good to know! --Bigpeteb (talk) 16:34, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Differences between British chips and American fries?[edit]

In the article: "British chips are typically thicker than American fries."

Not my experience. Sure, there are some really small fries you can sometimes get in the U.S., but I didn't really notice a clear difference at all. Is this difference really clear to everybody, or should we delete the sentence above? Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:04, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

There is a whole fried potato ecosystem. I'd say 'British chips' are always much thicker than 'fries'. That said I feel the usefulness to the traveler of making these distinctions is getting rather tenuous. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:22, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
I have found out much to my surprise that Spanish does not distinguish between potatoes fried in a pan and french fries. Both are "papas fritas" - at least in Mexico and Nicaragua. Whether or not we should go into too much detail on the fried potatoes and their terms in the Anglosphere... I think if anything we could mention it with specific restaurant listings or if it is a region or city wide trend in their respective articles rather than in this overview article. Fast food in North America is another page that could go into more detail on the specifics of fries at certain chains. Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:54, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
Delete the sentence; it is probably true in general, but it does not matter much & there are exceptions. Pashley (talk) 10:58, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
Done. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:03, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

Regarding the edit I made, I wanted to highlight some quirks about this. Of course, it's already stated that what Americans call chips, the British call crisps, and what the British call chips, Americans call fries. However, Australians call both of them "chips", so yes, it can be a little confusing for some though based on my time spent there, you can usually tell from context what they mean. But anyway, I just thought this is something interesting to highlight. What do you think is the best way to do it? The dog2 (talk) 16:41, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

The way I left it was intended to show exactly the point you wanted to make, but with fewer words. To my mind, "In Australia, "chips" can refer to either the British or American sense of the word." says what you wanted to highlight, but without the confusing and false statement "Australia follows U.S. usage". Please let me know if I've misunderstood, and we'll put it back to how it was --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:00, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
For the most part it gets the point across, but one thing extra I'd point out is that "crisps" is rarely used in Australia. Sure, Australians will understand if a Brit says it, but it is in general not used by Australians. Australians will typically use "chips" to refer to either type of food. The dog2 (talk) 19:56, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Maybe that last sentence of yours ("Australians will typically use "chips" to refer to either type of food.") is the one to use in the notes then :) --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 23:08, 13 January 2017 (UTC)


AndreCarrotflower, the point I've been trying to make with the word "Indian" is that in the U.S., it can be used to refer to people from the country of India, or from the Indian subcontinent. That's normal and accepted, but very confusing for South Asians. I worked with a lot of them in grad school, and quickly learned not to use "Indian" in the sense of the Indian subcontinent. Calling someone from Pakistan "Indian" is okay in the U.S. usage, but confusing or even offensive in the South Asian usage.

Am I hung up on this too much? If not, is there some way we can incorporate this into the text? That's why I don't like combining the bullet points about the country of India and the Indian subcontinent, because it obscures the fact that those are two distinct uses of the word. --Bigpeteb (talk) 13:38, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

I think it would be great to include that information, but I disagree that it should be two different bullet points. The whole point of what you're saying is a lot of U.S. English speakers don't draw a verbal distinction between people from India and people from South Asian countries other than India. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:47, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
I think the key passage from the article is "People from the country of India, or South Asia in a general sense." I was trying to strike a balance between what I talked about above and the fact that there is a small but growing number of U.S. English speakers who are indeed conscientious in differentiating between Indians and, say, Pakistanis or Sri Lankans in the language they use. In other words, if someone says the word "Indian" (and it's clear they're not talking about indigenous Americans), it's slightly more likely but far from certain that they're talking about someone from India rather than someone from a different South Asian country. I think maybe it could be worded a bit better, and I'm perfectly open to the idea of editing it, but let's also try to keep what is already a fairly longwinded discourse on the use of the word "Indian" from getting significantly longer. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:52, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
I've edited the article in a way that hopefully addresses some of your concerns, Bigpeteb. What do you think? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:32, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm satisfied. :-) -- Bigpeteb (talk) 20:56, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

Yield vs Give Way[edit]

I added this expression, since it is indeed different between British and American usage. Of course, a native English speaker would be able to figure out what either expression means based on context, and such words are rarely used without a context. At least in Singapore, "yield" is almost never used in the context of "give way", though we would be able to understand what it means in an American text based on context. Maybe some Brits or Australians can chip in on this, but would understanding either word be commonsense in the absence of a context? The dog2 (talk) 02:07, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

"State schools" in the U.S.[edit]

Re this edit:

First, state colleges receive an increasingly smaller percentage of their funding from state governments. Second, private universities do receive funding from governments, too; for example, Federal grants can go through universities and they can take a portion for tuition and an administrative fee. Third, I seriously doubt there's a wide perception that private universities as a whole are clearly better than public universities as a whole. It's not just some universities in the University of California system; it's also other PAC-10 schools such as University of Oregon and University of Washington, the Big 10 schools, several of the SUNY schools, University of Texas at Austin, the big CUNY schools, University of North Carolina - it's really quite an extensive list. Meanwhile, very few private colleges are on the level of the Ivy League.

I really would suggest we stick to a quick, clear definition here, even though state colleges are mostly funded by sources other than government. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:42, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

True that. And not all private universities are prestigious either. In fact, there are some private colleges that have a reputation for being diploma mills, so it is by no means a rule that private universities are better than public universities. The two that I mentioned, as well as the University of Washington, Seattle and several others are world class universities that are public, while say, the University of Phoenix has a reputation (which may or may not be true) for being a diploma mill. The dog2 (talk) 04:48, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
It's true and documented. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:58, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

American, British & Commonwealth[edit]

This edit is unhelpful: [2]

At best, it over simplistic to split the world into 'American' and 'British'. Such a split is inaccurate, and is offensive to some. This false division has previously been used on Wikipedia, where is was not infrequently used by editors to push personal agendas. More accurate is to use 'Commonwealth' —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Correct. A linguist might make a lot more distinctions — for example Australian & Indian English each have their own quite distinctive characteristics — but if we want to keep it simple here (as we should) with a basic two-way division, then American/Commonwealth is correct. If finer distinctions are needed at all in a travel guide (mostly not), they can be dealt with ih destination articles. Pashley (talk) 21:03, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
I agree with you that this is a simplistic view. However, I don't think just changing all the instances of 'British' to 'Commonwealth' will solve this problem for the two following reasons:
First 'British' English is the accepted term for the variation of English that most people will be familiar with as it is used by most dictionaries and also textbooks that teach English as a second language. So I think for a lot of people just changing it to Commonwealth will be rather confusing. (And I speak here especially as a person whose a non-native speaker). Also parallel to this, what we call 'American' English is not only spoken in America, but also in places such as the Philippines or Israel, so should we change that name as well? I think this kind of categories are always going to be overly simplistic, but they are so in the interest of not making it unnecessarily confusing to the (especially non-native) traveller.
Second, even calling it 'Commonwealth' English is not accurate, as there are (and the article also mentions that) some countries which use British/Commonwealth English but are not actually in the Commonwealth, such as Ireland or Hong Kong, so by changing it to Commonwealth English, it is still going to be offensive to some.
So I suggest that we leave the name 'British' English as it is in the article to avoid more confusion. The article already goes into a lot of detail about in which countries which variant is spoken to what degree and also calls it American/Commonwealth English in the lede. I agree that more details on the variations of English outside the simplistic American/British divide could (and probably) should be given, but I don't think this is the way of doing it. Drat70 (talk) 00:55, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Drat70. I used to live in Malaysia and have visited India, and in neither of those countries was the English spoken by people who knew the language the least bit identical to the Queen's English, often even if you were dealing with Oxford-educated elite folks; instead, many local words were used, and the accent was different. However, the standard English taught in schools in countries like Malaysia, at least theoretically (depending on how good your teacher is), is basically the Queen's English. I don't see how "Commonwealth" covers that. It's British, even English English per se, and then how it's actually spoken is something else, as you have Singlish, Manglish, and whatever the Indian version of that is called, etc. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:53, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
As someone from Singapore, I will say that we always refer to the English we are taught in school as "British" English. While of course we use many non-standard words or even code switch between languages in daily conversation, what we use in formal writing is the English that the Queen would use, though of course, without her accent. Smilarly, in my time in Australia, most people would not disagree, much less be offended, if you said that "British" English is spoken in Australia. Sure Australian English has its own unique local slangs but formal written English in Australia is essentially identical to that in the U.K. It's mostly in the US that you will notice that formal written English is different from the U.K., but it's still similar enough for me or any competent speaker of "British" English to understand an American newspaper and vice versa. The dog2 (talk) 07:03, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
We seem to have a bit of an edit war going on. The text in this edit has been removed at least once & just reinserted. For now, I am resisting the strong urge to revert & just posting here instead. Pashley (talk) 08:08, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Do you disagree that American English, or some attempted simulacrum of same, is most prevalent in English as a Foreign Language instruction? If you do, simply revert that edit, with an assertion here that American English does not predominate in English as a Foreign Language instruction. But if you think it doesn't, what does? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:46, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I have a feeling that there are still many areas where British English is still the most common form taught. (For instance I know that this is the case in most of Europe, as opposed to American English which is the form preferred among teenagers etc.) I have been trying to come up with some sources for this, but haven't been able to find any evidence for or against it. I would have taught there should be some studies or statistics on this. Drat70 (talk) 09:03, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Well, Europe plus the Indian Subcontinent plus much of Africa, etc., would end up with a majority of the world's population pretty quickly, so maybe these kinds of remarks should be removed from the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:30, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Well in my experience (which is limited to a single state in a country that divides education up by state) teachers would fall into the accent they picked up in their time abroad (almost all my English teachers were in the US or the UK abrolmost some point in their lives) but they would invariably teach the differences between British and American English and accept grammar and spelling found in both varieties lest they deemed it "slang" (y'all or tally - ho would probably not have flown). In Nicaragua on the other hand the teachers I met had too strong a Spanish accent to make out any English variety, but spelling and vocabulary were influenced heavily by all the Friends reruns on TV. And speaking as a (somewhat) young person, there is a trend away from British English among younger people in Europe. And media certainly influence this trend. Netflix and CNN have probably done more to spread (aa certain variety of) English than the Commonwealth and the Royal Navy ever could. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:42, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
At least based on my understanding, British English is taught in the Commonwealth and the EU, but otherwise, the variety of English taught is usually American English. I know for sure that American English is the variety taught in Latin America, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and most of the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Israel. I'm not entirely sure about China but some Chinese have told me that they learn American English in school. I know there are exceptions, but I guess it's safe to say that unless you live in the EU or a former British colony, chances are you will be taught American rather than British English. The dog2 (talk) 15:20, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I do (quoting Ikan above) "disagree that American English, or some attempted simulacrum of same, is most prevalent in English as a Foreign Language instruction".
In the 70s & 80s I taught for an American-run project in Iran, the British Council (UK government agency) in Singapore, and a project run by the Council at a Saudi Arabian university. In China 2002-2010 I taught at several different schools with Chinese, British & Aussie managers. No-one at any of these worried much about varieties of English & in most places teachers were from all over. The Americans in Iran did have almost all American staff, but they used some British textbooks and there were other schools in town with mostly British staff. Pashley (talk) 20:00, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Well especially when teaching the basics there are things more important than whether it is "theater" or "theatre". And once pupils have acquired a certain amount of knowledge, trying to get them to ditch the variety they have chosen is a fool's errand. So all English-teachers I have ever met were at least paying lip-service to accepting all standard varieties of English. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:15, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
While all that is true, as this article mentions, there are often vocabulary differences as well. A good example is say if you are on holiday in Japan or South Korea. If you ask your hotel's reception desk where the "lift" is, nobody will have any idea what you are talking about, but if you use the American "elevator", they probably will be able to point you in the right direction. Similarly, in a shopping centre in India or Malaysia, if you ask where the "bathroom" is, people will probably be scratching their heads wondering why you want to have a bath or shower in a shopping centre, but if you use the British "toilet", people will understand what you mean. So even if you are speaking to a foreign language learner of English, the variety of English they are taught does matter as well. The dog2 (talk) 21:16, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Well in that regard words like "lorry" and "chips" (meaning long-ish potato things that are not crispy all the way through) are almost unheard of in Germany. Maybe because "Truck" has become a somewhat common word in some contexts in German and the thing Brits call crisps are invariably sold as "chips" in Germany. Another thing that is very dependent on where you are is sports metaphors. In the US (and to some degree Latin America) you will hear a lot of metaphors based on American Football and Baseball while I don't know many sports metaphors being used at all in the British sphere of cultural influence. Certainly soccer metaphors seem contrived in German and are (very close to) never standing idioms by themselves. Americans very much do talk about something "out of left field" or an issue being a "political football" and the opposition is "running with it" to "score points". Heck, thanks to the way the NFL is presented on German TV American Football metaphors start creeping into some subsets of the German population... Anybody giving their significant other a two minute warning to get ready soon? Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:39, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
There are other sports-based metaphors like "knocked for six" (cricket), a "low blow" (boxing) and one I like (hockey). I do not think we can deal with those here. Pashley (talk) 03:31, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

In 100 years?[edit]

I'm not certain this is entirely accurate, but it is at least plausible & I found it interesting. Hear What Scholars Think English Will Sound Like In 100 Years Pashley (talk) 16:01, 23 October 2016 (UTC)

Prognosticating language that far into the future is next to impossible. Take German for instance, which just 100 years ago was full of Latinisms and Gallicisms and did stuff like saying "Neu York" (this is even attested into the 1950s) while a whole bunch of words were considered perfectly normal that make people today shudder at their political associations. Of course, the last 100 years were rather turbulent, but with the Cubs about to break at the very least their seven decade pennant drought and Trump running for President (not to mention the end of Great Britain as we know it), who knows what will happen to the English language? Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:25, 23 October 2016 (UTC)


Are trolleys always understood to be rubber tire vehicles drawing electricity from a pantograph or are there instances or dialects of English when this refers to a rail vehicle? Also, does "tram" always mean steel wheels on steel rails or are there other uses of the term? Hobbitschuster (talk) 07:53, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

As far as I know, the term doesn't change based on what sort of wheels the vehicle has. Tram is the only word used on this side of the Atlantic, in common with most other European nations, so if there is any distinction, it is to be found in North America, where streetcar and trolley are both used, seemingly interchangeably for what Brits would refer to as a tram (runs on rails). There is also the word "trolleybus" which is a bus dependent on overhead electricity drawn through a pantograph but doesn't run on rails, but these are so rare in the 21st century, I wouldn't advocate listing them just for completeness' sake. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:39, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
Update: In fact, there seems to be some kind of dual (more specifically quadruple) usage for the word "trolley" (see: Trolley) Either way, Wikipedia seems to consider it a secondary word to "tram" and "trolleybus". --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:44, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
I would not call trolleybuses rare. They have certainly decreased in prominence and are less widespread than they once were, but they still exist in several cities in the Anglosphere, besides their still more prominent role in Switzerland and parts of the former Eastern Bloc. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:58, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
There are precisely six remaining systems in North America. As for the rest of the Anglosphere, trolleybuses are found only in Wellington, and those are apparently due to be removed next year in favour of diesel buses (how very 1950s...) But the fact is that as a transport system in English-speaking countries, trolleybuses are exceedingly rare and beyond the scope of this article.
What we do need to do is clarify what the distinction between trolleys and streetcars is, if indeed there is one. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:07, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
There is none. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 13:21, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
So, basically, we should reinstate your edit? I support that. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:33, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes Done -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 13:53, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
I would delete this paragraph:
US streetcar is always in mixed traffic (and often a rather short line) whereas many trams have dedicated rights of way and would likely be labeled "light rail" in the US.
Does a traveller care? Also, it is wrong, at least if Canada is considered. The Queen Street streetcars in Toronto run a long way, right across the city & the (now demolished) Ottawa system had miles of dedicated line. Pashley (talk) 06:09, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Well since the US did not manage to conquer Canada (despite at least two serious attempts) what Toronto or Ottawa do or did has no bearing on US English. Also, a traveler might care insofar as a US traveler might be surprised to hear of a tram/streetcar going well into the suburbs (and thus underestimate their utility) and the other way a round a person from Toronto might think they can get to all relevant parts of Kansas City via streetcar, which clearly is not the case, nor is that streetcar as fast as systems US-citizens would refer to as "light rail". Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:01, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Light rail[edit]

Related to the above, but would you agree that e.g. England has tram systems that would be labeled "light rail" in the US and do speakers of Commonwealth English commonly know what "light rail" is supposed to mean? Because most Americans when hearing "streetcar" will either think of the days of yore or of a short line (no more than a single digit number of miles) in mixed traffic in or near downtown, which is not applicable to most tram(way)s, especially not those in France or Germany, that are often also referred to as tram(way). Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:44, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

I don't know what "light rail" means in the U.S. but the term is used in the UK for light metro systems such as the Docklands Light Railway and Tyne & Wear Metro, even some tram systems. Maybe we should leave "most Americans will think x" type claims to the Americans of our team. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 15:52, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
Maybe we should just not make such claims at all. It is not clear they are of any use to travellers. Pashley (talk) 02:50, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
I am inclined to agree. If a traveller waiting at a transit station thinks they're going to get on a tram, but a "light rail" train turns up instead, they're going to get on it regardless, as long as they know it's the correct service. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 12:55, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Well I think it is important for our American readers to be informed that, yes, you can survive without a car in major European cities, something that seems to not yet have reached most travelers. The main difference between streetcars and light rail in the US is that the latter has its own ROW for most of the route, whereas the vast majority of streetcars get bogged down in traffic and are thus of limited use if one wants to get anywhere fast. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:12, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Hobbitschuster, "you can survive without a car in major European cities" is not relevant to a discussion of English usage, and if you really want to have that discussion, I don't drive and do much better without a car in New York City, but as I think you know, there are some other American cities where having a car is pretty questionable and public transit is pretty good. One of them is San Francisco, where the MUNIs, trolleys except for the local name, run in the middle of streets and are widely used to get around town. Also, not that it's really that relevant to bring history in, but I used to have a map of trolley routes between New York and Boston, and there was a time when you could get from one city to the other solely by taking trolleys, so it's hardly unprecedented for trolley routes to connect American cities and suburbs. If you want to know more about the disgusting history of big corporations self-interestedly destroying trolley tracks in many American cities, here's one website you could look at, but all of that goes way beyond a discussion of English usage. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:39, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Yeah I know, the history of the death of America's rail based surface transit (bar very few exceptions) is a tragic and disgusting one (though it has to be remembered that many European cities also ripped out miles and miles of track, albeit at usually less breakneck speed). And as for terminology, I just today found out that many Germans seem to be ignorant of the fact that there are only four "U-Bahns" in the actual sense of the term (Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Nuremberg) in Germany - someone tried to convince me that Frankfurt has an U-Bahn as well (it doesn't, it has a Stadtbahn; the German sorta equivalent of light rail). But that confusion is entirely understandable, because Frankfurt's not-U-Bahn is called U-Bahn and many a Stadtbahn is abbreviated with a U. Karlsruhe meanwhile has a tram-train that covers a lot of space around the city but most locals call it "S-Bahn" even though it has no features even remotely similar to e.g. the Nurember S-Bahn... Public transit terminology is weird and probably best not gotten into too much detail here, because apparently even cities or public transit providers themselves (intentionally) misuse terms with "U-Bahn", "Stadtbahn" (Dresden for instance refers to its newer low floor vehicles as "Stadtbahnwagen") and "Bus Rapid Transit" (a common complaint in certain circles is "What they call BRT in the US is just called "the bus" in Europe) the most commonly abused terms. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:12, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Although neither one exists where I live, at least in school, I was taught that trams run on rails, while trolleys are synonymous with trolleybuses. So unless my English teacher was wrong, for me that has always been the distinction. The dog2 (talk) 13:53, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia would say that your English teacher was wrong, but since (s)he probably wasn't a transport geek, we can forgive him/her :P I enjoyed using the MRT in Singapore. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 14:41, 5 January 2017 (UTC)


In American: This is not pavement. This is the concrete sidewalk. The main drivable asphalt road way is the pavement.

I've already removed this once, only to see it reinserted without explanation: a claim that "pavement" in the US can be anything from the drivable asphalt road lanes to the Portland cement sidewalk. I disagree. The pavement is the asphalt road. A concrete, stone or some-random-non-asphalt-material sidewalk is not pavement. K7L (talk) 03:53, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

I absolutely agree. The sidewalk in the U.S. is not the pavement. Roads are usually paved; sidewalks (except maybe in rare cases) are not. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:58, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Pavement - "(US) Any paved exterior surface, as of a road or sidewalk." It doesn't get more clear-cut than that.
Colloquially, when referring to "the pavement", what's implied is usually a driveable surface. But the listing in this article is for "pavement", unqualified by the definite article, which refers to the actual building material (asphalt, concrete, stone, etc.) that the surface is made of.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:58, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Edited. I think I have solved the problem. Other opinions? Pashley (talk) 05:52, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, thank you. It's best to concentrate on usage, in my opinion, not on what Wiktionary claims is the definition. Their definition may be clear-cut, but that doesn't mean they've captured the way the word is usually used in the U.S. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:29, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Also, if we take Andre's point on the difference between "pavement" (which seems like a technical definition) and "the pavement", all that would need to be added to that picture is the word "the": "In American, this is not the pavement." Etc. I'd also use "roadway" as one word. But I think it's a good and useful picture and caption. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:41, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Look, I have to admit I remain aghast at the idea of U.S. meaning of "pavement" being circumscribed in this way - the "driveable surface only" use always struck me as an obvious Britishism; I'd never heard of anyone in the U.S. using it that way until this discussion. Maybe it's down to differences between the respective subdialects of North American English we all speak, but I think the fact that most dictionaries tend to endorse the broader definition for U.S. usage (Wiktionary, Cambridge, Oxford) reinforces the idea that the broader definition is more accurate vis-à-vis U.S. English in a global sense than the narrower one.
Furthermore, I'm reconsidering my above caveat about "the pavement" vs. "pavement". There are some instances where adding the definite article makes it clear that it's specifically a driveable surface at issue, mainly in the case of idiomatic expressions (e.g. "She was late for her appointment, so she hopped in her car and put the rubber to the pavement"), but then again we might have a case like "He slipped on the ice and hit his head on the pavement" where we're back to the more ambiguous usage for any hard artificial surface. Obviously that's more fine-grained than we need to get in an article like this, though.
Pashley's edits seem like an acceptable compromise, but I still think the better course of action would have been to retain the original text.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:46, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
"Pavement" for "driveable surface" is surely not a Britishism, when they use "pavement" to mean "sidewalk", right? I take your point, though, that perhaps what I thought was pan-U.S. usage in this case is really New York City-area usage. I believe that at least here, pavement is only what's on the street, never the sidewalk (unless perhaps if there's a blacktopped sidewalk somewhere). Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:03, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Blacktop? That's the main thing that I wanted to clarify: that U.S. "pavement" does not imply asphalt. A road made of concrete and left in its natural light-gray color would still be called "pavement". See w:Road surface and search for the word "pavement". --Bigpeteb (talk) 15:00, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I do agree with it, when it comes to roads. There are various things roads can be paved with. I would concede that we could talk of paved and unpaved sidewalks, too, if there are some sidewalks that are just dirt, gravel or sand (but would those really be called sidewalks?). But I simply don't know of cases in the U.S. of the word "pavement" being used generically to mean "sidewalk". Maybe it is somewhere, but then I don't know about it. "Pound the pavement" is an idiom, not a default term for the sidewalk. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:06, 5 January 2017 (UTC)


I don't think this is quite accurate:

    • U.S./Canada - Refers to the completion of either high school (secondary school) or university-level courses.

Strictly speaking, a student completes courses every semester. It's probably more precise to describe this as completing a curriculum, but then "curriculum" might have to be defined. What should we do?

Also, subsidiary point: In the U.S., you can graduate from kindergarten, from elementary school, from junior high school, probably even from pre-K in some schools, but we don't really need to mention these things. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:19, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Fair enough. We could also just eliminate the word "courses", but then there might be some ambiguity regarding what "completing university" means (undergraduate? graduate? doctorate?) -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 19:35, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
"Graduation" makes me think of either finishing high school or completing a bachelor's degree. Just my two cents. ϒpsilon (talk) 19:40, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
[edit conflict, and great minds think alike ;-)] One way to clarify it is that when graduating from high school, the student receives a diploma and when graduating from college, the student (at least usually, but I don't think we need to deal with diploma programs at music conservatories like Juilliard) receives a Bachelor's degree. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:43, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
As far as I know, it is universally accepted that you "graduate" with your PhD or Master's degree, not just your Bachelor's. But I'm wondering if the U.S. definition mentioned here is not broad enough. After all, as far as I know, Americans "graduate" from community college, which are tertiary, but not university-level institutions. At least in Singapore, and as far as I know, Australia, in popular usage, graduation only applies to attaining Bachelor's degrees or higher, but not to completing a study programme at a vocational institute. The dog2 (talk) 22:26, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
As I said in my edit summary, I think this introduces a needless extra layer of complexity. Doesn't it stand to reason that if the word "graduate" is used for completing a course of study in high school as well as in full-fledged university, that it would apply to community college (widely seen as a middle ground between those two levels of education) as well? And how necessary is this information, really, for the traveller? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:28, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
[Edit conflict] Please read my thread-starting post above, in which I remember that in some institutions, it is possible to "graduate" from pre-K. But we really do not need to make any exhaustive definitions on this page. Stating that in the U.S., graduation can apply either to high school or even earlier periods of schooling at the end of which a student can get a diploma or from college is more than ample. I don't really agree that it's common usage in the U.S. (at least in my experience) for people getting post-Bachelor's degrees to be said to have thereby "graduated". I graduated from high school and then from college, but after that I got my Master's and Doctorate. I didn't graduate twice more. I guess some Americans do claim they graduated 4 times or more. I never knew anyone to say so, but whatever. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:33, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Frankly, the notion of "completing" community college in any sense, rather than either dropping out or transferring one's credits to a full-fledged university, is in itself fairly rare in the U.S. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:45, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
You complete community college by getting an Associate's degree, and there could be a graduation ceremony, but you aren't thereby a college graduate, of course. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:36, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I still object to the phrasing "Refers to the completion of either high school (secondary school) or university-level courses." As I pointed out above, graduation is not about completing courses; it's about earning a diploma or degree. Any graduate will have completed many courses, of course; that's not the issue. Would anyone object to this phrasing?
  • graduation/to graduate:
    • U.S./Canada - Refers to having earned a high school diploma or an undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree.
    • UK/Ireland/Australia/New Zealand - Only refers to completion of courses of study at the university level (i.e. Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate degrees).
By the way, I always see degrees capitalized, and I think that's right and they are proper names. Oddly, we don't usually treat high school diplomas that way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:24, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
In Ontario, community college is emphatically not a stepping stone to university. After secondary school (grade 12), one goes to university directly for three or four years for a degree, or one goes to college for some lesser piece of paper, usually a diploma. The college credits are worth nothing at university. By contrast, New York (state) community colleges churn out mostly two-year "associate degrees", about half of which may be continued at university to obtain a four-year bachelor degree. And then there's Québec, where secondary schools end at grade 11 (secondaire 5) and the 12th year is community college for everyone, including university-bound students.
In general, yes, one can graduate community college and enter industry in various trades. The piece of paper awarded is often a "college diploma", although US community colleges seem to like "associates degrees". A few specific lesser community college programmes award a "certificate" at the bottom of the heap. Yes, these people graduate, and there is a big ceremony - same as any other graduation from any other school at any other level.
I figure I've graduated four times by now... from grades 8 (elementary school), 12 (high school), 13 (high school, Ontario's old system had a grade 13 which was phased out in the 1980's) and "seventeen" (a B.Sc.). No idea whether all this paper makes me any smarter. K7L (talk) 14:27, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
As I see it, that's all the more reason to keep the information as simple as possible. Why mention community college in the definition at all if 1) the situation is so frustratingly complex, even within different provinces of the same country, as in Canada, and 2) a traveller would very rarely need to be aware of these fine distinctions in any case? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:55, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
What's there now specifically excludes graduation from both elementary schools and community colleges.
graduation/to graduate:
  • U.S./Canada - Refers to the completion of either high school (secondary school) or university-level courses.
  • UK/Ireland/Australia/New Zealand - Only refers to completion of courses of study at the university level (i.e. bachelor's, master's or doctorate degrees).
That's factually incorrect as one can graduate from just about any school by completing their entire programme - however grand, however humble. K7L (talk) 15:05, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
So what? If you nitpick enough, you can find an exception to pretty much every piece of information on Wikivoyage. An article like this one in particular can very easily get bogged down in pointless pedantry if we let it. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:08, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Do we need this item at all? I don't see how it affects travel per se. K7L (talk) 15:15, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I thought it's just something relevant to education, which comes up as a common topic when you meet people. But anyway, the gist of what I was trying to get at is that "graduation" has a much broader definition in the US and Canada than elsewhere. For most of the rest of us, graduation only applies when an academic degree is conferred by a university, but not in other circumstances. We merely say that we "completed" high school. And as a side note, I am enrolled in grad school in the US, and when talking to my fellow grad students, we often talk about when we are going to "graduate", so I'm not sure if there are regional differences, but it is not entirely unheard of for Americans to say they "graduate" with a Master's or Doctorate degree. The dog2 (talk) 16:12, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm not asking whether it's "relevant to education". I'm asking whether it's relevant to travel. It appears to me that elementary and high schools (or their graduation procedures) are not relevant to short-term travel. K7L (talk) 20:40, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
If I remember my own high school graduation correctly, folks coming from out of town to attend relatives' graduations is not at all an uncommon phenomenon. Elementary and middle school is a different story. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:49, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I would back that up. It's common for relatives to travel long distances for high school and college graduations. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:56, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

[unindent] As I mentioned above, I don't think it's clear in a U.S. context to describe graduation from college as the "completion of courses", because undergraduates complete courses every semester. So I plunged forward and made an edit. I hope that it deals with any lack of clarity sufficiently without being unnecessarily exhaustive. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:01, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Works for me. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:05, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Andre observed above "An article like this one in particular can very easily get bogged down in pointless pedantry if we let it." I'd say this one is already quite a ways down that slippery slope.
IMHO there is far too much detail in the College section & that is likely the worst example; it should be cut to one short paragraph.
Overall, I think the article needs a thorough edit that shortens it by 30% or so before it is ready to feature. Pashley (talk) 13:29, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
I agree, 100% --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:34, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Go for it, guys. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:50, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Hold up for a second. Yes, I did say the thing about pointless pedantry, but things can easily swing too far in the other direction too, especially when we start talking in terms of some arbitrary percentage of text that needs to be cut before the article is "ready" to be FTT. The real problem here is we're overthinking things - in terms of including every last bit of detail about community college, in terms of how short or long the article "should" be. Let's just let it grow organically and address problems on a case-by-case basis using common sense, as we did with the "graduation" definition. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:52, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Manual, stick shift et al..[edit]

I don't have any opinion on which is the right term, being both a non-driver and not altogether knowledgeable of American terminology, but it seems to me that @The dog2:'s edit was an attempt to simplify the entry. The current mess of repeated words and brackets (parentheses) is just that - a mess.

I would also suggest that if, as @Bigpeteb: asserts, both varieties of English use the same term ("manual transmission") as standard, then this is a wasted entry for a comparison table. Perhaps a note in the article's prose would be better, noting that while both countries use "manual", the U.S. also uses "stick shift" as slang. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:35, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

I have repeatedly heard people referring to "driving stick" or "a stick" and I do not think we should be the one to judge what constitutes "standard" English and what constitutes "slang" - after all, there is no official academy for the English language (unlike for Spanish or French or de facto the Duden for German) to decide on what is and is not "proper English" in any dialect, so why should we arbitrarily exclude words that are in common usage as "slang"? Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:13, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Nobody has suggested excluding "slang" words, and that's not what this discussion is supposed to be about. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:41, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, "manual transmission" is the standard technical term. But the difference is how these cars are referred to colloquially. In the US, people will say they are driving a "stick shift" car, while in say, Australia, people will say they are driving a "manual" car. At least to date, although I have seen "manual transmission" in technical literature and the like, I have never heard Americans spontaneously refer to a "manual" car. In fact, all the driving school advertising I've seen so far in the US refer to learning to drive in a "stick shift" car, and not a "manual" car. The dog2 (talk) 20:31, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Sure, in conversation many Americans will refer to driving "stick". But they may also say "manual", or especially they might ask "Is your car automatic or manual?". (I suppose which word they choose probably depends on region and context.) And as you point out, "manual" is the technical term, which you'd see rather than "stick" on any American web site for car rental or purchase. So I don't think it's right to omit "manual" under the U.S., implying that the term isn't used there.
I think we could simplify the entry like so:
U.S. UK Notes
stick / stick shift / manual (transmission) manual Also called "standard", even in the U.S. and other countries where the vast majority of cars have automatic transmissions.
It probably needs to keep "(transmission)" in parentheses once just to give context.
ThunderingTyphoons!'s suggestion to move it to a note below the table would work, too. In fact, although it was previously decided that we should just list entries in both sides of the tables rather than using the wordy "X is also understood in Y", maybe having a separate list or table for such entries (either in each section, or just one for the whole page) would be easier to read, and help declutter the tables. --Bigpeteb (talk) 21:29, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Your new version of the table is much improved, Bigpeteb, and is certainly clearer. That would be my preferred option over the aforementioned move below. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:02, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I think your new table would be clearer than having a footnote. Although I will admit it only takes commonsense figure it out, the first time I heard "stick shift" being used was in the US. I'll take your word for it that Americans also say "manual" since I haven't been everywhere. But let's take the gas pedal/accelerator pair as an example. While Americans did understand me when I was fresh off the boat and used "accelerator", you will always hear Americans refer to it as the "gas pedal". So I think things like that also belong in the table, especially since second language English speakers who read this guide may not be familiar with the other term if they learnt one variety of English, which could also potentially be a cause for confusion. The dog2 (talk) 22:47, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

"Stickshifts and safetybelts, Bucket seats have all got to go. When we're driving in the car, It makes my baby seem so far" - Cake - Looks fine, but who refers to Manual as 'Standard Transmission'? I never heard this in UK, Australia or US. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:28, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Surely, automatic has been standard for decades by now, no? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:06, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
In United States I'm sure Automatic is standard. Point being I don't think anyone refers to at as 'standard'. w:Manual transmission seems to indicate as much. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:35, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Caveat that I'm a non-driver, but I would tend to agree. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:48, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
I have actually never heard of the term "standard transmission" in the US or in Australia. Perhaps it's a very technical term, or perhaps it's an archaic term, but I've never it being used in day to day conversation. The dog2 (talk) 02:08, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
I used to work for Avis Rent-a-Car at the Buffalo airport many moons ago. "Standard or automatic?" was an everyday question. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:07, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
"Standard" is maybe a thing because all cars used to be stick shift before automatic transmission was invented (kind of like there is "original" or "classic" flavor once more than one flavor becomes available even if the French Vanilla with tiny Marshmallows flavor has long eclipsed "classic" in sales and popularity). Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:24, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Given AndreCarrotflower has worked for Avis, I am now given to believe that 'Standard' is used. I just myself have never come across that term after many years of renting cars myself.
Is it actually possible to rent a manual transmission car in the US? Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:41, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but best practice is to book as far in advance as possible because most facilities only have a few stick-shift vehicles to rent out. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:56, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

British/American English in the Middle East[edit]

I just had an edit reverted by some anonymous editor. First of all, I think that the new edit is not a complete sentence, and if it should be kept, there needs to be grammatical improvements. But anyway, what is the experience of anyone who has lived in the Gulf? I am aware that the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen are all former British colonies, but at the same time, in modern times, it is the US that is the major power influencing the Gulf, and at least the first 5 of these are US allies, along with Saudi Arabia. So, I would not be surprised if in modern times, the Gulf follows American, rather than British English. If you just do a google search for the driver's licences of these countries, you can see that they indeed follow American spelling. The dog2 (talk) 16:51, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Unlike you, the anonymous IP editor has not provided any evidence to back up his assertions, and is edit warring besides. I see no reason not to let your edits stand absent any evidence to the contrary that the IP editor might offer. —The preceding comment was added by AndreCarrotflower (talkcontribs)
I know that in Iraqi Arabic they employ British English loan words for car parts. In any case I think this is an aspect that WV gets a bit too hung up on. Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:30, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
WV is far from the only part of the Internet with utterly pointless feuds about British and American English. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:33, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm not trying to say whether or not one form of English is superior or inferior to the other. But I just think that any statements we make on the page must be based on fact. Of course, I do know that a Londoner and a New Yorker will have no major problems understanding each other, though for foreign language learners of English, it may be more of an issue "decoding" the other variety since they may not have the proficiency to infer the meaning from context. But anyway, I would actually propose even removing countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Latin America since English isn't even widely spoken in these places in the first place, so the way it is phrased could be misleading. Sure, if you go to Japan or South Korea, if you meet an English speaker, the person would most probably know American rather than British English, but the fact of the matter is, most Japanese and South Koreans don't even know how to speak English, so the issue on British and American English is would be irrelevant. The dog2 (talk) 23:32, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
I was actually going to say something similar, so I'm glad you brought it up, The dog2. Among foreign language speakers of English, there is almost no consistency over the variety that's used. For instance, most mainland Europeans (probably) learn British grammar and spelling, but that doesn't change the fact that many of them speak English in a more American way, presumably due to the dominance of American popular culture. I don't think it's either helpful or relevant to make blanket assertions over vast swathes of the non-Anglophone world. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 00:14, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree at all. All Japanese/Koreans under a certain age have learned American English in school at some level, and some British word usage and pronunciation WILL be unfamiliar to them. On the other hand Singaporeans (for example) may be familiar with British terms and not at all with American. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:46, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
While it's true that most younger South Koreans and Japanese are required to learn American English in school, whether or not they can actually speak it is a different story. I've been to both countries, though more recently to Japan than to South Korea. And I will say that based on my experience, the average Japanese person has very little English language ability, and most of the time it was easier for me to communicate in my atrocious Japanese than to hope they understand English. So sure, chances are they will be more familiar with American than British terms, and the Japanese language does have many loan words from American English. But then again, if the person you are talking to does not speak English, it doesn't matter whether you speak British or American. She/he is not going to understand you regardless of which variety you speak. The dog2 (talk) 03:40, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Willingness to speak is different from ability to speak. I'm sure that you could write out some basic vocabulary in English and be understood, and therefore choosing your spelling style will be even more important. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:58, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "historic"[edit]

Re: this edit: In the U.S., "history" and "historic" typically have an "h" sound in them. The phrase "an historic" is pompous in U.S. English and borrowed from British English, in which initial "h" sounds are often left out. "Herb", yes, in that case, the "h" is most frequently (though not always) absent in U.S. English. There are a few other words like that, including "honor" and "homage", and they are either always or almost always borrowings from French. I would revert a lot of that edit, but I didn't want to do so summarily and thought it would be better to post here. But I would ask any other American whether you frequently hear Americans not pronouncing the "h" in "history" or "historic". My experience in the U.S. is that, invariably, when someone uses the phrase "an historic", they pronounce the "h". Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:34, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

I have never heard anybody drop the h in historic and consider it a weird Frenchism. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:40, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
I've heard "an historic" pronounced both with and without aspirated initial H. Both are, as Ikan says, regarded in American English as affected Britishisms that come off as pompous, the latter to a greater degree than the former. I would absolutely not describe it as standard American English. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 01:42, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
If there's no objection to removing this part of the edit in question within 24 hours, let's do that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:15, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Removed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:05, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm from Eastern Canada & would pronounce the 'h' in all Ikan's examples except herb & honour; I do not think I have ever heard it dropped in "homage". I've heard Brits make jokes about dropped aitches & I think spurious ones inserted as well. As I recall, it was Cockneys that were the main target, but I'm not even close to understanding the detail.
As I see it, this is something we should not even try to give details on. One sentence saying some dialects do not pronounce initial 'h' in words where others do is fine, but no more. Pashley (talk) 06:14, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
As far as I know the "h" is always silent in words like "honour" and "hour". Accordingly, the indefinitely article for these words is "an" instead of "a". I have actually seen many people write "an historic moment", which would be grammatically incorrect if the "h" was pronounced. Maybe my knowledge of English is lacking here, so perhaps native speakers can correct me, but I understand that whenever a word begins with a consonant sound, the indefinite article would be "a", so if the "h" was pronounced in the case mentioned, the correct expression would be "a historic moment". Similarly, you don't say "an house" or "an hand". It's always "a house" or "a hand". In these cases where there are pronunciation differences though, I think a brief mention on how the indefinite article changes should be given. Let's use the example left on the page. In American English, since the "h" is silent in herb, that would make it begin with a vowel sound, so it would be "an herb". In British English, since the "h" is pronounce, that would make it begin with a consonant sound, so it would be "a herb". The dog2 (talk) 06:53, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
We've already covered "an historic" above, so no need to repeat what we already said. As for "herb", the problem is that as with "often", there's a letter that is usually but by no means always silent. Some Americans do pronounce the "h" in "herb". Besides, remember, this article is primarily for preventing misunderstandings, and these kinds of minor differences in pronunciation are of very little importance in that respect. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:12, 21 March 2017 (UTC)


From the article:

insure ensure To make sure of something "Insurance" and its related verb "to insure" always have an "I".

I think this is wrong. My understanding as an American is exactly the same as the British understanding: to insure is to purchase insurance for or otherwise financially safeguard someone; to ensure is to make sure. However, as a matter of usage, I normally use "make sure", and I think most Americans use "make sure" where British folks use "ensure". I've seen this repeatedly in operation in editing on this site, with editors who spend their time editing articles about places like Thailand, Cambodia and the Arab Gulf Emirates to enforce something akin to British English changing "make sure" to "ensure". If anything, I would put "make sure" and "ensure" in that table for the U.S. and Britain respectively. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:53, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

Judging from the likes of YouTube and Facebook comment sections, "ensure" and "insure" are among the frequently misapplied words; i.e. many native speakers have no idea which is which or are too lazy to fix such mistakes if they make them. Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:07, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
My pet peeve is the mixing up of "definitely" and "defiantly", resulting in such butchered creations as "NO!" - he roared definitely and I defiantly think your [sic] right.
On topic, while I don't doubt the lack of "ensure" in the U.S., I wouldn't necessarily say "ensure" is preferred in Britain. "Make sure" and "ensure" are used pretty interchangeably, with the only difference maybe being one of register ("ensure" sounds more official and perhaps a little pompous); in fact "make sure" may even be more common. It's quite funny that from one French verb (assurer), English has invented four different verbs with slight nuances (assure, ensure, insure, make sure); no wonder our language's vocabulary is so rich. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:31, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for that. So should we simply delete this pairing? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:24, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Defiantly, unless someone wants to justify its retention. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 06:50, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
No need for defiance. :-) So going once, going twice, gone within 24 hours or so unless someone speaks up. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:41, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh that would be the most definite defiance. But on a somewhat serious note, yes, remove. Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:57, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Removed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:11, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

This doesn't really belong anywhere, but I thought you might enjoy an example of American vs. British English / justification for why we need articles like these[edit]

Mum is from Scotland. Dad took brought her to America to meet his family after marrying her. Midwest: naturally there's a welcome potluck in her honor. My aunt makes really good cookies and had them spread out on a fancy plate with a bit of cling film over them since it wasn't time to eat yet. Mum loves cookies and doesn't want to wait. She's very polite though, and so asks my uncle if she could "steal one of your cookies". Except she uses the slang for steal (pinch) and calls cookies, biscuits (local Midwest slang for butt cheeks). Another story: mum is somewhere where she's filling out a form. She makes a mistake and asks the person behind the counter if she "could borrow an eraser real quick". Except she calls erasers, rubbers (American slang for condom). I like to tease her about being a loose woman. DethDestroyerOfWords (talk) 20:06, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

Off-subject words?[edit]

I noticed that there are too many words that an average traveller will not use, especially when it comes to education. I was wondering if they are relevant in the context of Wikivoyage's remit. Certainly every items like laundrettes are useful but I'm not entirely sure about education. -- 11:24, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for your points. This has been discussed before; you're not the first one to bring it up. But which education-related words and phrases in particular would you propose to remove as off-topic? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:10, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
These are what I would suggest should go (and they are quite plentiful):
  • all those in bullet points
  • to give/write an exam...
  • grades/points...
  • graduate/grad...
  • to major in...
  • private school...
  • proctor/supervisor...
  • public school... —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)
Is what you're suggesting tantamount to deleting the entire section? I wouldn't want to do that. On "public school", the way the Brits use "public school" is very confusing to Americans and worth mentioning. Also, the graduate/post-graduate split is so basic to conversation for many people that it's worth mentioning, because I would think that if an American says they're in "graduate school", perhaps some people in other countries might find that a bit odd. I agree that the rest of the things you mention specifically (I'll reread the rest of of the bullet points later) are pretty technical and probably only essential for students and professors at international conferences and the like. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:42, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
The question is if an average traveller talks about it. --2001:630:E4:4220:80C2:7826:8EF4:8714 13:36, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
No, the question has nothing to do with "the average traveller" (whatever that even means). People travel for many different reasons, education being one, and Wikivoyage aims to be useful to as many categories of traveller as possible. The extent of our coverage is fine. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:09, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
@Anonymous, the question isn't whether this is useful for an average traveller. The question is whether it's useful for any travellers. True, foreign exchange students are not as prevalent as business and pleasure travellers, but their needs should not be ignored. There are more than 750,000 foreign exchange students just in the U.S., and around 4 million around the globe. Vocabulary differences like this are pretty important for those travellers since education is a daily topic for them.
In fact, this is one of the goals of WV. A printed guidebook might omit most or all of this section because space on the page is costly. In an online wiki format, however, we can go into much more detail, so we're able to include information like this that other guidebooks would leave out. --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:17, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
The section could be slightly trimmed, maybe removing less than 25% of it content. However as we are providing help for travellers who basically speak the same language, and therefore are likely to have conversations about anything we should cover anything that a traveller spending a few weeks the other side of the Atlantic is likely to talk about, particularly terms which have different meanings in different places, like "state school" or "public school". This is different from the phrasebooks where we don't expect the traveller to have casual conversations. AlasdairW (talk) 20:56, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
If we are talking about the business and law categories, I may agree with you. The problem is that education is the category with the largest number of words whose meanings vary between UK and US English, not to mention slight variations between UK English and the English used in the UK's former colonies. This inevitably makes the education section disproportionately large. It runs the risk of making this page appear off-topic. If we want, we should just include the most relevant terms such as when to use the word school. Food being a large category is fine, most travellers have to eat anyway. I'm not sure we can say the same about education. -- 01:23, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't see why it's a problem that education is the longest category. Thousands and thousands of people every year participate in student-exchange or study-abroad programs, or otherwise matriculate in overseas schools. Wikivoyage is at their service too. And, you said it yourself, the differences in terminology between US and UK English are especially stark in this realm. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:12, 18 May 2017 (UTC)


I don't agree with this edit. At least in my experience, calling someone spastic/spaz IS offensive in the U.S. It certainly was when I was in 7th grade in New York, although that was in 1977-78. It's really become innocuous since then? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:48, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

In my experience, "spastic" as a pejorative is almost completely unknown in the U.S., and usually understood to be a Britishism when heard. I think it might be an exaggeration to describe "spaz" as inoffensive in the U.S., but growing up in the late '80s and early '90s, it was certainly the word you used when you wanted to get the point across, but there were too many authority figures within earshot to risk saying something harsher like "retard". -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:29, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
OK, I guess this is something that changed after the 70s. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:28, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
Very offensive term in the UK. Surprisingly easy to hear in Australia when I first arrived (although I rarely hear it these days at all). Not sure this has to go in our guide? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:35, 18 May 2017 (UTC)


First, I think this is not a useful entry, but secondly, I strongly disagree with this overly technical definition:

U.S. "immigrant" means an alien who intends to or has earned "permanent resident" status or become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

No, in the U.S., an immigrant is someone who has moved permanently to the U.S. from a foreign country (or a place regarded as one, which could include Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the like), regardless of their official status. Restricting the definition to people who already have Green Cards (which is what "permanent resident status" means) sounds like a right-wing political definition, and it's not one that I have previously encountered or recognize. Can we please delete this entry? It makes the definition of something simple - a person who permanently left one country to go to another - technical and complicated, and I don't think it's how people usually speak in everyday conversation. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:33, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Agree with you. An immigrant in any country (even US) is someone who intends to live there for an (undefined) period of time. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:37, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree too. —Granger (talk · contribs) 22:27, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
Any objections to removing this entry? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:44, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
I decided to plunge forward and remove this entry, which I actually found a bit offensive, in addition to which I don't think it either addressed anything confusing or clarified it. If you have a strong argument for why it should be restored, please offer it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:15, 19 May 2017 (UTC)


Are we getting too detailed here? I think we understand "staff" perfectly well in the U.S., and "crew" is understandable to anyone who knows about boats. Plus, calling sales staff and the like the "crew" (or "associates", which I hear more commonly) is really business-speak. I don't want to discourage any enthusiastic editors, but I'm concerned about making this article unnecessarily long. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:45, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Leaving well enough alone[edit]

In light of the above few sections of this page, I think it's time to start discouraging further additions to this article. It's already substantially complete and maybe a bit too long, and IMO we're approaching the threshold where the effort we expend reverting new entries because they are too detailed, not travel-related, etc. (especially given the extra dose of vigilance required ahead of this article's impending stint as FTT) overtakes the limited benefit afforded to the article by the few new additions that are worthwhile. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:49, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

I tend to agree. IMO, it would be best if any new entries were proposed on this talk page and inserted only if a consensus is in support, not inserted into the article without discussion. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:13, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
I try not to get involved in this article, although I appreciate the efforts behind it. I would also agree that the article is frankly too long and that just because someone happens to know a very nuanced difference between work X in the US and word X in the UK then it really doesn't automatically qualify as fact-worthy. Support Ikan's suggestion. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:49, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
This is what I am arguing all along about the education section. Given that education is the category where variations between UK and US english are starkest, its appearance in this article gives it a false impression that it is relevant to all travellers. All I am arguing is that the length of each section should be commensurate to its relevance/usefulness to average travellers as well as the proportion of travellers of each type. You can mention the most basic of words but do average travellers need to know the difference of something like to grade and to mark? --2001:630:E4:4220:4422:CDD8:4160:F966 08:51, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Please stop with the "average travellers" talk, because that is not and has never been the barometer on this site. The length of each section should depend on the number of terms that are different between UK and U.S. English, full stop. Furthermore, the lack of a need for new entries in this article is not in itself an argument to take the scythe to existing entries. As I said in the title of this section, it's time to leave well enough alone - both in terms of adding new entries and deleting old ones. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 13:29, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd suggest that this article is just too tempting to the new contributor to 'leave well alone' (see recent contribution of 'tick' vs 'check'). Perhaps we should semi-protect it? (yes, I know it wouldn't have stopped that edit from that contributor) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:51, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
I apologise if I didn't notice this. I thought it would be useful since travellers do have to fill up forms when passing through immigration and the like, and I absolutely did not mean to be a vandal. The dog2 (talk) 00:37, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
The dog2 - My edit summary was meant to point you to this discussion precisely because I assumed you hadn't read it; I certainly didn't take you for a vandal! I apologize if I came across otherwise; the character limit in the edit summaries means sometimes I have to word them more tersely than I'd like to. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:43, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
The dog2 - I said nothing about you being a vandal. I did use that latest contribution (which happened to come from you, although I didn't refer to you) as an example of minutiae that doesn't need adding (in my opinion, which may or may not be widely shared). --Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:18, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

I wonder if there should be an introductory paragraph, maybe in italics or in a box which says that the article is almost complete. I am sure that there are better ways of saying it but something like:

"English has many variations around the world, and even within the same country. We have tried to cover the main differences that travellers will regularly encounter in making practical arrangements, and terms which are likely to cause confusion in typical conversations. As this is a topic which could easily grow to be hundreds of pages long, contributors are requested to discuss additions on the talk page before making changes."

I expect that these words can be improved on. AlasdairW (talk) 17:23, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

I like your phrasing. I'd put that in italics at the beginning of the article right away, but of course we should wait for consensus. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:21, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I took 10 days with no objections as consensus, and added as the second paragraph in italics. AlasdairW (talk) 13:43, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't like that this appears on-page as body text which is printed when one prints a hard copy of the article. Isn't there some means to suppress that? K7L (talk) 13:55, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Flight Attendant/Steward(ess)[edit]

I was just thinking if maybe we should remove the term "steward(ess)" from this. I know that was the term in use back in the days of Pan Am and TWA, but my understanding is that now most liberal Americans consider the term "stewardess" to be very offensive and sexist, and therefore only use the term "flight attendant". I will point out though that "steward(ess)" is still the most common term used in Singapore, so we could perhaps make a note on that. The dog2 (talk) 17:04, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

I can't speak as to the truth of your claim, but I would like to point out that what a subset of Americans find offensive is neither here nor there. If "stewardess" is commonly used in the U.S. then this is what should be listed. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 18:03, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
As an American in my twenties, I'm not sure I've ever heard the word "stewardess" used for a flight attendant. Maybe in an old book or something, but rarely if ever in conversation. "Flight attendant" is much, much more common in the US. —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:08, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. "Stewardess" is a quite dated term. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:10, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
So should we remove it then? Although I'm not American, I have lived in the US for a number of years and never heard the term "stewardess", except for when people are talking about Pan Am and the "golden age of air travel" from the 1950's to 1970's. Aside from that, I've only seen and heard the term "flight attendant" being used. Maybe I am wrong but from what I gather in my reading and conversations, the term "stewardess" has since been replaced by "flight attendant" to have a more gender neutral term, and that most Americans regard the term "stewardess" to be sexist in modern usage. The dog2 (talk) 18:42, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
How about we wait for 24 hours from the time I post this. If there are no objections, I'll proceed to remove "stewardess" under "US" and just leave in "flight attendant". I'll make a note that "stewardess" is used in Singapore, as that is the most common term used there. The dog2 (talk) 19:47, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:44, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

For what it's worth, the term is still the most common in Germany and might thus crop up when Germans speak English. Some airlines are trying to replace it with "FlugbegleiterIn" but due to it sounding bureaucratic there are few takers. "Saftschubse" is a derisive and somewhat insulting informal term that sees some use. Hobbitschuster (talk)

And should we make a note that "stewardess" is considered to be sexist and offensive in the U.S. when used to refer to modern cabin crew? I'm not sure how offensive it actually is to the actual cabin, but what I gather is that the gender neutral "flight attendant" is used in modern times because "stewardess" is commonly associated with the sexualisation of women and hence, offensive to feminists. What do the American editors here think? The dog2 (talk) 15:14, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, it could cause offense to flight attendants. I don't think this is about political leftism; it's about flight attendants' attitudes toward their professionalism, inasmuch as their #1 job is safety, not serving drinks and such. From what I remember, the word was still used by Americans in the 70s, but it was already on its way out. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:37, 25 May 2017 (UTC)


So there seems to be some debate whether Malta is an English speaking country. I've never been there and indeed the Maltese language is a rather close relative of Arabic, but it seems to be only one of the languages of Malta besides English. Now whether the situation is more like that of Irish and English in Ireland or like that of Swiss German and standard German in Switzerland or more like that of English and, well - everything else - in South Africa, I know not, but I'd say it's safe to say there totally is such a thing as "Maltese English". Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:55, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Granted. But Malta is also a tiny country, and if we're to list every anglophone country large and small that uses British rather than American spelling, we will quickly run up on the same problem of excessive length that we're trying to solve by limiting new additions to the word lists. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:44, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Malta is certainly an English-speaking country. However, it is already listed in the section AndreCarrotflower removed it from, under the British English spoken in the EU bullet point; there's no need to repeat it. I agree with the other parts of the same revert as well.
Would it be worth putting HTML comments (if that's the correct term) onto this article, outlining the new 'leave well alone' article policy, and requesting editors come to this talk page to make their case before editing? Regular contributors will all have been following the discussions above, but IP users like the one Andrew reverted will not necessarily be looking at the talk page before firing off an edit or two. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 19:10, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
We put "ONLY 9 CITIES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE LISTED HERE" in SCREAMING capital letters as a comment in every country article. Doesn't keep touts from listing (placeyouneverheardoff) at the country level for India, China or the USA. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:05, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
As I said above in Talk:English_language_varieties#Leaving well enough alone, I think that we should put a notice in plain text at the start of the article, which can also define the article's scope for the reader. Even if all editor's don't read such stuff, they are less likely to be offended if an edit is reverted. AlasdairW (talk) 21:36, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I would also like to point out that many non-English-speaking countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Latin America and so on are listed under "American usage". I didn't remove them because I failed to get a consensus, but I must say that having been to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Colombia, English is most certainly not widely spoken in these places. My view with regards to Taiwan may be distorted since I am a fluent Mandarin speaker and thus never had a need to speak English while I was there, but for sure in Japan, South Korea and Colombia, you most certainly could not count on the average guy in the street or the average shopkeeper knowing how to speak English. So while it's true that if you met someone who spoke English, they would almost certainly know American rather than British English, I'm not sure if these even warrant inclusion given that the majority of people could not speak English. But anyway, it seems kind of strange that people would object to including Malta on the basis of it not being and English-speaking country, when I'm pretty sure being a former British colony, you would find more English speakers in Malta than in places like Japan or South Korea. The dog2 (talk) 14:46, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I stand corrected on what language is spoken in Malta, but my objection to its inclusion stands. Malta is a tiny country of some 400,000 people. There are English-speaking Caribbean island nations of similar population; should we throw those on the list too? As I said above, "if we're to list every anglophone country large and small that uses British rather than American spelling, we will quickly run up on the same problem of excessive length that we're trying to solve by limiting new additions to the word lists." -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:50, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Malta is not an English speaking country, it is a Maltese speaking country. English is an official language that is legally subordinate to Maltese. (and there are lots of countries where English is an official language but not spoken by everyone). Yes, most people you meet will speak English well but I don't get why a small island gets a special call out here. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:25, 1 June 2017 (UTC)


As a verb, in Northern America root means supporting a particular sports team but in Australia and New Zealand it is a synonym of having sex with someone (akin to "fuck"). I was going to add this before reading "leaving well enough alone" above. I believe there are more moments of confusion and awkwardness arising between travellers and locals from "root" and therefore a more useful word to have in the same word, different meaning section than some of the other words there, like elk where the difference between countries is minor and only refers to different types of deer. Gizza (roam) 11:15, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

I thought that word had previously been in this article. I wouldn't object to it being there, but let's see what other people think. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:23, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm rooting for it being included. And of course the New York Giants. ;-) Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:19, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I, too, remember that having been in the article before. No objection from me. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:52, 22 May 2017 (UTC)


It looks like the US meaning of "academics (courses)" as courses in the humanities and sciences needs to be inserted into the "Learn" section. Is there a word with equivalent meaning in other dialects of English? Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:22, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

No-one is interested in discussing this? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:34, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not familiar the the humanities so I can't really comment on that, but in the sciences, I've personally never heard "academics" used that way. The dog2 (talk) 15:03, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
This could always be finessed by defining "academics (courses)" as "U.S.: specific subjects in the humanities; science subjects are also sometimes included in the scope of this term". When I was in high school, all courses outside of my studio courses (in music) were "academics"; in my college (SUNY at Purchase), I equated academics with courses in the School of Letters and Sciences (the other school was the School of Arts). Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:14, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
As an American, I've heard them called "academic courses", "academic classes", or "academic subjects", but not "academics", I don't think. I would use the word "academics" to mean "professors and researchers" (the plural of "academic") or to mean "classes and formal education in general" (including science, humanities, arts, music, etc. – often contrasted with extracurriculars). —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:32, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Maybe "academics" for "academic subjects" is an Eastern expression, or perhaps usage has changed on this one since the 1980s. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:26, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Could be—my education has been entirely after the 80s and mostly in California and Illinois. I asked my housemate, who's about my age and grew up and went to college in Arkansas, and he agreed with my usage of the word. —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:22, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I noticed this supposed usage of U.S. "academics" mentioned when I was researching the correct British equivalent of "faculty", but as an East coast American, I'm also unfamiliar with it. I agree exactly with Granger's interpretations of the word in American usage, and I don't think it needs to be included in this article. --Bigpeteb (talk) 16:07, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

To Table[edit]

This was something previously in the article that was removed due to its supposed lack of relevance to travel. However, I would argue that it should be put back in since it's something that actually has opposite meaning in the US and UK, and this would be a term that could cause confusion to business travellers. For instance, at a business meeting, saying you wish to "table" a proposition would mean you want to remove it from consideration to an American, but that you want to put it up for consideration to almost any other English speaker. This is something that could certainly cause confusion, even for say, American businessmen crossing the border into Canada for a meeting, as in this instance, the Canadians predominantly understand the term in its British sense. The dog2 (talk) 02:30, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Similarly, "moot" has opposite meanings in the U.S. and Britain. In the U.S., something is moot when it's no longer relevant, whereas in Britain, to my knowledge, something is moot when it's open for active debate (debated=mooted). I was thinking these were merely political terms, but if they're relevant to business meetings, I'd say they should be in the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:12, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
In British English "to table" is a term that is used in more formal meetings, and particularly in the minutes of formal committee meetings. As it has an opposite meaning from the US it is worth listing. AlasdairW (talk) 22:33, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Ireland and Euro(s)[edit]

Does the Republic of Ireland pronounce Euro of more than one unit as just Euro (i.e. without the s in the end)? For example, 'two Euro'? We don't need to add this yet although if there are similar cases elsewhere we can point them out. -- 07:58, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Worthwhile question, but I would say we never need to address it in this article. This article is only about differences that could cause misunderstandings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:17, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Political terms[edit]

While there is of course no need to list anything that is exclusively legislative jargon, I was wondering if it might be worthwhile to list Congressman (US) vs Member of Parliament (MP) (UK), since this is something that sometimes does come up in normal conversation. Of course, I'm aware that the US Congress and UK Parliament are structured differently, so Congressmen and MPs aren't exactly equivalent even though they are closely analogous to each other. And of course there is another difference in that MP only refer to a member of the House of Commons, while Congressman technically refers to a member of either house of Congress, though in colloquial usage it usually refers to a member of the House of Representatives. The dog2 (talk) 00:53, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

I'd frankly answer a big fat no to this. Congress and Parliament are not analogous, in that Parliamentarians include the PM and Cabinet ministers, and the government is composed of members of the majority party or coalition in Parliament. By contrast, Congress is a co-equal, separate branch of government, with all that can entail. All of that is too detailed to be relevant to an article that's merely about different ways to express the same meaning and different meanings for the same word. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:00, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
As an extension to the points made in earlier threads, is specifying the terms used in the political process required for the traveler? My simple answer is 'no'. Even if it were I would envisage constant edit warring between those who feel the nuance of their political system isn't adequately represented.
This is a travel guide, and I often feel contributors to this article completely forget that. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:19, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Andrew: "Things that come up in normal conversation" can be a hugely expansive list. We're writing a travel guide: let's focus on travel stuff, and not try to be all things. Thete is an Internet that can cover normal conversation. Ground Zero (talk) 01:23, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
We agree on not supporting the proposal that started this thread, but I disagree on your idea of not covering stuff that comes up in everyday conversation. I see this article as somewhat analogous to the phrasebooks we have, except that it's a comparison article, not a "British English for Americans" or "American English for Britons" article. Words and phrases that are very commonly used and could give rise to confusion should be covered in this article, if they are either analogous to other words or phrases in other English-speaking countries (or in this case, mostly the UK and the US, as we certainly aren't going to cover Ozarks dialect and Cockney in detail in this article!) or have different meanings in different places. The point is to serve the traveler, not for everything to be obviously related to travel. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:44, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Good points everyone. I was kind of on the fence about this as well. I though it might be an interesting comparison of terms that people might encounter when talking about political news, but I was also concerned that listing this might get overly complicated given how the American and British systems of government differ from each other. Since everyone else is against it, I'm happy to leave it out. The dog2 (talk) 01:58, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree with not adding political jargon. As another example, the Liberal Party in Australia is the right-wing/capitalist/conservative political party whereas liberal means left-wing/socialist/progressive in most other countries. But again not that relevant for a traveller who doesn't vote in elections. Gizza (roam) 02:23, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Generally I think that there is no need to include political terms. If I don't know who Congressmen are, I can ask. The only things that might be covered are those that could cause confusion - e.g. in the UK, Conservative and Tory are two different names for the same party (in conversations one speaker may say Tory and another Conservative and it is not obvious that both are referring to the same party). However as parliaments are often open for visits maybe we should have a travel topic on Political Systems. AlasdairW (talk) 13:56, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
The problem with creating a "political systems" article is that it could get overly complicated. The American and British systems are not the only ones in existence. The French have their own system, and so do the Chinese, the Germans, the Dutch, the Saudis and so on. I think the best thing to do is to describe the political system within the article for each individual country. Anyone interested in a particular country's political system can then just look up that country's article. In fact, we do mention in the individual country articles that the Conservatives in the UK are also known as the Tories, and the Republican Party in the US is also known as the GOP. The dog2 (talk) 16:37, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
You could have a travel article for Political Systems... one crazy idea is to start with Greece for the origins of democracy, move to the Roman Empire for the foundations of law, travel to London and Paris for the evolution of modern political government and then to Washington DC to see how all this history was brought together. (a rather Western centric way of looking at it, but one idea anyway). Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:34, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
If such as article does happen, perhaps Switzerland is worth a mention too. As far as I know, Switzerland is the only country that practises direct democracy - in other words, where the people have a direct say in formulating legislation. All other democracies that I know of, including the US, UK and France only practise representative democracy. The dog2 (talk) 15:53, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Some US states have referendums where voters vote directly on individual laws, which can be introduced by the state legislature or by voters themselves. One relatively famous example is California Proposition 8, in which voters chose by a slim majority to make same-sex marriage illegal. —Granger (talk · contribs) 16:12, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
But referenda are (generally rare) exceptions to representative democracy (see Brexit, recent Turkish referendum) to answer questions of constitutional change, and applicable to probably most democracies. The Swiss model is actually taking laws to the people rather than allow representatives to answer them. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:01, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, Switzerland does have representatives. According to Wikipedia, they also have optional referendums, mandatory referendums for changing the Constitution, and initiatives introduced by the people. The same is true of California. Again using Wikipedia as my source, Switzerland had 13 referendums in 2016; California had 18 propositions (a higher than usual number) in the same year. This Economist article specifically says that California's system was based on Switzerland's. So is the Swiss system really unique in a noteworthy way? (That's not a rhetorical question—I don't know enough about Swiss politics to know if there's some aspect of it that's really different from the systems I'm familiar with.) —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:47, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Did you read w:Voting_in_Switzerland ? I appreciate California would be one of the world's largest economies if it were a country, but it is not a country so the impact of referenda is not quite as significant (there are significant limits on the scope of law changes California can make, and in any case they are subject to the United States constitution). It isn't a like for like comparison. Again, this is a good example of why I argued against covering politics in this article. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:36, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Switzerland is subject to some EU legislation due to bilateral agreements. And more than once such legislation made a dead letter of previously approved referenda. What is rather unique about Switzerland is its more or less permanent all party coalition in federal government. Hobbitschuster (talk) 07:49, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Switzerland is subject to much EU legislation, but (for example) the the referendum in 2014 about immigration quotas demanded the suspension of EU free movement and by extension the removal of existing treaties with the EU (although a compromise was later struck with the EU to avoid that happening). Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:34, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Slangs about government[edit]

And just one more thing, although we do not need to go into great detail about political systems, I was thinking that it could maybe be useful to include a short note about slangs used to refer to the government. For instance, Americans commonly say "Uncle Sam" when they are referring to the U.S. federal government, while Brits may say "Westminster" when they are talking about the UK Parliament. While these may not be travel-related terms, they do come up quite a fair bit when having conversations with locals, so it could be useful to know them. The dog2 (talk) 18:06, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

That's really a country-by-country thing, not a general difference between British/Commonwealth English and American English. If it's that important for travellers to know, it should go in each country's article. --Bigpeteb (talk) 22:50, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:12, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
Disagree. Why just political slang? Why not other vocabulary differences? If we start addressing slang and vocabulary differences in the USA and UK articles, those articles will become too big to be usable. This is a language guide that mostly addresses differences between UK and US English. This is a good place to address these issues to avoid overloading the main country articles. Ground Zero (talk) 00:39, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
So we overload this bloated article to avoid overloading the other bloated articles? I think the most logical solution is that it's not the end of the world even if this information doesn't end up getting included anywhere. A first-time visitor to the U.S. or UK could never know what "Uncle Sam" or "Westminster" mean and still get by just fine. (And yes, I'm aware of the irony of myself arguing in favor of streamlining and Ground Zero arguing for inclusion.) -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:50, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
My first impulse was to agree with Andre that it isn't really needed here, but I do love delicious, delicious irony, so I should continue to argue for inclusion, but I won't. He makes a good case for not including it. Ground Zero (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
We're not paper. We can certainly include (some of) those terms somewhere, right? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:01, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
Someone previously suggested a Political Systems article. If someone decides to plunge forward and make that article a reality, perhaps that would be a good place for inclusion. The dog2 (talk) 16:00, 7 July 2017 (UTC)


I don't think "pop" is used in all parts of Upstate New York, which by some definitions starts at the southern border of Westchester County. It's used in Western New York. Is it even used in Central New York (Utica, Syracuse)? LtPowers could probably address that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:55, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

Does it matter? On Wikipedia such accuracy would be expected, but for travel purposes, I don't think we need an exhaustively specific list. Both "soda" and "pop" are known and understood throughout the U.S., and especially in places like New York state where neighboring parts of the same state prefer a different term, the 'wrong' term would surely still be understood. --Bigpeteb (talk) 16:53, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Even for a non-American like me, I understand both "soda" and "pop" because of exposure to American films and television series. "coke" could be confusing though, as most people outside the region, including myself, generally understand "coke" to specifically refer to "Coca Cola", so I certainly wouldn't refer to say Fanta Orange or Pepsi as a "coke". The dog2 (talk) 18:18, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
It matters to me because I live in New York City, so by one definition, very close to Upstate. :-) And I would also say that if a statement is wrong or misleading, regardless of how important or unimportant it is, per se, it should be changed. But I will also say this: I think that a lot of New York City residents would have to think for a second before figuring out what someone meant if they were referring to soda as "pop". I've occasionally found myself doing that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:27, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
According to most sources I've seen (and Google has a weirdly vast amount of information on this topic), the pop-vs.-soda isogloss runs about midway between Rochester and Syracuse. I'm going to say let's change "Upstate" to "Western" while trying my best to resist the temptation to get bogged down in a fruitless debate over where to draw the line between upstate and downstate. :) -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:59, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:03, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm with Big Pete. We do not need a list of where which is used, just mention that 'pop' and 'soda' are both widely used in N America & are approximately synonyms. Pashley (talk) 13:17, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
What is it with some people on this site and the compulsion to streamline, shorten, abbreviate, remove "extraneous" information, etc.? This is a website. We should see the fact that we don't have to fit all our content into a book cover as what it is: a strength, and an opportunity to offer readers something that old-fashioned dead-tree travel guides couldn't ever offer them. So let's play to that strength. --AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:47, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
People reading travel guides are likely not looking for as much detail as those reading an encyclopedia. That is why our History sections tend to be overviews, and the detail can be found in the linked Wikipedia articles. Encyclopedia articles are fantastic for people thirsty for details, but deadly dull for those looking for an overview. I think Wikivoyage can be more useful if it offers something different from what Wikipedia offers than by going down the same road. Ground Zero (talk) 14:56, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
The print version does matter, see Wikivoyage:Goals and non-goals. The voyager is supposed to be able to print this and carry it when travelling. K7L (talk) 16:50, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
While we should try to be as compact as possible and avoid going into every unnecessary detail, I think it's also important to be clear and avoid confusion. So condensing for the sake of condensing is not the way to go either. If getting rid of something may make the point less clear, we probably shouldn't get rid of it. The dog2 (talk) 18:35, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
[Edit conflict] I disagree with Bigpeteb and Pashley [and agree with The dog2] on this. Using the right word is somewhat important, if you want people to understand you right away and not give you a funny look. I oppose removing the brief description of where "pop", "soda" and "coke" are used most often, as inserted by AndreCarrotflower. It's practical, not merely "encyclopedic", and it's not that long. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:38, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

"Leaving well enough alone" revisited[edit]

Honestly, if it were up to me, at this point we'd expand the "leave well enough alone" to encompass ALL edits, not just additions to the lists. There's a fine line between making substantive contributions on the one hand, and on the other hand petty nitpicking about word choice, phrasing and other trifles - and, given that English Language Varieties is due to start its term as FTT in only a little over two weeks, I don't know how I feel about having an article on the Main Page that is so much a focus of the latter type of edit. There's so much else to be done on this site, and there's been so much time wasted squabbling about minutiae on this page, I'd just as soon semi-protect the article for a couple weeks or a month and let people find something else to obsess over. Enough is enough. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:41, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

  • I agree with Andre on this. Time to stop fussing. And by the way, there is a hyphen in "nit-picking". ;-) Ground Zero (talk) 16:44, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Not in the U.S. :-) I don't support semi-protection without evidence of vandalism or edit warring. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:43, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
I would semi-protect, at serious risk of international tourism coming to an end because nobody could understand what a 'garbage truck' was... --Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:33, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
A 'garbage truck' is a slang term for the various food carts of variable quality which serve the factory park? K7L (talk) 11:39, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Three for and one against looks like a consensus to me. I'll hold back for a day or two to give others a chance to argue against it, but failing that, I'll likely semi-protect this article effective until 21 July, when its term as FTT ends. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:58, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Doesn't semi-protect mean auto-confirmed users can edit? I thought the consensus was for semi-protection and not full protection. The dog2 (talk) 16:05, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I hardly see what good that would do when most of the nitpicky edits are coming from autoconfirmed users. Perhaps I misspoke in an earlier post, but it's pretty clear from the context of my comment, and the comments below in agreement with me, that the protection is intended to get people to let things go and, quoting myself, "let people find something else to obsess over". -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:53, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
AndreCarrotflower, if you're finding the edits and discussions here are killing your joy, you do have the option of ignoring them - in effect, letting well enough alone on an individual basis, with the confidence that others will take care of things. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:35, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
It's really not that simple, and my own personal annoyance has nothing to do with it. As a soon-to-be Main Page feature, this article needs to be monitored more closely than others to make sure no detrimental edits fall through the cracks. That has become a problem because of 1) the unusually high volume of edits to this page, each of which need to be scrutinized and 2) the fact that the article is already substantially complete, and is in constant danger of tipping over into being too long, too detailed. When there really isn't anything more that can be done to improve an article, calling timeout is a far easier course of action than continuing to scrutinize, revert, and get into petty nitpicking squabbles on the talk page with people who still can't bring themselves to stop gnawing the bone.
Furthermore, the dirty little secret of the "you are not irreplaceable" argument is that, with the exception of English Wikipedia and perhaps a few other unusually active wikis, it's largely wishful thinking. Look no further than the recent events at dotm for an example of why "confidence that others will take care of things" is often misplaced, on this site at least.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:23, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
OK, but in the case of this article, there is plenty of attention here. I've been paying attention, among several others. I think this article can easily survive while you take a break from paying attention to it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:24, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I understand where Andre is coming from, but it comes down to it not being possible to tell editors which articles they should be working on. I completely agree that this article should be left well alone, and can only encourage that other editors realize that it is pretty well developed now and should spend their energies elsewhere. I appreciate that is frustrating when someone contributes what they think are differences which are actually completely wrong, but as Ikan suggests perhaps ignoring them is the best way. At least it is not as harmful as when someone puts their bogus opinions in the respect section of USA. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:30, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Garbage truck vs dustcart/bin lorry vs rubbish truck[edit]

This is currently put under the notes for trash can/garbage can vs rubbish bin/dustbin. However, there is a suggestion in one of the edit summaries to make this its own table entry instead of having it under the notes of another entry. What does everyone think? The dog2 (talk) 23:47, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Yes, why not put it in the table? Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:37, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I have no objection to doing so. If there are no objections from anybody else, I'll go ahead and make the change. The dog2 (talk) 03:20, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

Insurance-related terms[edit]

I was wondering if we can add some terms related to insurance. For instance, US English uses deductibles while UK English uses excess. These are terms to refer to what clients/patients need to pay before insurance companies start paying out their share -- 10:20, 6 June 2017 (UTC).

Given that those buying travel insurance would usually be doing so in their own country, I can't see how that information would be relevant to travellers. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:55, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
This might get a little too complicated though. There are a lot of legal terms related to insurance that are unique to each country, and insurance policies are also structured differently in different countries. For instance, Australia uses "gap" to refer to what the U.S. calls a "co-payment" for health insurance, but when it comes to motor vehicle insurance, the same thing is called an "excess". And Australia does not really have the equivalent of the U.S. "deductible". And while this can be useful, you really only have to know this if you are moving somewhere long-term, and it's not really relevant for short-term tourists or business travellers, and from what I can tell, the majority of users here wish to keep Wikivoyage relevant only for short-term travel, with the exception of articles specifically dedicated to long-term travel. As this could get really long and complicated, I'd say if we really want to include this, perhaps we should explain all this in the travel insurance article or one of the other long-term travel articles like Working abroad or Studying abroad rather than this page. The dog2 (talk) 15:10, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I think that insurance can impact short stay visitors. Car rental is often sold with only fairly basic insurance, with the hire company trying to sell an additional policy when the keys are collected. Some insurance is often an add-on when buying travel ($50 bus ticket +$1 cancellation insurance), and activity operators may pass on the insurance conditions to the traveller (if you damage the dingy there is a £100 excess). Maybe we should keep this very short, but refer to Renting a car and Travel insurance for more details. AlasdairW (talk) 20:57, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Technically, the aggressively-upsold Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is *not* insurance. It just removes the deductible from whatever insurance is already included in the rental – and costs a fair amount for what little it does. K7L (talk) 21:11, 6 June 2017 (UTC)


I was wondering if this should even be in. While what is mentioned in the article is true in general, to my knowledge, using "mad" to mean "angry" is not unknown in the U.K., and using "mad" to mean "insane" is almost certainly not unknown in the U.S.. For instance, if you use the phrase "mad as a hatter", almost any educated American would know that you mean "insane" and not "angry". The dog2 (talk) 06:24, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

"Mad" to mean "insane" is definitely used in American English, as you say. However, I think we'd agree that the word usually means "insane" in British English and "angry" in American English. Whether that's enough of a reason to mention it here, I couldn't say for sure, but I'm leaning toward "yes". Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:03, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm kind of ambivalent about this. It's true that in the absence of context, "mad" usually means "angry" in American English, and "insane" in British English, but I believe that both definitions are used on both sides of the Atlantic. It would be great if any British people here can educate us about this but I've heard the term "mad at somebody" used in British films before. And even in Australia, saying you are "mad at someone" would be understood to mean "angry". The dog2 (talk) 14:27, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Passing and overtaking[edit]

I know this might be captain obvious, but one thing I have noticed from driving in Australia and the U.S. is that Australians use the verb "to overtake", which is presumably of British origin since we use that verb in Singapore too, while Americans use the verb "to pass". If anything, we make a distinction between "overtaking" a vehicle travelling in the same direction, and "passing" a stationary vehicle, while Americans don't make that distinction. I was wondering if this should be an additional table entry in "by car". Where I anticipate this could cause confusion is in say, New Zealand, where they have both "passing" and "overtaking" lanes which are distinct from each other. The dog2 (talk) 23:54, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

"Overtake" is used in the U.S. too, albeit less often than "pass". -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:14, 28 June 2017 (UTC)
A lot less often. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:18, 28 June 2017 (UTC)
In New Zealand, there is a technical distinction between "passing" and "overtaking" - "overtaking" involves crossing the centre line into the oncoming traffic lane, whereas "passing" involves staying on your side of the centre line. Hence, you are allowed to "pass" on a motorway but not "overtake". Lcmortensen (talk) 02:40, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
I somehow missed the part of The dog2's comment about New Zealand. Okay, at this point I think I can get behind including this as a listing. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:46, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
In the UK if I pass another car I could be travelling in either the same or the opposite direction. We have single track roads with "Passing Places" which are mainly used to let oncoming vehicles pass, but there are also signs "Use Passing Places to permit overtaking". AlasdairW (talk) 13:23, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
In Singapore and Australia, it is for the most part similar to British usage. You can "pass" any vehicle, but you can only "overtake" a vehicle travelling in the same direction, so you could say that overtaking is a special case of passing. While you would most certainly be understood if you use "pass" in that context, locals would generally use "overtake" when referring to passing vehicles travelling in the same direction. Singapore doesn't really have country roads because the country is so small, but I have substantial experience driving on country roads in Australia and the U.S., and I will point out that Australian road signs refer to "overtaking" lanes, while American road signs refer to "passing" lanes. The dog2 (talk) 05:08, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Barrister and solicitor[edit]

Under "Cope" , we state that in the UK,a barrister and a solicitor are not interchangeable, but we don't specify how they are different to someone who is unaware. Can we change the note afterwards to read: UK terms are not interchangeable; a "barrister" represents people in court while a "solicitor" gives legal advice and does transactional work (e.g. wills, property transfers). (or similar) ? Lcmortensen (talk) 02:44, 30 June 2017 (UTC)

Not relevant to travellers. Frankly, it's an open question whether attorneys/lawyers/barristers/solicitors merit mention at all. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:52, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
They're relevant if you get in a car accident and get sued, right? Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:59, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
There are scenarios in which any of the entries we've considered and rejected for this article might somehow hypothetically be relevant to a traveller under a certain narrow set of circumstances, and if we gave the benefit of the doubt to all of them, we'd be right back to square one vis-à-vis our efforts to rein in the excessive length and detail this article suffers from. The likelihood of travellers getting into car accidents and being sued while overseas is not so remote that I'd be in favor of eliminating the listing (though as I said above, there's a viable argument otherwise), but on the other hand I don't think it's anything we need to go into meticulous detail about. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:27, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm OK with that. I'd also be OK with adding the details Lcmortensen posted above. Neither way is worth a Federal case. :-) Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:27, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
I'd say whether to mention them at all is an open question; I lean toward "yes".
If we do mention them, it seems obvious we should describe the difference as User:Lcmortensen suggests. Pashley (talk) 10:09, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
I think that the existing entry probably goes into enough detail. If we were to fully cover this we would need to include the different terms used in Scotland from those in England. I think that the traveller does need to know that these are all legal professionals. i expect that if a traveller phones one when he needs another the reception staff will put him right. AlasdairW (talk) 13:18, 30 June 2017 (UTC)


I might be wrong on this but to my understanding, the Irish definition of "college" is slightly different from the American definition. Based on what I know, Americans only use "college" to refer to undergraduate institutions, while in Ireland, "college" includes postgraduate institutions as well. So while an American will not say he/she is going to "college" to get his/her PhD, an Irish person could very well say that. The dog2 (talk) 01:05, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

If so, this is worth mentioning in the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:33, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
And speaking of which, what about we take the sentence "Can also refer to a constituent college of a university" out of each individual country's paragraph and have it in a separate bullet point. I think it's generally true that outside the U.S. and Ireland, "college" is not used to refer to the university itself, but may refer to a constituent college of a university. Collegiate universities actually do exist in much of the Commonwealth including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as Oxford and Cambridge served as the inspiration for many universities throughout the British Empire, both of which are collegiate universities, and the term "college" on its own can sometimes be used in that context. And to highlight potential confusion, I remember some Americans being confused when I was having a conversation about my trip to Oxford and talked about the colleges of the University of Oxford. I ended up having to explain the concept of a collegiate university to clear up the confusion. The dog2 (talk) 16:39, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Yale and Princeton univerities have residential colleges. Cornell University consists of nine privately endowed colleges and four publicly supported "statutory colleges". Maybe the Americans you were speaking were just unaware of how many univerities are organized, which is not a language issue. Ground Zero (talk) 17:54, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
So in that case, then let's just state in a separate bullet point "Can also refer to a constituent college of a university in all countries". This summarises the point succintly, and allows us to remove the statement under each individual country. As far as I know all the major English speaking countries have collegiate universities, such as the University of Toronto (Canada), University of Melbourne (Australia), University of Otago (New Zealand) and University of Dublin (Ireland). Of course, the precise nature of these colleges differs from being simply residential colleges as in the case of the University of Melbourne, to being essentially separate universities in all but name as in the case of the University of London, but people can probably find that out on their own if they're interested. The dog2 (talk) 18:05, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

And just as a another note, I'm kind of ambivalent about including this, but because of the differing definitions of "college", the term "intercollegiate sports" also takes on a different meaning. In the US, it would refer to sports between the teams of different universities, but in the UK, it would refer to sports between the teams of different constituent colleges of the same university, which would be known in the US as "intramural sports". The dog2 (talk) 15:22, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

My impression is that the most common term for these in the U.S. is "college sports", with "collegiate sports" a very distant second and "intercollegiate sports" very uncommon. And I would suggest leaving this out. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:21, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

What is necessary and what is unnecessary detail?[edit]

Everytime I try to clarify a few things, I get reverted. And when I try to discuss on the talk page, I get ignored. So seriously, what's the consensus. I don't want to go against the will of the admins, but I will not know what you consider necessary and what you consider unnecessary unless you publish some guidelines. I understand that people may disagree with me, but I hope that it's a genuine intellectual disagreement, and that I'm not being reverted out of some personal vendetta. The dog2 (talk) 05:01, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

I'm all in favour of guidelines and policies, but it is time-consuming to develop them, and so were not going to have guidelines for everything. I think we have to ask regular contributors to use their discretion, and to respect the consensus of contributors as reflected in previous discussions. Several contributors have expressed their concern about the amount of detail in this and some other articles, so you shouldn't be surprised if people push back against continuing expansion. Ground Zero (talk) 13:38, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Regardless of who adds content, you are never going to find two people who completely agree on the level of detail this article should have. What we do have is a consensus to leave things pretty much as they are, which won't obviously make everyone happy but it is the best strategy we have. I get the impression that the message of "less is more" is not understood by everyone, but I would urge consideration of whether new content legitimately helps the traveler read this article. If it makes it harder to read, then by all means refrain from adding.
I would suggest exploring new travel topic article ideas if the content you want is not sufficiently accommodated here. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:14, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

My apologies[edit]

I'm sorry about my previous post. I just realized I crossed the line and should not have challenged the authority of the admins. I offer my most sincere apologies and promise to repect the authority of the admins in the future. The dog2 (talk) 06:39, 23 July 2017 (UTC) The dog2 (talk) 06:39, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Admins have no greater authority in deciding what should or shouldn't be in an article than any other regulars. Just make your arguments, but you might be a little more patient, keeping in mind that this is the Northern Hemisphere summer, when many people are on vacation, with limited Internet access. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:37, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it worth spending a few minutes to read the Wikivoyage:Administrators article. It should be obvious that the role of Admins is to ensure that the policies are being kept (whether the admin personally agrees with them or not) and taking actions to prevent vandalism etc. Admins carry mops, not sticks :) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:22, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

What's wrong with the term "codes of football"?[edit]

Said term has been removed and/or replaced with one of the last edits. I have seen tha formulation on en-WP. Why is what is good for them not good for us in that regard? Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:51, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

"Codes of football" is actually the correct term. I'm not sure why it was changed but by presume it is because "code" is not commonly used in everyday speech. Personally, I wouldn't use "versions" since that indicates different variants of the same game, but in the case of football they are clearly different games. The dog2 (talk) 23:33, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
I suppose many native English-speakers have never come across the phrase "codes of football". I know I hadn't before reading this thread. Perhaps it's rarely used in the U.S. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:27, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Agreed—I'm American too, and I had no idea what "codes of football" meant until I read The dog2's comment. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:47, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm Canadian, also had never seen the term before, & made the change thinking "codes" was obviously a slip by a second language English speaker. Web search indicates I was wrong; the term is widely used in at least Australia & turns up in British newspapers [3].
I still would not use it here, or at least not without explaining the term. Pashley (talk) 11:53, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Swedes as a vegetable[edit]

When I was in England, I found it a bit funny that they had vegetables called "swedes". I always understood that they were some kind of turnip, and w:Rutabaga indicates that they are rutabagas. Considering that the word "swede" for a vegetable is (I think) unknown in the U.S., would anyone object if rutabaga/swede were given as U.S./British pairs in the "Eat" section? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:26, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

You may encounter occasionally swedes in some restaurants and traditional family dinner tables, but overall it is pretty rare.... Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:40, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Swedes are not a common separate restaurant vegetable, but do appear in "haggis, neeps and tatties", where neeps is mashed swedes, or as an ingredient in soups and stews (a cheap filler, usually not featuring on the menu). However they are widely available in supermarkets, where smaller white turnips ("milan turnips") are less common. I think that we could also list "Scallion / Spring onion". AlasdairW (talk) 20:10, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
I would agree on scallion/spring onion as well, although I think "spring onion" (or something similar to that) is used pretty widely in restaurant menus in California, so it's partly a regional difference. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:18, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Here in Upstate New York, "scallion" and "spring onion" are used pretty much interchangeably; in fact, if either is more popular, it's probably the latter. I'm frankly not sure if usage breaks down regionally or if they're merely synonyms. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:50, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
If "scallion" is close to universally understood in the English-speaking world, there's no reason to list it. I still think "swede" is strange enough to people in North America to list it, though. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:52, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
I'd disagree about 'scallion'. These are referred to almost only ever as 'spring onions' in the UK, and almost never referred to as scallions. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:26, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
I've always used the term "spring onion". I only became familiar with the term "scallion" after living in the US. The dog2 (talk) 01:58, 4 August 2017 (UTC)


This is something that just came to my mind. I noticed that Americans say "counterclockwise" when I would have used the word "anticlockwise" instead. I know it's not difficult for a native English speaker to figure out what the other variety means, but I just wonder if it might be worth listing for the benefit of foreign language learners of English. The dog2 (talk) 01:47, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

I guess that goes to the question of who the intended audience for this article is. I would think it was for people with pretty advanced knowledge of English, who I would think could figure this out pretty easily, not for beginning or intermediate ESL/EFL students. But if I'm wrong, the article might have to be rethought a bit. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:15, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I understand the intended audience of this article to be not English language learners, but rather people who already speak (either natively or as a second language) either U.S. or Commonwealth English but not both, and whose travel plans make it expedient for them to familiarize themselves with the other dialect. In fact, I recently excised a piece of information on that basis. I think given this article's by now well-known problems with length and excessive detail, the last thing we should want to do is widen its scope. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:28, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I disagree in principle, in that if something is confusing and important enough to include, we should add it, irrespective of the fact that that lengthens the article a bit. Where we agree is that something as easy to understand as this pairing should not be included. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:15, 5 August 2017 (UTC)


I was thinking perhaps this should be listed under the "Learn" section. From what I know, in the U.S., everyone teaching in a university is called a "professor", while the equivalent would be "lecturer" in the U.K. At least from observation, "lecturer" is not used in the U.S., while "professor" only refers to very senior lecturers in the U.K., so this could cause some confusion for people not familiar with the distinction. The dog2 (talk) 15:40, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Frankly, given that the "Learn" section seems to be one of the main magnets for people's urges to add still more listings of dubious relevance to travellers, I'm slowly being pushed in the direction of wanting to just delete it in its entirety, as another user proposed earlier. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:05, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
If the consensus is to keep that out, I'll leave it out. I brought it to the talk page as the consensus said, so I don't think I have done anything wrong here.
And by the way, one entry I'll propose removing in another section is "mad". As I mentioned in a previous section, the use of "mad" to mean "angry" is not unknown in the UK, and the use of "mad" to mean insane is not unknown in the US, so I think that can easily be figured out from context.
If you want, I can propose ways to trim down the "Learn" section as well, since there's so much angst about its length. Things like proctor/invigilator or class/module will typically not come up in regular conversation. To take/sit or write/set an exam is something that can easily be figured out by competent English speakers, and likewise with degree program/course of study or grades/marks. So if you really want to trim the section, I can propose taking all these out. The dog2 (talk) 16:17, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
You haven't done anything wrong, and I wasn't singling you out. On a personal note, I think the reason why the issues with this article (along with the similar issues at United States of America) strike such a chord with me is because they run parallel to what's going on with my own pet projects at Wikivoyage: I went from adding more and more information to the Buffalo district articles, to coming to realize how their excessive length might make them tough for readers to digest, to grappling with what to do about them. I have to say also that taking the scythe to Aarhus in advance of its DotM term has helped me realize that it's really a matter of shifting gears from focusing on what to include, to focusing on what not to include. With articles like this one that are truly collaborative efforts - which is the exception at Wikivoyage, even if it's supposed to be the rule - it's hard when everyone's not in the same mindset. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:38, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
OK, I see your point. But back to what I said, I think there is in fact more merit to include professor/lecturer than some of the other entries on the list. So if the concern is that the article is getting too long, perhaps we can add professor/lecturer and remove some of the less important stuff that I mentioned in my previous post. Just to highlight an example, just compare how often you will encounter professor/lecturer in everyday casual conversation to how often you will encounter proctor/invigilator. The dog2 (talk) 19:09, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm a Canadian who has worked in British-run organizations overseas, studied in a UK university & hung out with lots of Aussies & Kiwis. The only education terms I recall seeing people confused by, hence the only ones I think belong here, are the British use of "public school", college vs. university, and the professor/lecturer distinction.
As I see it, the rest should be either deleted or moved to other articles. Some could go to Studying abroad and invigilator/proctor could go to Teaching English since teachers might encounter it. Pashley (talk) 20:09, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I think "state school" should also stay, because that can be confusing if you're not familiar with the way the term is used in the particular country. I wouldn't really mind if you took "student" out because I think it is highly unlikely that someone from the UK will be confused by the term "primary school student", even though the usual term will be "pupil". But then again, I'm not sure how familiar Americans are with the term "pupil", so if it is a term that your typical American will not understand, then I'd say it should stay. Tuition/tuition fees should also stay since that is something a person who intends to study abroad might encounter when checking university web-sites, and it could be confusing if you don't really understand what that means. The dog2 (talk) 20:33, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Americans don't usually use the word "pupil", but it's understood. I remember when I was in middle or high school I heard a pun about Cyclops being a bad teacher because he had only one pupil (or something like that), and I didn't have any trouble understanding the joke.
People sometimes travel to take standardized tests that aren't offered in their home country, so I wonder if we should keep invigilator/proctor for that reason.
By the way, the word "lecturer" is used in the US. Based on the Wikipedia article, it seems to have a different meaning than in the UK, but I'm not sure if the difference is big enough for travellers to need to worry about it. —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:04, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Where it can be relevant is if someone with a bachelor's degree from the UK is planning to go to the US to study for a PhD. In the application process, the from will typically mention that you need letters of recommendation from "professors". That could confuse a UK student because anyone teaching in a university is called a professor in the US, but a professor in the UK only refers to very senior lecturers. So this entry would help someone in that situation, so they know that the US "professor" really refers to a "lecturer" in the UK sense. The dog2 (talk) 00:15, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I think it has enough scope for confusion to be included. But I am not as hard-line about keeping this short as some other people. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:39, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Looks like a slight majority is in favour of inclusion. But since it seems that the general sentiment is that it should only be added if something else is removed, how about I remove to take/sit an exam. I think this one is pretty easy to figure out, and I did not experience any confusion when I first moved to the US. The dog2 (talk) 13:39, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree with any strict policy that something has to be removed if anything is added, but I'm fine with your proposed deletion. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:19, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I personally don't mind not deleting anything, but since there is so much angst about the length of the article from everyone except the two of us, I proposed a deletion as some sort of a compromise so we can move forward and get the important stuff in. The dog2 (talk) 19:18, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Economy class vs. coach[edit]

A pretty noticeable omission from the Get in/around section is the UK "economy class" vs the US "coach" when referring to the standards seats aboard a plane. Can we possibly add it? Lcmortensen (talk) 01:46, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

I seem to remember "Economy" formerly being used in the U.S. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:11, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't know if it would cause confusion. Americans have always understood me when I said "economy", and I had no problem figuring out that "coach" refers to economy class. The dog2 (talk) 02:57, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I thought "coach" was kind of a slang term. Airlines themselves certainly use "economy" or "y" and sometimes even "premium economy"... Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:42, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
There is a slight possibility of confusion if an American says "I went by coach from New York to Denver", meaning that a he was in economy class but a Brit would think he was on a Greyhound coach for several days. I recall being confused by this at a business meeting a few years ago (where the speaker was moaning that his company hadn't paid for business class), but I don't know how common it is to use coach without being clear that it is the airline class that is being referred to. AlasdairW (talk) 21:08, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Plus Amtrak's "lowest" class of service is also referred to as "coach" so if someone could assume train travel the term "coach" is not 100% clear... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:47, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
My conclusion from this thread is that this is too ambiguous to be included in this article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:04, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Anoraks and macks[edit]

As an American, I've learned these words from watching British TV shows, but I'm sure most Americans wouldn't recognize them at all. Are they worth adding? (For that matter, are these terms even used when shopping? I've heard "anorak" in the sense of "nerd" much more than as a garment.) On the other hand, I'd think most people bring raincoats and parkas with them, and don't shop for them while traveling, so maybe they don't have much value in this article. --Bigpeteb (talk) 20:08, 16 August 2017 (UTC)