BE: Pram or baby buggy?

Joelline

Senior Member
American English
It's a slow night, and I've been saving this one for such an occasion!

I often watch BBC-America. What I've noticed more and more is Brits mixing what I think of as BE words with the equivalent AE words within a short period of time. For example, on "Cash in the Attic," a wife said she wanted to raise money to buy a "baby buggy." Within a 10 minute period, the wife then called it a "pram," the moderator called it a "baby buggy," and the evaluator called it a "pram"! I've heard the same thing happen with "flat" and "appartment." Hmmm! What's going on? How common is this?

By the way, the shows are created in the UK for UK audiences first and then shown in the US, so it's not an attempt to blend term for the Yanks.

<<Thread split.
Those wishing to discuss flats, appartments and other residential nouns, please see the other thread - flat or appartment.

Panjandrum
(Moderator)>>
 
  • ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Joelline said:
    It's a slow night, and I've been saving this one for such an occasion!

    I often watch BBC-America. What I've noticed more and more is Brits mixing what I think of as BE words with the equivalent AE words within a short period of time. For example, on "Cash in the Attic," a wife said she wanted to raise money to buy a "baby buggy." Within a 10 minute period, the wife then called it a "pram," the moderator called it a "baby buggy," and the evaluator called it a "pram"! I've heard the same thing happen with "flat" and "appartment." Hmmm! What's going on? How common is this?

    By the way, the shows are created in the UK for UK audiences first and then shown in the US, so it's not an attempt to blend term for the Yanks.
    Interestingly, we discussed "pram" on a thread just the other day on English-French and the Americans (I for one) suggested "baby-carriage" and finally agreed that in the US "stroller" is now the current word. "Pram" was mentioned as usual BE, but no one mentioned "baby-buggy," as I recall (although I do remember hearing it from older people in my youth - which puts it about 80 to 100 years back as commonly used). One U.S. participants even said that she usually said: I'm going to take my baby out on a stroll." Somehow, although I didn't mention it - not wishing to add to the confusion of the French speaker - I don't think that one is going to catch on too fast in BE!!

    But I think what is happening is that with the circulation of television programs and the habit most everyone has developed of watching at least for a couple of hours (here in the U.S. often much longer) a day, and, further, with so much internet chat allowing English speakers from all over to meet and converse with each other, people are adopting words or phrases that they enjoy saying or using, no matter where they come from.

    Just now, in the U.S., we have the strange case of the insurance company GEICO (which stood originally for Government Employees Insurance Company, but started insuring everyone about 10 years ago, and is now run by Warren Buffet). For years, it has been featuring a talking GECKO (the company actually pronounces its name GUY-CO, but, before its ads, lots of people pronounced it GECKO, which kind of put a damper on buying insurance from it) on its ads. The GECKO has spoken AE for years. Now, however, the company (which sells principally auto insurance, and ONLY in the U.S.) is featuring ads with its talking GECKO speaking with a DISTINCT and PURPOSELY DISTINCT AUSTRALIAN ACCENT!! No one is exactly sure why, but I personally suppose that the company would like to start doing business in Australia, but is having some trouble with the GECKO, as the GOLDEN GECKO is an award giving out for environmental protection in Western Australia.

    Now, the funny thing about this is, that these adds (which are really quite clever) are ENORMOUSLY popular. My brother, who speaks only English and generally has little patience with those with "foreign" accents, was reciting parts of one to me at the dinner table last time I saw him! Of course, Americans generally tend to like Australians, and, therefore, like their accents the best of all non-American accents in English. Most Americans prefer an Aussie accent to a Canadian one (well, intimacy breeds contempt, no doubt, in many cases and on both sides!). But the phenom is getting quite common.

    However, while I have noted some word migrations, what I have not noted is a tendency to pronounce those words the way they are pronounced in the other English speaking country - unless the thing doesn't exist in the U.S. In the GEICO ads, the gecko refers to "free pie an' chips" made special for you (you have to get a rate quote from GEICO, not through an agency). Since "pie" to be eaten with "chips" does not exist in the U.S., people have started asking why!

    Most of them do seem to know, however, that the "chips" referred to are not our "chips" but what we call "French fries". They know this because they know what "fish and chips" are, even though, in general, we don't have those either!!

    All I can say is: HOT DOG!!
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Joelline said:
    It's a slow night, and I've been saving this one for such an occasion!

    I often watch BBC-America. What I've noticed more and more is Brits mixing what I think of as BE words with the equivalent AE words within a short period of time. For example, on "Cash in the Attic," a wife said she wanted to raise money to buy a "baby buggy." Within a 10 minute period, the wife then called it a "pram," the moderator called it a "baby buggy," and the evaluator called it a "pram"! I've heard the same thing happen with "flat" and "appartment." Hmmm! What's going on? How common is this?

    By the way, the shows are created in the UK for UK audiences first and then shown in the US, so it's not an attempt to blend term for the Yanks.
    As far as I'm aware "pram" is still the normal term. I wonder if the nuance of using "baby buggy" was still that this was something wonderful, eg not just any old pram but one with extra comfortable seats, go faster stripes and a bottle holder. Maybe the model she's seen in the shops is called a "baby buggy". I would be surprised if any Brit called the old fashioned Mary Poppins type prams "baby buggies". I think if in a bald statement you said "I'm going out to buy a "baby buggy" the natural question would be "what's that? Some sort of super-pram?"

    As for flat/appartment - you do hear "appartment" more and more. I suppose we're on our own with "flat" - the other major langauges and AE use "appartment". Two other thoughts occur - the popularity of American sit-coms such as "friends" where the word "appartment" is mentioned a lot and the fact that estate agents (realtors to you, I believe) probably think calling a property "an appartment" instead of "a flat" makes it sound more up-market.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    When I was young a pram was something in which the baby was about two-and-a-half to three foot off the ground. The wheels were about the size of a standard bicycle wheel. The baby was laid flat on its back on the 'floor' of the vehicle.
    A stroller to me has a seat, the baby is much closer to the ground and the vehicle collapses for stowing away.
    A baby buggy is a complex stroller, and may come with a removeable lying down section, and/or a seat which can double as a car-seat for the baby.
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    Joelline said:
    Hmmm! What's going on? How common is this?

    I think ChiMike came closest to answering the original question, saying:

    But I think what is happening is that with the circulation of television programs and the habit most everyone has developed of watching at least for a couple of hours (here in the U.S. often much longer) a day, and, further, with so much internet chat allowing English speakers from all over to meet and converse with each other, people are adopting words or phrases that they enjoy saying or using, no matter where they come from.

    Other posts have ignored the question:eek: !

    I think Brits do this (more or less consciously adopt equivalent US terms) to sound more credible or understandable, or both, and perhaps the phenomenon is increased by the fact the Brits are talking to the media. The media have this effect on Brits, I think: there's a kind of insecurity over the acceptability or universality of Brit terms (and accents...), so there's an increasing trend to "include" US-speak (including intonation and grammar and syntax, often evident in the form saof questions, too). But I don't think this yet runs to Brits referring to sidewalks and pants instead of pavements and trousers....

    On this point, I've often wondered about the tendency of pop/rock singers to adopt US intonation when singing their lyrics. Those vowels are rarely heard outside of the rock music biz (unless your name is Oasis...).
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    GavinW said:
    Other posts have ignored the question:eek: !
    Not mine, the question was about…
    What I've noticed more and more is Brits mixing what I think of as BE words with the equivalent AE words within a short period of time.
    I was pointing out that the terms pram, baby buggy and stroller are not "equivalents", they each describe a different item.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    Joelline said:
    By the way, the shows are created in the UK for UK audiences first and then shown in the US, so it's not an attempt to blend term for the Yanks.
    I might tend to disagree on this point. I think the market is always looking to "go global," especially in television syndication. Another possibility is that they read the script and heard pram, Pram, PRAM all over the place, and decided that in order for it not to sound boring that they needed to change around the noun a bit--just like an English teacher would suggest you to do if your sentences started sounding all alike.

    I agree with maxiogee that a baby buggy (pram) is not the same thing as a stroller. I'll bet, however, that there was someone on that writing team for the English comedy who said, "If we use pram, our American viewers aren't going to know what we're talking about"--and set out to change some of the references as to appeal to a wider audience.
     

    moirag

    Senior Member
    English, England
    I agree that a pram is a pram (the baby lies in it), whereas a baby buggy ( and the term is very commonly used in GB,it is the usual term) is what I call a pushchair - it´s collapsible, the child is sitting up and it may be used till they are, say, 3 years old. By the way no-one except me, apparently, says "pushchair" these days - or so my friends told me amid howls of laughter!
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    Interesting! In the Western US I was brought up using the word baby buggy to mean what I later saw was a perambulator (pram) in England! A baby buggy would not be the same as a pushchair--the description you gave for a pushchair would be give for a stroller! I guess, no matter how versatile or global writers would choose to be (or perchance were), we still have to realize that different words are used in different locations!
     
    moirag said:
    I agree that a pram is a pram (the baby lies in it), whereas a baby buggy ( and the term is very commonly used in GB,it is the usual term) is what I call a pushchair - it´s collapsible, the child is sitting up and it may be used till they are, say, 3 years old. By the way no-one except me, apparently, says "pushchair" these days - or so my friends told me amid howls of laughter!

    Well I'm old enough to be a collector's item Moirag but I would never say "pushchair". :)

    Nor would I say "stroller". It's either a pram or a buggy - "baby buggy" is very rarely heard.



    LRV
     

    rsweet

    Senior Member
    English, North America
    I always thought that the AE equivalent of "pram" was "baby carriage."
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Sorry for the long delay in replying to all of your informative posts! It's a holiday over here (Memorial day weekend) and family duty calls.

    Nowhere in the show I saw was "stroller" used: it was baby buggy or pram (or, I believe, on 1 or 2 occasions, baby's buggy--I remember this one because I kept trying to do the tongue-twister with the added -s: "rubber baby buggy bumper" is hard enough, thank you!).

    The couple in the show was trying to raise 500 pounds (!) for the contraption, and I recall thinking, "My goodness, this is the Lamborghini of all buggies"! We viewers got to see the pram/buggy at the end: it looked like a "souped-up" version of the traditional US baby buggy: baby bed, 3 feet or so off the ground, big "hood" to shade the baby, pockets on the insides and outsides, wire-rimmed wheels. I don't think it was convertible to a stroller (but I'm not sure). I recall thinking that, after the auction, the parents had more money than sense!

    ChiMike, I, too, am a fan of those GEICO/GECKO commercials. I think you're right; of all non-AE accents, I like the Australian one best. It's interesting that you mention the "free pie 'n chips, what's not to like" commercial because, of course, I, too knew what the chips were, but you didn't solve the mystery for me: what the heck kind of "pie" does one eat with french fries? (And if you tell me "kidney pie," I'm never going to be able to smile during that commercial again!)


    Posted after I saw MJScott's post--in my version, it's bumper; yours is even harder!
     

    mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I don't think it was convertible to a stroller (but I'm not sure). I recall thinking that, after the auction, the parents had more money than sense!
    I'll bet that it was convertible into a stroller--probably a Bugaboo/Maxicosi or similar trendy pram/stroller combo. And, yes, some people really do spend a mortgage payment on a stroller...
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    timpeac said:
    You must know some very posh students maxiogee. Every student I've ever known bar about 2 have lived in bed-sits.
    That's because no-one would share a flat with them.
    I didn't mean to imply that these students had a flat to themselves, oh no, these kiddies (barely out of their baby-buggies [little bit of on-topicness there]) share their first flat with about three or more other students from the same village/town. In their second year they share with students doing the same course. Eventually their younger brother/sister comes to join them.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    maxiogee said:
    That's because no-one would share a flat with them.
    I didn't mean to imply that these students had a flat to themselves, oh no, these kiddies (barely out of their baby-buggies [little bit of on-topicness there]) share their first flat with about three or more other students from the same village/town. In their second year they share with students doing the same course. Eventually their younger brother/sister comes to join them.
    Ah ok, got you.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English

    Aside to Tim, I'm sure Her Majesty is "not amused" by your insinuation that She might be hurtful. Such a thought certainly never entered my mind!

    Besides--do you need specs? There's no comma missing! :confused: :D


    Back on topic: Thank you, mariposita, for that information on "flats" in St. Louis! I had no idea that the term was used anywhere in the US in that way.
     

    moirag

    Senior Member
    English, England
    la reine victoria said:
    Well I'm old enough to be a collector's item Moirag but I would never say "pushchair". :)

    Nor would I say "stroller". It's either a pram or a buggy - "baby buggy" is very rarely heard.



    LRV
    Yes, you´re probably right, it is "buggy", rather than "baby buggy". Does ANYONE out there say "pushchair"? I´m 49, by the way, and don´t nearly consider myself to be a collector´s item yet!
     

    ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    moirag said:
    Yes, you´re probably right, it is "buggy", rather than "baby buggy". Does ANYONE out there say "pushchair"? I´m 49, by the way, and don´t nearly consider myself to be a collector´s item yet!
    Hi Queenie!

    That question came up on English-French the other day, and I, like you, would like to hear from other natives. In the U.S., there may be regional variations of which I am completely unaware.


    As I commented on that thread, the word "pushchair" to me (and I have about a decade on you!) refers only to the high-backed chairs (usually wicker-work) which were used for invalids and at beach-resorts before the First World War. They did have a metal infrastructure and wheels. I believe the traditional ones are depicted in the Merchant-Ivory film of Henry James's novel, "The Bostonians," but my memory may deceive me (LOL).

    I have never heard it used for a pram, baby-carriage, baby-buggy or stroller in the U.S. (In AE, when the word was used, "baby" was always added, because a "buggy" is, of course, a very light, open carriage pulled usually by only one horse in AE, and, as I mentioned earlier, the people I remember using "baby-buggy" were of an age to remember riding in "buggies" and using "buggy-whips").


    On the other hand, the word "pushcart" (a wheeled cart pushed by a street vendor and used to store, display and sell wares - often food) is still in use as is, at least in major cities and at boardwalks, the article itself. As late as the middle 1970s, I remember a warm spring day in New York when a gaggle of them were on the side-street next to Saks Fifth Avenue. The police decided to check their licenses (not for the cart itself, but for the right to sell from it) and to drive them away. Suddenly, a floor-walker (in suit WITH white carnation) appeared from within Saks and asked them to desist, stating: "Please stop! We never shun a vendor!" It must have been the phrase, because the cops stopped and went away! I cannot imagine such a thing happening today, but in those days, when many more emporia were locally owned, even grand merchants remembered their origins and took pride in them.

    The term "wheel-barrow" (having only one wheel in the U.S. and pushed, of course) is generally understood, without more, to refer to the type used in the garden. I have never heard it used for "pushcart" nor have I seen a pushcart constructed on those lines (pushcarts are rectangular and have at least four wheels).

    She wheeled her wheel-barrow
    Through streets wide and narrow,
    Crying "Cockles and mussels!
    Alive! Alive-O!"

    All that is left here in Chicago is our ironmonger, who comes by in his pick-up truck (before the city-paid garbage collectors) and retrieves any metal object put out in the alley. But he utters no cry.
     

    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    la reine victoria said:
    Well I'm old enough to be a collector's item Moirag but I would never say "pushchair". :)

    Nor would I say "stroller". It's either a pram or a buggy - "baby buggy" is very rarely heard.



    LRV
    I say pushchair :eek:
     
    Benjy said:
    I say pushchair :eek:


    That's remarkable for one of such tender years Benjy.:)

    I've searched diligently on the web for the old-style pushchair which I knew and loved. I finally found one - here.

    There must have been many a toddler who fell out of such a dangerous- looking contraption.:eek: Useless for going out in wet weather too.

    Babies don't know their born nowadays. ;)




    LRV
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    ChiMike said:
    As I commented on that thread, the word "pushchair" to me (and I have about a decade on you!) refers only to the high-backed chairs (usually wicker-work) which were used for invalids and at beach-resorts before the First World War.
    These were known over here as "invalid chairs" - if I'm thinking of the same vehicle someone pushed from behind while the patient steered by means of a long, arcing handle attached to the front wheel.


    ChiMike said:
    On the other hand, the word "pushcart" (a wheeled cart pushed by a street vendor and used to store, display and sell wares - often food) is still in use as is, at least in major cities and at boardwalks,
    <snip>
    The term "wheel-barrow" (having only one wheel in the U.S. and pushed, of course) is generally understood, without more, to refer to the type used in the garden. I have never heard it used for "pushcart" nor have I seen a pushcart constructed on those lines (pushcarts are rectangular and have at least four wheels).

    She wheeled her wheel-barrow
    Through streets wide and narrow,
    Crying "Cockles and mussels!
    Alive! Alive-O!"



    There are several items being referred to here. However Molly Malone's "Wheel-barrow" is properly just a "barrow" and should be thought of as having two wheels at the front and two 'legs' beneath the handles used to pushing. The legs were to keep it stationary once the vendor's "pitch" had been reached.

    This depiction of Molly (It's no wonder she "died of a fever"!) is opposite the Provost's House, Trinity College in Dublin. The legs of her barrow are not long enough and the cart would have leant backwards when resting.

    These barrows are what gave Cockney "barrowboys" their name. They were also known as "Costermongers" from the Costard Apples they sold.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    When WMPG was on the way, the in-phrase amongst young parents-to-be was travel system. I kid you not. This consisted of several parts, designed to be used from birth to several years old.
    The basic piece of equipment was a foldable buggy/pushchair. On top of this was a detachable baby-seat that could be clipped and strapped securely into the car.
     

    sarahcarlisle61

    New Member
    English
    Hello friends.I find you people are busy discussing the difference between baby buggy and a baby pram.I think both are same except with some differences in features.I also heard many people using these two words alternatively.
     

    alegreviajero

    Senior Member
    Canada, français
    Rather my answer, as per the link: « A baby carriage is the same item as a pram, it is an infant bed on four wheels that often has a hood that retracts. Americans and Canadians prefer to use the term baby carriage. » Et voilà what I was looking for.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    So you're saying that "pram" (BrE) = "baby carriage" (AmE), alegreviajero?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I've just had a look at the 'Mothercare' site (a UK company, for those who don't know). I gather I'm not allowed to post the link because it's commercial.

    Things have evolved since my son was a baby. Then we had prams and pushchairs. Now we have prams, pushchairs, buggies, strollers, travel systems (which include a car seat) and pram systems (which include a carrycot).:eek: Maybe one of our north American friends would like to have a look at the site and tell us the equivalents of all these terms?:)
     

    alegreviajero

    Senior Member
    Canada, français
    Well, according to the picture I was trying to describe, «baby carriage» suits my needs. In French Québec, I remember that we used to call it a landau… but they wouldn't fit in any ones car anymore.
     

    GemmaRundle

    New Member
    English
    You're actually right about that
    I'm from Australia and what we call it completely a different thing
    Once i was looking for a stroller or something like that for my 10 weeks old
    I found out we call it here Mamaroo
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    To me, baby buggy, baby carriage, and pram are all the same thing (which I think I've seen exactly one of in the last twenty years):

    1569677035426.png

    A stroller to me has a seat, the baby is much closer to the ground and the vehicle collapses for stowing away.
    Which sounds like what I would call a stroller:

    1569677458996.png

    For my kids, both born in the late '90s, we had one of those fancy "travel systems" that can be taken apart and rearranged as a pram, a stroller, or a baby carrier, but I don't remember what we called it at the time -- probably all three terms, depending on how we happened to be using it.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    At last! Two pictures worth 2,000 words! BE: The top picture is a pram, the lower one is a buggy.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In the US one common tongue-twister is the phrase "rubber baby-buggy bumpers".

    In the US there are a variety of terms (baby buggy, stroller, baby carriage, child's car seat, etc.) As far as I know, none of them have bumpers, much less rubber bumpers.
     
    Last edited:

    Laurentiana

    Member
    English - Canada
    I believe I perambulated in a baby carriage as an infant c. 1950-51 here in Toronto. My English-born grandmother would have known it as a pram and might have used that word. But the only time I’ve seen such a vehicle in the last ~50 years was last night on the Antiques Roadshow.

    I now get around in a mobility scooter. I share subway-station elevators here in Toronto with all manner of devices that enable infant and toddler perambulation. In general they resemble the lower image in the post above, although most are much more elaborate. I call all of them strollers and have never heard them referred to as anything else. When our son perambulated in a much simpler one in the 1980s, we called it a stroller. I’ve never heard “baby buggy” here, although someone called my scooter a buggy once. (Someone else called it a cart. Humbug!)

    So anyone translating into English for Canadian readers should consider stroller. I’m confident it will be understood by everyone, even if there are pockets where another word is used.

    P.S.: In Mexico, where we lived for three years, our son’s stroller was a carrito.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, I know. I dare say it also uses other nouns. When designing webpages, the designer will incorporate many nouns as terms for the same item so as to maximise the possibility of a hit via a search engine. These terms are often hidden in the coding of the website and are independent of the title given to the picture. I dare say if you enter "John Lewis stroller" in a search engine you will arrive at the same page1.

    I think you will agree that the image I posted is an image of an item that has the same basic purpose, but is not the same item as your image.

    At the end of the day, all I am saying is that when the word "pushchair" is used, my mind produces the image I posted in #37 but when buggy/stroller is used, it sees your image. I am making no claims to being authoritative.

    1This seems to be having the inevitable effect on language of giving less precision
     
    Last edited:
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