Lots of people are linking to this essay about American and British humour by actor and Sean of the Dead co-creator Simon Pegg. The essay’s quite enjoyable, and I recommend it. I’d like to read a Canadian response to it by Rick Mercer or Catherine O’Hara or the like.
Regardless, there’s a term in the essay which I didn’t know: ‘conurbates’. Here’s the usage:
As the global village conurbates, however, our emotional habits are shifting. We are easing towards a slight liberation from our national inhibitions – although hopefully not losing them completely. Our uptightness is, after all, a huge part of our charm.
Here’s what Dictionary.com has to say on the subject:
an extensive urban area resulting from the expansion of several cities or towns so that they coalesce but usually retain their separate identities.
That makes sense–‘con’ being ‘with’ or ‘togther’ and ‘urb’ refering to ‘city’. It was the word of the day on Dictionary.com back in 2000, and that entry includes some more examples of its usage.