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Pet hate idioms used by railway enthusiasts


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22 minutes ago, Reorte said:

But one of them must be the fourth! Fourth one upstream looks to be disused, no idea which was the fourth to be built. Although the Second Severn Crossing is, of course, the first upstream and definitely not the second one to be built.

Is that including the demolished one?

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On 10/06/2021 at 13:32, Clive Mortimore said:

Catenary is the wrong name for overhead line equipment. Knitting is a more appropriate name for it.

 

As for what the French call it has no relevance, як і імёны, якія ён называе на іншых мовах.

Hi Clive

I'm not disputing that overhead line equipment (OLE) is the term officially adopted by the UIC to refer to the knitting  (it presumably includes single wire "tramway" supplies as well) but that doesn't make a commonly used term for the type where the contact wire is suspended from a catenary wire "wrong". I mentioned cátenaire simply to make the point that the usage is very common everywhere. This isn't just among the ignorant public or railway modellers but also among electrical engineers.  

For example, the title of a paper from the "3rd IET Professional Development Course on Railway Electrification Infrastructure and Systems, 2007" was "Catenary and pantograph design and interface"

or more recently this abstract from a 2017  IEEE conference paper.  

 "For the condition monitoring of railway catenaries, the potential utilization of pantograph head (pan-head) vertical acceleration instead of pantograph-catenary contact force is discussed in this paper. In order to establish a baseline of the pan-head acceleration before it can be used for health condition monitoring, one of the essential frequency components, namely the catenary structure wavelength (CSW) is studied......"

 

I'm sorry if quoting references from engineering institutes seems a bit heavy handed but I am trying to make a general point that I do take seriously. This is that the idea that there should be one "correct" term for something with all others "incorrect" or "wrong"  is itself wrong: a great deal depends on context. This is particularly true of English which, as a Germanic language with a hybrid vocabularly, absorbs words and terms  from other languages like a sponge.

 

This is very different from using a word with a  different meaning such as disinterested when you mean uninterested. I really hate that as it gradually robs our language of subtleties of meaning. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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You obviously need this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Severn-Bridges-Pocket-Chris-Witts-ebook/dp/B01LYQGSCM/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475667284&sr=1-4&keywords=chris+witts

Language is always changing. The problem is when changes take place that reduce its precision. There is no problem having synonyms, or near synonyms - English is full of them because it has words from so many sources. The problem, is when the meanings of words get blurred by misuse, which these days is happening far too often. One then loses the means of expressing oneself accurately.

British English is far richer than American English, which often shows when Americans don't understand us. Having (as a Brit) taught American English, I have a good ides of the differences. What I did not realise until then is how much Webster has to answer for. He wanted to "simplify" American English but in doing so in an arbitrary way removed much of the logic, which he presumably didn't understand. As a result American school children have to spend a great deal of time learning spellings because there is no way of working them out as there is in British English.

Anyway, many thanks for helping me to enjoy wasting an hour.

Back briefly to on-train automated announcements: it took several years for the operators to sort out an issue with the Arriva 158s used on the Cambrian main line and the coast line. We would leave a station and then an announcement would be broadcast about the next station. The problem was that it was the next but one. (In passing, to my mind the word "that" is needed there but it seems to be disappearing in that usage.)

And don't get me going about surplus apostrophes (and nearly as many missing ones).

And one to get you going: the word "data" is plural, ie data are plural.

Finally, I looked up "mould" in an early 1950s edition of the authoritative English-Welsh dictionary and it only has the "mould" spelling in English but one of the Welsh options is "mold"! (which my spill chucker doesn't like!

Jonathan

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6 hours ago, Oldddudders said:

To us third-rail types, it is all called Electric String. 

 

To the P-Way it is the knitting.

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7 hours ago, Steamport Southport said:

Even those in Houston can get it right.

 

Well they are only 62 miles away.

 

Incidentally my granny told me she got a day off school to attend the opening. She was losing it a bit by then and at the time I thought she was making it up but it was quite true. Good example of a vivid memory from childhood when recent memories are lost.

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1 hour ago, corneliuslundie said:

You obviously need this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Severn-Bridges-Pocket-Chris-Witts-ebook/dp/B01LYQGSCM/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475667284&sr=1-4&keywords=chris+witts

Language is always changing. The problem is when changes take place that reduce its precision. There is no problem having synonyms, or near synonyms - English is full of them because it has words from so many sources. The problem, is when the meanings of words get blurred by misuse, which these days is happening far too often. One then loses the means of expressing oneself accurately.

British English is far richer than American English, which often shows when Americans don't understand us. Having (as a Brit) taught American English, I have a good ides of the differences. What I did not realise until then is how much Webster has to answer for. He wanted to "simplify" American English but in doing so in an arbitrary way removed much of the logic, which he presumably didn't understand. As a result American school children have to spend a great deal of time learning spellings because there is no way of working them out as there is in British English.

Anyway, many thanks for helping me to enjoy wasting an hour.

Back briefly to on-train automated announcements: it took several years for the operators to sort out an issue with the Arriva 158s used on the Cambrian main line and the coast line. We would leave a station and then an announcement would be broadcast about the next station. The problem was that it was the next but one. (In passing, to my mind the word "that" is needed there but it seems to be disappearing in that usage.)

And don't get me going about surplus apostrophes (and nearly as many missing ones).

And one to get you going: the word "data" is plural, ie data are plural.

Finally, I looked up "mould" in an early 1950s edition of the authoritative English-Welsh dictionary and it only has the "mould" spelling in English but one of the Welsh options is "mold"! (which my spill chucker doesn't like!

Jonathan

Hi Jonathan

I couldn't agree with you more about the blurriing of meaning. No wordsmith is likely to be entirely innocent of this but I do try quite hard to avoid it and to pick it up when editing other people's text. 

 

My understanding of Noah Webster is that, apart from simplification, one of his aims was to encourage American English to diverge from English to such an extent that it would become a completely different language for a completely new nation. At that time, a lot of spellings were fairly vague so color and colour were interchageable and center was apparently more common in Shakespeare's folios than centre. He didn't invent the spellings he used but, where there was a choice, preferred the one not being adopted by British lexicographers. What he didn't anticipate was the massive increase in transatlantic communication that tended to reduce that linguistic divergence  to a few differences in spelling and some differences of meaning. These can cause some minor confusion but don't prevent the two dialects of English from being mutually comprehensible.

There are slightly artificial dialects of English such as Aviation English, which includes a limited word set of operational terms plus a competence in general English, but I've seen adverts on the Paris Métro for courses in "Business English" and always wondered what that actually meant.  How difficult, as a native speaker of British English, was it to teach American English? I assume it was more than just using Webster's spellings.

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2 hours ago, corneliuslundie said:

Finally, I looked up "mould" in an early 1950s edition of the authoritative English-Welsh dictionary and it only has the "mould" spelling in English but one of the Welsh options is "mold"! (which my spill chucker doesn't like!

 

But Mold is a place in Wales.

 

As to the Second Severn Crossing: I'm looking forward to the Severn Second Crossing - it will be a great timesaver.

 

Are there any other numerical rivers in Britain? Plenty of alphabetic ones, from Ae to Wye.

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11 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

 

But Mold is a place in Wales.

 

As to the Second Severn Crossing: I'm looking forward to the Severn Second Crossing - it will be a great timesaver.

 

Are there any other numerical rivers in Britain? Plenty of alphabetic ones, from Ae to Wye.

Well, apart from the Towey or Tywy (stretching the pronuncation a bit) , and the Fowey (stretching it a lot!) I can't think of any but there are small islands called Aits (sometimes Ayts or Eyots) in the River Thames but I'm not aware of any on the River Isis (Oxonians will get that one) . 

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And slang can permeate the language too and cause confusion: "wicked" - just a slight change of meaning.

It wasn't too hard teaching American English as we were using an American English textbook which also had audio files, and in any case in Kosovo they are more used to Americans than Brits, So if we followed the book, it steered us away from too many gaffes.

I noticed that earlier someone picked up the use of the wrong adjective for use with a countable noun. That seems to be becoming the norm, unfortunately and it grates. But in fact there is no loss of meaning so does it really matter? We have stopped using Thou, Thee etc without disaster befalling us. And in Victorian times street names would often have been hyphenated: Crescent-street. 

Jonathan

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14 minutes ago, corneliuslundie said:

I noticed that earlier someone picked up the use of the wrong adjective for use with a countable noun. That seems to be becoming the norm, unfortunately and it grates. But in fact there is no loss of meaning so does it really matter?

 

That was me. It may well be that it doesn't matter but it comes naturally to me so I don't understand why other native speakers of British English seem to struggle with it; not just those younger than me, either. It just sounds wrong.

 

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (10th edition, 2020, ed. Diana Lea), at fewer directs to a note at less: "People often use less with countable nouns: There were less cars on the road then. This is not considered correct in standard English, and fewer should be used instead." A further example given is: He was advised to smoke fewer cigarettes and drink less beer. Perhaps only non-native speakers will preserve the distinction, thereby becoming unintelligible to British native speakers.

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6 hours ago, Bomag said:

Yellow (and even yellow/green) has a higher luminance factor than orange and in most situations is more conspicuous, or visible from a greater distance. You will get situations where orange will have a better contrast with the background but most of the time its yellow. The benefit of orange is that it has a higher contrasts with signals .

Yellow hi-vis was made mandatory around our mill, unfortunately the background scenery in many views along site roads at certain times of year was fields of oil seed rape. 

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39 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

 there are small islands called Aits (sometimes Ayts or Eyots) in the River Thames but I'm not aware of any on the River Isis (Oxonians will get that one) . 

The river used to be called the Thamesis, hence both Thames and Isis.

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23 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

 

That was me. It may well be that it doesn't matter but it comes naturally to me so I don't understand why other native speakers of British English seem to struggle with it; not just those younger than me, either. It just sounds wrong.

 

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (10th edition, 2020, ed. Diana Lea), at fewer directs to a note at less: "People often use less with countable nouns: There were less cars on the road then. This is not considered correct in standard English, and fewer should be used instead." A further example given is: He was advised to smoke fewer cigarettes and drink less beer. Perhaps only non-native speakers will preserve the distinction, thereby becoming unintelligible to British native speakers.

I have, on at least one occasion, been in a supermarket where the quick checkout was actually labelled 'Fewer than 10 items', but it is rare. This is the opposite end of the wedge from a colleague many years ago telling me his grandchild had 'Any amount of O Levels'. We are all doomed. 

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16 minutes ago, Oldddudders said:

I have, on at least one occasion, been in a supermarket where the quick checkout was actually labelled 'Fewer than 10 items', but it is rare. 

 

Almost certainly Waitrose.

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42 minutes ago, Oldddudders said:

I have, on at least one occasion, been in a supermarket where the quick checkout was actually labelled 'Fewer than 10 items', .......

It's normally labelled 'Baskets Only' ............................... now, c'mon, who's goin' to go down that aisle ?

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I realize that it’s probably correct but “The next station stop is….”        Why not just the “the next stop is…” or “the next station is…”?

 

The use of ‘train’ when one means ‘locomotive’ or ‘engine’.

 

Talking about differences in American and UK English, being a Brit in the UK and having to attend council meetings and such, I’m always confused when they say “we’ll table that’.  It’s completely the opposite of the British meaning.

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3 hours ago, Oldddudders said:

Hermitage? Wasn't that on the DN&S?

 

Well it was certainly the viaduct north of Copshaw Holm on the Waverley, taking its name from the nearby castle of ill repute....

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7 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

Now that really does need to be in the "When a hermitage railway looks like a train set" thread : six immaculate wagons in pre-'36 liveries and a token one in post'36 - and all belonging to the same railway, too - let alone the loco that's out of period ! :)

 

Is that a railway that's self-isolating due to the current restrictions?

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1 hour ago, Martino said:

I realize that it’s probably correct but “The next station stop is….”        Why not just the “the next stop is…” or “the next station is…”?

 

The use of ‘train’ when one means ‘locomotive’ or ‘engine’.

 

Though a light engine is of course both a train and not a train  :devil:

Rule 16.  "Except where otherwise provided the term Train includes Light engine, i.e. engine without a train; also rail car, rail bus." That's almost as philosophically challenging as "This statement is not true"  

 

Though I also find that it grates,  I think the logic of "The next station stop is Kingham  is probably, for those who've never travelled on a train before, that if it stops anywhere other than at a station then that doesn't mean it's at Kingham. "The next station is Kingham" might leave passengers never knowing that Charlbury exists. That may sound daft but when, as a youngster, I was closely observing trains at Oxford, every steam hauled train I saw or even travelled on leaving Oxford on the OWW, stopped at Kingham, Moreton in Marsh, Evesham, Worcester Shrub Hill (and some onward to Hereford) I never actually knew  that there was still a station at Charlbury as it was only the despised DMUs that stopped there and their stops weren't announced.

 

I think TfL must have been attacked by the grammar pedantry Stasi because at White City the announcement is always in the form of  "The next train alongside platform three is for Ealing Broadway". "The next train at platform three...."  would do just as well. Even better if "The next train at platform three is for West Ruislip" as that's the one I need.

 

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2 hours ago, melmerby said:

The river used to be called the Thamesis, hence both Thames and Isis.

Tamesis,  but only above Dorchester. In truth I'm pretty sure that calling it the Isis was really a bit of Oxford University snootiness as it's not known by that name outside Oxford in either direction or very much even in the City .  I grew up in Oxford about half way between its two rivers and never heard anyone actually calling the Thames anything but that. Its Latin name Tamesis was taken from its pre Roman name of Tems. The river's source near Kemble is Thames Head so no Isis there either.

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