Questions to Americans/Brits about language and culture

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Valoyossa
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28 Sep 2010, 8:05 am

I'm pretty sure that sometimes many of us, not native English speakers, don't know if some word/sentence is correct or not. So here's a thread for asking the natives.
English-language countries have different culture than other countries, so here's a thread to ask the questions about it.


So here are my questions:
1. When I see something in my mind, I think of it or about it?
2. What's a difference between origin, descent and ancestry?
3. Is it true that American people don't cook, but eat only in restaurants?


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dryad
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28 Sep 2010, 8:27 am

Valoyossa wrote:
So here are my questions:
1. When I see something in my mind, I think of it or about it?
2. What's a difference between origin, descent and ancestry?
3. Is it true that American people don't cook, but eat only in restaurants?


1. "about it" when the idea is already existent and you're analyzing it ("I thought about it, and..."),
"of it" when the idea has been initiated ("I just thought of it").
2. origin: beginning or source
descent: offspring (in the context of the 3 terms)
ancestry: origin of the descendant
3. False.


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Lene
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28 Sep 2010, 9:07 am

Valoyossa wrote:
1. When I see something in my mind, I think of it or about it?


In this situation, either will do. As a rule of thumb, you think about an object, and you think of a person but both are acceptable.

And as Dryad said, you think about an idea that already exists and you think of it if the thought just occured to you.

Quote:
2. What's a difference between origin, descent and ancestry?


In normal conversation I think they are both different words for the same thing (there may be a technical difference but most English speakers won't care).

Origin is a fancy term for 'is from' i.e. 'my family originated from China' vs. my family is from China'.

Descent is usually used in this context; 'I am of Chinese descent' (another way of saying my family is from China). Alternatively, you could use; 'I am descended from Chinese'.. but that sounds a little clumpy so I'd avoid that.

Ancestry is similar to descent; I am of Chinese Ancestry (posh sounding) or I have Chinese ancestry (less posh). Both just mean 'I have Chinese great-great grandparents'

Again, like the thinking of-about question, people will know what you mean so don't worry too much :). If in doubt, just say 'I'm originaly from ......... (country)'
.
(edit: ah, thought you meant the difference in language use- if it's the literal meaning of the words, then what Dryad said)

Quote:
3. Is it true that American people don't cook, but eat only in restaurants?


Never been to America so couldn't tell you. A lot of Asian countries have a tradition of lways dining out though; the food's cheap and delicious.... damn it, I'm hungry now.... but yeah, can't answer that question...



oddone
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28 Sep 2010, 9:20 am

Valoyossa wrote:
1. When I see something in my mind, I think of it or about it?

Either. If you think of it you are aware of it's existence. If you consider it's properties you are thinking about it.
Valoyossa wrote:
3. Is it true that American people don't cook, but eat only in restaurants?

American homes certainly have kitchens, but the Americans I know do seem to eat out far more often than we do.



naturalplastic
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28 Sep 2010, 10:07 am

When youre daydreaming about your girlfriend your thinking about her.

But when your agonizing about your income taxes and it suddenly pops into your mind that your girlfriend works as a tax preparer and thus can answer your tax questions if you give her a call-at that point you have though of her ( as a solution to your problem).

Like when you just mention a fact your speaking OF it. But if your conversing at length about it youre talking about it.

Ancestors and descendants are opposites.

The long gone grandparents of your grandparents are you ancestors.
The future grand kids of your grand kids (whom you will never know) in future centuries are your descendants.

So you ARE a descendant of your ancestors.
Descent and ancestory in effect are both used to mean your linneage.

Origin is simply where anything comes from ( a source). The origin of the Nile is Lake Victoria. The Origin of your family might be China.



nekowafer
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28 Sep 2010, 1:40 pm

The other questions have been answered far better than I could answer them. But as for the last question, I'm American. Born in Maryland and haven't left yet (arg!). If an American has a lot of money, they are more likely to eat in restaurants. Either they work too hard and don't have time, or they can't cook what they want, or they're lazy.

The middle-class and lower-middle-class is much more likely to make food at home. Money enough to buy decent ingredients, but not to go out all that often. For my boyfriend and me, it's a special thing to be able to go out to eat.

For the lower class, it depends. Either they go out to eat at the cheapest places (dollar menus at McDonald's, for example), or they make cheap dinners at home. Good food can be expensive. I went to a friend's in NY a few weeks ago - three 20-something guys living in a two bedroom apartment, sharing beds because of the lack of space. We ate out twice (I paid) and the rest of the time my friend made dinner. Mostly plain rice and some kind of protein.


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Dantac
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08 Dec 2010, 12:07 am

Valoyossa wrote:

So here are my questions:
1. When I see something in my mind, I think of it or about it?
2. What's a difference between origin, descent and ancestry?
3. Is it true that American people don't cook, but eat only in restaurants?

[/quote]

1. Both. 'of it' is more of an object-oriented way of saying it. 'about it' means that you are thinking in relation or about the object that is in your mind. Aka, if you think OF an apple in your mind you see an apple. If you think ABOUT an apple you do have the image of an apple in your mind but you are going a bit beyond... like about its taste, if its fresh or spoiled, etc.

2. Origin is a starting point. Descent is where you come from in family/genetic terms. Ancestry is a bit more broad and encompasses both origin and descent.

For example, your family's is origin from England but you are descended from Scandinavian stock therefore your ancestry is probably Viking.

3. Must be one very rich person to eat out all the time. Almost every I know and myself cook at home and go to restaurants only on special occassions.

Now if by restaurant you man mcdonalds or pizza any other fast food type of place... mmm well I would say people in the US do tend to buy food from those places a lot more than people in other countries do. Its part of the busy lifestyle that you dont have time to pack your own lunch before heading to work so usually one can grab a cheap hamburger during lunch break. Burger = $4, restaurant food= $15+ .. difference there :)