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Five with key

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?



Just a sidelight on the ambiguity of 'sixth-form' covering two years.

It's a hang over from Public Schools (posh private, for American readers). Our grammar school, back in the fifties/sixties used the old Public School Terms, which assumed that you started at six and did twelve years at school. I know public schools don't actually do this now, but forms were two years. So Lower First, Upper First, Lower Second, Upper Second etc. Our school started at 11 in the Third Form, and we progressed through Lower Fourth (LIV), UIV, LV, UV where we took O-Levels at the age of 16. The Sixth form follows quite naturally, with Lower Sixth, and Upper Sixth (and Third Year Sixth, for those wanting to go to Oxbridge).

I'd say it was just coincidence that the Lower Sixth is also your sixth year in Secondary School. But probably it wouldn't have hung on generally if it had been as inaccurate as Third Form.