Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 11:27:07 +0000 From: "C.M.Thomas" Subject: Bank machines Bill King writes: > Ca. 1986 we were asked what we called ATMs in the US. At the time we > just called them "bank machines," not having anything better. ATM > was not current usage in NYC, where we lived, at that time. The person > asking us, who was working on a national textbook for English, was > quite stressed. > So, when did "automatic teller" come into use? This certainly sounds like > a contrivance on the part of the bank coined in an effort to personalize > something that many customers were unsure of. Apparently they still are. > A current poll shows that 55% (? -- but it was very high) of the banking > public has not used an ATM. In England (I know this is the American dialect society, but what the hell) I have never heard anyone refer to bank machines as "ATM"s, although I understood the abbreviation when I read it. They are most commonly, in my experience, referred to as "cash machines" or "cash points", or as the "hole in the wall". I think this latter term may be dialectal (Lancashire), although I am not entirely sure, and people from my area would pronounce it "'ole i' t'wall". ( I hope you understand my attempt to represent it phonetically without an IPAfont at hand!) Are any of these terms (especially the latter) used in America (or other parts of England, if there's any other British subscribers)? Charlotte Thomas EGP95CMT[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Snail mail: CECTAL Dept. of English Language and Linguistics University of Sheffield Sheffield UK