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Old 09-04-2013, 11:19 PM   #1
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The Funny "Sayings" Of Americans

Americans are very funny! I had taken together the list of the sayings in my journal, and here are these from the bumperstickers and the conversations:

"Crazier than a bat in a henhouse."

"If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?"

To sneeze and to fart at the same time: "Snart."

"The more I see of people, the more I like my dog."

"If I keep eating like this, I'm going to be big enough to have my own zip code."

From the Target employee: "I never understood alcoholism until I started working here."

"The only fork in that family tree is the one on the dinner table."

These are so funny!

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~Cat

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Old 09-05-2013, 12:13 AM   #2
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I never heard any of them... Okay I heard "he/she is big enough to have his/her own zip code... One thing that drives me nuts about Brit fic, does "half nine" mean half before nine or half after nonr? (a.m./p.m. -- now if we just all switch to mil time 0930 it would be unambiguous.)

If I'm ever king of the world we will all be on 24 hour mil UTC and all on metric (MKS) units
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:51 AM   #3
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I am not sure of the "half nine." Perhaps the Google search could provide the guidance on the phrase.

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Old 09-05-2013, 08:02 AM   #4
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I believe "half nine" comes from German where um halb neun means at half past 8 whereas um halb zehn means half past nine or more literally at half before 10.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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"half nine" means it is 9:30.

If you had to pick an odd one from the UK that wouldn't have been the one I would have picked.

"He really knows his onions"
"Useless as a chocolate teapot"

Those two go way up near the top and I am probably forgetting way too many of them.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:51 PM   #6
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"half nine" means it is 9:30.

If you had to pick an odd one from the UK that wouldn't have been the one I would have picked.

"He really knows his onions"
"Useless as a chocolate teapot"

Those two go way up near the top and I am probably forgetting way too many of them.
I think it depends on one's linguistic background--um halb zehn translates as 9:30, whereas um halb neun translates as 8:30. For me, half 10 means 9:30 and half 9 means 8:30 and always will.

Useless as tits on a bull is my favourite version.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
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I believe "half nine" comes from German where um halb neun means at half past 8 whereas um halb zehn means half past nine or more literally at half before 10.
Nope, that's only the Germanic way. BTW, the half something, meaning 1/2 before, shows up in Danish numbers. E.g., 50 in Danish: halvtreds. It means half the third score.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:07 PM   #8
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We have so many I wouldn't know where to begin .

Half nine is easy , it's half nine . How can it even be up for question ? 9 is the hour , half past is half past the hour so half nine .
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:23 PM   #9
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The question to which I was responding as a linguist was:

One thing that drives me nuts about Brit fic, does "half nine" mean half before nine or half after nonr? (a.m./p.m. -- now if we just all switch to mil time 0930 it would be unambiguous.)

The answer re: the ambiguity is that it comes from German and that if one translates um halb neun it translates into English as 8:30, not 9:30m and um halb zehn translates as 9:30. I'd have to get into the etymology of the phrase in English to track it back to German, but to me, it makes perfect sense that it comes from German. For me, because half + any hour was not a phrase I ever heard in English, the only connotation I have for half + any hour is German to English.

To throw another monkey wrench into this, in French, after the 1/2 hour, one counts back from the hour:

Il est huit heures moins le quart. (It’s a quarter to 8.)
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:39 PM   #10
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I think it depends on one's linguistic background--um halb zehn translates as 9:30, whereas um halb neun translates as 8:30. For me, half 10 means 9:30 and half 9 means 8:30 and always will.

Useless as tits on a bull is my favourite version.
Oh! I did not know we could use the word "tits."

Very well, then. I heard this, and it is close: "As attractive as tits on an alligator."

For more of the gassy ones: "That went over like a fart in church." This means the bad idea or the useless action.

We have had much heavy rains for all the summer. One of our neighbors told us, "I don't know whether to let the back yard dry out or stock it with trout."

I made the joke about the rain to the tourists who came to visit the shop where I work. They said they had arrived from Indiana. I asked, "Did you drive, or fly, or did you swim?" They thought I was very funny.

I love these funny things! The American humor is very colorful.

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~Cat
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
The question to which I was responding as a linguist was:

One thing that drives me nuts about Brit fic, does "half nine" mean half before nine or half after nonr? (a.m./p.m. -- now if we just all switch to mil time 0930 it would be unambiguous.)

The answer re: the ambiguity is that it comes from German and that if one translates um halb neun it translates into English as 8:30, not 9:30m and um halb zehn translates as 9:30. I'd have to get into the etymology of the phrase in English to track it back to German, but to me, it makes perfect sense that it comes from German. For me, because half + any hour was not a phrase I ever heard in English, the only connotation I have for half + any hour is German to English.

To throw another monkey wrench into this, in French, after the 1/2 hour, one counts back from the hour:

Il est huit heures moins le quart. (Its a quarter to 8.)
But, the French is clear. Half three in Brit English = Half past three in US and Canadian English. We also say, "A quarter to three." meaning 2:45 in US/Cdn English.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:54 PM   #12
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How about "tempest in a teapot"

And there's "getting your panties in a bunch" which has a Brit English equivalent, "getting your knickers in a twist".
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:01 PM   #13
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knickers in a knot is how I heard that phrase growing up.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:02 PM   #14
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But, the French is clear. Half three in Brit English = Half past three in US and Canadian English. We also say, "A quarter to three." meaning 2:45 in US/Cdn English.
But the French is actually 8 hours minus a quarter.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:04 PM   #15
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I'm hopelessly confused. My question about "half 9" was specific to England. It appears to me that "half 9" in English translates to "half past 9" in American.

Sadly, in novels it's rare an American could figure it out from the context.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:05 PM   #16
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We use a couple of sayin's around here....
Busier than a one legged man in butt kicking contest.
Nervous as a long tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.
When expressing surprise, I have been know to utter: Well, shut my mouth and call me mumbles.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:09 PM   #17
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I'm hopelessly confused. My question about "half 9" was specific to England. It appears to me that "half 9" in English translates to "half past 9" in American.

Sadly, in novels it's rare an American could figure it out from the context.
Sorry--misunderstood your question. I know nothing about the British context, just the German and how I have always understood it because of my background in German (translation and linguistics) and Am. English.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:11 PM   #18
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knickers in a knot is how I heard that phrase growing up.
I learned "knickers in a twist" from my Scottish ex, way before I ever heard "panties in a bunch". Until I moved to Denmark and had English friends, I thought knickers were trousers tha end and are tight just below the knee.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:12 PM   #19
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I "knickers in a twist" from my Scottish ex, way before I ever heard "panties in a bunch". Until I moved to Denmark and had English friends, I thought knickers were trousers that are end and are tight just below the knee.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:18 PM   #20
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I love these! I did hear of getting the knickers in a twist in the UK. We became frustrated with the directions to a place and the man who gave us the directions told us not to get our knickers in a twist because it was close.

These are funny!

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