Student or Learner
Is this AmE? If so, what is the British equivalent?
I see. So 'alma mater' is not used in the UK, right?
You can use it in BrE; but it often has a faintly humorous air.
(Oddly enough, someone used it – humorously – in an email to me this morning.)
Edit: added missing "it"
Last edited by MrPedantic; 09-Dec-2005 at 22:37.
Thank you very much.
Is it incorrect usage?
It's correct, but we don't use it, so it would be a conscious import from American English. We could use it sarcastically- I have heard it used meaning 'prison' in the UK. Because it's not a normal usage, there would have to be a reason, and humour, irony, etc, are, as Mr Pedantic says, the most obvious reasons.
Thank you very much. 'Humorous' in such a case is 'funny or strange'?
It would be "humorous" as in "mild joke".
If I called my old school my "alma mater", it would have an air of grandiosity. The grandiosity would be humorous (ironic), since it isn't the custom to speak seriously of your old school in BrE.
But you would have to be sure that your interlocutor knew what "alma mater" meant. Otherwise the irony would be lost.
Thank you very much, MrPedantic.