The truth behind British politeness

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Lightmancer, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
  2. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    With the greatest respect, Bill, you have now wrecked any possibility of any UK members of the forum passing comment on anything without being found out ...
     
  3. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
  4. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    British Employer's Reference speak ...

    "You will be very lucky to have this young man (lady) work for you. "
     
  5. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    Very interesting .
     
  6. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    And a very brave post. ;-)
     
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
  8. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
  9. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011

    I cannot begin to tell you the horror with which this idea fills me ...
     
  10. porchard

    porchard SC Veteran

    344
    Feb 24, 2013
    Devon, UK
    Oh no, you've got me worried now. I really hope that the rest of the world doesn't judge us by this...:eek:
     
  11. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    It would be fair to say that I talk for a living. I recognised so much of myself in this it isn't funny... :rolleyes:

    There are many I could add, both observed and used, but I shall restrict myself to the following:


    "To be honest"= I'm lying through my teeth

    "That's delicious, you must give me the recipe" = ...so I know how to avoid making the same ghastly culinary mistake

    "I'll call you later" = enjoy the rest of your life

    "Sorry I'm a little late" = how dare you start without me

    "I beg your pardon" = I can't believe you have just been so stupid as to say that

    "I'm not technical" = I have a degree in astrophysics but I'm not going to let on

    "Who's your tailor?" = the man should be shot

    "I'm really glad you asked that" = bollocks, you've spotted the weak point in my argument

    "See you soon, I hope" = enjoy the rest of your life

    and finally:

    "Did you have a nice holiday?" = what disaster befell you on your travels that I can have a good laugh at?

    See? It's really quite simple.

    A special note to our friends in the US - the worst thing you can do to an Englishman of a certain type is to exhort him to "have a nice day" - it comes across as dripping with special-recipe insincerity. :wink: A recent development here has been for waiters to ask "what are you doing with the rest of your day/evening?" to fill the silence while your credit card details are communicated via bluetooth and modem to the card issuer. I have taken to responding "Well, we need to buy a goat to sacrifice tonight - any suggestions?" or "We're off to scatter my aunt's ashes at the local swimming baths".

    All part of life's rich pattern :wink:
     
  12. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Thanks for the link, Bill.

    Have a nice day.:wink:
     
  13. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
  14. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Dennis
    All of these phrases ring true at least as far as native English Speakers are concerned.

    Mindyou , visitors to London ( I'm a Londoner ) shouldn't worry too much these days as the chance of meeting someone who speaks the Queen's English as I was taught is rather rare.

    One US phrase that always grinds with me is " Enjoy!" as if it's a command :) C'est la vie.
     
  15. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    I love your additions!

    And I got it now, Bill. To know what an Englishman or - lady means, I have to choose the opposite of what the rest of the world would mean. OK, I can do that.

    It is probably why the rest of the world drives on the right (you hear, the "right") side and you on the left side. :smile: :dance4:

    Peter
     
  16. greyelm

    greyelm SC Top Veteran

    845
    Oct 1, 2011
    London, England
    Judging the British by Top Gear is like judging USA by George Bush. :biggrin:
     
  17. porchard

    porchard SC Veteran

    344
    Feb 24, 2013
    Devon, UK
    ^^^ :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:

    True... but I must say that it sounds much worse when uttered by a Briton who has been instructed by their clueless boss to adopt this faux bonhomie towards customers. Americans do somehow manage to make it sound reasonably sincere, but it sounds bloody dreadful on British lips.

    Also, I'm always left wondering why the supposed wish for "niceness" is time-limited to a single day!:wink::biggrin:
     
  18. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Peter, I worked in Amsterdam and Rotterdam for a year, and after that spent seven years working for an Anglo-Dutch company (CMG); I am as a result more blunt than many of my compatriots :biggrin:

    As an aside, I was very drunk in a bar once in Amsterdam with one of my customers. He decided to "have a go", taking me to task for the English inability to learn foreign languages (my Dutch is basic to this day - I understand more than I can speak). In my defence I pointed out that the BBC had been founded with a secret charter - to build radio transmitters along the East and South coasts of England to beam English radio programmes out into mainland Europe. Likewise, the same approach was taken with TV. The result - decades later, linguistically-challenged blokes like me could transact business in Amsterdam without having to learn tha language. Drunk as he was, he pondered this revelation for some time before declaring in a loud voice "Of course! I see it all now!! It must be true!!".

    That was 15 years ago... I picture him to this day, sitting in brown bars, telling anyone that will listen of the vile English plot and the true purpose of the BBC... :smile:
     
  19. porchard

    porchard SC Veteran

    344
    Feb 24, 2013
    Devon, UK
    Yikes :eek: ... that would be even more unfair!
     
  20. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Pfft, you think that's bad... I'm from New Jersey.

    I've been afraid to admit this to people since Jersey Shore became a phenomenon. :mad: