...And That's My Opinion©

By Sandy Goldman

The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon



George Bernard Shaw once said that England and America are two countries separated by a common language.  If you have ever been there you will understand!!

Every town no matter the size has a traffic circle called a circus, from the smallest village to the best known: London’s Piccadilly Circus. A brolly is an umbrella. A flat is an apartment. The Underground is the subway and to confuse us even more so is the tube. A mackintosh is a raincoat. A lorry is a truck, not to be confused with the loo, which are the toilets. Chips are French fries and a bap is a hamburger bun. A shandy is beer mixed with lemonade and served in pubs, which are taverns. Bobbies are cops. Dosh is money and so is spondoolicks. A mate is a friend. Bangers are sausages. A bloke is a man. Gov is a respectable term for the boss. Jumpers are sweaters. Sacked is fired as in job termination. A Wide Boy is an ostentatious go-getter usually on the make. Copt is a plot of land adjoining houses that is worked by the occupants.

English as spoken in England is often incomprehensible to American visitors. It is not considered impolite to ask a speaker to repeat what he has just said. It might, however, engender an incredulous stare and maybe even a snicker or two.

I can understand that!!

But I wonder what must the English speaking visitor think of the new Chicago campaign to replace last year’s blockbuster city promotion: The Fiberglass Cows

“Suite Home Chicago” is a rhythmical joining of words to describe the newest artistic rendition: Fiberglas Street Furniture. It is of course an attempt to evoke the song “Sweet Home Chicago”.

Except as any furniture person knows (and I was one for many years) the definition of “suite” as it applies to the furniture business is the 3rd Webster’s dictionary definition pronounced as “soot”. It is a “soot” of furniture, as in a bedroom suite, and a “sweet” of rooms as in the Presidential Suite.

While it may not be a big deal I wonder how could the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs not have discovered this? How could they not have at least checked with their contributors at the Merchandise Mart or perhaps called any of the political donors in the furniture business? That might have avoided such an obvious misuse of the American language. The English can be forgiven. It is the way they grew up!

Well, gov, maybe it’s the way the blokes in Chicago grew up! If there are some Wide Boys out there they just oughta be sacked. Maybe, mate, they were out on the croft at Peotone! That’s where the dosh is; you know the spoondoolicks!


...And that's my opinion.

And I'm Sandy Goldman

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