Another good tale! The part about French technish reminds me of a French FAE I once met with. He used an term unfamiliar to me - "clock recuperation" - which took me a couple seconds to realize he was referring to "clock recovery". Made sense, one can either recover or recuperate from an illness.
Same technish lessons for some Japanese engineers when I used the term "daisy chain" and then had to explain what a daisy chain was, starting from the old definition of a garland of flowers made by young women and then how it evolved to the meaning of serially cascaded devices.
Whatever, most engineers can find common ground in their technical languages.
Thanks for the comments Glen. YOu have to be careful with languages. Even if you know them well it's easy to make mistakes. For example in French "une demande" is a request and "une requete" is nearer in meaning to a demand. You can sometimes get yourself in trouble like that....
This is a bit off the original topic, but your comment reminds me of a story I once heard, possibly an old movie somewhere, sometime. With your world knowledge you might be able to verify if this bit of body language culture is truth or myth.
The story goes that in WWII USA soldiers in British pubs would sometimes place their emptied glasses open-side-up on the bar. In the USA this was supposedly a request for a refill, but in England the refill request was glass-down. A glass-up said "I can lick any man in this pub!", and resulted in unforeseen contenders.
It might have been the other way around, I just have this vague recollection that glass-up vs glass-down had unintended consequences due to local customs and interpretations. Can you add to this?
Thanks all for the comments. Sorry, Glen, I have never heard of the one with the glasses. But again, I can see it could cause some problems there. One thought - maybe the custom of returning empty glasses to the bar upside down is why so many British pubs seem to have an age-old layer of muck on their counters.... Max - you're a more recent ex-pom than me...any ideas??
Glen...on the glass bit...might have been a movie "Yanks" (1979)about Americans in Britain during WW2? I have not seen it and none of the usual writeups (IMDB etc) mention this. In searching though I came across the following amusing article:
Dead right about Aussie pubs, anyway...
Well in those days I was young, footlose and fancy free....I now have a wife and if I go away for more than a day or two she gets a very upside-down smile.
The first year I was married, I was away 43% of the days in that year. A few years like that and you're happy to stay at home a bit more...
Thanks for telling a familiar story. I used to write drivers for CRT terminals with printers. We had a number of cases where the hardware would sometimes allow combining messages and sometimes not. The original documentation was usually ambiguous and the trial-and-error test results depended on how old the hardware implementation was. This created lots of combinations of HW and SW -- some of which didn't work. Thanks. bryan
Thanks Bryan. When I was in SITA, airline equipment had to be approved (it was a French company so they used the lovely word "Homologated" for the SITA network. But as you say the standards are ambiguous and things got through the cracks, which is why they got that switch setting...