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Orianna2000
03-22-2013, 05:32 AM
I remember from my trip last year that the elevators (lifts) in the UK talk. But I can't quite remember what they said. Do they announce which floor you're on? Doors opening, doors closing? Please stand clear of the door? If anyone can give me some specific examples, that'd be great. If it makes a difference, the location is a secret government agency branch office in London.

BenPanced
03-22-2013, 06:46 AM
"Going up/down".

"Ground floor/first floor/second floor", etc.

onesecondglance
03-22-2013, 12:05 PM
I remember from my trip last year that the elevators (lifts) in the UK talk. But I can't quite remember what they said. Do they announce which floor you're on? Doors opening, doors closing? Please stand clear of the door? If anyone can give me some specific examples, that'd be great. If it makes a difference, the location is a secret government agency branch office in London.

It's not a universal thing. Plenty of them don't do anything but "ping" when they stop.

But if they do talk, then yeah, like BenPanced said. Usually in a neutral female voice.

Priene
03-22-2013, 12:25 PM
Mostly they just stay silent. Which must be fun if you're blind.

Bufty
03-22-2013, 02:14 PM
Some used to say what was sold on that particular floor as that floor arrived.

mirandashell
03-22-2013, 02:58 PM
I presently work in a building that has a talking lift. When it arrives, it pings. Then the door opens and the voice says 'lift going up/down' (whichever is appropriate). When the lift stops on my floor, it says 'doors opening'. I get out and it says 'doors closing'.

It doesn't mention which floor it's on, for some strange reason.

Orianna2000
03-22-2013, 03:29 PM
Okay, that helps. Thanks!

seun
03-22-2013, 05:45 PM
Most of them (to me, at least) sound like Margo from The Good Life.

crunchyblanket
03-23-2013, 12:33 AM
The lift in my old flat says nothing. It just 'pings' on each floor.

Jersey Chick
03-23-2013, 12:52 AM
We went on a cruise last summer and the ship had talking elevators. Most of them were in that bland female voice, but one of them must've had sore throat or something because the voice got really low and evil-sounding. My daughter thought it was hysterical when the devil-voice would say, "Going down."

melindamusil
03-23-2013, 01:15 AM
Don't forget "mind the gap"...

BenPanced
03-23-2013, 03:27 AM
"Mind the gap" is on the Underground system.

melindamusil
03-23-2013, 03:43 AM
"Mind the gap" is on the Underground system.

I'm sure I've also heard it on an elevator when the door opens.
But I doubt it was a universal thing. Probably just on one elevator at a hotel or something.

FWIW, we also got a kick out of the "way out" signs on the London Underground. British signs are awesome.

seun
03-23-2013, 04:53 PM
"Mind the gap" is on the Underground system.

Funnily enough, there was a bit on the news last week about this. The recording of 'mind the gap' was being used at just one Tube station until they also got rid of it. It turned out the widow of the guy who recorded it used to go there at least partly to hear his voice. She wrote to the Tube people, asking them to reinstate it so she could hear her husband's voice. So they did.

Which is nice.

ETA: Link - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-21737161

jaksen
03-23-2013, 05:35 PM
A disembodied voice, an elevator voice which takes on a life of its own and speaks to only certain people...

Or speaks, as a ghost, to those it loved when they get off and on...

Story idea.

flapperphilosopher
03-23-2013, 05:56 PM
I lived in North Wales for a while (Bangor) and the lifts at the train station and hospital were bilingual-- they said their bit both in English and Welsh. I thought that was awesome. Not relevant to you, really, but how often does the topic of talking lifts come up? :)

Orianna2000
03-23-2013, 09:03 PM
Before we visited London, I never understood the joke in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, about the automatic doors that murmur, "Please enjoy your trip through this door." Then we got there, and every automatic door had a pleasant voice that spoke to us. Suddenly, the joke made sense. :)

With the Tube doors, I kept wondering why they made such a big deal out of "minding the gap," but then we went on this one train (I forget which station it was) and it had a tremendous drop between the train and the platform. I know memory exaggerates, but I want to say it was at least two feet down, plus maybe a six-inch gap to boot. I was terrified and made my husband go first, so he could help me.

Maythe
03-23-2013, 09:49 PM
I went to uni in Bangor :-) bilingual graduation ceremonies - twice the boring and only half understood - awesome!

Talking lifts certainly aren't universal - can't remember the last time I was in one...

shaldna
03-25-2013, 04:32 PM
I remember from my trip last year that the elevators (lifts) in the UK talk. But I can't quite remember what they said. Do they announce which floor you're on? Doors opening, doors closing? Please stand clear of the door? If anyone can give me some specific examples, that'd be great. If it makes a difference, the location is a secret government agency branch office in London.

It varies depending on where you are. Some tell you, some don't, some beep or ping, some just open and close. Sometimes there's a voice, most often there's not.

Becky Black
03-26-2013, 12:43 PM
They definitely aren't universal. The ones in my work building talk. The ones at the city library where I live used to talk. Genius idea, eh? Talking lifts in a library. But then they turned the announcements off. But I encounter many lifts that don't talk. You're more likely to find talking ones in office buildings or hospitals say, rather than blocks of flats for example. And in modern buildings rather than older ones.

There's no universal standard for what they say, just depends on the building. But "Ground floor", "First Floor" "Lift going down" etc are pretty common.

And yes, as a Douglas Adams fan they always make me think of lifts made by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

clee984
03-26-2013, 01:22 PM
I've been in a few talking lifts in my time - one thing I would point out, if you're American - there's a difference how we count floors in a building. What to an American would be called the first floor, to a brit would be "ground floor" (followed by first floor etc). Just thought I'd mention it in case it's useful to you.

dpaterso
03-26-2013, 01:45 PM
Local hospital elevators tell people to "Please exit to Level J" etc. when they arrive at a selected floor, and then warn, "Doors are closing."

The speaker is a lady with a public school English accent. Because even in Scotland, regional accents may be hard for others to understand.

Voice Recognition Elevator in Scotland (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAz_UvnUeuU) (YouTube clip, comedy sketch.)

-Derek

Orianna2000
03-26-2013, 03:56 PM
Fortunately, my main character is American, and it's from her POV, so I don't have to worry too much about using British phrases and conventions, unless it's another character speaking. Just out of curiosity, though, how would the British handle a building with a basement and sub-basements? Would they be "Floor 0" or "-1" or "B1" or what?

Also, which came first--the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's concept of talking lifts, or the actual talking lifts? Did he take the existing idea and run with it, or did he inspire the lift companies to actually do that?

Mr Flibble
03-26-2013, 04:00 PM
Lower ground floor is used quite often (Or LG1 , LG2 in lifts, sometimes with B - basement - for the lowest)

mirandashell
03-26-2013, 05:11 PM
Fortunately, my main character is American, and it's from her POV, so I don't have to worry too much about using British phrases and conventions, unless it's another character speaking. Just out of curiosity, though, how would the British handle a building with a basement and sub-basements? Would they be "Floor 0" or "-1" or "B1" or what?

Also, which came first--the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's concept of talking lifts, or the actual talking lifts? Did he take the existing idea and run with it, or did he inspire the lift companies to actually do that?

I think Adams came up with it first. I don't remember talking lifts being around when HGTG came out. But I may be wrong.

Orianna2000
03-26-2013, 06:09 PM
Lower ground floor is used quite often (Or LG1 , LG2 in lifts, sometimes with B - basement - for the lowest)

So, would the lowest levels not be referred to as "basement" and "sub-basement"? Right now, I have the first underground level called the basement, and the two floors beneath that are the sub-basement levels. (It's where they keep the indoor shooting range, the prison cells, and the bomb shelter.) Is that okay or should I change it?

Bufty
03-26-2013, 06:28 PM
In the UK any building's floor on ground level is called the Ground Floor.

Work from there upwards- First Floor, Second Floor....or downwards as Mr Flibble indicated...Lower Ground Floor 1, Lower Ground Floor 2, Lower Ground Level 3 etc...

That's the normal English way. Guess it could also depends upon who built/owned/uses the building.

Main thing is the readers know what floor it is -if that is indeed relevant- ...for example, re your intended way of describing lower levels, anyone with half-a-brain would know what Basement and Sub-basement 1 or Sub-basement 2 meant.

onesecondglance
03-26-2013, 06:50 PM
It's where they keep the indoor shooting range, the prison cells, and the bomb shelter.

I may be way off mark here, but "prison cells" implies police to me, and you do know that most of our police aren't armed, right?

Like I said, just ignore me if I'm inferring things that aren't there...

Orianna2000
03-26-2013, 10:02 PM
I may be way off mark here, but "prison cells" implies police to me, and you do know that most of our police aren't armed, right?

Like I said, just ignore me if I'm inferring things that aren't there...
Don't worry, it's not police. It's a secret government agency that deals with extraterrestrial stuff, sort of like Torchwood or Men in Black. There are several branches that handle different things, like trade negotiations, immigration, diplomacy, and so forth. This particular branch deals with security and investigations, so they're required to be armed.

I don't remember what I named the sub-basement levels, so I'll deal with it when I reach that chapter in the revisions. Fortunately, I have some leeway, since the POV character is American.

Ellaroni
03-26-2013, 10:34 PM
Last time I was in the UK, some elevators said 'going up' and 'going down' plus mentioned the floor number. Nothing fancy, in other words.

For fun:
"Talking elevator in hotel", a prank pulled off by a pair of Norwegian comedians:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Un_oHaf798

It is somewhat similar to the funny Scottish one linked to earlier in this post.

Selcaby
03-27-2013, 04:33 AM
I'd estimate 95% of British lifts don't say anything, or only make noises. The other 5% are most likely to belong to organisations that think about accessibility a lot, like hospitals.

G for Ground is standard, as are positive numbers for higher floors. LG for Lower Ground is quite common -- I think it's normally for floors that aren't the main entrance level but from which you can still get outside, e.g. a basement with exterior steps up. But not so many buildings have sub-basements, so I think you could get away with labelling them how you like.

I'm sure I've seen lifts with 0 (the ground floor), -1, -2, etc. for the basement levels. I've also seen G, LG, B1, B2.

Totally idiosyncratic schemes are also possible. I know a supermarket that's built on a hill, so the back entrance is below the shop floor level. The lift buttons are labelled S for shop and CP for car park. There's also an upper floor with offices or something, but the customer lifts don't go there.