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Thread: Being British Act VI

  1. #31
    Okay, this is a really dumb question (all of mine on this thread have been!) but do Brits use the word 'spaz,' both as a verb and as a noun? It's like a contraction of 'spastic,' which, weirdly, is an adjective. Yep.

    Where I live, it's incredibly common, but where I live, people use really, really dumb slang (like the 'beast' thing I mentioned earlier), so I want to know what the Brits say.

    At least four characters say it across the three volumes of my future-gen trilogy, and there is one whole scene discussing whether or not Emma is a spaz.


    "I'm sorry I was such a spaz." (Used as noun.)

    "I mean, Ted just spazzed out." (Used as verb. I've never heard it used as a verb without the 'out.')

    If this word isn't used, what could I say instead?

  2. #32
    Realise is British English and realize is American English. However, realize has become part of the mainstream English language so it doesn't matter too much. I use it.

    Sorry, Impaler, we must have been posting at the same time. I use spaz as a verb sometimes - such as "Oh, I really need to stop spazing out about this". Calling someone a spaz is still viewed as very derogatory and using spaz as a verb isn't as common, but still very much used. Telling someone to stop spazzing out is just a fancy way of telling them to calm down, though; it doesn't have the same negative inference. It might have come from America, but in Britian modern day it's still very much used

  3. #33
    Um, I've got a somewhat awkward question. Don't read on if things tend to make you uncomfortable.

    Here in a America we use a baseball metaphor to describe how, erm, far you've gone with your boyfriend/girlfriend. (i.e. First base, then second base, etc.) Do the British use the same one? If not, what do they use?

    And does it differ with era? Would the Marauders say the same type of things the trio would? I want to know both.

    Sorry about the awkward post here.


  4. #34

    Well, not usually. It's not a very common thing to say over here. I think most people just say "How far did you go" and then people just answer with what they did

    It's known, like, first base, second base etc. But not very many people use it. If someone does decide to use those phrases then we know what they mean, but only people who are American, or who are very shy about that sort of thing, speak with bases.

    The Marauders strike me as the type of people who would go like this, for example.

    Sirius: How far did you go?
    James: Just kissing.

    Or whatever the situation is. As we don't play baseball over here (obviously, since it's an American sport and it's never been played here) we don't refer to baseball speak in conversation.

    It does not differ with the era greatly. Adults would probably never sa it because they are adults, they would just say the proper "terms" lol. But teenagers who don't want to say exactly what they did in terms might say it with bases because teens and children are surrounded by the American culture. On TV etc.

    Hope that helped

  5. #35
    The base system isn't used over here, chiefly because we don't have baseball and the nearest equivalent (rounders), doesn't tend to be played all that often. Although the expression would probably be understood by modern teenagers, that's pretty much solely down to the American Pie films. Even with that in mind, the expression hasn't taken root, and even now people don't use it, and many wouldn't understand it.

    Unfortunately, there is no easy substitute for bases. Considering how fond of euphemisms we seem to be culturally, it seems strange that we don't have something to use in this context. I'm afraid to say that the reality is that the teenage boys in my experience would have used rather more literal and less subtle descriptions of the acts. There was a word used to describe third-base in particular, but I'd rather not mention it here. Suffice to say, that when I used the phrase recently in the company of my (extremely sexually liberal and rude) female friends, it went down like a ton of bricks. Knowing how unpleasant they found it, I'm loathe to even attempt to post it here.

    Not very helpful, I know, but better than the alternative.

  6. #36
    Fourth Year Gryffindor
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    May 2006
    Buried under a huge WIP
    Getting back to the question concerning the barrister/solicitor thing, I think I understand in terms of the defense of individuals, but who actually brings charges against an accused and prosecutes a case? Would there be a Prosecuting Barrister?

    edit to add another quick question: Do Brits typically sing Happy Birthday or have some other celebratory ritual to take its place? I feel like this has been asked before, but I can't find it and don't remember.

  7. #37
    Yeah, we sing Happy Birthday. You'll usually find that people add three cheers to the end.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by moonymaniac
    Getting back to the question concerning the barrister/solicitor thing, I think I understand in terms of the defense of individuals, but who actually brings charges against an accused and prosecutes a case? Would there be a Prosecuting Barrister?[/SIZE]
    In criminal cases the prosecution will be the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) similar to what would be the DA's offices in the US. In civil cases would be Claimant v Defendant. Rather a few months ago VV asked for details on how a trial breaks down and I posted that here - that thread may have been archived but it may be worth searching for it, or asking her if she still has the information, as there was rather a lot and it might be useful for you.

  9. #39
    Do the British ever use the term "wing it"? Like, "I don't have to study for the test, I'll just wing it."?


  10. #40
    Yes, and Ron uses it to describe the proceedings at the Ministry in Deathly Hallows. The other expression that gets used - perhaps in a slightly different context, is Play it by ear, as in "We'll just have to play it by ear." While wing it tends to denote improvisation in some form of task, play it by ear is generally used for less crucial things. So if you weren't fully clued up for your French Exam, you'd have to try and wing it, but if you were going to meet up with your friends afterwards but didn't know with who and where, then you'd play it by ear.

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