academic titles and address

American reader Lance wrote yesterday to ask about how academics are addressed in BrE. I know, this must be a record for me, responding to a query via blog in less than 24 hours, but I have to stay up until some boiled water what the heck. (Ah, parenthood--or at least parenthood in the UK, where less chlorination of the water means sterili{s/z}ing any water that comes near your baby until the child's first birthday. In the US, you can get away without sterili{s/z}ing at all, apparently. But I'm sure that most British folk will argue that less chlorination is better. No fluoride in the water here either.)

So, seeing as time is limited, I'm going to let Lance do a lot of the talking:
In your 27 June 07 blog entry, you discussed the differences in British and American university positions.

What you didn't mention -- and I need to figure out, for reasons too lengthy to burden you with -- is how university-level academics are addressed.

I'm aware, for instance, of the reverse snobbery among British doctors that leads to GPs being addressed "doctor" while specialists are addressed as "Mr/Mrs" (you also wrote about this). Is there something similar at work among academics?

He then goes on to list his questions, which I'll answer one by one. But before I start, I must stress that I've only worked at one university in the UK--and one that prides itself on its 'radical' history. So, I expect that people from other (BrE, informal) unis will have other experiences to report in the comments.
1) Do British academics with Ph.Ds go by "Doctor"? I ask because I ran across this web page. A corresponding US university web page would refer to all these people as "Dr. XYZ" instead of "Professor XYZ." Part of this is, of course, because every lecturer at a US school is a professor, but it's also because Ph.Ds here seem to jealously guard the privilege of being called "Doctor."
Me at Sussex graduation.
For some reason, our UK academic-gown
(BrE) hire company thinks US doctorates
wear tams instead of mortarboards
In the US, just about all (AmE) tenure-track academic positions have Professor in their titles (Assistant, Professor, Associate Professor, (full) Professor). All of those people can be called Professor [Name]. In the UK,  Professor is only the highest level. It's not a level that everyone expects to reach when they start their careers, and I can think of UK academics who I would consider to be top in their (narrowly defined) fields who made it all the way to retirement without making it past Senior Lecturer (roughly, Associate Professor in US terms). So, it's the reverse of the situation in the US, where any academic might be called professor, but where not every professor has a doctorate. (In particular in the creative arts, a Master of Fine Arts is considered to be a suitable qualification for a professorship. In most other fields at most universities, a doctorate is de rigueur.) So, in the US, it's 'special' to have a doctorate. But in the UK, there are far more academics with doctorates than there are professors, so it's 'special' to be professor. In both cases, it's the higher status term or address that's used—so it's unlike the reverse snobbery of surgeons.

The University of Southampton web page that Lance cites lists the members of the University Executive Group (i.e. the top committee at the university). All of the academics listed there are 'Professor' because usually only professors are considered for top posts like Vice Chancellor or Dean. The 'Misters' on the list are presumably not academics (e.g. the Director of Finance). It was rather depressing to read that only one out of the 10 top people at Southampton is a woman—but then, it's no different at my own university.
2) If the answer to #1 is "no" or "it depends," what are the rules?
Well, the answer wasn't 'no', so I feel a little silly including this question. But I need it in order to have a 2 between 1 and 3.
3) If graduate students at a UK school are called "post-grads," what are graduate teaching assistants called?
Their positions are called Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) at my university, but this term is limited to positions that are part of a means to recruit students to a (post-)graduate program(me). In other words, you're a GTA if you're getting some kind of (AmE) tuition/(BrE) fee remission. Otherwise, you're a part-time tutor like other part-time tutors, and at my university, as of a few years ago, the title of that position is Associate Tutor. Such people would be called Dr(.)* So-and-so if they have a doctorate and Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss So-and-so if they don't.

Actually, they'll only be called by those titles in print. At our university, with the exception of some foreign students (including, when they first get here, some Americans) who are uncomfortable with such informality, students and faculty† are on first-name terms. I wonder whether this might be different at other UK universities. (Is it?)

American colleges/universities differ among themselves with respect to terms of address for faculty members when used by students. At the large, research-led, state universities where I studied, everyone addressed each other by their given names. But when I and my friends ended up teaching at smaller, private colleges, we found ourselves being addressed as Professor or Doctor. (My former employer encouraged Professor rather than Doctor, so as not to create a noticeable division between the doctors and non-doctors.)
4) Are post-grads going for their doctorates addressed differently than post-grads studying for their masters?
Everyone's just addressed by their names. If we needed to put their titles in something in print, it would be their regular non-academic titles (Miss, Mr, etc.). In the UK we do make a distinction between research degrees and taught degrees, though not in the terms of address. Most masters students are on taught degrees, which like bachelor's degrees, involve taking courses and possibly writing a (BrE) dissertation/(AmE) thesis at the end. A research degree is one that doesn't involve taking courses--just researching toward(s) a (BrE) thesis/(AmE) dissertation. Many British universities are now heading away from the tradition of research-only doctorates and looking toward(s) American universities for models for partly-taught doctoral program(me)s. I must say, I think this is a good thing. Graduates of North American doctoral program(me)s (orig. AmE) have a big jump on many British graduates in the job market, because we were forced to study much more than the narrow area that we wrote our dissertations/theses on. So, even though I'm a semanticist/pragmaticist, I had to take doctoral-level courses in all areas of linguistics, and it's allowed me to confidently say in interviews "oh yes, I could teach that, if you needed me to" (and to even have some ideas about how to teach it). But the doctoral program(me) that I entered took me five years to complete, which is a normal amount of time in the US. In the UK, research-only doctoral program(me)s are three years, and most of the newfangled teaching+research doctorates that I've seen are four years.

* BrE usually writes abbreviated titles like Dr and Mrs without (BrE) full stops/(AmE) periods, whereas this would be considered an error in AmE. But it's too messy to type (.) at the end of every title here, so I haven't.

† Postscript (later in the day): I should have mentioned that the use of faculty to mean 'members of teaching staff' is originally and chiefly AmE, though it's heard more and more in BrE.
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From the "Is this too personal to blog about?" file:

Better Half caught a bit of the sitcom Scrubs the other day (hard not to--between E4 and E4+1, it's broadcast for at least 6 hours each day), in which someone referred to a female character's rack. BH was not yet familiar with this AmE slang term, which the Online Etymological Dictionary explains as 'Meaning "set of antlers" is first attested 1945, Amer.Eng.; hence slang sense of "a woman's breasts" (especially if large), c.1980s.' Unfortunately, BH has taken the opportunity to make a new rhyme to sing to Grover:
Baby has a snack
from her mummy's rack.
At least the juxtaposition of BrE mummy and AmE rack is amusing...

Speaking of amusing, George Saunders provides a service for British travel(l)ers in his American Psyche column in The Guardian yesterday: "Many of you will travel to the US this summer, where a pound will now buy you a luxury condo in Beverly Hills. Here's a lexicon, so no one will suspect you're British and marry you just because he/she finds the British adorable." Click here to read his lexicon.
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toasty and toastie

Back in the comments for the milk and tea post, a debate has arisen about toast racks. Since mine is the only opinion that reflects the One Real Truth, I repeat my contribution here, so that everyone may benefit (again):
Toast racks are evil. The entire point of toast is that it should be warm. That way, the butter melts into it and it's yummy. The toast rack is the most efficient way to make toast cold fast.

The American way is to serve toast piled up, sometimes wrapped in a cloth napkin in a basket, so that the heat is retained. Many British people find this horrible. They say "but the toast gets soggy!" I do not understand this fear of soggy toast--and I believe that the sogginess of piled-up toast is much exaggerated. (I like it soggy with butter, after all.)

But cold toast, that is something to be feared!
Now, I endeavo(u)r to maintain a descriptive rather than prescriptive attitude toward(s) language on this blog, but I have no hesitation in being prescriptive about toast. I have a toast-based lifestyle. I have at least one friendship that is built on toast. And now I've thought of a linguistic angle on the toast rack issue, giving me a legitimate excuse to cast blame on toast racks again and more.

The linguistic angle is the adjective toasty, meaning 'warm and co{s/z}y'. Although the OED does not mark this as AmE, I've had to explain it to English folk a number of times and all of the OED's examples for this sense are American, so I think we can safely say that it is 'chiefly AmE'. (The OED offers another sense, 'having a slightly burnt flavour', which is particularly used by tea [chiefly AmE] buffs regardless of dialect.) So, why does BrE lack this evocative adjective of comfiness? It must be the toast racks! Since toast-racked toast is cold and cardboard-like with a coating of waxy butter keeping the jam at a safe distance from the bread, one would never associate it with the lovely feelings one has when, say, wrapped in a (AmE) comforter (duvet) by an open fire with a mug full of cocoa (= hot chocolate) while snow gently falls outside. Or when one puts one's feet into slippers that have been left near a radiator. Ooooh, lovely.

I've had to explain toasty to BrE speakers on a number of occasions because of its comparative form toastier, which is a relatively frequent eight-letter (AmE) bingo/(BrE) bonus word in the world of competitive Scrabble. In fact, it's probably more often played not as a bingo/bonus, but as part of a cross-play in which one adds the R at the end of an already-played seven-letter bingo/bonus, toastie. This one is a word that Americans might have to ask about (although they might mistakenly assume that it's an alternative spelling of toasty). A (BrE) toastie is a toasted sandwich; so, you might (or I might) go to the (BrE) tea bar or café and order a cheese toastie. In AmE this would be a toasted cheese (sandwich) or a grilled cheese (sandwich). For me, the AmE terms differ in that a toasted cheese is made under the (AmE) broiler/(BrE) grill, but a grilled cheese is made in a frying pan (which may be called a skillet in AmE)--although I've met AmE speakers who don't make that distinction. If it were made in one of those sandwich-press things, I think I'd call it a grilled cheese, but I can't be sure about my intuition on that--one doesn't see those machines as often in the US. In the UK (Land of Sandwiches), every tea bar has them, and they make toasties. Making such sandwiches in frying pans is not so common--I've introduced my in-laws to the wonders of the grilled (i.e. fried) sandwich through what I like to call the Three C Sandwich: cheddar, chicken and cranberry sauce. (Make it with half-fat cheddar (Waitrose's is best) and diet bread, and it can be done for under 200 calories. Be sure to put the cranberry sauce between the cheese and chicken, so that it doesn't soak the bread.)

And while this probably should be a separate post, another thing to note about toasties/toasted sandwiches is the order in which their fillings are listed. In the US, I'd have a toasted cheese or a toasted bacon and cheese, whereas in the UK, I'd be more likely to have a cheese and bacon. In both countries, it would be cheese and tomato (though, of course, the pronunciation of tomato would differ). These are what is known in the linguistics trade as "irreversible binomials": two words on either side of a conjunction (and in these cases) that idiomatically occur in a particular order. So, one says bread and butter rather than butter and bread and gin and tonic rather than tonic and gin. A generali{s/z}ation that one can usually make about such food binomials is that the first item is the one that's more "substantive"--the "meat", as it were, in the formula (hence meat and potatoes/meat and two veg, not potatoes and meat or two veg and meat). So, the gin is the stronger item in gin and tonic and it goes first, and bread is the heart of the bread-and-butter combination. BrE and AmE agree that in cheese/tomato combinations, the cheese outweighs the tomato in importance, but often disagree in the combination of cheese and meat. Better Half (although vegetarian) says that he'd say cheese and bacon but ham and cheese, but the latter may be AmE-influenced. Cheese and ham is heard in the UK (and it was all I heard in South Africa), but in the US ham and cheese is irreversible. Because it's not quite as irreversible in the UK, I'd say that there's some unsureness about which item is the 'important' bit in a ham/cheese or bacon/cheese sandwich (the cheese because it's basic to the toasted sandwich experience, or the ham because it's meat?), whereas in the US meat reliably trumps cheese.

The photo of the toast rack, in case you're the type of perverted soul who wants a toast rack, is from the website of an American company, The British Shoppe (I take no responsibility for the [chiefly BrE] twee spelling), where it's listed as 'Toast Rack (English style)'.
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language play--not getting it

It's come up before on this blog that it sometimes happens that people will see an error or non-standardism in English, spoken or written by a speaker of another dialect, and assume that that way of saying/writing is standard in the other dialect. It's a shame, though, when such 'errors' are intentionally non-standard, because then the assumption that it's "just a different dialect" leads the assumer to miss some nuance of the communication. For instance, sometimes I'll say to Better Half, Ya done good. By putting it into a non-standard dialect (and not a dialect that I speak), I'm trying to add a bit of light-hearted affection to the compliment--something that's not communicated by You did well. Better Half knows enough about AmE to get this, but if I said it to a student, they might assume that that's part of the standard dialect that I usually speak and not get that I was trying to build rapport.

Anyhow, a nice example of this 'assuming it's standard' behavio(u)r came up on recently on the (AmE) copy-/(BrE)sub-editors' blog The Engine Room. There, blogger JD admitted to having believed until recently that Americans spell cemetery "sematary" because of the spelling in the title of the Stephen King book, Pet Sematary. In the book, one is supposed to understand that it's misspelt because children wrote the "cemetery's" sign.

That reminds me of being informed by BrE speakers that "thru is the American spelling of through". No, it's not. It's an abbreviated spelling form that is used mainly on signs (or painted on a road surface), and thus it's become the typical way of spelling it in drive-thru. You won't see thru replacing through in American newspaper articles (though it might be handy for an occasional headline--but I cannot recall seeing it in any) or novels--and you'd better not use it in essays for school/college/university.

Do you have any stories of misunderstood intentions due to "it must be the way they say it in American/British English" assumptions?
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milk and tea

In my American family's home, unless it's a holiday or a barbecue, milk is the drink that you have with meals. (Probably fewer families drink milk with meals today than when I was a child, though.) There is something so refreshing about a glass of milk--yet many of my English acquaintances turn their noses up at the notion. I've never seen an adult (other than myself) in the UK drinking milk with a meal (and as mentioned before, the English are more likely than Americans to have no drink with a meal), and in the antenatal/prenatal ward I had to withstand the most quizzical looks when I requested a glass of milk instead of a cup of tea. (And here was I thinking that pregnant women were supposed to pack in the calcium!)

But the English do go through a lot of milk--in their tea. Now it's my turn to turn my nose up. English tea, or at least the everyday blends that we refer to in our house as (BrE) bog standard tea, is blended to be strong enough to withstand milk and sugar. Because they're used to very strong tea, the British claim that American tea (typically an orange pekoe) is "like dishwater". Americans are more likely to drink their orange pekoe with lemon than with milk, and it makes nice iced tea. (Don't try to make iced tea with British brands like PG Tips or Typhoo--it turns out incredibly bitter. And don't try to serve nice iced tea to the English--they probably won't appreciate it, though some are starting to drink overly sugared and overpriced flavo(u)red iced teas that come ready-to-drink.) Some British folk insist that Americans would drink more tea if we had "proper" tea like theirs. Faced with the prospect of British tea, however, I've become, for the first time in my life, a coffee drinker. My thinking is that if milk and tea were suited to each other, then tea ice cream would be at least as popular as coffee ice cream. But it isn't, is it? (Mental note: prepare for onslaught of comments and small incendiary devices.)

But I started this post to write about types of milk, having done types of cream some time ago. (It remains one of the most Googled posts here, although the top ones are probably red shoes, no knickers and smacking and spanking, which are Googled late at night by people with something other than dialectal variation on their minds.) Milk with the fat removed is called skimmed milk in BrE, while in AmE it tends to be called skim milk. On the other end of the scale (3-4% fat) is what Americans call whole milk and the British call full fat milk, which is a nice dieting ploy, since I'm too embarrassed to buy it. In between, Americans have options, known as 1% milk and 2% milk, while the British have semi-skimmed milk, which is 1.5-1.8% fat, according to Delia (old-school British TV chef).

When referring to the units of milk you can buy, Americans speak of buying a half-pint, pint, quart, half-gallon (i.e. 2 quarts) or gallon of milk. (Pints aren't that common, though, as we are probably buying it to drink, rather than to splash on our tea. Half-pints are what you get with your [AmE] school lunch/[BrE] school dinner.) In BrE, one always speaks of units of milk in pints (metric system be damned!). So, you can buy a pint of milk, or two-pint, four-pint or six-pint containers. British (Imperial) and American (US) liquid measures are not the same, and a British pint is slightly bigger than an American pint ('Hear, hear!' say the blokes down the pub). But there are such things as Imperial quarts (2 pints) and gallons (8 pints), so I'm not sure why only the term pint is used in measuring milk. By law, the pint-label(l)ed containers now tell you how many (milli)lit{re/er}s they hold, but no one pays any attention.

---Note to homesick Americans within easy reach of south-eastern England. Tallula's tea rooms in Brighton, behind Waitrose, serve a nice iced orange pekoe and very nice American pancakes--although they haven't learned to serve the latter with butter and they put way too much citrus fruit in the glass with the former. When I complained once that all I could taste was orange, and not tea, the waiter said, puzzled, 'But it's orange tea'. No, it's orange pekoe--it's thought to be named after the royals in Holland, not its flavo[u]r or colo[u]r. That said, they take requests for butter and 'not much fruit' without much eyebrow-raising.--

Postscript (15 April): I meant to mention (BrE) builder's tea: very strong, with lots of milk and sugar. So, here we have the way you take your tea linked to your social class...

Post-postscript (March 2010): Tallula's has gone out of business.  I am SO SAD!
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social classes

Reader Carolyn in Washington, DC wrote in September to ask about social classes:

I grew up in England, but have lived in the US for the past 12 years. I have a question for you that I wonder if you might ponder. I've noticed that in the US "middle class" is used very differently than in the UK. Here it seems that middle class refers to what would be often be called "working class" in the UK. I do hear "blue collar" to describe someone who has a non-office job, but it seems that you could be blue collar and middle class, whereas in England, somebody like a mechanic would never be called middle class.
It's taken me a long time to get to this because it's a big, hairy topic. But to make it small and simple: in America everyone believes they're middle class. In Britain, among people my age, at least, it's almost a badge of shame to be middle class:
To be a middle class student just 20 years ago carried such social stigma that many graduates in their 40s recall faking a proletarian accent for their entire university education. --Decca Aitkenhead, "Class Rules", The Guardian, 20 Oct 2007
But I'll try to give it a little of the complexity it deserves, starting with the American side. Here's a bit from the book American Cultural Patterns (rev. ed., 1991) by Edward C. Stewart and Milton J. Bennett [p. 89]:
Although sociologists speak of class structure and status obligation in American society, most Americans see themselves as members of an egalitarian middle class. There are variations in parts of New England and in the Southeast [...]; but, generally, in American society, social background, money, or power bestow perhaps fewer advantages than in any other major society. Lacking obligations to class and social position, Americans move easily from one group to another as they shift position or residence; consequently, their social life lacks both permanence and depth (C. Kluckhorn 1954a, 96*).
It's lines like that last one that made this book so much fun to use as a textbook at my last university. Tell a group of privileged 19-year-old Americans that their social lives lack permanence and depth and watch the discussion GO! (It was a course in cross-cultural communication, which you might expect would involve learning about communication in other cultures, but the biggest step in understanding why your communication with others fails is to understand the unspoken, subconsciously-held values that underlie your own communication.) Move to another culture, and you start to understand what "lacks both permanence and depth" means. Americans are relatively good at making new friends in new situations because we need to on a regular basis (and because our identity depends on the appreciation of [many] others--but more on that in a post on compliments). Move into a culture with greater geographical and status stability, and you find it can be hard to make new friends. This is because no one else expects to have new friends--they have a complete social support system made up of their families and friends they've had since forever, and you're just not going to fit very easily into their lives. (I'm not particularly talking about my experience in the UK now--I was lucky enough to fall into some very welcoming social circles here. My situation in South Africa was different. But I've heard other American expats in the UK claiming to have had a less easy time of it.) But I'm getting away from social class...or am I?

The self-proclaimed middle class in the US is HUGE because being middle class = being average, normal, the same as everyone else, and Americans aren't comfortable with the feeling that any one of them (I mean, us) is much better or worse than themselves. I grew up in a small town that/which, once upon that time, was home to the international headquarters of a couple of companies. Everyone considered themselves middle class--from the people working in the factories all the way up to the CEOs. And we had to consider everyone that way in order to keep up the American egalitarian myth. Here's Stewart and Bennett again:
Running through American social relationships is the theme of equality. Each person is ascribed an irreducible value because of his or her humanness: "We're all human after all." Interpersonal relations are typically horizontal, conducted between presumed equals. When a personal confrontation is required between two persons of different hierarchical levels, there is an implicit tendency to establish an atmosphere of equality. [...] [A] compliment is often made regarding people who are much richer or higher in position or status: "He's a regular guy--doesn't lord it over you." [p. 91]
It's a myth, of course, because Americans are not all equal in status, and we know it. But socially it's the "right thing to do" to act as if everyone is.

As Carolyn observed, Americans often use 'collar' descriptions of job types as a code for discussing class. AmE blue collar refers to jobs that one wouldn't wear 'business clothes' to, but to which one might wear blue (AmE) coveralls (BrE = overalls).** White collar jobs are those to which (traditionally) one would wear a suit--but of course these days more and more such jobs have casual 'uniforms'. Newer, analogous collar terms have sprung up, such as pink collar for (usually low-paid) jobs that have traditionally been held by women (e.g. waitress, receptionist, secretary, hairdresser, nurse) and less commonly green collar (environmental/agricultural jobs) and grey (or gray) collar (usually for jobs that are between blue and white collar--e.g. non-doctors working in health care). The term working class is not as common in the US as it is in the UK--low(er) income is often heard in its stead, for example in low-income neighborhood. Phrasing class-talk in terms of job types or income sits well with the American discomfort with class-differentiation. Putting people into classes seems like it's defining who they are, whereas defining them in terms of job describes what they do and defining them in terms of income is by what they are getting. Doing and getting are activities, and activities are changeable. Being is a state, and more time-stable (a term from linguist Talmy Givón), and therefore perceived as less inherently changeable. If you're uncomfortable with describing someone as being something, a solution is to describe them as doing something or having something done to them. This fits with the American notion of equality of opportunity. We know we're not all equal--and identifying people by their job or income acknowledges this. But by identifying people by what they get and do, there's an implicit suggestion that they could have taken other opportunities and had better jobs with better pay. Or that they didn't have the skills or talents [or connections] necessary to make the most of the opportunities presented to them--but in a culture in which we tell children that "anyone can grow up to be President"***, we tend to gloss over the things that make 'equality of opportunity' an unachievable myth.

Class is a more prominent issue in British life, although in a lot of ways its relevance has been reducing since, oh, the war. (One says 'the war' in the UK to mean World War II. It doesn't matter how many other wars there have been.) Class is marked in many ways, including where you live, how you speak, what you eat, what recreational activities you take part in, how you decorate your house, et cetera, et cetera. I recommend Kate Fox's book Watching the English if you'd like some details on particular class markers. Or, for a brief primer, here's an International Herald Tribune article on the subject. But for the classic explanation, see John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett on The Frost Report.

The UK is experiencing some changes in how class is perceived experiencing more social mobility than probably ever before, and Tony Blair (whose leadership was marked by affinity for things, including wars, American) famously claimed "We're all middle class now". Even before Tony, John Major spoke of a "classless society" in Britain. But for all this egalitarian show, there's still a deep-seated sense of class identity. A survey by The Guardian, discussed in Aitkenhead's article [link above], finds that class-consciousness is still very important in the UK, but it is getting more and more confusing. One means of trying to objectively measure class status is the UK marketing industry's letter-based divisions based on occupation. Category A = doctors, company directors, barristers [AmE lawyers] etc.; B = teachers, police officers, etc.; C1 = clerical staff; C2 = tradespeople like plumbers, electricians, etc.; D = manual labo(u)rers; E = casual workers, pensioners, etc. A third of the so-called AB professionals polled claimed to be working class. The C2s are "the best at correctly identifying their own class" (76% identify as working class). Aitkenhead writes, "So we have a curious situation where the vast majority of us -- 89% -- believe we are judged on our social class, yet fewer and fewer of us can either tell or admit what it is." In particular, people often identify according to their parents' class, unless, of course, it's middle class.

I discuss class-based linguistic distinctions (e.g. whether you say napkin or [BrE] serviette) here as they come up--and these are generally much more common in BrE. To find old discussions, hit the 'U/Non-U' and 'class' tags at the bottom of this post. Reader Andrew R has also pointed out this discussion on the Guardian site. Evidence that these things are still relevant comes from the news item last year in which it was alleged that Prince William and Kate Middleton broke up because of Kate's mother's déclassé language use. (I didn't discuss this much last year because everyone else was already blogging about it.)

* "American Culture -- A General Description." In R. H. Williams (Ed.), Human factors in military operations. Chevy Chase, Md.: Johns Hopkins Univer., Operations Res. Office, 1954.

** Sidenote: BrE overalls are equivalent to AmE coverall or boilersuit--i.e. a kind of jumpsuit worn as work clothes (usually in messy jobs). AmE (bib) overalls are what the British call dungarees. In AmE dungaree is an old-fashioned word for blue jeans.

*** For the class of expatriates' children, this is really a myth, since according to the Constitution, only those born on American soil can become President. So, already a lost job opportunity for dual-citizen Grover. It's America's loss.

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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)