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I think you're overestimating your own communication skills.

Probably. I just assumed that the Pondian difference, along with the household implication, would make it fairly clear as to which meaning of "counter" was intended.[/nq]I think there was a problem in that 'domestically' is not automatically taken as a household reference. Given the USAn tendency for blood-curdling oaths promising to defend the Constitution 'against all enemies domestic and foreign' and stuff like that, I believe it rash to assume that 'domestically' constitutes a 'household implication' all by itself. And when you said "I know that the word "counter", when used domestically, is predominantly a North American English term (I.e.

both U.S. American and Canadian), but I am wondering how far it has encroached on English English." was it not apparent that a brief definition of which meaning of 'counter' you intended would forestalled any misunderstanding? Especially since you were apparently starting from the point of view that 'counter' in your intended sense was little known over here, it seems strange not to give us a clue.
John Dean
Oxford
(Snip)
Especially since you were apparently starting from the point of view that 'counter' in your intended sense was little known over here, it seems strange not to give us a clue.

Oh, I don't think it's little known over here. In fact, I think it's very well known over here, thanks (do I really mean "thanks"?) to the preponderance of foreign sitcoms, soaps, lattes, and the like. I was asking about its use in England.
I don't blink an eye when I hear a USian use the term on TV; when I hear an English person use it, my ears *** up and my mind begins to wonder about the provenance of that particular instance. (But then, I'm just nosey!)

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(Snip)

Especially since you were apparently starting from the point of ... here, it seems strange not to give us a clue.

Oh, I don't think it's little known over here. In fact, I think it's very well known over here, thanks ... *** up and my mind begins to wonder about the provenance of that particular instance. (But then, I'm just nosey!)

When I was a small child (early fifties) my father built a counter in our kitchen in the north of England; having built it, he got to say what it was called. I don't know where he got the idea (or the word) from - no-one else we knew had one. This was before we had TV, so no American programmes. He spent some time in the US during the war (Air Force training) but I don't think he got to spend time in American people's houses. Too late to ask him now.

Don Aitken
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Don Aitken typed thus:
(Snip) Oh, I don't think it's little known over here. ... provenance of that particular instance. (But then, I'm just nosey!)

When I was a small child (early fifties) my father built a counter in our kitchen in the north of ... training) but I don't think he got to spend time in American people's houses. Too late to ask him now.

1950s shops had narrow flat surfaces to separate the customer from the shopkeeper and the goods - these were surely called counters.

David
==
Donna Richoux:
Did we ever come up with a name for mistakes like anachronisms but in geography?

"David":
I don't know. I was wondering about it in the bath the other night.

I posted this on April 27, 2003:
"Anatopism" is given in some dictionaries. The OED1 lists it as rare.

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Donna Richoux: "David":

I don't know. I was wondering about it in the bath the other night.

And I didn't get a wink of sleep..
I posted this on April 27, 2003:

"Anatopism" is given in some dictionaries. The OED1 lists it as rare.

Not having looked it up in the Oxford, I had considered this by analogy with anachronism, of course, but as the "ana" element in anachronism means "back(ward)", I had dismissed it. The "ana in analogy means "according to" which also wouldn't do; and I failed to find a meaning for "ana" which would be useful in this case.
"Dystopism" might be a good choice had not Dystopia been used as the opposite of Utopia.

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Donna Richoux: "David":

And I didn't get a wink of sleep..

You were tiddly, eh? (to get back on topic ;-)

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1950s shops had narrow flat surfaces to separate the customer from the shopkeeper and the goods - these were surely called counters.

Just so, and I think I (as a speaker of London-UK English) would only use the word "counter" for a surface in a house if there was open space both sides of it - not for a work-surface against a wall. But that might well just my personal idiom.

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No - just a bit of courtesy - a quote of the relevant passage in the book might be appropriate.

"Sonia laid the pen down on the counter, where it gleamed smugly in the rain-darkened room. For a minute she stood looking at it. Then she filled the powder container and switched on the machine." Bottom of the antepenultimate page of cap. 5.

I would probably call this surface a "worktop" but I have come across counters in combined kitchen-dining rooms where the kitchen part is separated from the dining room by what I would call a counter on which dishes can be placed as they are being passed from the cooker to teh dining table or at which one can eqat breakfast perched on a stool.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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