An American visiting in England asked at the hotel for the elevator. The portiere looked a bit confused but smiled when he realized what the man wanted. "You must mean the lift," he said. "No," the American responded. "If I ask for the elevator I mean the elevator." "Well," the portiere answered, "over here we call them lifts". "Now you listen", the American said rather irritated, "someone in America invented the elevator." "Oh, right you are sir," the portiere said in a polite tone, "but someone here in England invented the language."