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Thread: Rover = bicycle

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    #1

    Rover = bicycle

    We have no other word in Polish to describe a bicycle, but ... rover (spelled rower). Is anybody here aware of similar phenomena in other languages with British brandnames serving as a starting point?
    Also Electrolux is often substituted for vacuum cleaner (though vacuum cleaner in its Polish form also exists). Is (or was) Electrolux a British manufacturer?

  1. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    I think Electrolux is actually a Swedish company, although we have many of its products in the UK. The generic name for a vacuum cleaner in the UK is a "Hoover", which is an American company. I'm sure there are many other examples, but I can't think of any at the moment - sorry!
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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    #3

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    Xerox and Jell-o are two that spring to mind.

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    #4

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Xerox and Jell-o are two that spring to mind.
    I quite forgot about this. Yes, we never copy anything, but "xerox" it or make/take a "xerox" of this or that. It is so funny to observe how the borrowed/appropriated verb functions in a language with a very elaborate verb declination system, as Polish is.

    Here is how it goes, so perhaps you can have a laugh or two:

    I ja kseru
    you ty kserujesz
    she/he ona/on kseruje


    we my kserujemy
    you we kserujecie
    they oni kseru


    And this is just for the Present Tense!

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    #5

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    Another example in English is "biro" (a type of pen) which was originally "Biro" because that was the name of the man who invented it.
    "Hoover" is now uncapitalised and is just a "hoover".
    Normal sticky tape is generally referred to as "sellotape", even though it is still the major brand name.
    Apparently, "rollerblade" was originally a brand name so was capitalised but certainly isn't any more in BrE.

    We don't use "xerox" (any more) in BrE. We just say "photocopy".
    We also don't use "jello". It's "jelly" (which, confusingly, is used in AmE to describe what we call "jam".)
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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    #6

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    Then there's 'kleenex' for facial tissue and 'elastoplast' ('band-aid') for sticking plaster.

    Rover
    (Not a bicycle)

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    #7

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    In Canada many people call sticky tape Scotch tape, a brand of 3M Corporation.

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    #8

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    In Canada many people call sticky tape Scotch tape, a brand of 3M Corporation.
    If they wrote "Scotch tape", would they capitalise the first word though? In my opinion, something has genuinely become a generic name for something when it loses capitalisation.

    That is exactly what has happened with hoover, biro and sellotape.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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    #9

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If they wrote "Scotch tape", would they capitalise the first word though? In my opinion, something has genuinely become a generic name for something when it loses capitalisation.

    That is exactly what has happened with hoover, biro and sellotape.
    I think "Scotch" would be capitalized no matter what, because it is a nationality.

    The process by which words become "generic" is fought by corporate lawyers who have to defend their trade names from such use.

    Product Catalog:*Scotch® Products

    Note all the little "circle-R" trademark use on this official site.

    Mot people use "photocopy" here now as well. Whether this is because Xerox's lawyers won the battle or because Xerox lost market share is a question.

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    #10

    Re: Rover = bicycle

    I'm sure if you went through a stationery catalogue in the UK, all sticky tape products made by "Sellotape" would be capitalised. But in general usage by the public, we don't capitalise it because we no longer think of it as a company name.

    "Scotch" is very rarely used in the UK to describe the nationality of people. "Scottish" is the most common word. "Scotch" is still used to describe food with Scottish origins: Scotch whisky, Scotch eggs.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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