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12 Comments

  • My first teacher of English here in Argentina was an Australian, Mrs. Lucy Colvin Martin, way back in the ‘fifties. I remember it was easier for me to understand American speakers. She pronounced the word “either” or “neither” with the sound /i:/ not /ai/ like in British English.

  • Although I had totally forgotten about it until I read this post, in my childhood (outside New York City, in the 1960s), we called flipflops “thongs.” Hmmmm….

  • Yes, I also grew up in St Louis saying thongs for flip-flops of today. Thong simply got a new meaning in the lingerie department…….much later.

    I teach a course on English-speaking countries, and I often tell students that Australia is a British-based country with American orientation (often due to the size of the country, history, attitude, etc).

  • Um… I think you’ve got mixed up about the ground floor/first floor thing. In Australia we walk in on the ground floor, go upstairs to the first floor and so on.

    Apart from the building at uni where my office is where you go in on the fourth floor but that’s a whole ‘nother mulit-leveled storey. (pardon the pun – I couldn’t resist)

  • I agree with Jodie – ground floor, then 1st, 2nd etc – it’s the Americans who don’t use ground floor as I understand it. Also, swimsuits are called bathers here in Western Australia.

  • Australians have been wearing thongs on their feet well before the name thong for underwear existed and americans who took the idea from australia and jumped on the old bandwagon and called them flipflops. The same goes for ugg boots that have been in australian since the year dot as well.

  • “Pants” IS used in the U.K. – for things such as trousers (a smart two-legged garment worn as part of a school uniform or part of a suit), combat pants (similar to trousers, but not smart, and tend to have lots of pockets – more modern crappier ones tend to not have anything proper to fasten most pockets with), tracksuit pants (similar to trousers, but quite flimsy but flexible material, meant for running in) and similar things.

    It’s just that a lot of people in the country have started being silly and started calling underpants “pants”. I’ve called pants (not underpants, which go UNDER pants, hence their name – UNDERpants) “pants” since I was a little kid. Most people from Manchester seem to call them pants too.

  • Growing up in Colorado, early 1960s, we also called them “thongs” — so along with Susan and Barbara, that represents a pretty good geographical spread across the US. I don’t call them thongs now and I don’t remember when I stopped — but I’m sure I was peer-pressured into “flip-flops” because that’s the term everyone else was using, starting when I got to college in the early 1970s.