Two other countries separated by a common language

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 29 22:44:06 UTC 2007

Something like that. The question,

"Can you use one of these?" ["Would you like to have one of these?"] in American

was re-interpreted as:

"Do you have the ability to use of one of these?" in Australian.


On 9/29/07, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Two other countries separated by a common language
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I have heard that in England questions such as "Do you know where the
> subway station is?" are considered yes/no. Is this the same issue? BB
> Wilson Gray wrote:
> > An American has a handful of wallet-sized, plastic calendars given
> > away as a form of advertising by his bank.
> >
> > The American, proffering a calendar to an Australian friend, speaks:
> >
> > "Can you use one of these?"
> >
> > The Australian, after pondering the American's question and briefly
> > examining the calendar, returns it and, answering the question with a
> > question, replies:
> >
> > "You just look at it, don't you?"
> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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