Velvet Mace (velvet_mace) wrote in sh_britglish,
Velvet Mace

Britpick reference guide post-o-doom School and relationships

So in an attempt not to fall on my face while coming up with basic ideas, there are some things I've noticed about British culture that is markedly different from American culture. And I'm hoping to get a better handle on it not just the lexicon, but the feel behind the words.


Friend vs Colleague vs Mate: John goes out of his way not to be labeled as Sherlock's "Friend" which strikes me as being very odd, because here in the States being someone's "friend" is about as safe and generic as you can get. We use "friend" to mean anyone from fairly distant acquaintance to best buds. Am I reading right that "friend" when it is guy to guy is also interpreted as being "romantic interest?" Is it the same girl to girl? Or girl to guy?

"Colleague" is much more specific in the US: It means co-worker or intellectual peer. And I suppose John can use that word in the American way, since he is working on a case with Sherlock, but it seems strange since his field is medicine and military and Sherlock's is being a detective and scientist. Does Colleague have a different connotation in Britain?

Why doesn't either Sherlock and John use the word "mate"? Is it because they aren't friendly enough yet? Or is it simply too informal? Or does that word have connotations I don't know about?


In the US we have a number of options for enrichment, or schooling, from basically birth on, what I need is the equivalent terminology or what is done differently in Britain:

Years 0-2: In the US the options are specific baby-and-me classes in anything from yoga to swimming, Gymboree (which is basically an indoor play place, with teachers telling parents how to play with their babies) Other forms of indoor pay-to-attend playplaces and parenting classes. If there is something seriously wrong with the kid there's also Early Intervention, run by the public schools as part of their Special Education. And there is always daycare. With the exception of daycare and Early Intervention, parents are expected to be their with their kids.

What are the options in Britain? What do parents do with their wee tots.

Years 3-5: Pre-school/pre-k (usually only 4-5). Learning colors, alphabet, shapes, how to line up, wash hands, participate in groups. Must be potty-trained. Early Intervention preschool for kids with severe delays, autism the like. Tiny classes and lots of parent "volunteering".

Years 5-6: Kindergarten: prereading, social skills training, writing, drawing, learning numbers.

Years 6-12: Gradeschool or elementary school, labeled grade 1, grade 2 etc to grade 6.

Years 11-14: Middle school (some middle schools include grade 6, others just grade 7 and 8) or Junior high (grades 7, 8, and 9). Kids are segregated in a separate school to protect the younger kids and to protect them from the older kids. And a miserable time was had by all because these kids are obnoxious.

Years 14-18: High school. 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. Aka: Freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. More class rivalry, more expectations of maturity, more freedom to come and go. Many schools allow kids to drop out at 16. Many kids just drop out anyway. Some smart kids graduate early

For those who don't graduate or want to skip ahead to college early there is the option of the GED which is a long series of tests that checks to see if you know enough to pass high school. This can be taken by anyone at any age and is considered by most to be the equivalent of a high school diploma.

Emancipated minor: A person under 18 who has gone to court for the right to make decisions as an adult, usually helpful when going off to college when you are very young or have crappy parents.

Adults: (again I'm asking for how the British options are different).

Junior college or Community college: Where you go if you barely passed high school or the GED usually gives you a 2 year course in the stuff you should have learned in high school but didn't. Some have more advanced courses and give out bachlors degrees, but they are generally pretty limited.

College: Usually a smaller school with a specialty in certain areas. Like agriculture or arts. Few classes are offered outside of those areas.

University: Made up of several colleges, it has a wide range of degree options.

Institute: Concentrates on technology or engineering generally. Often a trade school, unless you are talking MIT.

Non-traditional student: Someone who goes back to school after working for years.

Like I said, I'm trying to wrap my head around the differences between these cultural matters, so any discussions on what things are like in Britain is helpful. The more information I know, the better I can write.
Tags: meta, topic: child care, topic: language, topic: school
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