Additional Telephone Conversations
Дополнительные телефонные разговоры
Renting a House (Anglo-American Misunderstandings)
The telephone rings in a house in the London suburb of Twickenham.
ANAMERICAN VOICE: Good morning. Is this Mrs. Jones? (1)
MRS. JONES: (rather puzzled) I'm Mrs. Jones.
AMERICAN: Oh, fine. I'm Drusilla Applebee, and I'm calling (2) about your house you advertised to rent (3) for the summer months.
MRS. JONES: (still rather puzzled) Why yes, when are you going to call?
MRS. APPLEBEE: I mean I'm calling you about it right now. (4) We're a large family and your house sounded the sort of place we need for July, August and September.
MRS. JONES: Oh, yes, of course. How many are you in your family?
MRS. APPLEBEE: Six, so we hope you have plenty of closets. (5)
MRS. JONES: Er - oh, you mean what we call cupboards! Yes, we've got plenty of those. And lots of chests of drawers too.
MRS. APPLEBEE: Chests of drawers...?
MRS. JONES: Oh, I should have remembered - the American term is dresser, isn't it?
SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR: (in strong American voice) Are you through?
MRS. JONES: Oh, yes, I'm through.
MRS. APPLEBEE: (simultaneously) No, no, we're not through yet. I'm speaking from my husband's office and they're all Americans here. Gosh, (6) I'd no idea the British were so different about languages. What do you mean when you say you are through? We mean we're finished with the call.
MRS. JONES: Oh dear, we mean we've been "put through", we're connected! Perhaps you'd like to come and see the house and then we needn't misunderstand each other quite so much.
MRS. APPLEBEE: I should love to see your house, but I've no car right now. Can I get to you easily some other way? I'm in Church Street.
MRS. JONES: You can take a 27 bus to the Twickenham roundabout, then use the subway right there...
MRS. APPLEBEE: Excuse me, I didn't know the subway went to Twickenham.
MRS. JONES: Oh, of course, my fault. The underground doesn't go to Twickenham. I just meant when you get off the bus you take the passage under the road and when you come up the other side our house is at the end of Aldridge Avenue, opposite. How soon would you like to come?
MRS. APPLEBEE: Is three o'clock today OK?
MRS. JONES: Fine, I'll expect you.
- Is this Mrs. Jones? - Americans usually begin a telephone call by asking, "Is this...?" whereas the English ask, "Is that...?"
- to call - in British English more often means to come in person, though it can have the sense of "calling up" or "ringing up" on the telephone, which is always the American meaning.
- to rent - houses in England are usually said to be "to let". The distinction is that you let your house to someone, but you rent a house from someone.
- right now - an English person would probably just say "now" or "at the moment"
- closet - is rarely used in England and would generally be taken to refer to water-closet.
- Gosh! - an exclamation of extreme surprise