riders or passengers

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    People who use bicycles, taxis, buses, trains are usually described as rides, sometimes as passengers.
    people who use planes are always called passengers, never riders.
    Why the distinction?
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure I've heard taxi/train/bus passengers called riders.
    OK sure, you ride the train, but I've never heard of a train rider.

    Naturally, a bicycle rider is sensical, since one is literally riding on the bicycle, not in it.
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    This is a US usage, I think. In Britain nobody ever says you "ride" the train: it would be thought absurd, as if you straddle the train as you do a horse or a bicycle. Here you take the train, or a taxi, or a bus. You ride a bicycle or a horse.

    Mind you, learning French, I caused a lot of discussion among Francophones by asking whether on va "à velo" ou "en velo". It is "en voiture" and "à pied", but velo.....???? Seemed to be a Captain Haddock conundrum for them ("Do you sleep with your beard over or under the blanket?")
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    We Americans often say "take" the bus, a taxi, our own car, the subway, or a railroad journey that might take two days. We "ride" a bicycle, a motorcycle or a horse.

    Airliners are relatively new in our culture, so we don't quite have a standard vocabulary. We're most likely to say, simply, "I'm going to fly to Chicago tomorrow."
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. But when I was in Houston, Texas, people did say, "Can I give you a ride?", meaning what we would call a "lift", in their car (or, it being Texas, their ginormous "trerk"

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    Over here if a woman were to ask a man "Can I give you a ride?" you might she might get a raised eyebrow or two....
     
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    People on bicycles are bikers, not passengers - because they control where the vehicle goes.
    People who ride in taxes, buses, trains etc are called riders or passengers.

    People who fly in airplanes are called passengers, sometimes flyers.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Americans may be recognizing the feel or analogy from what may be more common in America - jumping on trains, often the boxcars and flatbeds of freight trains without designated human accommodations, without benefit of ticket.

    It's the being or jumping "on" something that's already going your way or could be arranged to, or where the experience of being on it is the central issue rather than the destination - a surfboard, floor or top of a boxcar (where the cool wind is, and less dirt blowing around), sled, tricycle, inner tube or raft on a river - that seems to connect with "ride". Riders are people who hop on and off, or can if they want to, and may or may not care about their destination.

    Years ago it was common to buy a "ride" in an airplane - like a ride on a Ferris wheel - at a county fair in the US. That's what it was called. Since then balloon rides, helicopter rides.
     
  11. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

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    Just thinking out loud...
    Cyclist...person who rides a bike. Although Biker sounds good. Boat ride, were they boat riders or passengers on the Titanic?
    Could 'passenger' have some old time connection with fare paying person? i.e. They get taken for a ride. Just saying. Also off the top of my head... a passenger does not control the conveyance, as in liner or plane.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    We pick up hitchhikers in other states too. But what we ask for and offer each other is a ride.
    No problem over here.
    Our larger cities have urban railroad networks (often subways, but many of the routes are aboveground), and we ride those trains.
     
  13. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    I am under the impression, "biker" is used for someone on a motorcycle, not a bicycle. Bicycle riders are often called cyclists.
     
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  14. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    A rider:

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    A rider and passenger:

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  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    That's correct, at least here in the USA. Colloquially, motorcycles have been called "bikes" since at least the 1950s, when I first became acquainted with them.

    In those days, the older generation of motorcycle enthusiasts called their vehicles "motors." There are still a few older or retired policemen who use that word.

    In the USA, the word "cyclist" is more likely to be understood as a "motorcyclist." People who ride bicycles are called bicyclists--although their impact on traffic patterns has given rise to a huge number of insulting slang words. Virtually everyone in America who doesn't ride a bicycle hates everyone who does.
     
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I find this extremely doubtful.

    I'd hazard 'cyclist' means 'bicyclist', anywhere the word is used.
     
  17. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    I don't think so. Most folks where I live admire those who ride their bicycles to work. I do think, if anything, they hate motorcyclists because of two things: (1) loud-ass pipes and (2) the weaving in and out of traffic.
    Yes, I've never heard a biker referred to as a "cyclist". Never. And I've been around motorcycles my whole life -- I own several right now.
     
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Nope. I'm with FR on this one.
    Cyclists hate drivers. Drivers hate cyclists.


    I'm a driver but I have resigned myself to bicycles as the way of the future in megacities. Bike lanes make my life worse, but I see the logic and necessity of them. I also get why cyclists have to be aggressive about their rights. I am probably alone in this.
     
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Here in San Diego "cyclists" refers exclusively to bicyclists. "Bikers" refers to both, with a strong tendency towards motorcyclists. A search of "San Diego cyclists" returns all bicycle topics (news, groups, rides) and "San Diego bikers" returns 80% motorcycle results.
     
  20. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    Why do bicyclists make you angry enough to hate them. That's pretty extreme. Wow. Of all the things that can make my life worse, I never even considered that the existence of bicycle lanes would be one of them. What, do they cause you to be 30 seconds late getting to work?

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    You must have the most care-free life on the planet for bicycle lanes to make your life worse.

    Maybe, maybe . . . I know . . . a bicyclist once stole your girl? Kicked sand in your face?

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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Not me; drivers in general.

    It's a little worse than "30 seconds late". I'm not sure I could describe the aggravation to someone who isn't a city driver.
     
  22. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    Dave, you need to relax man. From experience, there are far, far worse things that can happen to you during your daily commute. Believe me.

    Besides, avid bicyclists tend to care more about our environment -- we need more of those types, not fewer.

    (I ride but only recreationally. I don't commute by bike because I don't want to get killed by one of those crazy drivers who hate bicyclists.

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  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Um. Why are you making this a personal issue?

    There's a difference between describing the reality and complaining about it. I'm simply pointing it out.

    The animosity between drivers and cyclists isn't going to vanish by telling them all to "relax".
     

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