HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE ENGLISH

Having lived in other countries I know how true much of this is! I wonder what Spicey thinks??

(PS I understand that a version of this originally appeared in the Economist in 2004)

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29 thoughts on “HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE ENGLISH

    1. Yes, I don’t know why we Brits go round the houses so much when we talk, and find it so hard to say what we mean. It isn’t at all the same in other cultures, as you know. I think we have a mistaken sense of not wanting to offend – so rather than find a courteous way of being honest, we take refuge in these verbal subterfuges … or something like that!

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  1. I had a good laugh at this…it reminded me of a time when hub and I were in France many moons ago.

    We got to our hotel late and the guy on reception told us we didn’t have a reservation.
    The discussion ran back and forth in broken Englih and even more broken French.

    A guy had been observing all this. He comes over and offers to assist. Hub abd I sat back thinking he must be fluent in French.

    The guy….honestly now…screamed…and I mean SCREAMED at the guy on reception….
    stuff like this…..now you listenO Mateo, these two have booked a roomo! So sort it! Yeah? comprendo???? It was soooo embarrassing…The English abroad eh!xxxx

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  2. I’m a slow learner. Reading between the lines, understanding the meaning as opposed to the words used. I’ve lived all my life in England. Aint the English language grand ? I dare say other languages have their more subtle meanings. 🙄

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    1. I’m sure you’re right! We’ve had to learn a few of them in our time. In Nigeria we discovered that to say ‘no’ was extremely rude and totally unacceptable 8| We had to say ‘I am not saying no, but …’

      Crafty, eh 😉

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    1. Thanks, Indigo! The Romanians were often puzzled by our zany sense of humour … they would stare at me and then say ‘oh, I understand – the English sense of humour!’

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    1. Indeed. I was introduced to the head of the English department when I was starting to teach in Sibiu, who chatted for a while and then said ‘we must do lunch sometime’ … and I knew we never would 😉 ‘More English than the English!’

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  3. Great ….. :yes:

    Someone I know often starts a sentence with “I’m not being funny but…..” and I always struggle to keep my face staight because I know she’s about to give someone some verbal stick!!!!

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      1. This happens when your blog has 3 columns.

        I originally could see a small version (I went to your media and clicked on ‘all sizes’ to read it) but I can’t see it all displayed now that you’ve enlarged it.

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      2. That’s REALLY useful and as you can see, has led to a redesign 😉 I’m also learning to understand the design process a bit more – have only just found out how to enlarge the font! :crazy:

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