Author Topic: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc  (Read 2132 times)

Kwill

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I've started reading 'Watching the English' by anthropologist Kate Fox. She discusses habits and manners and speech patterns, often with reference to social class. Links to excerpts below. I'd be interested to hear anecdotes or thoughts from English people here.

As an American who moved to England about 17 months ago, I'm finding the book interesting but also a bit worrying. I'm reading it thinking, "Ooh! That's why I keep getting different explanations of words I find confusing here.' and 'Oh no! I've been saying the wrong thing!' I also wonder what I ought to do about substituting for American words nobody understands (e.g. 'restroom') when the English versions are apparently all loaded with class assumptions -- which one to adopt?

Also, I wonder where Mustachians see themselves as fitting in all of that.

-- excerpts from the book --
On class markers: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2608173/So-CLASS-YOU-A-wickedly-funny-perceptive-new-book-answer-hinges-favourite-marmalade-buy-M-S.html

Other excerpts: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Kate+Fox

cerat0n1a

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2017, 03:03:43 PM »
It's a very accurately observed and funny book, certainly a good read, although I think some things have changed in the ~15 years since it was written and she does sometimes resort to stereotypes that seem to come from the 1950s or earlier. I think she's much better on our "onedownmanship" and love of irony than some other things. I don't think you can go out in any town centre on a Saturday night and still think the British are repressed - as a nation we can match anyone for drugs, drinking & gambling and the swinging sixties and decades of rock and pop stars didn't come from nowhere.

Suspect you're going to a range of answers on the class/vocabulary/accent thing. Some people think/care about class a lot more than others...

I would not be exaggerating if I said that as a child growing up in the northwest of England, I could tell within a few sentences which one of the neighbouring towns someone was from, and certainly many British people will have a good idea which part of the UK someone is from and a reasonable guess at "class" and level of education fairly soon after meeting someone new. I think that's probably also true in the US or Canada though.

That said, as an American you sit outside of the system. Everyone here knows what you mean by 'restroom' and if you did say toilet, lavatory, loo or whatever, you would still be seen as an American rather than belonging to any particular "class."

Furthermore, tv, greater mobility etc. has really homogenised things. Accents (& vocabulary) don't really change by location within the south east quarter of the country, although they do by education level & background. The UK has a higher percentage of foreign-born residents than the US, many more foreign tourists with English as a second language and people in my experience are far more used to English spoken poorly or differently than they are in the US and so no-one at all will judge you by choice of word.

I think you also have to recognise that Cambridge is a bit of a bubble - lots of wealthy people live there and anyone attending Cambridge University will automatically be considered "posh" by much of the country.

Of course, if you were to tell people that you read the Daily Mail, that will certainly lead to people judging you in a certain way :-) And when I read the link, my first thought was this was exactly the kind of rubbish I would expect Daily Mail readers to like :-)

Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2017, 05:01:44 PM »
Thanks for sharing your insight, Cerat0n1a! Good point about the Daily Mail. When I asked at work which UK newspapers my coworkers recommended, a senior colleague mentioned a few major ones but said that I should read the Guardian. I think some disparaging remark was made about the Daily Mail at that point. I'm actually reading the book on electronic legal deposit at the library, but I found the excerpts via Google this evening. Mostly I still read news via US sites . . . old habits.

It's interesting that people here seem to be able to tell where in the UK others are from. For the US, I think it's not so easy. It's too big a country, and people move around too much. I think my own accent may be shifting already. When I first arrived, people would ask where in the States I was from as soon as I started to speak, but by this Easter, someone guessed I was a non-native speaker of American English because it sounded like I had studied the language. I've also had people ask if I meant Boston, Lincolnshire, or Boston in the US when I said I was from Boston, though I can't imagine they thought I was originally from there. My mother says I sound exactly the same, but at least I can hear American accents now whereas I never noticed them before.

I don't know how typical my experience is, even for Cambridge. I would say at least half of my interactions here are with people not born and raised in England. I use a foreign language at work, so in order to practise, I only watch online programming in my second language and occasionally in a third language I'm trying to learn. I've opted out of having a television for that reason, though I tend to listen to a few minutes of BBC Radio 2 in the mornings with the clock radio. Mainly when I speak English with English people it's during coffee and lunch breaks at work plus some interactions around church and other activities. Even among my British co-workers, very few are actually from East Anglia. Even being from different regions, my co-workers sound more similar to each other than to some people I've met from London, which isn't that far away.

Two of the words that confused me were coffee and tea. People will say they are having coffee when actually they are drinking tea, and people will talk about tea but really mean an evening meal that doesn't necessarily involve tea at all. Also the same people that drink tea at coffee might drink coffee at tea. I eventually figured out that our morning break is coffee regardless of the actual beverage and that our afternoon break is tea but that dinner is also tea, as well as being dinner or supper. But the afternoon break is sometimes called coffee. And a formal is also dinner.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 12:45:28 AM »
Two of the words that confused me were coffee and tea. People will say they are having coffee when actually they are drinking tea, and people will talk about tea but really mean an evening meal that doesn't necessarily involve tea at all. Also the same people that drink tea at coffee might drink coffee at tea. I eventually figured out that our morning break is coffee regardless of the actual beverage and that our afternoon break is tea but that dinner is also tea, as well as being dinner or supper. But the afternoon break is sometimes called coffee. And a formal is also dinner.

This is hilarious. I'm caught between: "Yes, that's perfectly clear" and "we are a ridiculous nation".

You know that "come in for a coffee" at the end of a date has a distinct meaning as well (I think it is the same in the US)?

cerat0n1a

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 01:07:02 AM »
It's interesting that people here seem to be able to tell where in the UK others are from.

Some people. My wife would probably lump the whole of the north and midlands together, but places like Liverpool & Newcastle have very characteristic accents.

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I don't know how typical my experience is, even for Cambridge. I would say at least half of my interactions here are with people not born and raised in England.

Cambridge is certainly not typical. There is a large (and transient) population of students & academics from around the world, a large number of people from all over the world who've moved here for work in technology or biotech/pharma and a lot of people who've moved from elsewhere in the EU because there are a lot of other jobs in the booming economy. As you say, even most of the British people aren't local. If you were to go to some the villages north of Ely, or east of Haverhill, say, it would be rather different.

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For the US, I think it's not so easy. It's too big a country, and people move around too much

Someone from Texas sounds pretty different to say New Jersey? You couldn't mistake someone like Jared Diamond for a Southerner?

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people will talk about tea but really mean an evening meal that doesn't necessarily involve tea at all.

Yes, "tea" as a meal is definitely still a region/class marker. I have my "tea" when I get home from work, it's the main meal of the day. My wife would call that "supper" and the way that she pronounces it sounds to me like "sappah." Tea for her would be mid-afternoon cake or scones or something. My children would probably call the same meal "dinner."

If someone you didn't know well were to ask you to their house for tea, you'd probably have to ask them (or guess) whether they meant a meal or a drink.

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And a formal is also dinner.

Well, that's a university thing - I don't think you'll find people talking about a buttery, may balls (held in June), porters or proctors anywhere else either.

Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2017, 01:57:11 AM »
For the US, I think it's not so easy. It's too big a country, and people move around too much

Someone from Texas sounds pretty different to say New Jersey? You couldn't mistake someone like Jared Diamond for a Southerner?

Quote
people will talk about tea but really mean an evening meal that doesn't necessarily involve tea at all.

Yes, "tea" as a meal is definitely still a region/class marker. I have my "tea" when I get home from work, it's the main meal of the day. My wife would call that "supper" and the way that she pronounces it sounds to me like "sappah." Tea for her would be mid-afternoon cake or scones or something. My children would probably call the same meal "dinner."

If someone you didn't know well were to ask you to their house for tea, you'd probably have to ask them (or guess) whether they meant a meal or a drink.

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And a formal is also dinner.

Well, that's a university thing - I don't think you'll find people talking about a buttery, may balls (held in June), porters or proctors anywhere else either.

It's not that there aren't regional accents in the US, but unless someone consciously maintains an accent, I think the accent tends to be less prominent with more education and living in other parts of the country. Maybe that's the same here. If I am talking with someone with a strong Southern accent, I might get more of an accent myself. Otherwise I don't think I usually have a strong regional accent.

No time to respond to the rest now, but great stuff both of you. So interesting!

mies

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2017, 02:52:23 AM »
I think people in the US can make pretty swift judgements based on how you communicat also. If you mispronounce common words or use a lot of crutch words like "you know", "like", and "umm", I can probably get a good feel for your education level or intellectual ability.

I think accents in the US can be harder to place. What we often consider a southern accent I think of as more of a rural accent. I've met people from the rural Midwest that I thought were from the south based on the accent. People from around the Great Lakes region have a subtle accent. I didn't notice it when I was younger since I grew up in that region, but I notice it more now.
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RetiredAt63

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 11:11:15 AM »
People from around the Great Lakes region have a subtle accent. I didn't notice it when I was younger since I grew up in that region, but I notice it more now.

They sound a bit like Canadians.  When we were in Australia and New Zealand, almost everyone knew we were Canadian as soon as we spoke.  The few that thought we were Americans thought we were from New York State or thereabouts.

Canadians tend to have a more consistent accent thanks to the CBC but we still have regional differences.  And of course there are so many Canadians in Los Angeles that it is a common media accent now.

Canadian vocabulary veers between American and British terms, with a few all our own.  Canada got the British version of Harry Potter for example, not the American version.  We don't use that vocabulary but we recognize it.
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Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2017, 11:29:56 AM »
I think people in the US can make pretty swift judgments based on how you communicate also. If you mispronounce common words or use a lot of crutch words like "you know", "like", and "umm", I can probably get a good feel for your education level or intellectual ability.

Or age. Maybe people settle into their speech and thought a bit as they grow up?

Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 11:42:17 AM »
Canadians tend to have a more consistent accent thanks to the CBC but we still have regional differences.  And of course there are so many Canadians in Los Angeles that it is a common media accent now.

Canadian vocabulary veers between American and British terms, with a few all our own.  Canada got the British version of Harry Potter for example, not the American version.  We don't use that vocabulary but we recognize it.

I wonder if the Canadian accent will spread more across the US that way. Or maybe television and movies are mixing the North American accents already.

Canada seems to have stronger ties to the UK than does the US, including more recent migration in both directions. I guess it makes sense then that you would have the British version of Harry Potter. When I was a kid, I don't think they made separate versions of children's books that way. I remember learning words from books and learning later that the spelling was 'wrong'. And it was only last year that I learned that a 'jumper' is entirely different in the UK and the US, which would probably change my impression of various children's book characters if I could remember which ones.

US jumper:
https://www.scotweb.co.uk/products/pinafore-dress/

UK jumper:
http://babaa.es/shop/women/jumper-woman-no19-oversized-winterskies/

cerat0n1a

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 12:31:24 PM »

It's not that there aren't regional accents in the US, but unless someone consciously maintains an accent, I think the accent tends to be less prominent with more education and living in other parts of the country. Maybe that's the same here. If I am talking with someone with a strong Southern accent, I might get more of an accent myself. Otherwise I don't think I usually have a strong regional accent.

That's exactly the same here. TV and people moving around has homogenised accents a lot during my lifetime. I would only have a particularly noticeable accent when talking to people from where I grew up - my children find it funny that I do it without thinking. Even watching a sports fixture is enough to do it.

My (German) boss has this pinned up on her wall.

http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2011/05/17/anglo-eu-translation-guide/

mies

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 02:43:35 PM »
I think people in the US can make pretty swift judgments based on how you communicate also. If you mispronounce common words or use a lot of crutch words like "you know", "like", and "umm", I can probably get a good feel for your education level or intellectual ability.

Or age. Maybe people settle into their speech and thought a bit as they grow up?

Age can be a part of it. I have met some smart youngsters that haven't abandoned their crutch words, or maybe haven't been exposed to a word yet so they aren't sure how to pronounce it.  But when I meet somebody in their 30's who still says "supposably" when they mean supposedly, or can't finish a sentence without saying "like", It's probably safe to say they aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.
Less is more.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2017, 12:25:32 AM »
Yes, the daily mail is doing it's best to maintain divides and a class based society. Who even knew there was upper-middle, middle-middle and lower-middle strata?

I think class is an old fashioned concept, and to be honest I think  nowadays it's more related to your own achievements and social status, rather that of your parents and family before them, which I think is the right way to go about it.

Kwill, I wouldn't worry about using American words, as people who grew up on a diet of US shows, we know what they all mean.


Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2017, 12:34:00 AM »
I think people in the US can make pretty swift judgments based on how you communicate also. If you mispronounce common words or use a lot of crutch words like "you know", "like", and "umm", I can probably get a good feel for your education level or intellectual ability.
Or age. Maybe people settle into their speech and thought a bit as they grow up?
Age can be a part of it. I have met some smart youngsters that haven't abandoned their crutch words, or maybe haven't been exposed to a word yet so they aren't sure how to pronounce it.  But when I meet somebody in their 30's who still says "supposably" when they mean supposedly, or can't finish a sentence without saying "like", It's probably safe to say they aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.

Careful that you aren't reading a speech impediment as a lack of intellect.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2017, 01:55:43 AM »
I think people in the US can make pretty swift judgments based on how you communicate also. If you mispronounce common words or use a lot of crutch words like "you know", "like", and "umm", I can probably get a good feel for your education level or intellectual ability.
Or age. Maybe people settle into their speech and thought a bit as they grow up?
Age can be a part of it. I have met some smart youngsters that haven't abandoned their crutch words, or maybe haven't been exposed to a word yet so they aren't sure how to pronounce it.  But when I meet somebody in their 30's who still says "supposably" when they mean supposedly, or can't finish a sentence without saying "like", It's probably safe to say they aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.

Careful that you aren't reading a speech impediment as a lack of intellect.

Yeah, there are many different types of intelligence, and working in the tech world where you need logical smarts, lots of people struggle to speak perfectly and hate public speaking. I think it's great that people are welcomed in, you only need polished grammar and English when you want to get the top in an overly corporate environment.

That said, I once had a manager that never use punctuation, all her sentences just rambled and ended - it drove us mad, but never stopped her progressing.

mies

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2017, 03:57:28 AM »
I think people in the US can make pretty swift judgments based on how you communicate also. If you mispronounce common words or use a lot of crutch words like "you know", "like", and "umm", I can probably get a good feel for your education level or intellectual ability.
Or age. Maybe people settle into their speech and thought a bit as they grow up?
Age can be a part of it. I have met some smart youngsters that haven't abandoned their crutch words, or maybe haven't been exposed to a word yet so they aren't sure how to pronounce it.  But when I meet somebody in their 30's who still says "supposably" when they mean supposedly, or can't finish a sentence without saying "like", It's probably safe to say they aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.

Careful that you aren't reading a speech impediment as a lack of intellect.

Yeah, there are many different types of intelligence, and working in the tech world where you need logical smarts, lots of people struggle to speak perfectly and hate public speaking. I think it's great that people are welcomed in, you only need polished grammar and English when you want to get the top in an overly corporate environment.

That said, I once had a manager that never use punctuation, all her sentences just rambled and ended - it drove us mad, but never stopped her progressing.

Using crutch words isn't a speech impediment. I would never hold stuttering or stammering against somebody, because I know they can't help it. I work for a tech company and I know plenty of people that hate public speaking. That being said, they are generally well spoken when they aren't under pressure to speak.

I think being able to speak and write clearly is very important and a courtesy to your coworkers. I don't think anybody likes meetings  that drag on because someone didn't explain what they meant clearly the first time or being greeted by a wall of text in an email when a few clear sentences would suffice.
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lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2017, 08:12:39 PM »
Tangentially related, The Story of English is an old but very interesting documentary series on the origins of the English language.

pbkmaine

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2017, 09:27:32 PM »
Tangentially related, The Story of English is an old but very interesting documentary series on the origins of the English language.

This was SO good! There was a book that went with it, too.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2017, 05:13:37 AM »
I thought the excerpt was a good laugh - and very Daily Mail. Bloody lower-middles...! I'm very into inter-war novels about the struggling upper classes and aspiring upper-working/lower-middle classes, though, so I'm probably more tuned in to alleged class distinctions than your average English person.

According to her guide I'm mostly upper-middle with a dash of lower-middle, which is about right for my family background: half upper middle (tennis courts and servants but no estate) come down in the world over the past few generations and half working class (unemployed in a council house) come up, and then I went to one of those private schools where you learn to look down on the aspirant middle-middles, and fell in with a similar set in university.

I did find the bits about class anxiety very perceptive, though, like the onedownmanship about the Middletons at school. My parents were aspirational in a way that I have unfortunately come to regard as rather vulgar. They bought top-of-the-line John Lewis furniture and put coasters everywhere and sprang up at once to clean any tiny spillage. Now I buy second-hand Edwardian mahogany and it's generally a bit bashed at the corners when I get it, so who cares if there's another mark? My parents could never really enjoy themselves because they had to worry about their clothes getting crumpled or someone thinking they were too non-U. We will go for an "ironic" 5 Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. My parents put me and my brother through private school. I was talking to a (even more poshly educated) friend the other day about what a waste of money private school is. I don't know whether it's the changing times (hipster irony and normcore) or just a generational thing and I happen to have befriended others in the same boat.

I think people who say we don't have class in the UK are deluding themselves. But I like to think it doesn't really matter that much any more. Of course people will still peg you based on your accent and vocabulary as much as they will on your clothes and mannerisms, but everyone wants to belong to something and perhaps a class is another thing to belong to. I do think that the upper and working classes have more in common with each other than either do with the middle classes. In general, they are happier and more welcoming because they are who they are and aren't always trying to prove that that they're "better" than you. Middle class status anxiety is ghastly. (Quoth the secure upper-middle!)

Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2017, 05:25:09 PM »
Thank you for sharing this, Shelivesthedream. It's interesting to hear your anecdotes. It's kind of sad the bit about learning to look down on other people but good that you feel happy where you are in life.

The mention of tennis in this context reminded me of the Simpsons' depiction of Protestant heaven.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4IletJ7-Tw

shelivesthedream

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2017, 02:09:36 AM »
Thank you for sharing this, Shelivesthedream. It's interesting to hear your anecdotes. It's kind of sad the bit about learning to look down on other people but good that you feel happy where you are in life.

The mention of tennis in this context reminded me of the Simpsons' depiction of Protestant heaven.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4IletJ7-Tw

Just to clarify - I didn't mean that bit really seriously, just that it struck a chord with lots of novels I've read, and that it's true for me about my parents' class status anxiety. I think it frustrated them that I didn't care about keeping up appearances the way they did, but that's because they achieved the goal of being secure middle class people so I didn't feel I had to prove myself to the world in that way, so I never understood what all the fuss was about and got irritated with their insistence that all my clothes were perfectly name taped etc :) No doubt it was partly a form of teenage rebellion, but I do also still find their obsession with their neighbours' houses exhausting and rather silly.

But I always have a bit of doublethink going on with class issues: due to my literary and historical interests I'm very tuned in to class markers and class anxiety, but due to me being me I think it's all nonsense and doesn't matter in the slightest and people are just people all the world over.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2017, 02:25:48 AM »
So, going through the Daily Mail list of words, I am working class on #2 to #6, I will say any of "pardon", "sorry" or "what" on #1 and I don't think I've ever met anyone who said "sweet" for #7 so that would make me upper middle.

On the other class markers, I guess FIRE / frugality / self sufficiency put me outside their classification somewhat. I fail the M&S test completely as I only ever use it to change currency. Marmalade - well, I make my own jam from fruit I've grown myself. Car is off the bottom of the scale for the Daily Mail (10 year old Honda) and we don't have any pets but previously had cats, guinea pigs & rats (yuk). I don't count chickens as pets. My parents were teachers, which makes me lower-middle by upbringing I suppose and upper-middle now.

My youngest son's group of friends at school includes a boy whose parents farm thousands of acres, have a helicopter pad and a string of racehorses, the son of a Polish single father and a boy whose dad is in prison. I do think there's a significant part of the population that doesn't think or care about class very much (other than perhaps labelling things or people as "chavvy" or "stuck up"?)

Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2017, 01:01:25 PM »
So, going through the Daily Mail list of words, I am working class on #2 to #6, I will say any of "pardon", "sorry" or "what" on #1 and I don't think I've ever met anyone who said "sweet" for #7 so that would make me upper middle.

Thank you for sharing your quiz results. :-) As an American, probably these don't apply to me, but I'd get upper-middle? on #1 ('sorry what' or similar), lower or middle-middle with pretensions on #2 (ladies room or restroom / bathroom but 'toilet paper'), upper-middle on #3 (napkin), middle on #4 (dinner), middle or upper middle on #5 (usually sofa but sometimes couch), middle? on #6 ('living room' in a home but 'lounge' if it's in an airport or public building; den or family room if it's a more casual room in a house that also has a living room), middle? on #7 (dessert). Also, what in the UK would be jam is jelly, jam or preserves depending on what type it is. Jelly is made with juice and doesn't have any skin or pieces of fruit in it. Jam is thicker and more opaque. Preserves are the thickest, and they have the most pieces of fruit.

In another section, Fox says that both lower and upper middle class people shop at charity shops. The former don't like to admit it, but the latter brag about it. So that part would apply to people who are frugal by choice and like to talk about it online.

Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2017, 01:10:59 PM »
Just to clarify ...
But I always have a bit of doublethink going on with class issues: due to my literary and historical interests I'm very tuned in to class markers and class anxiety, but due to me being me I think it's all nonsense and doesn't matter in the slightest and people are just people all the world over.

Thank you for clarifying. Yes, it seems like the sort of thing that it would be easy to have mixed feelings about. I read or reread all the Jane Austen novels this year. There's something comfortingly orderly about the social world in her books, but it is not without troubles.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2017, 02:19:27 PM »
So that part would apply to people who are frugal by choice and like to talk about it online.

:-)

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2017, 06:33:21 AM »


 I do think there's a significant part of the population that doesn't think or care about class very much (other than perhaps labelling things or people as "chavvy" or "stuck up"?)

Yes, I agree. I think younger people are far less interested in class, as someone in her early forties I can remember when the UK seemed a lot more class-based than today.

The article did make me laugh, apparently I use a lot of the upper class expressions, but I am certainly not upper class.:) I think it shows more a divide between the North and South of the country. I have had friends from the Midlands and the North and they use a lot of the expressions that are considered working class, like saying tea instead of saying dinner or supper.

Kwill

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2017, 09:23:56 AM »


 I do think there's a significant part of the population that doesn't think or care about class very much (other than perhaps labelling things or people as "chavvy" or "stuck up"?)

Yes, I agree. I think younger people are far less interested in class, as someone in her early forties I can remember when the UK seemed a lot more class-based than today.

The article did make me laugh, apparently I use a lot of the upper class expressions, but I am certainly not upper class.:) I think it shows more a divide between the North and South of the country. I have had friends from the Midlands and the North and they use a lot of the expressions that are considered working class, like saying tea instead of saying dinner or supper.

Good to hear. I was feeling a little worried about everything I said for awhile after reading this.

daverobev

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Re: Reading 'Watching the English' and wondering about class, etc
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2017, 09:48:31 AM »
Did nobody here read Enid Blyton?! Surely everyone knows that High Tea is what you get for thwarting the kidnappers.

"Come round for tea"... IMHO would be for a casual tea; not dinner party type dinner. "Come round for a cuppa" "cup of tea" or "a coffee" would be... for a drink.

And the followup question "What time?" would be a good indicator. Anything past 4pm and it'll be a meal.

I'm finding trying to work out what I would've said difficult, after a few years in Canada. I think I still say "I'm just popping to the loo", but I ask "is there a bathroom" or "is there a toilet". Not a fan of "restroom". But then I'm not a fan of "gas" either, and tend to say fuel.

Daily Mail is trash. Plain and simple. And I'll really show my bias here: I'd guess that the people who voted for Brexit purely on "nasty" grounds would be Daily Mail readers. Small minded. It's a hateful, disgraceful newspaper that, of course, caters to capitalism by printing what its customers wish to read. The fact it is "Britain's number one selling newspaper" says something about my country that makes me grimace.
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