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I don't think I've ever heard anybody call one a "service plaza".

When I used to travel the Ohio Turnpike regularly (during the 1970s), I think the places to stop were called "service plazas." At each, there was a Howard Johnson's restaurant (if my memory is correct), a filling station, and a few other ways to spend money and time.

(Is Howard Johnson's still in business?)
Maria Conlon
"roundabout" aka "traffic circle" - damfool foreign contraption somebody saw in Europe and thought it was cute...people will go dozens if not hundreds of miles out of their way to avoid using one..r

I don't understand what all the bellyaching is about. A traffic circle (roundabout) is easy. I just wish more people around here could get it through their thick skulls that they have to yield to the drivers in the circle and not the other way around. Once they understand that, they will quit complaining. I think.
Maria Conlon
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
(Is Howard Johnson's still in business?)

http://www.hojo.com/HowardJohnson/control/home
They appear to only be in the hotel business these days, though.

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >A specification which calls for
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >network-wide use of encryption, butPalo Alto, CA 94304 >invokes the Tooth Fairy to handle

(650)857-7572 > Henry Spencer

http://www.kirshenbaum.net /
"roundabout" aka "traffic circle" - damfool foreign contraption somebody saw ... of miles out of their way to avoid using one..r

I don't understand what all the bellyaching is about. A traffic circle (roundabout) is easy. I just wish more people ... in the circle and not the other way around. Once they understand that, they will quit complaining. I think.

True, but how many multi-lane roundabouts are there in the US? There's some here that merge into a single lane upon exit and they can be damn dangerous. And of course there's Chevy Chase getting stuck on the inside loop forever thing - although I can't say I've ever had that particular experience. They're also pretty stupid on major highways when intersecting with minor words, as everyone on the highway has to slow down for a road that carries no real traffic, and the few people trying to get on or across the highway are left waiting for enormous stretches of time for a gap in the traffic. I suspect they're built sometimes because they're cheaper long term to build/maintain, but who knows.
For medium-use residential streets and intersections with generally intermittent traffic flow they make a lot of sense though. It would be interesting to compare stats on accident rates at traffic lights vs roundabouts (er, that's 'Stop lights' vs 'traffic circles'...I think...).
Dylan
"roundabout" aka "traffic circle" - damfool foreign contraption somebody saw ... of miles out of their way to avoid using one..r

I don't understand what all the bellyaching is about. A traffic circle (roundabout) is easy. I just wish more people ... in the circle and not the other way around. Once they understand that, they will quit complaining. I think.

They're very dangerous for pedestrians and kids on bikes trying to get across them. Few of them in the Melbourne area have any provision for foot traffic. A busy one near where I live, where two major roads meet, has a shocking fatality rate all pedestrians and kids on bikes.
Michael West
Melbourne, Australia
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I've really enjoyed reading AUE and the other couple of groups I've looked at over the last six months and ... English are far more familiar with AmE than the other way round, given the amount of US-sourced media we see.

That's very possible, though there are some Americans who travel abroad extensively, and thus, know more about the world than the rest of us over here. They also encounter more versions of English.
..At the tender age of 45 I'm finally going to be visiting the US for the first time in the autumn.

May I ask where you'll be visiting? What state(s) or area(s)?
I'm looking forward to finding out where you stop to get petrol

Usually at a place called a "gas station." (Also, sometimes, called a "filling station.")
...on the motorway... er.. gas on the... um...

Highway, freeway, expressway, turnpike, Interstate, road...
...so is a 'freeway' the same as an 'interstate' or does it have to cross a state line to be one?

An "Interstate" may be called a "freeway" or a "highway." Often, it's just called an Interstate, or called by it's number "I-94," for instance. It doesn't have to cross a state line (though usually does). The "Interstate System" has specially numbered highways and distinctly colored/shaped signs. The numbers are all prefixed by the letter I.

Non-Interstate "freeways" (1) have no tolls and (2) generally allow higher speeds than other roads. A freeway may also be called an expressway.
A "turnpike" has a toll. The posted speed limits are usually relatively fast.
A "highway" can be an Interstate or a "main" road, on which higher (than city) speeds are allowed. However, some "highways" are named that only because they started out as a highway a hundred years ago. So, always watch (and obey) the speed limit signs. (I used to live near "Vernor Highway" in Detroit. It wasn't a highway for it's full length just for a small part.)

I do hope you enjoy your stay in the US. As someone said, the people here are friendly. While there may be exceptions, they are exceptions.

Anyway, once the people you encounter hear your English accent (presuming you have one), you will probably be treated like royalty, or like a long-lost friend.
Maria Conlon, Southeast Michigan, USA.
Robert Bannister wrote on 07 Jun 2004:
Sometimes, though, I'm shocked at what some of the students ... me that they'd never share with their friends or parents

Not sure whether we're still on topic, but this phenomenon is normal with (some) teachers. I've had sweet, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-their-mouths, 12 ... personal stuff. A question of trust, I think, since it happened to me long before I started to look grandfatherly.

To everyone at my uinversity, I've always been Santa Claus. I've been teching here for the past 7 years, and my beard has been white since then.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Surely you realise that it's those of us who are most seriously flawed who seek consolation in coming top in quizzes? And bragging about it.

Sorry, that just adds modesty to the list of your virtues.

No need to apologise for drawing attention to my virtues.

(In our family, a common put-down is "Mind your halo doesn't slip and choke you." Another favourite is "Your generosity exceeds your beauty.")

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Django Cat typed thus:

I've worked at various times in Greece, Belgium and Italy. ... really any surprises. I'm hoping to find American agreeably foreign.

I spent one night in Trento, on the way to Venice one year.

Being two hours from Venice by train was one of the area's many attractions.
Tokyo only seemed foreign to the extent that it felt like Manhattan. I suspect rural Japan would be more different.

Just finished reading Canal Dreams by Iain Banks. Rural Japan sounds interesting.
If you are not going for long, and not living with Americans, and not travelling outside the big cities or tourist areas, you will probably find the USA not to be very foreign either.

I'm not sure. I think those of us who haven't been have a tendency to believe we know all about the US from watching endless movies and TV, but I suspect the lack of knowledge is goes equally both ways; watch this space.
Cheers
DC
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