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Daily Science Fiction :: This is the Story That Devours Itself by Michelle Muenzler

There seems to be no way to comment on Daily Science Fiction posts but I want to ask the author why the fleshy outlines were made moldy (molded) rather than being moulded/shaped. "Molded fleshy outlines"


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2015 12:57 pm (UTC)
Because that's the way we spell it on this side of the Atlantic. The receptacle that shapes a metal casting is a mold. What a sculptor does with his hands when he shapes clay is mold it. If those unidentifiable leftovers in the refrigerator are furry with mold, you should throw them out. The bare ground beneath an American's feet isn't usually mo(u)ld, though; generally it's "dirt". Three different words, all pronounced the same way, but with three different meanings and three different derivations, are all mold.

English is weird :-D

Mar. 28th, 2015 01:24 pm (UTC)
Oh! It is an American vs. English thing! Another one to add to my list, then. I did not know about that one.

P.S. I am serious, one day I will publish an American - English, English - American dictionary.

Edited at 2015-03-28 01:25 pm (UTC)
Mar. 29th, 2015 12:22 am (UTC)
You probably know the obvious ones: we leave the extraneous "u" out of words like honor, color, flavor, favorite (and mold). We go to a theater in the center of town. We transport loads by road in a truck, and we ride to the higher parts of a building in an elevator. To knock someone up means to make them pregnant, and a person's fanny is their bottom (or bum - but a bum is a an itinerant homeless person who lives by begging, petty theft, and very occasional odd jobs, or just a generally disreputable person.)

But one thing many non-Americans aren't completely aware of is that we have somewhat of a horror of the word "toilet", unless we're talking about the plumbing fixture itself. The room that houses the toilet (and usually at least a sink, and in private houses also a shower and/or bathtub) is the "bathroom", even when there aren't any actual bathing facilities in it - in almost all US homes all the fixtures that use water are usually in one room, although we may also have a "half bath" or "powder room" with just a toilet and a sink. (And, of course, there's always a sink in the kitchen as well.) In a public place, it's a "rest room", or the ladies'/men's room. You may also see it referred to as the "ladies'/men's lounge", which is why it's a rest room; in public places, the area with the toilets often had another room furnished with armchairs and couches, so that people could sit down and regain their energy before they returned to shopping, or whatever else they'd been doing. And I think the silliest expression of American prudishness about toilets is that the acts themselves (of excreting liquids or solids) are referred to as "going to the bathroom", even if there's no porcelain device in sight! (E.g., "Mommy, that dog just went to the bathroom on the sidewalk!")

Mar. 31st, 2015 09:14 am (UTC)
Our courgette is your zuchini (sp?). Our slow cooker is your crockpot. Our crock pot is a ceramic casserole dish with a lid that can be used to make similar dishes to those made in a slow cooker if faster and either in the oven or on the stovetop/hob/ring. Our button-down shirt is a button-up shirt with collar tips that button down to the main short body, over a tie or similar. Often it seems that USian button-down shirts are our button-up shirts. Sidewalk/pavement.Fag/cigarette/gay man. Bum bag / fanny pack. Fanny/vagina and fanny/backside/seat/buttocks as you mentioned.

Goodness I could go on for hours…

Also, the UK older generation are almost as touchy about "toilet" as the USians. Most of us just call it the loo, though, and that refers to the device, the room and the action. Bathrooms here have baths or showers. The loo used to be called the WC which was short for water closet. One's toilette is one's makeup and clothes. It is originally a French word, as are many of the 'ou' spellings. I find linguistic history in Europe pretty fascinating. So much of English comes from old French and old German.

Edited at 2015-03-31 09:24 am (UTC)
Apr. 1st, 2015 07:22 am (UTC)
Not only are our zucchini your courgettes, our turnips are your swedes... and I'm going to stop right here, because I could fill an entire volume just with words for different foods.

Men's shirts used to have detachable collars, so that when the collar got dirty from the sweat and grime around the neck, it could be washed (or swapped for a clean one) without having to wash the entire shirt. But eventually the collar was sewn onto the shirt, and in order to maintain crisp points that would lie neatly over the neckband of the tie, the collar, and sometimes the whole shirt, would be heavily starched. However, starched shirts, and starched collars, are uncomfortable. In order to keep the collar points of a soft shirt looking neat, a tiny button and buttonhole were added to each point. But a button-down shirt is definitely a button-up shirt - as opposed to a pullover (like a t-shirt or other design with no front placket).

So a man's toilette would have involved arranging his collar and necktie just so, along with the rest of his clothing, as well as dressing his hair, shaving various parts of his face, and possibly even applying cosmetics and/or scent. So, too, would a lady's toilette begin with her clothing from the skin out (because various styles required different undergarments), arranging her hair, and applying cosmetics and scents. To this day, the most dilute form of perfume, the stuff you spray lightly over everything as a finishing touch, is eau de toilette - it's been a long time since any perfumer has tried to market it as "toilet water"! The place where one made one's toilette was the chambre de toilette. People whose houses had fewer rooms wound up using the room that contained the waste receptacle, along with a sink (or at least a ewer and basin) and a mirror, for their toilette. And gradually the room became the "toilet", and then the device in the room became the "toilet", and simplified modern plumbing techniques placed the toilet, sink, and bathtub or shower all in one room, which became the "bathroom"... and we're back to euphemisms :-)

Languages, and the way they interact, shift, and confuse people, are fascinating indeed!

Apr. 1st, 2015 11:45 am (UTC)
This is so interesting!

Then again I am now confused because we have both swede and turnips (neeps as in "neeps n tatties" = turnips and potatoes in one of our many dialects - Scottish I think) as well as parsnips and they are three seperate vegetables.
Apr. 2nd, 2015 10:53 am (UTC)
There are two broad types of turnip; one type is one color (more or less white) all over, and the other is white on the top part and purple below. In the US, those are often called "rutabagas", but in the UK they're swedes. Plain turnips are turnips everywhere, and all turnips are members of the very diverse cabbage family. Parsnips, however, are close relatives of carrots, and not related to the cabbage family at all. All of these tend to fall into the category of "things to eat when you don't have anything else to eat." :-(
Apr. 2nd, 2015 11:49 am (UTC)
Ah, but I LOVE roasted root veg. All of them. One thing, though, never put parsnips in soup if you want it to keep. It is all fine and yummy the day you cook it but festers overnight, even in the fridge, sending the portion you save for the next day into the realms of rotten.

P.S. You know so much stuff! ;-p

Edited at 2015-04-02 11:50 am (UTC)
Apr. 3rd, 2015 05:26 am (UTC)
I'm almost as violently allergic to the entire cabbage (turnips, broccoli, and all) as I am to the allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, chives, etc.). I'm not allergic to parsnips, but they aren't something it would ever occur to me to eat. But what I meant is that almost all root vegetables have an aura of poverty about them, at least in my mind; they'll grow in the poorest soil, they will keep in a "root cellar", they're easy to cook, and many of them are very filling. Unless there's absolutely no edible material to be found, a person can usually manage to scrounge up a potato or something.

And thank you for the compliment! Yes, I know a lot of stuff - I enjoy knowing a lot of stuff. I've been a voracious reader all my life, which is probably how it started. As I grew, I realized that the more different things I knew and the more different skills I had, the easier and more comfortable life would be, because I could adapt to whatever was going on around me. And I have to admit that it's kind of fun to be thought of as a "know-it-all" :-)

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