viernes, 28 de octubre de 2011
LESSON 22: Motor vehicles. Differences between American and British
Tara lives in England and she has a car. Tammy lives in the USA, and she has an auto. She also sometimes calls this a car, but for her this is also a car. Tara calls it a 'railway carriage'. Though Tara and Tammy are both drivers, there are many differences between their vehicles. Did you notice the real difference? Tammy's steering wheel is on the left, because unlike the English, Americans drive on the right-hand side of the road. But the main difference is in the language that Tammy and Tara use to describe cars and driving - this can be very confusing.
Let's start from the bottom and move up. This vehicle is on the road surface. For Tammy, the road surface is the pavement (here is Tammy walking on the pavement). In England, the pavement is the place on the side where pedestrians walk. Tammy calls that the sidewalk. So Tammy drives on the pavement in the USA, but Tara would be arrested for driving on the pavement in England. There are a few other things for drivers to watch out for. In the USA this is a freeway. In England it is a motorway. Neither freeways nor motorways have what the English call traffic lights, and the Americans call traffic signals; and the middle light is called 'the yellow light' in America but 'amber' in England.
But let's go back to the motor vehicle. Tammy and Tara agree that the wheels have tyres. But Tara spells the word 'tyres' and Tammy spells it 'tires'. Things don't get better as we move up. Look at this part of the vehicle. What does Tara see? She sees a bumper with number plates. Tammy sees something different. She sees a fender with license plates. For Tara, the short form of 'number plates' is 'plates'. when Tammy wants to be brief, her license plates are called 'tags'.
Tammy and Tara agree that their vehicle has an engine. Tara's engine uses petrol, and she gets it from the local garage or petrol station, but Tammy's engine runs on gas, or gasoline, and she gets it at a filling station. Her car has a gas pedal which makes it go faster. (Which is why Americans say 'hit the gas' when they mean 'speed up.') Tara's car has an accelerator to make it go faster. And where is the engine? For Tara it is under the bonnet. Over in America Tammy thinks a bonnet is a good-looking hat, like the one she's wearing now. Her auto's engine is under the hood.
When Tara wants the car to go backwards, she reverses. Tammy backs up. Perhaps this is because things are also different at the back of the car. Tara's car has a boot. Tammy's car has a trunk. And remember,if Tammy is going to stop the car 'momentarily' it means she will stop IN a moment. But for Tara in England, when she stops momentarily, she stops FOR a moment and then carries on driving.
It's just as well that Tammy and Tara don't drive in each other's countries, because there might be a minor traffic accident. Or as Tammy would say, 'a fender-bender'.