Daily Archives: July 17, 2000

July 17 2000

English is not always English

David Singer and I are having a conversation about the differences between British, US, Canadian and Australian English that started with his comparisons between the US and the British edition of Harry Potter. Today, David writes on his weblog:

Andrea and I are having a chat about the differences between various national dialects of English on her weblog. I find it intriguing that differences which are so obvious to me are invisible to her.

David, the differences are not invisible to me. I know there are certain differences between British and US English: some words (pavement – sidewalk) and the spelling of some others (many words have a single “o” in US English, while the British spell it “ou”, e.g. labo(u)r). We even learned about that at school and took vocabulary tests in which we had to “translate” words from British to US English. However, nobody told me about Canadian or Australian English. Since US English is referred to as “American English” most of the time, I assumed Canadian English was the same as US English – which seems not to be true.

By the way, there are different kinds of German, too. You can tell whether someone is from Northern Germany, Bavaria, Austria or Switzerland. There are Rheinländer, Schwaben, Sachsen, Berliner

I recently read that the “ß”, which is a sharp s-sound, is not used in Switzerland at all. They write “ss” instead, which is the common way to write ß if Umlaute are not available. I think they do use the other ones (ä, ö, ü = ae, oe, ue), though.

In Lower Saxony, the part of Germany where I grew up, Plattdeutsch (literally: flat German ) is still spoken. It’s kind of like a mixture of German, English and everything in between, close to Dutch in some ways, too. There are very subtle differences in pronounciation depending on the village you’re from! So if you grew up in the area, you can tell whether someone is from your village or the one 5 miles away, and you certainly know if you’re talking to someone from around Bremen or Hamburg – if they do still speak Plattdeutsch, of course. Sadly, it’s becoming more and more uncommon, and few young people speak it. I understand it and can speak it if I must, but I’m not really used to talking in Plattdeutsch. But it was my parents’ first language! They had to learn Hochdeutsch, the “normal” German, at school.

Weblogs are incestuous

Serious Instructional Technology:

“Staying afloat on WEBLOGS (7/17/00; 6:46:45 AM)

Quote: ‘Sites are water wings for surfers sinking in sea of cybermadness’
Comment: via Blivet (Hal) via John via Andrea about John (the Curmudgeon). And they say weblogs are incestuous…

Susan’s Trip to Pasadena


Andrea commented on my trip to Pasadena on Saturday. Somehow her wording implied that it was a big deal. Actually, it’s a pretty quick trip–just a matter of three freeway exits to get within Pasadena’s city limits, and 8 exits to get to my destination. By the way, I love that Monet painting at the Norton Simon museum; I will stare at it just about every time I go there.

I didn’t mean to imply her trip was like a trip around the world. It just made me remember my trips to Pasadena, which certainly felt like a big deal. But I was only 17 then, and the student exchange was the first time I went to another continent; everything was new and thrilling!

Susan mentioned she has a membership to the Norton Simon Museum so she can visit any time and even for only half an hour to have a quick look at a few pieces. It’s great to be able to take your time and don’t feel you didn’t get your money’s worth if you don’t spend hours and hours in the museum at a time.

Loose socks and Miniskirts

Wanna know what really cool Japanese teenager girls wear, do, like? Read The Japanese Teenage Girls’ Manual of Style. It’s a site with little essays written by Japanese girls for a student exchange with the USA, complete with photos. (The loose socks and miniskirts are in the clothes section.)

The manual is part of a website about the Kyoto Nishi Highschool’s Course of International and Cultural Studies.

Point of View

Yesterday, Susan had some interesting thoughts and a little story about changing one’s point of view.


Here’s the search engine for all you egosurfers: www.egosurf.com.

Sports with an office chair

This is a really cool storyclown: