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Read = Studied? British to American translation help needed

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1DaynaRT
Oct 15, 2007, 6:00pm Top

While looking for Education info to fill in on authors' Common Knowledge pages, I keep coming across phrases like, "I read Literature at Cambridge", or "She read Economics and Philosophy at Oxford". Am I right in assuming this means they studied those subjects, rather than taught them?

2Jesse_wiedinmyer
Oct 15, 2007, 6:08pm Top

If I remember correctly, in British Universities, a reader is a paid position. Somewhat similar to a teaching assistant. Though I could be entirely wrong.

3Jesse_wiedinmyer
Edited: Oct 15, 2007, 6:11pm Top

Check this page.

4yarb
Oct 15, 2007, 6:17pm Top

I have heard "reading" used to mean "studying", including by undergraduates. This usage is different from the sense of a "reader" as a paid position. I think you're right in your assumption.

5Scorbet
Oct 15, 2007, 6:18pm Top

>2 Jesse_wiedinmyer:

As far as I'm aware fleela is right in saying "she read Literature at Cambridge" means that she studied literature as an undergraduate. I think that Reader position is separate.

I'm trying to find a reference for sure. Particularly as I have a feeling that there is a third term for "studied x".

6rjohara
Oct 15, 2007, 6:20pm Top

I believe you'll find it's the British equivalent of the American "majored in".

7LadyN
Oct 15, 2007, 6:23pm Top

#5 iis right. My degree is in Drama, so some would say I read drama.

8Scorbet
Edited: Oct 15, 2007, 6:26pm Top

Wikipedia
on the subject!

9DaynaRT
Oct 15, 2007, 6:29pm Top

Thanks for all the help! I just love how we can speak the same language yet not always understand each other. Makes for interesting reading!

10Mr.Durick
Oct 15, 2007, 6:42pm Top

Cool!

Once upon a time in the United States an aspiring attorney could accede to the bar by reading law or by studying at a law school. The reader worked in the office of a practicing attorney and gained his qualifying knowledge and skills there.

Robert

11mrsradcliffe
Oct 16, 2007, 6:31am Top

Yep to 'read' a subject means to study it. I 'read' literature as an undergraduate but certainly never taught it!

12PossMan
Oct 16, 2007, 6:55am Top

Many UK TV viewers will be familiar with the term from watching "University Challenge" when the eight contestants introduce themselves along the lines of "I'm Simon from Tunbridge Wells and I'm reading law". If it's Jack from Manchester they might say "studying" as "reading" is a bit more high falutin'. Many universities don't seem to have readerships in the other sense. My godfather was a Reader in economic history at Manchester but it wasn't as Jesse suggested equivalent to an assistant but actually quite senior - just under a Professor and above Senior Lecturer.

13andyl
Oct 16, 2007, 8:00am Top

Just for the US people reading in Britain a lecturer is what you call a professor. Teaching forms the bulk of that role.

What we Britons call a professor is someone who has either a departmental or personal chair. Generally we don't have tenure as the US does.

We also have research fellows which may also be called professors in the US.

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