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LoLo
Now if I were to do this silly thread properly I would put pictures up of random people and see if people could figure out who was from where, but all I really want is to have my curiosity somewhat quenched.

So here's the back story. The two times I went to England I noticed that the people around me would often start talking about America and Americans. I would guess that it would happen because of my accent, if I were talking, but I was self conscious of my accent and I like to listen in on what people are talking about because it's entertaining, so a lot of those times I wasn't even talking. When I was there for Cand and Moop's wedding I pointed this out to Cand and asked her if she thought people could tell we were Americans simply by looking at us.

So do you think people can tell who is American simply by looking at them or is there just a preoccupation by others with America and I just happened to notice it in their conversational topics?

Oh and if anyone is so inclined for entertainment value and making this thread truly daft, perhaps it would be fun to post pictures of various people and see if people can pick where they are from.
Yannick
Haha, I used to play this thing we called the Tourist Game when I was like 12. Basically, me and a few friends would head down to I-Drive (touristy street with Wet N Wild, near Universal and IOA, has Wonderworks, Sky Venture, etc.), buy some smoothies, find a nice seat, and bet on who was from where. (And then find out by telling them it had to do with some school project about tourism and the economy.)

I don't know about Americans, but man can you tell when someone's British. tongue.gif
Mata
Sometimes, but it's usually much easier when people are travelling in packs. I could usually tell the nationality of tourists in Winchester way before they got into hearing range. I found French and Italian tourists the easiest to spot. German groups were more tricky, sometimes they disguised themselves as being French, but usually you could spot them.

One universal thing about European countries: their children always seem to be wearing the fashions that are two decades out of date in the UK.
Phyllis
Sometimes. I don't really expect to meet other people from the US in Derby, so I'm always surprised when I hear someone with an accent like mine. Ste has a friend from work who I think looks very American -- specifically Californian. He's English, though. As Mata says, it's easier to guess the nationalities of people when they are travelling in packs. It's also a lot easier for me to spot people from the US who are middle aged. I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but something about the way they dress and carry themselves just screams American.

I've been mistaken for Australian, Irish, and Canadian, and that was after I'd said something. The Canadian thing is an easy mistake to make, of course, but Australian and Irish?!
Daria
I love the people game! I used to play it when I lived in Paris. As a result of having no one to play it with I now have a notebook of copious yet creepy notes on people.
As far as stereotypical tourists, I guess I could probably tell them apart without hearing them. There are always some that buck the trend, though.
As for people looking like they're American- when I was in New York, it was interesting to be surrounded by people who seemed slightly not right. Like, you'd see something in your periphiral vision and go "what?". I realised that it was just the clothes they were wearing- they were similar to what I was used to in London, but just that much different to seem weird.
Mata
William Gibson calls that the mirror world - like you've stepped through a mirror and everything is familiar but slightly wrong. He wrote about it from the American-coming-to-the-UK perspective, so all the plugs seemed too big, the coins seemed chunkier, etc.
voices_in_my_head
Can I tell when someone's from a different country? Sometimes.
There are slight differences in the way people carry themselves and the way they dress.

While I'll only occasionally spot someone very obviously from another country, I'll usually guess correctly about who's not "from 'round these here parts" tongue.gif
How?
It's a lot to do with culture - For example, my friends and I have a game where we spot out-of-staters by their driving style. In Texas, and in most southern places, politeness is extremely prevelant when driving. People will wave to you as they pass, they'll let a few extra cars go, and will pull off to the side of the road a little bit before their turn so other cars behind them don't have to slow down, too. Of course, those things don't apply to all southerners, but to most, it seems to fit.
Also, there's the way they carry themselves. If a person is unfamiliar to an area, they're more likely to have less confidence in their walk and gestures, and will rarely look others in the eyes when talking.

Like I said, this doesn't apply 100% of the time, it's just a general observation.
gothictheysay
QUOTE
In Texas, and in most southern places, politeness is extremely prevelant when driving. People will wave to you as they pass, they'll let a few extra cars go, and will pull off to the side of the road a little bit before their turn so other cars behind them don't have to slow down, too. Of course, those things don't apply to all southerners, but to most, it seems to fit.


Can I import this one thing from Texas up to New England/New Jersey area? People are not nice drivers. At all. Also, do you know if the same holds true in cities? I'm just curious... I was sort of under the impression that driving in any city is a guarantee of an encounter with rude drivers.
LoLo
QUOTE (voices_in_my_head @ May 19 2009, 02:37 PM) *
In Texas, and in most southern places, politeness is extremely prevelant when driving. People will wave to you as they pass, they'll let a few extra cars go, and will pull off to the side of the road a little bit before their turn so other cars behind them don't have to slow down, too. Of course, those things don't apply to all southerners, but to most, it seems to fit.


My own personal experience with driving in Texas would be opposite to that, though I will say I've only driven across the panhandle on my way back to California from Tennessee, so my Texas driving experience is not that vast. I felt like I was going to die and it would be because two semis had decided to make me into a semi and car sandwich.

I did notice in Tennessee though the waving thing. Mostly it was between drivers of the same type of vehicles ie when I was in my ex boyfriends jeep, jeep drivers would wave at him. I've only noticed that in California when I was driving my brother's Mini.

Where I'm at in California, people are so diverse the only way I can tell they are not from here is if they have an accent, or if they ask me directions. I feel sorry for anyone who does though, because I get people lost trying to explain how to get across the street.

/babbling
Yannick
Voices, heh, not in Florida. Though, when we were driving through Alabama a while back, there were these teenage guys in a car blasting Guns n' Roses, and I started singing, and they noticed, waved, said hi, and were really cool.
gothictheysay
QUOTE
I felt like I was going to die and it would be because two semis had decided to make me into a semi and car sandwich.


This happened to me getting on the New Jersey turnpike. I was sobbing because one semi was trying to switch lanes, therefore almost hitting the semi behind me. I then watched them argue, because the one behind me got out of his truck, and the other guy slam his door shut after a while as the other guy tried to tug it back open. I let the guy behind of me pull ahead of me, but after the other guy was out of the way he told me to go in front of him (since I had pulled over to the side) and this meant driving over cones, which meant the thing under my wheel well came off, I had to go through the EZPass lane and therefore didn't have a ticket to pay the toll later, and basically had a panic attack in my car.

That trip kind of sucked. Not to mention the traffic before and after that little interchange!
voices_in_my_head
Lolo: Semis really aren't a good way to judge driving in Texas, mostly because the drivers are from out of state most of the time, but also because, let's face it: when's the last time you saw someone driving a semi and thought they were doing an excellent job? tongue.gif
Of course, like I said, it doesn't apply to all people all of the time. It might just be my perception.

As for big cities - it depends. I recall the traffic in Houston being HORRIBLE to drive in, but in several other big cities (Dallas being the first to come to mind) it wasn't that bad at all.

ANYWAY. I think I made us get a bit off topic. tongue.gif
LoLo
Like I said I really don't have much experience driving in Texas.

And if we got off topic, oh well, it's just a silly thread anyway.
Sir Psycho Sexy
It can be pretty easy. Little things like clothing, hair styles and the like can be very telling. People watching can be quite entertaining. tongue.gif
Phyllis
I was thinking about this thread when I was grocery shopping earlier. I think that if the accents were taken away, it would be very easy to spot the British people based on how many times per hour they say the word "sorry." I wonder if that is part of what makes the uber-polite stereotype persist. Hmmmm.

QUOTE
In Texas, and in most southern places, politeness is extremely prevelant when driving. People will wave to you as they pass, they'll let a few extra cars go, and will pull off to the side of the road a little bit before their turn so other cars behind them don't have to slow down, too. Of course, those things don't apply to all southerners, but to most, it seems to fit.

I think that's kind of a rural thing. It's like that where I'm from in Oregon, too.
Smiler
Bum bags / fanny packs! Eveyr American abroad wears them wink.gif

I've long held that you can, to a point. You can see a lot of ancestry in certain people, although as a melting pot America makes it more difficult to finger someone as an American.
gothictheysay
Oh god, no, no fanny packs for me please. That's horrifying. Someone access the quotesite and pull up syuu's quote about those. People, we need to diminish this STAT.
LoLo
QUOTE (Smiler @ May 22 2009, 01:30 AM) *
I've long held that you can, to a point. You can see a lot of ancestry in certain people, although as a melting pot America makes it more difficult to finger someone as an American.


See that's part of what confused me there...

When I was out and about I was seeing a lot of my features over there. For example, my nose. My family is weird and has praised the shape of my nose since I was a child, and it's a rare thing to see someone who has one similar to mine, but when I was out there I saw noses similar to mine everywhere. I figured the majority of my features came from my English ancestors, so when it seemed like people could just tell I was American, it was intriguing.

That and I don't wear a fanny or bum pack. I only had a purse on there because I needed a place to put my camera. Perhaps that's what gave it away. haha
Daria
I get told I look (in the face) German/ Russian/ Hungarian. I'm as English as far as the eye (and family tree) can see- mostly from one part of England, too, so I'm pretty sure it's more of a style rather than facial features when it comes to recognising Americans/ British etc.
Phyllis
Pop quiz! Half of the following images are taken from news sites here in the UK, and half are taken from news sites in the US. How many of you can correctly guess who is from the US and who is from the UK? I tried to take them from boring local interest stories, but a few more well-known ones might have found their way in.

1. Link
2. Link
3. Link
4. Link
5. Link
6. Link
7. Link
8. Link
9. Link
10. Link
11. Link
12. Link
Daria
My guessin' is:
1 - US
2 - UK
3 - UK
4 - US
5 - Unsure, but UK?
6 - US
7 - UK
8 - US
9 - US
10 - UK?
11 - US
12 - US
Yannick
My guesses:
1. US
2. UK?
3. UK
4. UK
5. US
6. ...US? (Nutella!!!)
7. US
8. US
9. UK
10. UK
11. US?
12. US
Phyllis
QUOTE (Yannick @ May 22 2009, 06:06 PM) *
(Nutella!!!)

Haha, I didn't even see the jar of Nutella in the background! It is available in the UK as well. tongue.gif (That's not a hint either way, just stating a fact)

Iiiiinteresting. I will grade everyone's quizzes after a couple of days. Some of you may need to see me after class. *stern look*
mooooooooooopo
1. US
2. UK
3. UK
4. US
5. UK
6. UK
7. UK
8. US
9. US
10. US
11. US
12. UK
LoLo
1 - UK
2 - US
3 - UK
4 - UK
5 - US
6 - US
7 - UK
8 - US
9 - UK
10 - US
11 - US
12 - UK

By the way....Cand you rock.
Moosh
1. US
2. UK
3. UK
4. US
5. UK
6. US
7. UK
8. UK
9. US
10. US
11. UK
12. US

I wanted to say UK for about 9 of them, but I whittled it down to 6.
voices_in_my_head
1. US
2. Uk
3. uk
4. uk
5. uk
6. us
7. us
8. uk
9. uk
10.uk
11.uk
12.us

I just put down the first thought that came to mind for them, I didn't bother studying closely. smile.gif
Phyllis
Okay! I have all of your quizzes graded.

Daria: A-. Well done, you're at the top of the class! You get a gold star.
Izzy: F. Tsk. To get some extra credit and bring your grade up to a C you may volunteer at the Creation Museum. tongue.gif
moop: D. Honestly! You live with an American! For extra credit please see me after class. wink.gif
Lo: F. Disappointing. For extra credit you may write "Jason > Kiefer" 1000 times. Alternatively, I would also accept an essay on the wonders of Jason Patric's fluffy mullet.
Moosh: B. Acceptable. You get a silver star.
Voices: D. Shocking. For extra credit you may participate in NaNoWriMo with me again this year.

Now for the answers!

1. US. I thought the bald guy in the background was the one who gave this picture away. He looks pretty American to me.
2. UK. It's pretty easy to tell if you look at his ice cream cone -- it has a Cadbury Flake in it. I don't think I've ever seen that done in the US.
3. UK. Everyone got this one right!
4. US. I thought this lady could go either way, which seems to be pretty accurate as half got it right and half got it wrong.
5. UK. This was my "SO OBVIOUS" UK choice. I thought the scarf gave it away.
6. US. I thought her face looked quite British, but I suspect her surroundings/style of dress gave her away.
7. UK. I don't really have anything to say about this guy -- I just chose him because it seemed like all of my other UK picks were female.
8. US. The two younger people look very American to me. I think it's mostly the guy -- I just can't picture him speaking with a non-US accent.
9. US. All of the US photos are from my home state's biggest paper, by the way. This lady looks very Oregonian to me. I'm not sure how to describe it -- she just does.
10. UK. I thought this one was tricky. The mother looks a bit American. Of course, I might just think that because she looks uncannily like a friend of mine from high school.
11. UK. Even trickier! I thought this lady looked very American. She's the first person in Europe to have one of her kidneys removed through her bellybutton, in case you were curious.
12. US. Very obvious, I think. The hat really gives it away.
Daria
I'm pretty pleased with 11/12 happy.gif
I guess then, I should say: YES. I can tell who is American by just looking at them biggrin.gif
LoLo
QUOTE (candice @ May 26 2009, 07:46 AM) *
Lo: F. Disappointing. For extra credit you may write "Jason > Kiefer" 1000 times. Alternatively, I would also accept an essay on the wonders of Jason Patric's fluffy mullet.


I'm fine with an F. On the Kiefer > Jason issue I know I am very correct!
Moosh
Huzzah, 10/12! Looking back at the ones I got wrong, they now seem obvious.
CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane
I did it just now and got 6/12. I guess that answers the thread title!
LoLo
I thought I'd do round 2:

1. link
2. link
3. link
4. link
5. link
6. link
7. link
8. link
9. link
10. link
11. link
12. link
Daria
1. US
2. UK
3. US even though Paddington is in it?
4. UK
5. UK
6. US - not because he's fat, but because of that moustache!
7. ARG! Either a UK in Spain or a US. I think I'll go for US
8. US
9. US
10. US
11. UK
12. UK

I feel amusingly nervous about finding out about these! Once could be luck biggrin.gif
elphaba2
1. UK
2. UK
3. US
4. UK
5. UK
6. US
7. US
8. US
9. US
10. US
11. UK
12. UK

Oh dear, that was more than 90% guesswork. I'm pretty good usually at guessing where people's families are from (Scots/German/Polynesian ancestry or whatnot) but god-awful at guessing somebody's NATIONALITY unless I'm talking to them. Even white Brits, who I tend to think are of a more close-knit genetic pool than white Americans, can be tough.

I like to think Americans are trickier to pick out...whenever I travel I get mistaken for something else. I've gotten French, Russian, Polish--even Venezualan! After speaking to me, most people settle on Canadian or, for whatever reason, Californian. Except my family's strictly Celtic and I've only ever lived on the Eastern Seaboard. Maybe part of it is that most Americans don't travel internationally a whole lot (80% of us have passports, 20% use them!) so a white anglo without a British accent is more likely to be Canadian. Ideally, this mix-up cannot be attributed to the Canadian vowels that have snuck their damn way into my speech.
Yannick
QUOTE (candice @ May 26 2009, 10:46 AM) *
Izzy: F. Tsk. To get some extra credit and bring your grade up to a C you may volunteer at the Creation Museum. tongue.gif

I would rather fail. tongue.gif

Will do round two when I get home.
gothictheysay
We had fun with your quiz candice! We got 6/12! Harder than I thought.
Phyllis
1. US
2. UK
3. UK
4. UK. Lordy, check out those eyebrows!
5. US
6. US
7. UK
8. US. Why is he so angry with that pencil?
9. US
10. US
11. UK
12. UK. Hahahaha, that is a good one.

Izzy I will see you in detention. Lo, you may avoid detention by not forcing me to say Kiefer > Jason if I fail this!
CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane
1. US
2. US
3. UK
4. UK
5. UK
6. US
7. UK
8. US
9. UK
10. US
11. UK
12. UK
Moosh
Lolo's quiz is harder

1. UK
2. US
3. US
4. UK
5. US
6. US
7. UK
8. UK
9. US
10. US
11. UK
12. UK
snooodlysnoosnoosnoodle
On Lo's number 8 I would go with US purely because I have never known it be ok to do a UK exam in pencil.

I am really bad at this though, I was at Warwick castle and there was a family and each of them was wearing at least one thing with the word "Canada" on it, I spent ages trying to overhear their accents because I was trying to figure out if they were British and had recently been to Canada or Canadians who were excessively proud to be so (it was the latter). There was also a guy with a heavy Texas accent who was wearing a stetson, checked shirt, jeans and cowboy boots (and his wife was wearing all but the hat to match) and I really had to giggle at how stereotypical they looked, no bumbag though.
Daria
QUOTE (snoo @ May 26 2009, 10:28 PM) *
On Lo's number 8 I would go with US purely because I have never known it be ok to do a UK exam in pencil.

Today I took an exam and was only allowed to use a pencil! tongue.gif It was a 100 multiple choice paper, too. I hate them.
Yannick
QUOTE (candice @ May 26 2009, 04:17 PM) *
Izzy I will see you in detention.

For what?! Quiz failing and refusing to do extra credit?! I decline your invitation and instead urge you to be fired. tongue.gif

But if they don't fire you, I just want you to know that you're still my favorite teacher. ph34r.gif

1. US
2. UK
3. UK
4. UK
5. UK
6. US
7. ..A tan UK person? US
8. US..?
9. Definitely US
10. US
11. UK
12. UK
LoLo
1 - US
2 - US
3 - UK
4 - UK - This was actually a student model
5 - US
6 - UK - No one got this right! He was from the UK, some dude who rolled over on his wife and smothered her.
7 - UK - I took that one from a personal add. I thought her style was very Cali-ish, but her face looked UK to me
8 - US - cand he's mad at the pencil because he's taking his SATs
9 - US
10 - US
11 - UK
12 - UK - apparently the last 4 were really apparent, and I love this guys face

Daria
7/12 F+

Elphaba
6/12 F

Candice
10/12 B-

Crazymat
9/12 C

Cheesemoose
8/12 D+

Izzy
8/12 D+

For this quiz I just googled newspapers from various States and the UK, then tried to find ones that were from smallish sounding towns and yanked pics out of their community news sections.
Daria
Hahaha. So it was luck!
mooooooooooopo
I would have done the test but I saw most of the answers scrolling down.

QUOTE (snoo @ May 26 2009, 10:28 PM) *
On Lo's number 8 I would go with US purely because I have never known it be ok to do a UK exam in pencil.
On multiple choice computer marked tests (OMR) you're generally encouraged to use pencil to allow you to change your answers if necessary. Since the answer has to go in a specific box you can't just cross it out and scrawl the answer in the margin like I've been guilty of on so many tests where the question and answer paper was combined.
Greeneyes
I am unsure about Americans, but the Polish people I live with are able to categorise Europeans by country damn near perfectly just by looking at them. Other continental friends have also mentioned that they are able to see differences, but this is something I seem to lack. Said people are very well travelled and diverse in the languages they speak, so I think that perhaps it just an exposure to many cultures thing. For my part, I can only recognise Americans by their accents, and half the time I can't even distinguish between them and Canadians.
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