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Offline An_dz

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(Fun) The internet should be more british
« on: March 06, 2012, 12:09:42 AM »
I've read it in 9gag a while ago, but I do quite enjoy this.
Dedicated to jamespetts, TheHood, kierongreen and other British users:

The internet should be more British @9gag

Offline kierongreen

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 12:12:01 AM »
If only everyone in Britain could be that stereotypically polite...

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 12:29:55 AM »
A bit slow on the uptake - but this is excellent!

Offline The Hood

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 07:40:20 AM »
If only everyone in Britain could be that stereotypically polite...

I agree. An_dz you have clearly never been on the tube in rush hour! As far as politeness concerns, Japan wins hands down - when I was there they QUEUED in the rush hour instead of reinventing a mass game of rugby...

Offline sdog

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 07:53:27 AM »
at least in britain, i would not understand any rude word uttered at me :-)

[but i should be quick with learning]

i do have a question to native english speakers, a question perturbing me for quite a while: Is "will you" impolite or inapropriate for uncertain hierarchical conditions?

I think i could tell a friend: "Close the door, will you?" without being rude at all, and i could do it as equals
i also think my boss could tell this to me while being polite.
Would it be appropriate to say this to someone in a higer social position, or to someone i want something from.

eg "warm the cup with hot water before putting tea into it, will you?" while trying to be friendly and polite to a barista.

Offline Carl

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 08:05:49 AM »
While it would depend on tone and context, putting "will you" at the end of the sentence usually indicates frustration and would often be considered rude. Better would be "Could you warm the cup before putting tea in it, please?"

Offline sdog

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 08:16:14 AM »
thanks for the clarification. While i liked it very much, since i read it the first time in the first chapter of Ulysses, i never used it. It sounded rather jolly in ulysses (and was used together with old chap).

Offline kierongreen

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 08:18:16 AM »
It all comes down to tone... Either could be acceptable, or arrogant...

Offline Carl

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 08:19:28 AM »
I think there's a "posher" dialect of British English where it sounds okay; kierongreen is right that it mostly comes down to tone.

Offline ӔO

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 08:21:28 AM »
"Could you warm the cup before putting tea in it, please?"
is pretty formal and would be the better choice when talking to a complete stranger.

"Can you ...", "Can I..."
is improper English, but is often used in places where there is some level of familiarity with the people present, often classrooms or offices.

"Will you (please)..."
Is a more demanding tone, but if you say it with a thick accent, I doubt many native English speakers will hold it against you. ;)

For instance, if I remember correctly, "priority" and "emergency" can be used synonymously in Spanish, but not in English.

Offline sdog

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 08:53:22 AM »
'please' isn't used a lot here in toronto, but it is compensated by many 'thanks' and an overabundance of 'sorry'. It usually is not a good idea for a german to copy any british accent or dialect. At best we sound like arrogant pricks, worst like count dracula. So i rather stick with the "could and please form"

errr, just realised, i almost exclusively use "would you please" as i don't want to inquire if someone is able to do something for me, but if they are also willing to do it.

[this is an artefact of living in northern germany for a while, if you ask "could you" (koenten sie/ koennen sie) you often get just a "yes" as a confirmation of their ability. In some cases even a "wuerden sie" "would you" would not cause any action, just a yes answer, "i would if you'd ask me, but you didn't ask so i didn't do it,"]

Offline Carl

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2012, 08:57:18 AM »
That's right -- despite the fact that "could" is strictly about ability, British people normally take "could you ..." to be a request rather than an inquiry about ability.

Offline ӔO

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 09:08:48 AM »
In canada and america, our english is slightly broken :)


Offline sdog

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 09:13:21 AM »
the same is in general true in german. taking the more exclusive meaning is done as a way to anger people by artificially misunderstanding them, while having a legitimation. Mostly used by people who are dealing with customers.

James inadvertantly influenced me to overuse 'should'
answering to "what would you like" instead of "two paposeco please" i started to answer "oh, hello, i should like to have two paposeco, please."


@it's rather easy to identify the canadians, who are neither born torontonians nor immigrants. I haven't met anyone though, who would frequently say 'eh'.


Some older 'cultivated' people have a rather interesting english, very very polite.

Offline An_dz

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2012, 09:21:33 AM »
If only everyone in Britain could be that stereotypically polite...
I agree. An_dz you have clearly never been on the tube in rush hour! As far as politeness concerns, Japan wins hands down - when I was there they QUEUED in the rush hour instead of reinventing a mass game of rugby...
Of course, but at least you have a good reputation. Japan politeness is level hummm...        ...Japan.
And stereotypically? Ok, and you're not like sir... :D

In canada and america, our english is slightly broken :)
Normal. Those things happen when there's an ocean between.

Offline sdog

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2012, 09:30:34 AM »
talking of cliche, my childhood hero was John Steed.
(youth hero was Cpt. Black Adder IV)

there is one big difference i noticed, for some reason, british profesors are much more likely to be humorous in lectures. Surprisingly american (and canadian) profs seem more serious than german ones. This is just a rather subjective observation, partially from listening to a large number of podcasts of public lectures.


Quote

Normal. Those things happen when there's an ocean between.
even quite a bit more ocean for lusaphone.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2012, 11:06:28 AM »
"Will you" is perfectly polite if asking about the person's predictions of what that person will do - "Will you go to Paris this summer, do you think?" is entirely polite. It is not really polite to use it to make a request, however. A more polite way of making a request would be, "I should be very grateful if you could pass me that letter opener".

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2012, 11:09:45 AM »
James inadvertantly influenced me to overuse 'should'
answering to "what would you like" instead of "two paposeco please" i started to answer "oh, hello, i should like to have two paposeco, please."


This is entirely correct, although some (I should say excessively trendy) people see this as old-fashioned: in the first person, will/shall and would/should are reversed. "Will" in the first person refers to an intention, whereas "shall" refers to a prediction, and the same is extrapolated to the conditional forms, "would" and "should".

Offline isidoro

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2012, 03:06:36 PM »
[...] A more polite way of making a request would be, "I should be very grateful if you could pass me that letter opener".

When reading this sentence, I pictured James in a big room, standing near the fireplace, having a cup of tea, and his monocle falling into the cup...  ;D

Offline AP

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2012, 04:07:41 PM »
Should/shall is complicated. In particular Should vs Ought is an interesting one.

I should like to listen to Beethoven. (old fashioned, should=desire)
I should like to listen to Beethoven, but I don't. (modern, should=obligation)
vs
I ought to like to listen to Beethoven.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2012, 04:38:51 PM »
That confusion is a very good reason to use the clearer "ought", and confine "should" to its former use.

Offline The Hood

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2012, 06:42:14 PM »
Am I the first to spot the irony in the title? Detailed discussion of English grammar - (fun)?!?!

For my ha'porth (that's two cents to our American friends) the English language is what it is - the "rules" have frequently changed as people use the language differently over time. Getting back to the original question - I'd say it's more polite to say "would you mind doing such and such...", "will you" sounds slightly demanding. As a general rule (I studied some French and German at school) the English make much more use of conditionals (would, could, might etc) when they really mean "do this" and often understate things - "it's a little cold outside" = it's freezing etc.

Offline isidoro

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2012, 08:07:21 PM »
Yes, English doesn't have really true rules in part because the language doesn't have an Academy in the style of the French Academy.  A formal, authoritative reference.

I guess that in those times (France declining and England rising), that was one more thing to mark differences with the opponent.

And, as I have said somewhere else, English also suffers from another illness: all the non-native people like me that have to use it and continuously kick the language when writing or speaking.  But that is the price of fame, I suppose.


Offline sdog

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2012, 08:27:41 PM »
regardless of the académie française the rift between continental french and quebecoise french seems to be much deeper. i remember two french tourists who fled montreal to toronto telling me: "don't go there, the people are barbarians, and they speak like idiots." (i should add, the people i met in montreal myself were extraordinary nice, and i'm to thick to notice the different between diferent french dialects.)

@the hood: i learned this aspect of the language only when reading Terry Pratchett. What i don't know is whether a phrase is obsolete or still in use.



That confusion is a very good reason to use the clearer "ought", and confine "should" to its former use.
Thank you for the reminder, i ought to get used to 'ought'.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 08:51:39 PM by sdog »

Offline IgorEliezer br

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2012, 08:43:44 PM »
even quite a bit more ocean for lusaphone.
If in Canada and America, English is slightly broken, Portuguese language is almost nonfunctional here.

Offline kierongreen

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2012, 09:02:54 PM »
We have advantage (or disadvantage) of lots of cultural exchange from Britain to America and vice versa which  keeps the languages comprehensible. For a comparison most people in Britain and the US seem to have problems with Indian English, which has not had so much contact over last 60 years or so.

Offline IgorEliezer br

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2013, 05:40:47 PM »

Offline Ters

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2013, 06:01:58 PM »
Several of those aren't exclusively British.

Offline AP

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2013, 07:51:34 PM »
"Quite good" is also quite far from accurate in that little chart - since we tend to use Understatement  (in addition to litotes).

If I see a film that I think is a sure thing for Best Picture at the next Oscars, I'll happily tell others it's "quite good".

There's a classic quote from a British Airways pilot (which google has just helped me find...), which is pretty spot on for that sort of thing: 
Quote
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.

I think if aliens invaded Oxford tomorrow, the phone call to the government would be to report a "slight problem".


It must be a real issue to students of the language...  :o

Offline Ters

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2013, 08:03:18 PM »
It must be a real issue to students of the language...  :o

Nah. Students aren't bothered with such things. Not understanding such things is the price one pays for going to Britain without having watched British comedies first, which is possibly more of an issue for Americans than for Europeans.

Offline Junna

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2013, 08:08:25 PM »
Say, apropos of nothing in particular, but why does James Petts always type it as "to-day"? Is it, I wonder, a intentionally acquired anachronism? Let us then also not forget to write it to-morrow - though I have this nagging memory somewhere in the back of my head of James using this as well. I am a bit curious as to why, though, as it is my understanding that James is not particularly aged -- would it be some of that intentional "retro" ordeal that seems to have become a fad recently?

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2013, 08:32:12 PM »
I don't do fads - I do like to do things properly. "To-day" and "to-morrow" were always written as such, and it is only a modern fad of laziness in which people incorrectly omit the hyphens.

Offline AP

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2013, 09:16:55 PM »
Indeed. Although for speed auto-correct is very useful for such things, especially for words wanting ligatures/diaeresis; naïve, coördinate, archæology, &c. which are a right pain to type.

Offline Ters

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2013, 09:24:30 PM »
"To-day" and "to-morrow" were always written as such

Makes sense. In Norwegian, both are actually split into two distinct words each, which is bit odd since Norwegian (like German) is very keen on joining words together into longer words while English is not. At least when I write "tomorrow", I use all the letters. I don't do the same with the corresponding Norwegian word.

[...]words wanting ligatures/diaeresis; naïve, coördinate, archæology, &c. which are a right pain to type.

You just need the right keyboard. (Although Internet Explorer likes to block the accute accent in web forms for some reason.) It's arguably not so good for programming. Or so I've heard, I've never tried any other keyboard layout (except accidentally).

Offline kierongreen

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Re: (Fun) The internet should be more british
« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2013, 09:29:40 PM »
Quote
I don't do fads
I'd say you create your own. 'buses and connexions being a couple I've noticed. I hadn't seen to-day before but it fits the pattern. Those aren't ways of writing used by most people, and English doesn't have any official standards, only what is used by the majority...