The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour

Dec 26th, 2005, 01:36 AM
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A lot of these "sayings" don't take into account the myriad of dialects that exist in England, where each area does it's best to mangle the English language.
I work with a Greek girl who has lived in Wales now for some five years. We were discussing this very topic and I asked her what really confused her about the language. She said that she couldn't understand some of the dialogue in "EastEnders" when they said things like: "Where was you going?".
It's not that much easier in Wales where people are "bad in bed under the doctor" or "she's in hospital with her legs" or the fantastic "Who's coat is that jacket?".
AR is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 02:37 AM
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Agree 100%, oldie, we Antipodeans are (almost) world champion whingers. We've got a competitive streak, and we've learnt from experts.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 02:45 AM
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It's odd but we Brits think the Aussies are a nation of whiners, and they think we are.

Perhaps we're both right (althopugh we're only amateurs when compared with the Springboks!).

If you like this book you might like George Mikes "How to be an Alien"

Sample quote:

"continental people have sex lifes; the English have hot-water bottles."

It seems to be out of copyright as when I googled it, several complete transcripts came up.
david_west is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 03:07 AM
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Dear Neil:

How perceptive of you to ask why I referred to my mother as British. She laughingly said she was a product of a mixed marriage: her father was from Scotland, her mother was from Wales, and she spent most of her childhood in Yorkshire.
She once said that her main occupation in her early years was translating the local dialect for her parents.


CharlesIII is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 03:48 AM
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Miss Prism: sadly, most Americans will now say, "your welcome". ;-)

I love English-isms, they definitely have a way with their language that many Americans just don't have.

another one of my favorites from a friend of mine when I am visiting him in London and preparing to leave: "Look after yourself". here, it's "take care".
flygirl is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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Hyacinth Buckets? Obviously I am far less erudite than the denizens of this thread (or perhaps it is a temporary condition brought on by Chrismas cookie toxicity), but while the name sounded familiar it rang just shy of clear, so with a few keystrokes I found this
Seamus is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Seamus, if you have to look it up, you just won't get it.
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 08:35 AM
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I am I suppose mostly ignorant of the finer points of English manners, but that does not prevent me from enjoying my visits.

Wales is a great place to visit. Many of my ancestors were from Wales, and it is one place where I can go and feel like I am not a foreigner even though I am a newcomer. Never had a problem finding someone to talk to in Wales!

I guess I was not practicing "undestatement" when we visited a National Trust site in Wales. We went by the stables and the ostler led out a huge horse for me to see. When I say huge, I mean 2200 pounds of equine muscle. I exclaimed what a beautiful horse - no understatement there.

Thank heavens this big boy was gentle, and the handler allowed me to hug his huge neck. The horse liked attention, and thank heavens he did not step on my foot! Something that big and powerful is best known as a friend!!

And the other thing I found out is that most people in Wales will happily talk to you about their dogs, particularly a prize Border Collie.
bob_brown is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 12:51 PM
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My father has 2 dogs, he bought them both xmas presents and my mother had nothing..of course he is Welsh....

Mucky is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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I will never forget the time we were in a small restaurant in the English countryside and the very sweet waitress cleared our luncheon plates. We said "Thank you," and she said "Thank you very much," and we again said "Thank YOU," and she replied "Thank you very much indeed." At that point we gave up.
Underhill is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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>"You're welcome" is American.<

I thought we Americans said, "No problem".

ira is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Ha! ira, that is what I thought too !
I rarely hear "you're welcome" anymore.actually, I have heard "No Problemo" lately too
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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Americans say "no problems"; Brits say "no worries."

I've often wondered why American everyday expressions arouse so much derision, whereas European expressions meaning the same thing have so much cachet.

For example, Americans are often mocked for the ubiquitous "have a nice day" but the French aren't similarly derided for the equally ubiquitous Bonne Journee.
BTilke is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 07:31 PM
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Now, I'm an American, but admittedly an Anglophile. I tend to say "Thank you very much" and " you are quite welcome!". I always associated "no worries" with Australians, though. Of course, my speech patterns may be affected by the fact I've played an English Pub Wench for many years at Medieval Faires

"'Ello, luv... care for a pint?"
GreenDragon is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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GreenDragon, on the street the other day, I saw a little Mini parked, with the license plate that said..
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 08:24 PM
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That licence plate may be saying "Eeeeee, 'ello love" a popular greeting up North or perhaps the car owner is a fan of the Electric Light Orchestra.
henneth is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 10:25 PM
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henneth, that could be but the license plate holder was the British Union Jack
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 26th, 2005, 11:54 PM
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David, I think few of us are at our best when away from our home country.

In this country the English reputation for complaining peaked in the postwar years when large numbers emigrated to Australia. They'd been fed masterful spin jobs by Australian public servants recently released from making wartime propaganda films, and arrived expecting a benign colonial government to settle them into a new house with all mod. cons. in an idyllic suburb within spitting distance of rolling Pacific breakers - a sort of "Neighbours" fantasy world. Instead, many found themselves in baking Nissen huts in the middle of nowhere. They weren't impressed, and they let everyone within earshot know it, at some length.

For their part, the Australians often pointed with approval to the European immigrants who, having emerged from the grind of the Greek islands, Calabria or refugee camps, arrived with no illusions, even of a council flat. rolled up their sleeves, set to work and in due course enrolled their children in law school.

This didn't improve the mood of those English who expected to be given preferential treatment over mere wogs in this far outpost of Empire, not one iota. As happens, this minority succeeded in blackening the reputations of the many who muttered "Well, mustn't grumble" and made the best of things.

Maybe I'm influenced by the fact that my English-born father, a fatherless child of the Depression, had plenty to complain about, but never did. To my wife's never-ending exasperation I've inherited his stiff upper lip. ("Why don't you let other men hug you?" - "Because it's undisciplined and unseemly, that's why." - "That is WEIRD!" - "No, it's not. Someone has to uphold standards of decency." And so forth.)

See, I meant to get around to the thread's subject matter sooner or later.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 12:26 AM
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An uncle of mine went to Australia between the Wars, became very ill and returned "home" to England to die.
He had a son born in Australia who grew up in England.
After the War, he took advantage of the ten pound pom scheme to return to Australia.
He said that if somebody made any "pommy bastard" remarks, he say, "born here, were you?"
He said that he met hardly any who had actually been born in Australia.
Of course, that crack about aircraft, in England is made about the plane from Edinburgh ;-)
MissPrism is offline  
Dec 27th, 2005, 12:49 AM
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The one thing about the English in past years is the lack of patriotism to England rather than Britain. Union flags fly rather than the Cross of St George.
However, this is now changing; even though few of the English actually know when St George's day is - to the point that someone in Parliament suggested that April 23rd become a Bank Holiday in England and it be called "Shakespeare Day"!!
Cars are adorned by the little flags and people seem to be more proud of their Englishness, a trait that has always been the case in the rest of the UK.
I was surprised, however, whilst in Scotland in the summer on the 700th anniversary of William Wallace that official buildings in Scotland were stopped from flying the Saltaire (and the few that did were replaced hastily by force). This would never happen in Wales as I cannot think that anyone from our Assembley would ever dare ban the flying of the Red Dragon as they just wouldn't get away with it. When filling in official forms, the Welsh (and no doubt Scots and many Northern Irish) will put the nationality as WELSH (even if there is only a British box to tick) whilst the English are happy to be British.
AR is offline  

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