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Scots/Scottish/Scotch
Posted: 04 December 2012 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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SL, perhaps by upper-class they just meant not Cockney and not Northern…

I didn’t mean I was taken aback by this Leftpondian’s inability to distinguish between Bloom’s accent and, say, Alec Guinness’s; it’s quite a slight difference and there’s no earthly reason why he or she should even register it, let alone identify it. What surprised me was the complete unconsciousness of the process by which my mind had registered and analysed it.

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Posted: 04 December 2012 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Humans, eh?

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Posted: 05 December 2012 01:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Traditionally, the aspirant lower-middle-classes would teach their children, when they had failed to catch what was said to them, to say ‘Pardon?’ and not ‘What?’ like rude mechanicals. But upper-class people, who know they couldn’t possibly be taken for working-class, would bellow ‘What?’ without inhibitions. Similarly, upper-class and working-class people say cheerfully that they ‘sweat’, without feeling the need to resport to the euphemism ‘perspire’.

Yes, I take that point, and that’s the way it’s always been - until now.  Since the Mitford days (U and non-U) there has been a distinct change in attitude in favour of the working classes, with a corresponding change in language.  An ex-debutante friend of mine with impeccable manners habitually says “What?” (and as a result is considered extremely rude, which anything that asserts your own superiority is) but her adult children say “Pardon?” which they presumably were taught at their private school.  And it’s not a lower middle-class phenomenon, either.  In the north, “pardon” is what all middle classes say.

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Posted: 05 December 2012 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I think we are dealing with a north-south difference here: because in London and the south-east, while there has certainly been a diminution of ‘What?’-shouting by the upper-classes (though you do still hear it quite a bit around Sloane Square, Henley and the Knightsbridge Barracks), the gap has been filled mainly by ‘Sorry?’.

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Posted: 05 December 2012 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Yes, you’re right - the younger generation tend to say “Sorry?” to each other, but more likely “pardon?” to an older generation.  But thankfully we don’t hear the Sloane “What?” much here.  It’s simply considered rude and ignorant.

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Posted: 06 December 2012 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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“Horses sweat, men perspire, women glow,” goes the saying.

It sounds as though that might originally have been an entry for a “New Statesman"* competition, like “I am Oxford, you are Cambridge, he is London School of Economics”, or “I like boys, you are a scoutmaster, he is in prison”.

*for young readers: the “New Statesman and Nation” was an intelligent periodical formerly published in the UK. I don’t know if it still exists—somehow, I doubt it.

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Posted: 06 December 2012 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Lionello, See http://www.newstatesman.com/ . Speculation, rumours or hints of demise are premature and unfounded.

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Posted: 12 December 2012 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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OP Tipping - 04 December 2012 02:28 AM

Sounds a bit Pommy.

It may be obvious to all, but just to make it absolutely clear, all the phrases Betjeman uses in that poem are shibboleths indicating that the speaker is middle-class, not upper-class: others include saying “mirror” rather than “looking-glass”, which is why (Lewis Carrol moving, as he did, in upper-class circles) it was Alice Through the Looking-Glass, not Alice Through the Mirror.

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Posted: 12 December 2012 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Thanks, Skibberoo!

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