6 comments Add yours
  1. Here's my attempt:

    “Pardon me officer, can you direct me to a drug-store?” The English ‘Bobby’ to whom this question was addressed, looked in amazement at the American questioner. He had seen in the sensational newspapers, strange stories of American drug-fiends, but to have one accost him thus boldly and ask where to get drugs, extinguished his equilibrium. The ‘constable’ gasped with relief when the American explained that what he wanted was some antiseptic for a sore throat and cheerfully directed the sufferer to the ‘chemist-shop’ on ‘High Street’. ‘High Street’ is English for Main Street in American.

    Having purchased his medicine without further difficulty, the American who had always imagined he spoke English, thought it might be well to tie a handkerchief around his sore throat. He asked the chemist where the dry-goods store was located. The courteous chemist was as puzzled as the policeman. A ‘store’ in English is a ‘warehouse’; what dry-goods might be was beyond the chemist’s comprehension. Reference to handkerchief solved the puzzle and the chemist sent the traveller on to the ‘drapers’ who ‘stored’ handkerchiefs as well as ‘reels’ of cotton, ‘serviettes’ (never napkins), ‘mantles’, which means ladies’ clocks, and many other articles which the American had not heard called by the names the ‘shop assistant’ gave them.

    On the way back to the hotel, the sore-throated American remembered his little son awaiting him and wished to take some candy and peanuts. He stopped at the confectioners – this time the sign was interchangeable – but when he asked for candy and peanuts – he again caused astonishment. The confectioner had ‘sweets’ and ‘lollies’ and ‘monkey nuts’, but he had never heard of candy and peanuts. He sold also blocks of ‘cream ice’ and cordials, which were not at all the spicy liqueurs which we used to know as Benedictine, Chartreuse, etc. but plain, old-fashioned soda pop.

    On arrival at his hotel, the American found ‘lunch’ ready. The table was ‘laid’ with ‘china’ and ‘plate’ and the main dish was a ‘pie’; but it was not an apple pie – that came later under the title of ‘tart’. The pie was a meat pie – a wholly unknown to the American who had lived in a Vermont village.

    Undeterred by the morning’s discomfitures, the traveller started out after lunch for a tour of the town, intending to take a street car; but he could find nobody to tell him where it was because he did not call it a ‘train’; so he decided to be extravagant and take an automobile. But is was not an automobile; it was a ‘motor’, propelled by ‘petrol’ instead of gasoline. In his excitement at trying to explain his troubles to the chauffeur, he broke his suspenders and asked the driver to stop at the haberdashery until he got new ones. What he got first were garters which are ‘suspenders’ in English; suspenders were ‘braces’. “I should like some socks too”, he said to the clerk. “Oh, you mean half-hose”, answered the clerk, who had travelled a bit himself and knew that when Americans speak of ‘pants’ and ‘vests’, they mean ‘trousers’ and ‘waistcoats’. Pants and vests are both underwear in English.

    When he got back to his hotel again, the now partially acclimatised American went up to his room in the ‘lift’, rapped a ‘rug’ around him and sat down for an evening’s hard study of a British English dictionary which is what every American exporter should do if he wants to advertise his wares in the UK.

    The glossary shows that a chemist sells ‘tablets’ in cakes of soap and ‘methylated spirits’ in place of wood alcohol; that a monkey wrench is a ‘spanner’, cheese cloth is ‘butter muslin’, absorb cotton is ‘cotton wool’, excelsior is ‘wood wool’. Many other things appear in English under appellations strange to American eyes and ears.

    1. Actually pretty good overall! Just some minor errors:

      "High Street in England …"
      "onto the drapers, who stocked …"
      "this time the sign was intelligible" …
      "the pie was a meat pie — not wholly …"
      "he didn't call it a tram …"
      "instead of by gasoline …"
      "to stop at the haberdasher …"
      "which are suspenders in England …"
      "pants and vests are both underwear in England …"
      "if he wants to advertise his wears successfully …"
      "that a chemist sells tablets, not cakes of soap …"
      "many other things appear in England …"

    2. I’m a little bit annoyed with myself for making these mistakes.
      I think, because I’m not familiar with the 1916 version, I was concentrating on the unfamiliar elements and rather rushed through the rest of the text.

      In particular, I should have remembered that the disjoined ‘n’ prefix represents ‘intel-‘ as well as ‘inter-/enter-‘ in the earlier versions of Gregg Shorthand.

      The word that nearly made me give up: cordial; I didn’t know this is pronounced with a ‘j’ sound in American English; we Brits say ‘k o r d e a l’, with three distinct syllables.

      This was an interesting exercise to tackle for a Simplified person (!?), and the story was quite amusing, as much because of the old-fashioned vocabulary of the era as the differences between varieties of English.

    3. I was thinking that since you were able to read it all, you could switch to Anniversary or Preanniversary!

      You're right about "cordial." Oxford has it pronounced as ˈkȯr-jəl in American English and ˈkɔːdɪəl in the Queen's English.

  2. One of the problems I have with Gregg Shorthand is that I like all of the versions!
    I think I am going to stick with Simplfied for now, because it's the system I know best, and I really need to focus on improving my writing skills more than anything else.
    It could be that I may change in the future. I do like the fuller explanation of the rules in the Pre-Anni versions, the Abbreviating Principle doesn't worry me, I understand how the Reversing Principle works, so that leaves the mystery of Omission of R "in many words" as the remaining obstacle to making a change.

Leave a Reply