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"Strange " English language..


Miloslaw 21 | 5,122
29 Apr 2024 #61
Why would you inflict this on the unsuspecting kids who didn't do anything wrong?

Because it's proper English.

Britain's truly stifling class system,

Are you joking???? or do you have no comprehension of Britain? I think the latter....

RP accent was always that of a tiny minority.

Jon knows much more about the UK than the ignoramus from NY that you are!

Seems to me, based on what I see, Britain's thrown the baby out with the bathwater!

And America hasn't? LOL!!!!!! it's all moved on buster..... in 100 years time the British and Americans will struggle to understand each other.....our languages are moving apart because of different cultural influences, hey in 100 years time most of you Yanks will probably be speaking Spanish......
Joker 3 | 2,412
29 Apr 2024 #62
Yanks will probably be speaking Spanish......

And the Muslim flag will be flying over Buckingham Palace before that happens.....lol
Alien 21 | 5,178
30 Apr 2024 #63
Muslim flag will be flying over Buckingham Palace

Only above the servants' quarters.
jon357 74 | 22,347
30 Apr 2024 #64
most of you Yanks will probably be speaking Spanish......

In some parts of their country, most already do:

Only above the servants' quarters.

Which to be fair is most of the building. It's basically a function suite, a hotel, a carpool and an office block with flats in.
Crow 159 | 9,023
2 May 2024 #65
Nothing strange in English when explained from within Serbian, ie Slavic language.

gaia --- srb. gajiti (to grow, to cultivate)

Berry?

berry --- srb. brati (to pick)

See, no wonder old authors speak of Scots/Picts as of Sarmatians, ie Slavs, ie Serbs.
Lyzko 45 | 9,497
2 May 2024 #66
@Milo, if you deny the conventional British class system, then I do suggest
you review your history! Moreover, I never denied that the US and the UK have
tried to understand each other. Need I repeat the famous quote of Shaw, that
Britain and America are two countries separated by a common language?
jon357 74 | 22,347
2 May 2024 #67
the conventional British class system

What even is that?
Novichok 4 | 8,144
2 May 2024 #68
Britain and America are two countries separated by a common language?

A better example of being separated not only by a common language but also by pronunciation is the US and Canada.
Compared to us, Canada is a 1984 prototype where the woke idiots want to criminalize the use of wrong pronouns - if they haven't done it already...
Lyzko 45 | 9,497
2 May 2024 #69
@jon, I've described what is known historically as the "Class System".
One has but to read standard English literature from "Tom Brown's Schooldays"
by Dr. Matthew Arnold up through the mid-20th century to understand the term.

Trust you're being funny.
jon357 74 | 22,347
2 May 2024 #70
standard English literature

Hard to know what that means.

Tom Brown's Schooldays"
by Dr. Matthew Arnold

That's about a boys' public school, an untypical environment.

Literature so often used to be about the rich. Henry James for example. In very large part because it was written by those with the time, the education a;d the money to allow them to do it.

And it often (both then and now) mentions economic inequality and people's aspirations (as any country's literary corpus does) so would very obviously draw from social structures where appropriate. It's a literary hook.

The idea that there's a "rigid class system" is bizarre. How about saying instead that we have a higher literary output per capita than anywhere else on the planet.
Lyzko 45 | 9,497
3 May 2024 #71
It all depends on where or when one's grown up. I take it you're fairly young
or perhaps grew up outside England, maybe in Scotland, during the '60's.
Atch 20 | 4,152
3 May 2024 #72
I would say that Jon, as an Englishman, is far better placed than you to understand the British social order.
Lyzko 45 | 9,497
3 May 2024 #73
Agreed.
Then again, there is a tendency nowadays for "gaslighting" aka
making the other person think they're a little off, even stupid, merely
so that the gaslighter can laugh at that person!

For instance, if a somebody makes a remark about someone's brogue, to which that person
responds that there's no such thing as a brogue, what does that mean, and so forth,
merely to gently tease the first person, this is undoubtedly what jon's doing here.

He's an intelligent, articulate, interesting poster, therefore, well aware of the concept of
class system, but simply feels like kidding, that's all.
jon357 74 | 22,347
3 May 2024 #74
this is undoubtedly what jon's doing here.

No, although I'm pointing out that what you describe as a "rigid class system" has more to do with Downton Abbey and Merchant Ivory films than any sort of reality.

It's true that we never had a revolution like France or lost two major wars like Germany (though both of those places very much have social classes) and nor do we have the delusion that exists among some Americans that they don't have social class, however it's not much of a a "system" and it isn't "rigid". If anything it's more of interest to marketing specialists than anyone else nowadays.

Literature isn't the best guide to day-to-day reality; class, money and societal conflict are something writers often use. They would have less to write about otherwise.

Remember, we invented Socialism, Universal Healthcare, Trade Unions, free compulsory education, the Welfare State and decolonisation. Our current Prime Minister is the son of two Indian pharmacists and our next one is the son of a factory worker and a nurse. But hey, we've apparently got a "rigid class system".
Lyzko 45 | 9,497
4 May 2024 #75
Good point, jon. Literary models can sometimes be a bit dodgy, I suppose.
On the other hand, literature, as with popular culture anywhere, often does reflect
an interpretation of reality, however unreliable at times:-)
mafketis 37 | 10,848
4 May 2024 #76
"rigid class system

Yeah, as you write 'rigid' doesn't belong there. But there is a class consciousness? awareness? that just isn't found in the US.

I was watching a comparison of the original BBC "Ghosts" and the American version - and one of the things mentioned were lots of certain class markers and a general acknowledgement of class that's entirely missing in the American version... I enjoy the American version though I haven't been able to access the original so it's hard to say (the historic range of the original is also a lot larger than the US version).

There's also some idea of class solidarity (not much of a thing in America for the last several decades) and class pride (for lack of a better word). And also there seems to be an idea of everybody disliking the middle class (I don't know how serious that is but anytime the words are evoked in British media the air seems to curdle a little.
jon357 74 | 22,347
4 May 2024 #77
But there is a class consciousness? awareness? that just isn't found in the US.

In the countryside sometimes.

and one of the things mentioned were lots of certain class markers

I've not seen the show however I'd guess that it was making fun of it and of course as I said, it's become a literary/dramatic device there.

class solidarity

There's certainly some working class solidarity, however that's much more in the North, in Wales and in Scotland, in industrial areas where people had to fight for what they got and still have to fight.

The term Middle Class can be slightly pejorative there; mostly about "kitsch" tastes, perceived materialism and types who across the Atlantic are now called 'Karens'.

It's still a very traditional society and one that delights in laughing at itself and the groups within it. Tribes (marketeers use this term nowadays) is probably more accurate than classes.
jon357 74 | 22,347
4 May 2024 #78
@Mafkeris

Thinking about what you wrote, yes, there is a sort of class awareness however as I mentioned before, we've not had a revolution etc and democracy/workers rights came relatively early so as a society there are elements of both a class structure and classlessness.

Everything evolved organically and continues to do so. And yes, some TV shows do play on it because we enjoy it.

What did you think of Ghosts? I've seen reviews but didn't think I'd like it. Try Mandy (it's probably on pirate bay). Schlock and fun all in one. You'll probably both love it and hate it.
mafketis 37 | 10,848
4 May 2024 #79
What did you think of Ghosts?

I enjoy the American version I've only seen bits and pieces of the British original on youtube... which also looks very enjoyable (in a different way).

I've seen bits and pieces of Mandy on youtube, looks fun (sort of in the Vicky Pollard tradition?) I love Diane Morgan as Cunk and even if the real life experts are in on the joke they're also brilliant.

Weirdly British humor (I love a lot of it and just don't understand a lot of it) doesn't seem to really resonate in Poland past Monty Python (okay though uneven) and Allo Allo (which I could never stand).
jon357 74 | 22,347
4 May 2024 #80
Cunk

The name of that show and the hype around it in the Guardian put me off watching it so I saw the first series of Mandy first then watched it right away when I saw it was the same person. I'd say Mandy is a long way from Vicky Pollard, though yes, both have strong accents and few aspirations. Diane Morgan is a genius and we'll see a lot more of her in the future. Mandy/Cunk is more or less her real accent and something I like about her is that she refuses to compromise and soften it. She's a cousin of the actress Julie Goodyear (a veteran soap star) and I think another famous actor.

I'm wondering what to watch next. Everyone says Michaela Coel is superb but I found her show just OK. I really liked "This Country" (sadly very finished) and "People Just Do Nothing" (great but five series were enough) "Stath Sells Flats" was good albeit a bit dry and I'd like to see what Jamie Demetriou does next.

One of the best comedies I've seen was called "The Smoking Room". A bit like "The Office" but less naff and somehow tighter and more polished in a theatrical way. It was an absolute gem but didn't survive the smoking ban. Sadly the writer doesn't seem to have done much since.

Shows with Romesh Ranganathan in just leave me cold and the Scottish one "Two Doors Down" is neither here nor there. Diane Morgan is probably the best of it right now.

I missed pretty well the entirety of Gavin and Stacey so should maybe have a look at that.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smoking_Room
Lyzko 45 | 9,497
5 May 2024 #81
Here in the US, the only "class distinctions" these days typically regard
money and only money! Breeding, comportment in the British sense, long
dead.

People such as Trump, Bezos, Zuckerberg don't have the cultural distinction
of a Morgan or a Mellon, except perhaps Bill Gates.
jon357 74 | 22,347
7 May 2024 #82
money and only money!

There are different 'types of people though, who probably wouldn't socialise much with each other, and those distinctions are certainly about social class.
Lyzko 45 | 9,497
7 May 2024 #83
True, jon. All I meant is that is the UK traditionally, breeding was once measured almost exclusively
through peerage, cultivated upper class manners which took into account one's grammar, vocabulary,
and pronunciation! One had to measure up or one was not accepted.

Here in the US, nearly anything goes, so it seems.
mafketis 37 | 10,848
7 May 2024 #84
is the UK traditionally, breeding was once measured almost exclusively ,,, which took into account one's grammar, vocabulary,

None of that seems especially right... concern about grammar and vocabulary is primarily middle class (long history in the UK of the ambitious wanting to shed stigmatized language and the upper classes ignoring that).

Unlike most European countries, IIRC, the first grammars weren't written by scholars of philology but were written as self-help books, often by unqualified authors, which is one reason 'school grammar' is such a mess in English speaking countries, full of zombie rules that no one follows....
gumishu 15 | 6,186
7 May 2024 #85
full of zombie rules that no one follows....

like: "you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition"?
mafketis 37 | 10,848
7 May 2024 #86
Or the infamous 'will/shall' rule (invented by a mathematician IIRC) or modern weirdness like "don't start a sentence with 'Hopefully' etc etc).
jon357 74 | 22,347
7 May 2024 #87
"you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition"?

In America some people still believe that's a rule. That and 'split infinitives'.

It was an eighteenth century grammarian's attempt to shoehorn a Germanic language into the structure of Latin which they believed to be superior to all other languages except Classical Greek.

written as self-help books

Mostly across the Atlantic. To do with social mobility and a desire to speak 'properly' back in the day. That's where the books were published and that's where the speaking tutors got gigs.

which took into account one's grammar

As I mentioned, that was more of an American thing in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In Britain where the social structure differed and fewer sudden fortunes were made it was less of a thing. There a poor man could become rich but wasn't ever accepted in high society, his kids weren't really accepted either but his grandkids indistinguishable from the elite) were.

'will/shall' rule

Evolution of language. Jane Austen never used the word "will".
Novichok 4 | 8,144
7 May 2024 #88
Anyone who says "shall" today sounds like an overeducated pompous ass. The same with "whom".
gumishu 15 | 6,186
7 May 2024 #89
Anyone who says "shall"

I have seen sentences like "Shall I close the widnow?" in English textbooks - is it not how English native speakers talk now?
Novichok 4 | 8,144
7 May 2024 #90
Normal people say:

Can I close the window?
Should I close the window?
Do you want me to close the window?

Pompous ass Brits go:
Shall I close the window?


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