Please help with British English

NinjaTurtle

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emsr2d2,

How would you say, "We're going to stay with my parents for the holidays" in British English, referring to the week of Christmas and New Years?

By the way, "the holidays" in America refers to Christmas and New Years, whereas it now seems to me that "the holidays" refers to summer in British English.
 
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NinjaTurtle

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YAMATO2201 and Piscean,

I would say that "used to be..." is correct in American English. Not so in British English?
 

NinjaTurtle

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Hi everyone!

Does British English use “holiday” to refer to a regular day off (Sat. and Sun. of every week) or is it "day off" like in American English?

Referring to the idea of “holiday” as in the American word “vacation”, does British English use the verb phrase “take a holiday” or is it just “go on holiday”?

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On a side note, my Mainland Chinese students have NO IDEA of the differences between American English and British English, so all of this is coming to them as quite a surprise.
 

emsr2d2

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emsr2d2,

How would you say, "We're going to stay with my parents for the holidays" in British English, referring to the week of Christmas and New Years?

By the way, "the holidays" in America refers to Christmas and New Years, whereas it now seems to me that "the holidays" refers to summer in British English.

I would say "I'm going to stay with my parents for Christmas" and "I'm going to stay with my parents for New Year". If I needed to specify an actual time period, it would be something like "I'm going to stay with my parents for a few days/for a week over/for Christmas/New Year".
I'm aware that "the holidays" can mean Christmas and New Year in AmE but it's not used by anyone I know in the UK.

YAMATO2201 and Piscean,

I would say that "used to be..." is correct in American English. Not so in British English?

"I used to be happy" is fine (for example). The interrogative, though, is "Did you use to be happy?"

Hi everyone!

Does British English use “holiday” to refer to a regular day off (Sat. and Sun. of every week) or is it "day off" like in American English?

Referring to the idea of “holiday” as in the American word “vacation”, does British English use the verb phrase “take a holiday” or is it just “go on holiday”

No, we definitely don't use "holiday" to mean "day/days off". Don't forget, too, that these days, many people don't get Saturday and/or Sunday off every week. People work all sorts of schedules these days.
I'd use "go on holiday", not "take a holiday" but some people probably use the latter.
 

NinjaTurtle

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The interrogative, though, is "Did you use to be happy?"

It's fascinating to learn these differences between British English and American English.

In addition, thanks for clarifying for me that "take a holiday" and "the holidays" (in winter) are not British English. I have learned it is better to make sure than to tell a Chinese student offhand that they are wrong!
 

jutfrank

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Hi everyone!

Does British English use “holiday” to refer to a regular day off (Sat. and Sun. of every week) or is it "day off" like in American English?

Referring to the idea of “holiday” as in the American word “vacation”, does British English use the verb phrase “take a holiday” or is it just “go on holiday”

No and no. However ...

We do sometimes use holiday or days holiday to mean 'days off work'. Working people are legally entitled to a certain number of 'days holiday' a year. These are paid workdays when you don't have to work. But holiday may also refer more generally to unpaid time off from a regular job.

We use the verb take with this usage. Today, an employee at my workplace was requesting having a day off. I asked her "Would you like to take Monday as holiday?" She responded affirmatively. I then asked "Paid or unpaid?"
 

emsr2d2

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I agree with jutfrank's comments and would add that the entitlement to a certain number of days off work from your job is also called "leave" or "annual leave". In the dialogue jutfrank gave, in both of my long-term full-time jobs, we would have said "Would you like to take Monday off as leave?" or "Would you like to take leave on Monday?"
 
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NinjaTurtle

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Hi everyone!

I am back with another question regarding British English as it is spoken in China.

China has a few universities that contain the word "Normal" in the name of the institution. For example, in China there is a university named Shanghai Normal University. This is not used in American English. Is such a name used in British English, or is it only "Chinglish"?
 

emsr2d2

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It's not used in the UK. Out of curiosity, how does a "Normal" university differ from other universities?
 

NinjaTurtle

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A Normal College or University refers to one which provides instruction for soon-to-be school teachers. This terminology was used in America at one time to refer to such colleges and universities, but went out of style in America maybe 100 years ago. (Apparently, this term is still used in China to refer to such Teacher Colleges.)
 

jutfrank

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It's still commonly used in France (écoles normales) so I assume it was also once common in English, too. I don't know what it means in France but I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with teaching.
 

probus

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A Normal College or University refers to one which provides instruction for soon-to-be school teachers. This terminology was used in America at one time to refer to such colleges and universities, but went out of style in America maybe 100 years ago. (Apparently, this term is still used in China to refer to such Teacher Colleges.)

It was commonly used in English Canada until about fifty years ago. At that time the process of educating future teachers was reformed, and the term "normal school" fell out of use.
 

NinjaTurtle

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It was commonly used in English Canada until about fifty years ago. At that time the process of educating future teachers was reformed, and the term "normal school" fell out of use.

Fascinating! I wonder if it was about that time that the usage in the States changed too.
 
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probus

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Quite probably.

US and Canadian legislation tend to mimic each other. In our case what we did was to close the normal schools and tranfer teacher training to the universities. They in turn began to offer B.Ed. and M.Ed degrees.
 

NinjaTurtle

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In Tempe, Arizona USA (near Phoenix, Arizona) a college once called Tempe Normal has now grown into Arizona State University.
 

Tdol

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It still doesn't mean much in the UK, though.
 

probus

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It still doesn't mean much in the UK, though.

Nor in America. NinjaTurtle guessed that it had faded away a hundred years ago. I corrected his estimate to fifty years. But it's of no importsnce whatsoever. Let's let it go.
 
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