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shivver13 in dw_britglish

A few questions

Hi there! I have a few questions about British language, customs, and geography for some fanfics I'm working on that I hope you can answer. Thank you in advance for any assistance!

1. I'm really fuzzy on the British school system and how grades (years) are referred to. I have a character saying that she's known another character since the year of school in which they were around 12-13 years old. In America, that would be 6th or 7th grade. What would it be for a British student?

2. If you're moving from one town to another and paying a company to move your belongings and furniture, what do you refer to them as? And what kind of vehicle would the items be moved in? In America, we'd call them movers, and they usually use a semi to move multiple clients' belongings in bulk, but it doesn't seem like Britain has semis. (I can't imagine they'd be able to navigate the narrow roads.)

3. Is there a somewhat posh neighborhood near Chiswick that I can locate a family? The family is not super rich, but both parents work and have good jobs - definitely upper middle class. Even if there isn't a named neighborhood, a location would be helpful, so I can look on Google Earth to get a feel for what the buildings and houses look like.

4. Is a "flat" an apartment, meaning a single residence in a building of multiple single residence? Or does the term have multiple meanings? For example, in America, when a person refers to his "flat", it could mean a house - in this sense, it simply means "where I live".

5. When I was in Britain last year, I noticed that a lot of the towns had houses that were individual residences, usually two floors, all connected together in a long row. What is that type of house called? Row house?



1. In most school systems (independent, i.e. fee-paying, schools may have different terminology, and a few areas of the country have first, middle and high school rather than the more usual primary and secondary school, which I think affects matters), 12-13 year olds will be in Year Eight, the second year of secondary school.

2. If you have a lot to move, you would probably use a removal/removals company, who would use a removal van or moving van.

4. Yes, a flat is a residence located in a building which includes other residences. It might not be purpose-built - a lot of houses are divided up into flats, rather than being intended as flats from the outset. I don't think people would ever use "flat" to refer to a whole house, although we do do the opposite - I live in a flat (part of a bigger house) and will refer to it as a house in casual conversation.

5. Row house is not a British term. Houses joined together are terraces, or semi-detatched houses if you just have sets of two joined together. Terraces can vary from very small two-up-two-down houses, traditionally where working-class people would live, to much larger and posher.
I did a Google search on "row house", and yes, that turns out to be an American term. I had no idea what that type of house was called in either the US or Britain. Now I know. :)

It seems to me that the two-up-two-down terrace house is similar to what Craig had in "The Lodger"? That's kind of what I have in mind in the story I'm working on.
I'm in the process of moving out of a two up two down, a very typical one: opens directly onto the pavement and each room is roughly 13 feet by 13 feet. I lived there on my own, but in the 950s the one next door was inhabited by 4 adults and 3 children.
Similar, yes, although Craig's is a larger house - it's definitely got more than just two rooms on each floor and looks fairly spacious inside. The sort I'm referring to looks more like this. But yes, both are terraced houses.

Edited at 2015-04-10 09:42 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, I see. I took a look at floor plans for terraced houses on the web, and the one I'm picturing is bigger than those. Basically it has a kitchen/dining room, a lounge (living room?), and a third room on the ground floor which could serve as a guest room, and then two bedrooms upstairs. Craig's definitely is larger downstairs (since there's the kitchen, the lounge, Craig's room, and the Doctor's room), but rather undefined upstairs (since the stairs goes directly into the door of the illusionary upstairs, but from the outside, the upstairs is the same size as the downstairs).