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Old 07-12-2009, 07:12 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Our English friends

Robin, et al:

Just watched a TV show on home buying in France, by English people.

A couple of terms confused me: lounge and reception room.

What are those? Living room? Family room? Dining room? for the first. for the second, Foyer? Entry?

Those are American names for odd rooms, so I hope you can translate for me.

They also talked about loo and ensuite bathroom; the former seemed to be just a toilet, the second a full bathroom (toilet, sinks, tub/shower, possibly a bidet).

I thought I was pretty good with Britishisms but this show was confusing.

   
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:07 AM   #2
Barrie Greed
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Robin, et al:

Just watched a TV show on home buying in France, by English people.

A couple of terms confused me: lounge and reception room.

What are those? Living room? Family room? Dining room? for the first. for the second, Foyer? Entry?

Those are American names for odd rooms, so I hope you can translate for me.

They also talked about loo and ensuite bathroom; the former seemed to be just a toilet, the second a full bathroom (toilet, sinks, tub/shower, possibly a bidet).

I thought I was pretty good with Britishisms but this show was confusing.
Seems we are still two nations separated by a common language.
Let’s start with a reception room which is any room suitable for receiving company or visitors. It would encompass both dining rooms and living rooms. It basically means any room other than a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or utility room where you can entertain visitors. In the UK housing market, houses are often defined in terms of size by the number of bedrooms plus the number of reception rooms.
A foyer or entry room would most likely be termed a hall in the UK.
A lounge is basically a living room. It is where you will find arm chairs and sofas and most likely a television. It’s the main room in which the family relax. There are folk who frown on the use of the term lounge for a room in a house suggesting it really only applies to public rooms in hotels or airports and prefer to use the term sitting room.
The family room is not a concept which has made much inroad into the UK psyche, certainly not mine. Can you differentiate between a family room and a living room?
A loo is simply a lavatory. En suite means that a bathroom is accessible directly from the bedroom. Its size and content will vary. It is likely to be smaller than a fully fledged separate family bathroom but anything is possible.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:10 AM   #3
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I would never use lounge and reception room. We have a drawing room. Some other people use sitting room. Our dining room is also my study, but if we wanted to sell the house it would be more profitable to call it bedroom 3

Loo is the proper term. Only non-U people call it a toilet. In the street there would be Gents and Ladies. There are a dozen other terms. It seems to me missleading to call it the bathroom; what on earth would by visitors want to have a bath for at this time. We do not have a half-bath, this is just the down-stairs loo. How I hate the phrase en-suite.

Two nations separated by a common language.

   
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:54 AM   #4
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I would never use lounge and reception room. We have a drawing room. Some other people use sitting room.
... and others use "living room" or "front room", even if it's out the back! Not to mention the old-fashioned "parlour" - where one talked, presumably.

Of course, "drawing room" is short for "withdrawing room", where the ladies used to go while the gents smoked, drank port, told risqué jokes, and probably did other things no polite person would repeat!

When I was a child, we had a "morning room" - a little-used reception room that had the morning sun.

Isn't English wonderful in its diversity?
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:12 AM   #5
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richard: It seems to me missleading to call it the bathroom; what on earth would by visitors want to have a bath for at this time
In the US, "bathroom" is the common term and it means a room with at least a toilet--if one is in a home, the room will generally also have a sink and a shower/bathtub but in public space (a restaurant for example) it will have at least one toilet and usually a sink but is still referred to as a "bathroom".

A "half bath" in a home will have at least a toilet and a sink but it could also have a shower stall (rather than a shower/tub combo).

I remember being on a British ship and being quite surprised to find only a bathtub behind a door marked "bathroom"--made sense to me when I thought about it but it was unexpected...'-}}

"Loo" is not used in the US to refer to a room with a toilet.

Of course there is also "WC" which is, in my experience, used outside the US (we don't use the term here) to refer to a room with a toilet...


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Old 07-13-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
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Thanks, Barry. I think in the U.S. we used to call a formal room for visitors a parlor; it was a sort of living room in which hardly any living was done.

Family room is a relatively new notion — it is really a second family living room, with TV, games, toys, maybe a fireplace, very casual. Often next to the kitchen (and perhaps including the family dining area; or not). That way the living room can skip the TV and be kept presentable room for guests without being so stiff and perfect as the older parlor used to be.

So the English reception room is still a bit murky to me. The people on the show seemed to imply there was only one of those, so I guess it was the living room.

“En suite” is gaining currency here, though most real estate agents (and let’s face it, they define many of these terms) still refer to “master suite”: a large bedroom and plenty of storage (walk-in closets fitted with hanging space, drawers, shoe racks, etc.) plus a full bathroom, in American parlance, which probably includes a shower (possibly quite large, maybe with two or three shower heads including a hand-held), as well as a tub (probably a jetted or whirlpool). It is likely to have extensive counters, usually of stone or marble, with two sinks and personal storage.

That is what you get in new construction. Older homes are retrofitted as best they can be, often by annexing a spare bedroom.

Most Americans know loo. We usually say bathroom at home, ladies’ room or restroom in a public place. (Literate ones, anyway. We learned loo from English writings and movies. That is also where I learned about kerbs (curbs), boots (luggage compartments), bonnets (hoods), lifts (elevators), lorries (trucks or semis), and so on.)

   
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:02 AM   #7
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Parlor is a common term in Northern England -- Lancashire anyway. And of course:

"Will you walk into my parlor, said the spider to the fly .... " although I don't know about "up the winding stair"

   
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:08 AM   #8
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It is interesting that you consider “loo” to be the proper term. I believe the term derives from the French “gardez l’eau” (watch out for water). But English is full of stuff from the French.

Our use of “bathroom” is odd, but seems consistent with public American usage. Probably invented by the first real estate agent needing to list the rooms in a house for sale. They are very genteel, those real estate people!

Most American bathrooms contain a tub with shower, toilet, and sink. If there is more than one room, you may find a half-bath (toilet and sink), sometimes also called a powder room, implying it is for guests. Houses today often have two or three bathrooms plus one or more half baths. And some regions use three-quarter bathroom for one with a shower but no tub.

   
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:09 AM   #9
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Parlor is a common term in Northern England -- Lancashire anyway. And of course:

"Will you walk into my parlor, said the spider to the fly .... " although I don't know about "up the winding stair"
Parlor is sort of quaint here, or affected. I like the word, myself — but I like lots of words that are sort of drifting out of use.

   
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:12 AM   #10
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Isn't English wonderful in its diversity?
Absolutely! And its flexibility. Never met a notion it could not name in one or half a dozen terms!

I know people who talk about their front rooms (basically the living room, no matter where, in fact, it has been placed). Some also refer to a den (60s-70s term) or [in-home] office, which is a space my mother would probably have called a side room.

   
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