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Bah humbug
Posted: 04 January 2008 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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’S OK, brightlady, I took you as simply making an observation (which I agree with).

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Posted: 04 January 2008 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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most Americans are about as familiar with using sweets for candy as they are with using rubber for eraser.

I didn’t take brightlady’s remark as criticism, but I don’t think it’s correct, either.
“Sweets” (plural) is very common in the US, meaning candy but also sugary desserts, pastries, etc.  “Avoid sweets” is common advice from dentists and dietitians. It’s the use of the singular noun, “sweet”, (meaning a kind of or serving of candy, dessert, etc.) that will get you odd looks in much of the US.

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Posted: 04 January 2008 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Dr. Techie, I agree with you.  I meant candy in the plural, as in several pieces of candy.  I should have written sweet for candy instead of sweets.

Personally I have a problem the American term for lollies. 
I simply can’t bring myself to ask a child if he’d like a sucker.

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Posted: 04 January 2008 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Oecolampadius - 03 January 2008 08:16 PM

most Americans are about as familiar with using sweets for candy as they are with using rubber for eraser.

And why should we?  In either case.

Er, perhaps because the material, rubber, is named after the thing:

From Etymonline: rubber
“thing that rubs,” 1536, from rub (v.). The meaning “elastic substance from tropical plants” (short for India rubber) first recorded 1788, introduced to Europe 1744 by Charles Marie de la Condamine, so called because it was originally used as an eraser.

“Very useful for erasing the strokes of black lead pencils, and is popularly called rubber, and lead-eater.” [entry for Caoutchouc in, Howard, “New Royal Encyclopedia,” 1788]

Perhaps we should call the material “eraser”, but then the euphemists would call condoms “erasers” and we’d have to call the pencil eraser something different, perhaps “rubber”....

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Posted: 04 January 2008 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Er, perhaps because the material, rubber, is named after the thing

I don’t follow you.  You’re suggesting we should use a word because of its origin?  Then I trust you agree that Brits should call soccer by that name, since it’s a British term in origin, standing for Association football.

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Posted: 05 January 2008 02:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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What I was trying to point out was that, unusually, the thing used to remove pencil marks was not called a rubber because it was made from a material called rubber, it was the other way around, so it is a bit daft to call the thing after which the material was named something different.  But that, I suppose, is the way language goes, especially under the malign force of euphemism.

We do call Association Football soccer, to differentiate it from Rugby Football, (aka rugger).

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Posted: 06 January 2008 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I take Bayard’s point to be that “an eraser made of rubber” is, etymologically at least, tautologous, a little like saying “a glass made of glass”, though nobody here will need reminding that “Etymology Is Not Destiny”.

We do call Association Football soccer, to differentiate it from Rugby Football, (aka rugger).

That’s a statement needing heavy qualification: the almost universal terms used in the UK for the two games are “football” and “rugby”, even the Rugby Football Union, governing body of the game for men with odd-shaped balls (old British joke), which has its headquarters in the London suburb next door to the one where I live, talks of Twickenham as “the home of England rugby”, not “the home of England rugby football” (we could have a long discussion about why it uses the phrase “England rugby” rather than “English rugby”, but another time ...), very few people use the term “rugger” in anything other than an ironical sense indicating upper-class affectation (24 current hits on Google News UK, two of which are from the phrase “rugger bugger” used to describe upper-class hearties and two of which are descriptions of people who make rugs) and soccer is a word very seldom used here (FWIW, on the first two pages of Google News UK hits today for “soccer”, only two seem to come from a proper local UK source, and those are from Cumbria, where they also play both rugby union (the 15-player game) and rugby league (the 13-player one).

So, no, we don’t call Association Football “soccer”, except on those rare occasions where there is the possibility of confusion: “football” will be taken to mean the Association game, just as, I believe, in Leftpondia, “hockey” will always be taken to mean the version played on ice, and the retronym “field hockey” is used for the other version.

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Posted: 06 January 2008 01:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Little I can add to zythophile’s thorough and accurate reply other than to say that I fancy Twickenham use England rather than English to emphasize the connection with England, as in the national rugby team. Had they used English that connection would be unclear.

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Posted: 06 January 2008 01:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Zythophile - 06 January 2008 12:32 AM

(24 current hits on Google News UK, two of which are from the phrase “rugger bugger” used to describe upper-class hearties and two of which are descriptions of people who make rugs)

The latter meaning of rugger is one I’d never come across before, but then I also didn’t realise that the term “soccer” was used in the US either. How much one learns on Wordorigins.org!

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Posted: 06 January 2008 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Zythophile - 06 January 2008 12:32 AM

I take Bayard’s point to be that “an eraser made of rubber” is, etymologically at least, tautologous, a little like saying “a glass made of glass”, though nobody here will need reminding that “Etymology Is Not Destiny”.

Quite true.  I have several plastic glasses in my cupboard (that’s a Leftpondian cupboard, not a Rightpondian one) and I doubt that any of us who still wear eyeglasses have any that are made with glass.

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