Two other countries separated by a common language

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 30 21:19:40 UTC 2007

At a party in Amsterdam, I once asked my host where the bathroom was.
He graciously pointed it out to me. (We'd all been drinking quite a
bit, so the alcohol probably prevented him from noticing any strange
about such a request in the middle of a party.) I went there and, sure
enough, I found myself in the bathroom. However, my intention was to
take not a bath, but a leak. The second request got through my host's
alcoholic haze and he realized that what I mean was the
borrowed-from-BrE W[ater]C[loset], pronounced approximately "way say"
in Dutch of the "Seventies.


On 9/30/07, Doug Harris <cats22 at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Doug Harris <cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Two other countries separated by a common language
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> As well they might (ask that question). As, similarly,
> they are inclined to ask for "bathrooms" when having
> no intention whatsoever of bathing, being befuddled by
> getting French fries as part of their fish and chips
> order, and pondering where locals are going when they
> announce, as some sometimes do, they're going to the
> _loo_. (Less frequently, these days, or so I'd imagine,
> the loo-bound might note s/he is going "to spend a
> penny", a once-common phrase reflecting a long-gone day
> when that was the price of admission to a "public
> convenience".
> (the other) doug
> ---
> LOL. Doug Harris said something to a similar effect. I was of course
> simply inventing a sentence that I thought a tourist might ask. BB
> Paul Johnston wrote:
> > Assuming they'd know what a subway station is.  A subway is an
> > underpass over a road, though "Tube/Underground station" would be fine.
> > As someone who did use to ask questions like that, I usually got my
> > questions answered as i would here, but sometimes preceded by a
> > repetition.  "The Tube Station?  Oh, you'll have to go down
> > Rellingford Road to get there."
> >
> > Paul Johnston
> > On Sep 29, 2007, at 3:04 AM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> 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
> >>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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