back to article Microsoft issues manual on Brits to Cambridge exports

The US Army prints one to acclimatise troops serving in Britain instructing corn-fed GIs on how to avoid going about insulting HM The Queen. Now, Microsoft has produced a field manual for US staff serving at its Cambridge research facility on the etiquette, foibles and slang found in our British Isles. Redmond is reported to …

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  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Hmm

    Now if they could just stop insulting our intelligence with some of their product and marketing moves lately.

    But then I guess that's not limited to affecting us Brits, unfortunately.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      Have they included a world map so that they can find us?

      And yes, paragraph 67, 'not everyone knows or has met the Queen'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm-what about immersion therapy?

      A night out on a cold March Saturday night in Newcastle would be the perfect immersion into British culture.

      Those that stay and do not book their flight home immediately after this experience are worthy and welcome to stay.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's alright, no matter what they put in that manual we will all be able to dazzle the novice American with our furious and wonderful mix of slang and swearing, simultaneously insulting the target without them realising.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      I can't remember whether Bill Bryson was commenting on British place name pronunciations, or English pub names, but he did note "at the very least, it should confuse foreigners".

  3. Arachnoid

    We contacted Microsoft for a response. Its spokesperson told El Reg: "I'm afraid we have nothing to share on this at this time."

    You forgot the "Have a nice day!"

  4. g e
    Facepalm

    Classic Yanklish

    Surprised there's no mention of driving on the left or that you shouldn't confuse 'fanny' with 'arse' unless you want most English chicks (that you'd take home to yo momma, leastways) to give you a ruddy good punch up the bracket on First Night. [Edit: or 'arse' with 'ass' for that matter though the four-legged friend may be more forgiving, at least]

    Sounds like they've been drinking from the Dick van Dyke water fountain. I look forward to a full leaked version in due course.

    Mind you I did used to tell directions-to-the-castle-asking US tourists that they should come to the Public Hanging on Sunday as hanging is "still a local by-law in this town, and has a great turnout".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Classic Yanklish

      I worked in a bar in north Somerset close to a riding stable where most of the visiting girls were American, they came into this little bar in a decent size group because they were warned off from the village local, due to er.. the locals.

      One of the more modest but attractive girls came up to the bar and by way of normal conversation said " I have such a sore fanny I have been hard at it all day" I said I'd bring the drink over and clear up a UK-US word confusion in a moment.

      I still savor those few minutes, you only get one chance to explain something like that.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Classic Yanklish

        Actually - depending on the riding style, saddle and behaviour of the horse, it could still be the UK fanny that is sore after a day on horseback.

    2. Jon Double Nice

      Re: Classic Yanklish

      I have a friend who worked in New York a while ago, on being issued with her work Blackberry she was advised chirpily "If you don't have any pockets, just clip it to our fanny - thats what I do" by the person showing her around.

    3. Vulch
      Coat

      Re: Classic Yanklish

      Surprised there's no mention of driving on the left

      Not a problem in Station Road, there's the station car park if you can beat the commuters or increasingly distant short term car parks. They'll be walking the last mile anyway.

    4. Mattjimf
      Pint

      Re: Classic Yanklish

      An Edinburgh taxi driver told me that when he got fed up of people asking if "THAT" was the castle, pointing to the great big castle looking thing on the hill, he would reply "No, that's a housing estate for poor people, the castle can't be seen in the city centre".

      Pint because one will always keep you sane.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Classic Yanklish

      Two nations separated by a common language.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And just don't even dare...

    ... to try and cadge a cigarette by saying you "want to bum a fag..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: And just don't even dare...

      "Smoking a fag" has a distinctly dark connotation in the ole US of A.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alas, if such a document exists it is well hidden... at least from UK contractors. I might ask around and see if any of the recent transplantees got a copy...

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Oh dear... before criticising MS's efforts, TheRegister should at least post its own guide to Living in Blighty, so we readers can compare efforts (or rather, just have a giggle).

    Pastie:

    Eng.: n pastry based snack, often containing beef. Best sampled from a bakery rather than from a gas station.

    US: n device for covering a stripper's nipple.

    1. Norman Hartnell
      Headmaster

      @Dave 126: "Pastie"

      In the UK we spell that "Pasty", and as for it being a "snack", you obviously haven't eaten a proper one, which should be so voluminous that its consumption leaves you unable to move without groaning!

      1. Eponymous Cowherd
        Pint

        Re Pasties

        "and as for [a pasty] being a "snack", you obviously haven't eaten a proper one,

        You forget this advice is aimed at a race who view a two pound burger as a "snack".

        Beer, flat and warm, as it should be.....

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Re Pasties

          Hmmm, okay, 'snack' wasn't the best choice of word- 'mobile meal' is more appropriate. At the risk of enraging some readers, I pick up about twenty pasties from Barnstaple every time I pass the town, for people in my local further North. As a bonus, it pisses off my Cornish mates. Though in Devon, this bakery in Barnstaple was voted as producing the best pasties in the South West.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Unhappy

            Re: Re Pasties

            "Though in Devon, this bakery in Barnstaple was voted as producing the best pasties in the South West."

            Well, that often doesn't take much, given the enthusiasm commercial pasty makers have for a vast excess of thick dry shortcrust pastry enclosing a few bits of gristle, some nice big lumps of fat, some vegetables (mainly near-raw onion) in a weak salty gravy.

            The idea of the pasty is sound, with a very blokey appeal: "well, its like a pie, but you don't have no pie dish, and you don't use cutlery, and there's nothing very healthy about it". Sadly the execution is dismal far too often.

        2. Gordon 11

          Re: Re Pasties

          Beer, flat and warm, as it should be.....

          It should not be warm! It should be at cellar temperature - ca.56F (~13.5C).

          The important thing is that it should not be such as to numb the taste buds.

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Mmmm. Proper beef pasty. Philp's from Hayle/Helston (always get it wrong and drive to the wrong town) in Cornwall is best, in my opinion (they will post and they can freeze for 3 months, but I've never had even 48 last that long in my house!). Order early if collecting, the queue gets LONG.

        A proper pasty has STEAK in it. Not mush, mince and junk, but proper chunks of soft, juicy steak. Couple them with decent potatoes and other fillings and it's a struggle to hold it in the traditional manner (one hand, mining-dust on fingers optional). And it's a *MEAL*. It' s basically a steak meal in a single device.

        Ideally, phone up Philp's in advance, collect from there, keep them wrapped, drive to scenic location overlooking sea / lake, they will still be PIPING hot 20-30 minutes later with a cool drink to enjoy sitting on the local coastline.

        Then off to Trago Mills in Falmouth (not the others, which are "just" shops) for spending lots of money.

        1. Measurer
          Happy

          'And it's a *MEAL*. It' s basically a steak meal in a single device.'

          If Apple ever move over here..... iPasty patent ALERT!

        2. MJI Silver badge

          The local ciders are worth drinking as well.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Coat

            "The local ciders are worth drinking as well."

            Indeed. A light mildly alcoholic form of fermented apple juice which you can drink all day without major effects.

            Just popping down to the local A&E.

            I think business is about to pick up.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "The local ciders are worth drinking as well."

              "Indeed. A light mildly alcoholic form of fermented apple juice which you can drink all day without major effects."

              ..as someone once said.. "mostly apples".

              1. Kingston Black
                Pint

                Re: "The local ciders are worth drinking as well."

                "..as someone once said.. "mostly apples"."

                Many locally produced ciders are excellent. The dirty secret big cider manufacturers don't want you to know - there's little or almost no apple juice in their products. It's just flavoured fermented sugar syrup, made in the shortest time possible (about a week). If it doesn't say 100% apple juice on the label then it won't be.

                Note, I make traditional cider, 100% apple juice, see handle...

                Icon - now I'm thirsty,

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "The local ciders are worth drinking as well."

                  "Many locally produced ciders are excellent. The dirty secret big cider..." [SNIP]

                  Well done, sir. You missed the point entirely. You win zero Internets :)

        3. Norman Hartnell

          @Lee D Philp's are good, but Ann's Pasties in the Lizard are probably the best you can buy and as good as home-made. She'll deliver too!

          Definitely steak, and NO flippin' carrots and peas! Are you listening, Greggs?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Scenic Location!

          Bah! Pasties taste best when they've been dropped down the mineshaft!

        5. Vic

          > Philp's from Hayle/Helston

          Yep. I second that suggestion. They're bloody luvverly.

          Vic.

    2. Liam Thom
      Flame

      It's not a fucking gas station.

      1. MJI Silver badge
        Joke

        It is when I fill up

        Liquified Petrolium Gas - Propane

        Still call them petrol stations though, or LPG stations where no petrol.

        Oh and will tractor* owners keep their tractors out of the LPG area, I am so fed up of waiting for them to finish shopping.

        * Diseasel engined cars (Borrowed from Rev W Awdry).

        1. Eponymous Cowherd

          Re: It is when I fill up

          That's another thing to confuse your average Merkin.

          They pay before they fill up. We pay after.

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: It is when I fill up

            "They pay before they fill up. We pay after."

            And though I think that's a sad indictment on how much they trust people, I actually prefer this method and a lot of UK **PETROL** stations support it. I drive up, get out of my car, stick my card in (after checking the slot!), pump petrol, get back in my car, drive off.

            No queueing behind the old granny who needs the man to come open her petrol cap (had that the other week, and the guy refused to leave the counter even with other staff present, so I had to volunteer), no waiting behind the screaming kids on a trip trying to buy every comic and sweet known to man, no being stuck behind the guy who can't work out where to put his PIN or what number pump he used, and no dawdling behind the guy who's buying half the shop, because the local supermarket is shut, but no petrol.

            It's the one thing I actually think is better the other way around (and would stop "drive-offs" and turn them into confirmed card frauds instead). Now if we could just find a way to get people to move their cars clear of the pumps as soon as they've pumped (because waiting for a free pump, or waiting for some guy to move his badly-parked car at the pump so you can get out, when you could have paid, pumped and driven off before he even comes out the shop is a pain), then I'd be a happy man. Oh, and a few pence off per litre would go down nicely as well.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Pay At Pump

              They have these at my local supermarket station, and to be honest by the time you've entered your PIN, waited for the machine to do it's stuff, and issue you with your points total at the end, I often find it's quicker to walk into the shop and get the skilled human to do the same thing in a matter of seconds.

              Progress....

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Thumb Up

              Re: It is when I fill up

              > (and would stop "drive-offs" and turn them into confirmed card frauds instead)

              Here in BC, Canada, it is now the law, after some very high-profile cases of people being killed at the "gas station" while trying to rob fuel without paying.

              When I got here (from the UK), I found it a bit weird, but to be honest, I got used to it and on my trips back to England, paying at the kiosk seems a bit quaint in comparison.

    3. Soruk
      Pint

      This is all they need.

      I mirrored a copy of one posted YEARS ago...

      http://www.eridanilinux.demon.co.uk/ukus.html

      (And, I later discovered that for about a year the author was one of my colleagues at $ORKPLACE[-1].)

    4. Mullerrad
      Joke

      Oh dear... before criticising MS's efforts, TheRegister should at least post its own guide to Living in Blighty, so we readers can compare efforts (or rather, just have a giggle).

      Pastie:

      Eng.: n pastry based snack, often containing beef. Best sampled from a bakery rather than from a gas station.

      US: n device for covering a stripper's nipple.

      Should also warn may also contain horse/pork/or other unidentified meats.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's an MP3 version as well

    It's narrated by a Geordie with Indian heritage.

  9. dotdavid
    Thumb Up

    Pub Guide

    Reminds me of this guide to pubs written for foreigners. Quite amusing.

    1. VinceH
      Thumb Up

      Re: Pub Guide

      It immediately made me of this guide to speaking with a "British accent" by Tracy Goodwin.

      Warning: Avoid drinking coffee (or cawfeh) while watching.

      1. Scob

        Re: Pub Guide

        Who is she kidding? Not where I live!!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pub Guide

        Ha, the best bit is if you watch the "pronunciation, not listening" episode first where she says "that dialect is authentic" and then she teaches you to sound like a cock.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "fish and chips, a national treat"

    Things must be desperate in Blighty if fish and chips are a treat.

    Why did Microsoft even bother? Half the fun of moving to another country is exploring the differences.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "Fish and chips, national dish mate."

    I hope there is a free DVD of "The 51st State" glued to the back of the manual.

    An educationally valuable movie!

    "You can still go to France, mate, it's not too far, it's full of pricks and they hate fucking yanks as well!"

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: "Fish and chips, national dish mate."

      Actually this might serve as suitable orientation material.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063534/?ref_=sr_1

  12. Spiracle

    "The guide writer's research for this seems to have extended no further than the boozer from My Fair Lady."

    As their local is 'The Flying Pig' he might not be too wide of the mark.

    1. eurobloke
      Pint

      Flying Pig

      Sorry old chap, but the Flying Pig is going to be knocked down soon, plus when the new place by the station (it is already licensed) that would probably be the local. They would also probably go for the Devonshire Arms or the Great Northern. However, if they fancy a proper local there is always the Cambridge Blue.

      Beer - well I used to be in the licensing trade in Cambridge.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My sister-in-law, first visit to Blighty from Florida, spots a Weatherspoons pub all done out in that awful pink faux wattle'n'dawb shite, bits of crap nailed to the walls, you know the sort place. "Wow what a lovely quaint old English pub! It must very old with that style of decoration?"

    'Nah Tonya love, it was built about 2 years ago. They flattened an old supermarket to build it!"

    She was quite disappointed!

    Do Yanks really believe all that old toss about they saw about the UK in Murder She Wrote? That the UK only has two types of people, those who talk like Prince Philip and commoners who must talk like bad Dick Van-Dyke clones?!

    1. 100113.1537

      Do Yanks really believe all that old toss about they saw about the UK in Murder She Wrote?

      Do Brits believe that everyone in the States live in apartments and have friends just drop in to raid their fridge?

      Having moved the the US a few years ago I can tell you that we (brits) have just as many misconceptions from watching telly programs. Seinfeld and Friends it is not, I can tell you!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "That the UK only has two types of people, those who talk like Prince Philip and commoners who must talk like bad Dick Van-Dyke clones?!"

      You mean the British are not all gentrified Phonetics professors or Cockney flower girls and chimney sweeps who, either way, walk down the street singing? Thanks for ruining it for us.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ta

    An old girlfriend of mine, who was pretty senior in a US company always signed her emails "Ta"... which is simply a form of saying goodbye (the longer version being "Tarrah").

    Many of her US colleagues didn't understand it for a long time, assuming it was a longer form of her name or something...

    There are loads of things like this and if you get into localised sayings, it gets much more fun.

    My favourite term (from my home of Yorkshire) was describing something as particularly speedy by saying it

    "went like shit off a stick"...

    1. DayDragon
      WTF?

      Re: Ta

      @jeremy 3:

      I'm not sure which part of yorkshire you come from but in my part (South Yorkshire), Ta means Thanks (and can sometimes be used as an acronym of "Thanks alot".

      Simlarly, the saying here is "like shit off a shovel"

    2. Steve 13

      Re: Ta

      Ta is slang for Thanks, not an abbreviation for Turrah (slang for goodbye).

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=TA

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ta%20ra

      Both Northern English slang.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Ta

        Is it Northern? It was quite common in London where I grew up.

    3. NogginTheNog
      Alert

      Re: Ta

      is that girlfriend in the British sense (sexual/romantic partner) or US (close friend of female gender)?

      1. peyton?
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Ta

        Not sure where you got this from. True, if a woman (in the US) uses "girlfriend" - it can mean close, female friend. But if a guy uses it, it means the same as the British sense.

        1. NogginTheNog
          Thumb Up

          Re: Ta

          "True, if a woman (in the US) uses "girlfriend" - it can mean close, female friend. But if a guy uses it, it means the same as the British sense."

          Ah thanks for that. We don't have the first usage, hence the potential for many a female American to be misunderstood as refreshingly liberal when discussing all her "girlfriends"!

      2. SonnyJimm

        Re: Ta

        Doesn't the context depend on if you do a head bob and finger clicks when you say "girlfriend"?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agree totally on the Take-Aways

    I can barely eat the food from most UK Chinese restaurants.. its Vile stuff that doesn't deserve the name food...

    Anyone who has ever been to China should agree!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

      I tend to eat in the ones where many of the other other customers not only look like they have visited China, but look like their family comes from there as well. Being in a larger British town or city helps, and the presence of a large Chinese supermarket, travel agents or other Chinese business in the immediate area is usually a good sign.

      That said, I still wouldn't expect to rock up in China and find food I was familiar with.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

        It's also interesting to see how much the food is "tailored" (for want of a better word) to the local tastes, even across Europe. For example try ordering a sweet & sour dish in Italy, France, Netherlands and Germany and you'll get an almost completely different item.

        Worst one was in the Netherlands - had sweet & sour pork once which looked and tasted like someone got a tin of fruit salad, tipped it into the container and then threw some chunks of pork in it.

        As said above, the best ones are where both the cooks and ideally a reasonable number of the clients are of the country whose food is being cooked (usually the best way to get a good Japanese restaurant for sure).

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

          Yep, as an ex-pat living in Germany, the Indian and Asian food is very different here to what you get in the UK.

          1. TeeCee Gold badge

            Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

            Yes. For a start, on this side of the channel they don't seem to have quite grasped the concept of hot curry. They seem to think that "very hot" means "slightly spicy" and not "will remove paint from battlecruisers" as one would expect.

            Even the Thai food seems to lack any of those dishes where the first mouthful causes the dawning realisation that you may well have made a terrible mistake and a frantic flagging of the nearest waiter for additional supplies of Singha.

            On the upside, steak is actually steak and not cremated shoeleather.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

              "es. For a start, on this side of the channel they don't seem to have quite grasped the concept of hot curry. They seem to think that "very hot" means "slightly spicy" and not "will remove paint from battlecruisers" as one would expect."

              A prime example of food changed for the British taste.

              1. Rampant Spaniel

                Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

                Yes and No :) India has some very hot dishes. Nothing compared to Thailand where it tends to start at battle cruiser melting hot and quickly head past needing to be held is a magnetic field. Decent quality anglicized curry tends to have less oil (if you'd call melted ghee oil, or just fat) and salt than more authentic Indian dishes although the picture is clouded heavily by a multitude of really poor cheap curry which is laden with junk.

          2. Whitter
            Facepalm

            Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

            I had a vindaloo in Germany where I was served a korma with a little extra chilli added. They didn't undertand why I sent it back (beyond the difficulties expected due to my poor German).

    2. Dom 3

      Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

      Familiar with Cambridge then? It has a large number of ethnic Chinese (and other Far Eastern). That means lots of Chinese restaurants and takeaways of the sort that have two menus - one for each market.

    3. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

      It depends where you go, there are great Chinese takeaways in the UK. Actually run by Chinese people as well, unlike the US where pretty much every kitchen, no matter what the cuisine, is staffed by Mexicans. If anything it's impressive how versatile they are, but saying Chinese takeaways are stuffed full of msg is pretty 1970's. If any country has a thing for salt, sugar and lard it's the country that invented using deep fried chicken in place of a bread bun, and lets not overlook the 72oz soda cups.

      One issue many folks overlook is that China is a pretty large place and it's not certain different countries will have a majority of Chinese immigrants from the same province.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Agree totally on the Take-Aways

        Actually, most "chinese" takeaways in the UK tend to offer mainly Cantonese food, with a distinct Hong Kong twist, regardless of where they actually come from in China. This is because this is what most British people expect from a "chinese" takeaway, since initially most Chinese immigrants to the UK were from NT/Guangdong.

        You usually have to go to a Chinatown to get decent specialist food, eg real Sichuan or Fujian dishes. Just compare and contrast a "Kung Pow Chicken" from your average takeaway with a real "Gong Bao Chicken".

  16. graeme leggett

    amusement

    for those with an interest in this line there are reprints out there of the "Instructions for .....servicemen" booklets that were issued during the war, I know of at least four Americans in UK, Americans in Australia, British in France and British in Germany. The common theme is probably - we're here to help and the locals might find it uncomfortable, try and be polite.

    No doubt there was one for the US in Japan, but the allies in Italy I'm not aware of.

    1. Mr Spock

      Re: amusement

      I think the common theme was more that the going rate was three cigarettes, and always use a condom.

    2. G.Y.

      Re: amusement

      I believe Ruth Benedict's "the chrysanthemum &the sword" was originally written as a guide for US troops about to invade Japan.

    3. graeme leggett

      Re: amusement

      There are some telling phrases in the 1944 one for Tommies in France

      "The French drink wine as we drink beer. ....but there was far less drunkeness in peacetime in France than in peacetime England"

      The French are more polite than most of us. Remember to call the Monsieur, Madame, Madamoiselle,. not just Oy!"

  17. Jon Green
    Coat

    Ah. I see the mistake here.

    You based your article on one from the Cambridge News website, that inarguably-accurate oracle of all things Cambridge.

    Um, you might have spotted a little insincerity in those last comments... *grin*

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

    and take them back to the western side of the Pond.

    The biggest complaints/remarks I used to get from my US Visitors were

    'How the hell can you drive on the wrong side of the road.'

    'Your pint isn't a Pint'

    'Why? It ain't like this back in HickTown USofA.'

    The sad thing is that MS has felt that it needed to issue this guide in the first place. IT re-inforces the Churchill statement, 'Two Nations divided by a common language'.

    Most Americans are very puritanical by our standards. The student life in Cambridge will be quite shocking to many of them especially around the end of summer term.

    1. dajames
      Headmaster

      Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

      'Your pint isn't a Pint'

      Or, as an American person once said to me: "You Brits have a five-quart gallon"!

      ... the Churchill statement, 'Two Nations divided by a common language'.

      I think you'll find that was Shaw (possibly harking back to something Wilde wrote).

    2. Mr Spock

      Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

      > Most Americans are very puritanical by our standards. The student life in Cambridge will be quite shocking to many of them especially around the end of summer term.

      Erm, they have the Ivy League. Same kind of people, same kind of behaviour.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

        Having worked in Cambridge UK and Cambridge MA I can tell you that the UK version is a lot more bawdy than the US Impersonator.

        Now if the Yanks went up to Norfolk, they would feel quite at home. There is a lot of strange folk in them their flatlands.

        (My mother was born in E Dereham and grew up in Ely).

        Pint, Adnams Broadside naturally.

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

          Norfolk : Too right. I live on Cambs/Norfolk border, worki in Cambridge (and did a log of growing up in Ely also). Pretty strange some of 'em up there...

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Happy

            Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

            "Norfolk : Too right. I live on Cambs/Norfolk border, worki in Cambridge (and did a log of growing up in Ely also). Pretty strange some of 'em up there"

            That's what happens when daughters can't outrun their fathers. *

            *Allegedly.

        2. Lone Gunman
          Happy

          Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

          @ Steve Davies 3:

          "Now if the Yanks went up to Norfolk, they would feel quite at home. There is a lot of strange folk in them their flatlands."

          There is a reason we have the phrase "normal for Norfolk" and the stereotype about webbed feet :-)

          (some of my relatives are from Bungay)

        3. graeme leggett

          Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

          East Anglia is used to visiting and working Americans, though back then it was known as the Eighth Air Force...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: you can keep the 'Have a Nice Day' meaningless words

      "Most Americans are very puritanical by our standards. The student life in Cambridge will be quite shocking to many of them especially around the end of summer term."

      Not as shocking in my time as I'd prefer. As to puritanical, I wild guess but strongly suspect you haven't dated many American girlfriends.

  19. Keep Refrigerated
    WTF?

    Wot.. no outrage?

    No outrage over yanks coming over and stealing British jobs? No lengthy discussion over the merits and drawbacks of the UK visa system or immigration quotas?

    Come on Brits, we're really being shown up by our counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic, on account of our lack of patriotic zeal.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Wot.. no outrage?

      Not until the Daily Mail pick up on it anyway...

  20. rh587 Silver badge

    "To those en route, Microsoft explains how “some goods are banned completely” and cannot be brought into the country. That list includes narcotics, firearms, stun guns, obscene material and - yes - dead animals."

    How queer, getting a foreign visitor's permit to bring firearms into the country is really quite straightforward. Of course the range of firearms you can have over here is limited somewhat (especially by American standards), but they're definitely not banned completely!

  21. Fink-Nottle

    Broad-bosomed, bold, becalmed, benign

    Lies Bal Ham, four-square on the Northern Line.

    Matched by no marvel save in Eastern scene

    A rose-red city, half as Golders Green

    By country churchyard, ferny fen and mere

    What Quills mute inglorious lies buried here?

    Oh stands the church clock at ten to three?

    And is there honey still for tea?

    1. Magani
      Happy

      'And is there honey still for tea?'

      Nah dear. Honey's off.

      Peter Sellars, RIP

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They had good links to the University...

    ..until they moved from their site right next door to the Computer labs to this office block ~20 mins drive away.

  23. Steve Knox

    Heaven

    There seems no mention of indifferent British shop assistants who not only don't greet you with a cheery Banana Republic "Hi" but would really rather you just fucked right off and didn’t interrupt their conversation at the back.

    Better than the US shop assistants who will be fired if they don't constantly follow you around asking if you're looking for something in particular, if you need any help, or if you have any leads for someone sick of being paid minimum wage to tail shoppers around and annoy them with useless offers for "help". (Okay, that last one may not be mandated by the employer per se but it does seem the common logical conclusion to the other requirements...)

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Heaven

      No kidding, the mrs and I have a game, seeing who can get in and out of officemax or home depot without being asked if we need help.

      It's not the staffs fault, just moronic management policies.

  24. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    fanny-packs

    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned fanny-packs yet. I was always greatly amused when Americans talked about fanny-packs, getting a slap on the fanny and such like.

    In the same vein, what's ghee? Similar to a gee-bag perhaps?

    I could look it up, but that would be boring.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: fanny-packs

      ghee is clarified butter, used in Indian cooking (amongst others). You basically heat up butter, remove the foam off the top, continue to heat until it starts to turn a bit brown (but not burnt) then filter. It has a nice buttery taste but can tolerate a far higher heat without burning. At least if I'm remembering it right! Haven't made it in a while.

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: fanny-packs

        Many thanks for that, sir.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's probably true that US Asian food is more authentic that our British version. I had the best sushi ever when in Florida last year.

  26. Mr Spock

    Please be aware that in the UK, as in the rest of Europe, the dominant smartphone brand is Nokia, a brand which has almost no market penetration in the US...

    ... oh.

  27. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I hope it mentions that we drink real beer in this country, not shandy. At uni there would always be the american newcomers who thought they could down "ten beers" just like they could at home.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny :)

    "not only don't greet you with a cheery Banana Republic "Hi" but would really rather you just fucked right off and didn’t interrupt their conversation"

    THIS is why I come to El Reg for the reporting - I LOL'd :)

  29. LinkOfHyrule
    Joke

    In my expeirnce, most dudes from 'merica working in IT/computing who find themselves doing a bit of business over here will be spending most of their time in one of three places only - the office, a dull backstreet aparthotel, and airport terminals.

    Or at least the ones who end up in the Reading area do!

  30. John H Woods Silver badge

    From the land where the consumer is king?

    ... this, like the "land of the free" is simply verbiage. My understanding is that consumer protection is a hell of a lot stronger in UK and Europe than it is in the US.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: From the land where the consumer is king?

      Isn't this why the consumer is king... and not Brussels?

  31. heyrick Silver badge

    I guess we don't need to write our own guidebook for people going to America...

    ...just rent a Michael Moore movie. Any Michael Moore movie.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I guess we don't need to write our own guidebook for people going to America...

      America is nothing like in a Moore movie. He's filming from a progressive standpoint. Might as well watch "Sin CIty - CAPITALISM" for realism.

  32. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Wonder if it asks them not to talk about all the companies bought and closed

    I worked for a UK company, bought by Microsoft, closed by Microsoft (despite shipping millions of products).

    We weren't the only ones, in the year we were bought another half dozen or so Cambridge companies were snapped up. We were the last of our year to be closed - about 18 months later.

    Indeed we were based in the research building, just behind the William Gates building on the west Cambridge university site. I bet they are even getting tax concessions to move these folk over.

  33. Gordon 11

    Tap-tap....(or faucet-faucet)

    Ah, yes.

    I remember many years ago being in a room with 2 Canadian girls and 1 American. I said, "OK then, I'll pop round in the morning and knock you up".

    Stoney silence...

    followed (later) by one of them producing a leaflet from Air Canada explaining the double meaning.

    1. kain preacher

      Re: Tap-tap....(or faucet-faucet)

      So what's the child support agency like in the UK ?

  34. jubtastic1
    Thumb Up

    This cockerney translator may also be of assistance to visiting yanks

    http://moteprime.org/cockerney/ invaluable resource for conversation in London Town.

    1. VinceH
      Happy

      Re: This cockerney translator may also be of assistance to visiting yanks

      All the apples that apples gives me might confuse any visiting apples a touch.

    2. Michael Dunn
      Headmaster

      Re: This cockerney translator may also be of assistance to visiting yanks

      In my day, "pears" abbreviated from "Apples and pears" meant "Stairs".

      There's a great example of Cockney rhyming slang morphisms in Anthony Burgess's "The Doctor is Sick":

      Actual word "Arse" morphs to "Bottle and Glass", shortens to "Bottle" which again morphs to "Aristotle" which then shortens to "Aris" which is so near the original word as to make one wonder why bother?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The dog's

    I was always find the word 'bollocks' causes confusion, can mean good or bad or 'a load of' meaning rubbish (garbage) all down to the tone in which it is said and then causes more confusion when it's explained what it actually means.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you think US misconceptions are bad, try living in East Asia. I've lost count of the number of people asking me if I drink afternoon tea, with little dainty sandwiches and cupcakes or whatever.

    In fairness my misconceptions of asia were infinitely worse and I was balls deep in ignorance until I went there.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      I hope you said "Yes", and went on to send them a detailed 4 page PDF instructing them how the cucumber sandwiches should be made, how much of the crust should be cut off, how to arrange the sandwiches on the doily, and so forth.

    2. graeme leggett

      Did they also insist you wore your Solar Topee in the sun to "avoid its ultry-violet ray"? (Papalaka-papalaka-papalaka-boo)

  37. Chris 69
    Happy

    Just give them Verity Stob's book

    She provided a very good glossary at the end.

    (oh, and it's a really great book too!)

  38. seansaysthis
    Go

    works both ways

    I remember being given a similar type document prior to travelling to the US and travelling to the far east. There are cultural differences which it helps to be aware of . I only made a tit of myself a couple of times as a result.

  39. Magani
    Happy

    Septic?

    Three pages so far and not one mention of the 'S' word.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about one for other "on-shored" nationalities?

    I could really do with there being one for some of the "on-shored" workers from India. It could include such gems as

    - In England, women have as much right of way in narrow places e.g. stairwells as men. Women have the same rights as men, and even the same status if they are doing the same job

    - throwning your rubbish/fag ends/empty cups on the floor 10cm away from the bin is impolite, even though there are cleaners

    - It is generally accepted that if for some reason you can't do something then you should say so, not say you can do it then hide for 2 weeks until it's past the deadline

    - The sachets of sugar at the tea point are there to sweeten the drinks you are having while at work. They aren't there for you to take home for all your household needs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about one for other "on-shored" nationalities?

      I'd also add (all based on observations at our office):

      - If you don't understand what someone is saying - say so, don't just nod and then ignore the instruction

      - Toilets are for sitting on not standing on and if you miss the pan at least attempt to clean it up!

      - Do not sneeze into your hands without a tissue and no spitting in bins/on the floor

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The problems can occur within the UK also.

    My wife, a nurse, moved up North and was surprised during a night shift to be told not to disturb one of the patients because they were "hard on".

    Imagine the relief to be told that it means "fast asleep"!

    Well I come from round those parts, and I'd never heard that expression before.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What? No clip-fed howitzers?

    I have a Third Class Federal Firearms License ("curios and relics") which allows me to buy, but not resell for profit any firearm over 50 years old because it is not considered a weapon any more. I can legally purchase a fully working Lahti 20mm anti-tank gun and live armor piercing ammunition for it, and since it has a gun carriage, I can tow it around behind my car in public (no concealed weapons permit needed, this device is NOT concealed!). Since the "trailer" part of the gun carriage weighs less than 200 lbs, no title is needed, just a license plate.

    To get a Third Class FFL, you need $35 and can't have a police record. You also need to be able to sign your name, yes, sir, a red crayon will be just fine. (Incidentally, an "X" is considered a legal signature if someone will vouch that you are you.)

    Since anything over 50 years old isn't considered a weapon any more, what I really want is my very own B-29 with a Fat Man atomic bomb in the bomb bay. Both are over 50 years old. Why shouldn't I have my very own nuclear deterrent? I'll teach those damn kids to stay off my lawn . . .

  43. Charles Manning
    Facepalm

    As busy as a beaver

    Some years back I noticed that a female USAian co-worker had been very productive - sorting out various bugs etc. and had generally been working well on the project.

    To complement her I said: "You've been a busy beaver over the last few weeks!". She immediately became crimson with embarrassment.

    It was only a few weeks later that I also heard some gossip that she had dumped her boyfriend and had been, euphemistically, attending a lot of singles bars.

    ,

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