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Author Topic: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?  (Read 29337 times)

Offline Arry

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Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2013, 09:30:24 AM »
I have to say I can't see if the difference in the writing is because of the author's writing style or his cultural background (one is heavily influenced by the other of course). I notice that Pratchett writes different than Williams (for example) but how much of it is the author and how much is the country I have no idea.

I think this is true for me with the exception of word choice. While all American, there are huge differences in the writings of Goodkind, Sanderson, Lynch, Weeks, Butcher, Rothfuss, Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, Charlaine Harris. Same with British authors: Gaiman, Abercrombie, Rowling, Pratchett.  I could go on. With the exception of words like lift/apartment, or spelling differences, I haven't noticed anything that would make me feel I could guess where an author is from. Maybe it's because I read primarily medieval based fantasy. Or maybe its because as an American, I am immune to the Americisms and blind/ignorant of the Britishisms.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2013, 11:29:35 AM »
When reading medieval fantasy I prefer British words to American  if i came across an American word it throws me out of the story for a tiny bit but i don't mind it in anything else  :) , I apologize no I mean apologise  :)

What is Kool aid? is it like an orange fizzy drink?

When I went to Florida once I asked for a plaster for a cut on  the finger there didn't know what I was on about I had to mime ,oh you mean a band aid  ;)

is baked beans on toast just a british thing? People in the UK eat over 90% of the world's tinned baked beans - See more at: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/overcooked/beans-toast#sthash.oKsdqYqS.dpuf
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 11:45:56 AM by Eclipse »
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Offline Arakasi

Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2013, 11:47:27 AM »
I have to say I can't see if the difference in the writing is because of the author's writing style or his cultural background (one is heavily influenced by the other of course). I notice that Pratchett writes different than Williams (for example) but how much of it is the author and how much is the country I have no idea.

I think this is true for me with the exception of word choice. While all American, there are huge differences in the writings of Goodkind, Sanderson, Lynch, Weeks, Butcher, Rothfuss, Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, Charlaine Harris. Same with British authors: Gaiman, Abercrombie, Rowling, Pratchett.  I could go on. With the exception of words like lift/apartment, or spelling differences, I haven't noticed anything that would make me feel I could guess where an author is from. Maybe it's because I read primarily medieval based fantasy. Or maybe its because as an American, I am immune to the Americisms and blind/ignorant of the Britishisms.

While I don't disagree that in general there is more difference between the authors than between how much their nationalities influence their writing. However, Terry Pratchett's books could only be British and J.K. Rowling books could only be British. It's something that is difficult to put my finger on, but their worlds they build feel a little cluttered and a well worn.

Offline Lejays17

Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2013, 12:14:38 PM »

is baked beans on toast just a british thing? People in the UK eat over 90% of the world's tinned baked beans - See more at: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/overcooked/beans-toast#sthash.oKsdqYqS.dpuf

Nope, I eat them here is Aus, Elfy doesn't though, so make of that what you will  :D


This is a fascinating discussion, I can generally see the difference between American & British authors, but I can't really tell you what exactly (apart from the obvious spellings & word choices).  There's just a feeling I get from it.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2013, 01:00:38 PM »
Reading all these replies, I suddenly realised that I've only used/felt books as *too american*. Maybe because the other source I read is english, and that is closer to my feelings so don't notice the difference?
(I don't think I've read more than 1% of my yearly books in my mother tongue since I was 15-16...)

Books for me are all about feelings, and it's only when they grate against my inner core that I have to find words for the reason why.
I guess, because I could be just saying silly things, hehe


And speaking about beans on toast, I only discovered them when I got together with my ex (english) - since moving here I've embraced it wholeheartedly, yummy ;D
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Offline Arry

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Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2013, 01:14:05 PM »
OK, I am really curious about this. I put up a poll on my blog because I'd like to get response from users beyond the forum as well.

http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2013/11/08/very-american-or-very-british-can-you-tell-the-difference/
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 09:16:57 PM by Arry »
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Offline xiagan

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AW: Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
I have to say I can't see if the difference in the writing is because of the author's writing style or his cultural background (one is heavily influenced by the other of course). I notice that Pratchett writes different than Williams (for example) but how much of it is the author and how much is the country I have no idea.

I think this is true for me with the exception of word choice. While all American, there are huge differences in the writings of Goodkind, Sanderson, Lynch, Weeks, Butcher, Rothfuss, Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, Charlaine Harris. Same with British authors: Gaiman, Abercrombie, Rowling, Pratchett.  I could go on. With the exception of words like lift/apartment, or spelling differences, I haven't noticed anything that would make me feel I could guess where an author is from. Maybe it's because I read primarily medieval based fantasy. Or maybe its because as an American, I am immune to the Americisms and blind/ignorant of the Britishisms.
However, Terry Pratchett's books could only be British and J.K. Rowling books could only be British. It's something that is difficult to put my finger on, but their worlds they build feel a little cluttered and a well worn.
like the Name of the wind? ;)
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Offline Arakasi

Re: AW: Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2013, 02:03:20 PM »
I have to say I can't see if the difference in the writing is because of the author's writing style or his cultural background (one is heavily influenced by the other of course). I notice that Pratchett writes different than Williams (for example) but how much of it is the author and how much is the country I have no idea.

I think this is true for me with the exception of word choice. While all American, there are huge differences in the writings of Goodkind, Sanderson, Lynch, Weeks, Butcher, Rothfuss, Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, Charlaine Harris. Same with British authors: Gaiman, Abercrombie, Rowling, Pratchett.  I could go on. With the exception of words like lift/apartment, or spelling differences, I haven't noticed anything that would make me feel I could guess where an author is from. Maybe it's because I read primarily medieval based fantasy. Or maybe its because as an American, I am immune to the Americisms and blind/ignorant of the Britishisms.
However, Terry Pratchett's books could only be British and J.K. Rowling books could only be British. It's something that is difficult to put my finger on, but their worlds they build feel a little cluttered and a well worn.
like the Name of the wind? ;)

Good point! The murky and filthy streets and alleys of Tarbean where Kvothe settled in when he became a feral street child, was almost Dickensian.

Offline ladybritches

Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2013, 04:25:21 PM »


While I don't disagree that in general there is more difference between the authors than between how much their nationalities influence their writing. However, Terry Pratchett's books could only be British and J.K. Rowling books could only be British. It's something that is difficult to put my finger on, but their worlds they build feel a little cluttered and a well worn.

I find this interesting, because when I read Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy", I thought she could have been using my town as her reference, and I live in the middle of the U.S.  :)

Offline DBASKLS

Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2013, 05:21:09 PM »
When reading medieval fantasy I prefer British words to American  if i came across an American word it throws me out of the story for a tiny bit but i don't mind it in anything else  :)

That's exactly what I was trying to say only Eclipse said it better!

It's funny there are some word differences I'm OK with, elevator - no problem, faucet - just can't be doing with that word, fag(got) - well that's just hilarious, isn't there a sellotape/durex difference as well or is that an urban myth?

Interestingly in The Dirty Streets if Heaven
Spoiler for Hiden:
there is a Brit reference as some of the minor characters are Brits and I really enjoyed that bit. It was done well and made me look up what nationality Tad Williams is (he's American).

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Offline EricaDakin

Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2013, 06:45:16 PM »
This is a really interesting discussion! Kind of lost track of specifics, so I'll just throw in some general personal observations.

- When I first started reading The Lies of Locke Lamora I noticed that words were spelled the British way. This confused me a little, and made me wonder whether Scott Lynch was British. I have no idea why that would have surprised me, but obviously there was something to his writing that didn't strike me as British. Since he is American, I presume that Gollancz just chose to use the British spelling for the books for the British market. How many times can I put the word British in here? Sheesh...
- Cultural differences can be very pronounced, for all that people are much the same wherever they come from. Arry, you say you prefer sarcasm etc., but I'd say that makes you an unusual American, because in general (very general) sarcasm just isn't much of an American thing. My colleagues often remark on how direct I am, which they see as a very Dutch thing. When they first told me this I was very surprised, because it's not something I'd ever noticed or considered. We always have (good-natured) ribbing going on about how I feel the Brits are too polite and should stop apologising for everything and should learn how to take compliments, while they dismiss everything weird (to them) I do with 'oh, she's Dutch'. I also always tell them that you have to have been born in Britain to appreciate things like beans on toast and custard (ewwww on both counts).

It certainly isn't something that bothers me in books, and with someone like Robin Hobb I could have believed she came from anywhere, but there just is a specific feel to certain books that firmly puts them into a country camp.
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Offline DBASKLS

Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2013, 07:35:18 PM »
I also always tell them that you have to have been born in Britain to appreciate things like beans on toast and custard (ewwww on both counts).

Seriously surely everyone likes beans on toast no matter where they are from? It's a staple! Admittedly custard can be bad if made wrong!

It certainly isn't something that bothers me in books, and with someone like Robin Hobb I could have believed she came from anywhere, but there just is a specific feel to certain books that firmly puts them into a country camp.

I think that is one of the things that makes Robin Hobb such a good writer, that she can distance herself from any language/cultural nuances and make her world the world.


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Offline Arry

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Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2013, 07:50:29 PM »
Arry, you say you prefer sarcasm etc., but I'd say that makes you an unusual American, because in general (very general) sarcasm just isn't much of an American thing.

I think I might disagree here. Sarcasm is very prevalent here. It's just some section of society considers it rude or crude …  That means it is not used quite as much when interacting with people you don't know well.  Also, there are definitely people that just do not get sarcasm at all. I have decided it's easier to not talk to a couple of my in laws because translating and explaining everything I say (and what I actually mean) to them is rather painful. But I think they are in the vast minority. There is a ton of sarcasm on TV and in movies and in real life.  The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Curb Your Enthusiasm, South Park …

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/k9a8o3/how-about-we-call-it-sarcastaball

Also, I found this article:
 
"Two Brits-in-America discuss Americans and their use of sarcasm (or lack thereof)."
http://www.bbcamerica.com/mind-the-gap/2013/02/05/debate-are-americans-sarcasm-literate/

:)

Myself, I have rarely set foot out of the States, so I can't compare the level of sarcasm. But I can tell you that it exists here. Oh, and its in books. Surely someone has noticed the sarcasm in ASoIaF, Gentleman Bastards, The Magicians, Joe Hill's books and if not his books, then perhaps his tweets.

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Offline Arry

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Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2013, 07:51:37 PM »
Seriously surely everyone likes beans on toast no matter where they are from?
???
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Offline joshfishkins

Re: Re: Re: Very British or Very American.... what do these even mean?
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2013, 08:37:02 PM »
Oh and there is no extra 'u' in humour. There is one....

Hmmm.... ;)

Damn your mathematically accurate post...