The British have become known as quite a polite group of people, well, some of them anyway. Their sometimes all-too-polite phrases give the illusion of class and a well established set of manners. However, a translation table has been making the rounds on the internet recently that might change the way you listen to them.
For instance, a British person says, “With the greatest respect, that is a very brave proposal to which I almost agree. Could we consider some other options? You must come for dinner!” Clearly that means this well-spoken gentleman has listened to our courageous point of view, is not far from agreement and would like to invite us over for dinner to discuss the matter further? Not according to the translation table. Translated, the “gentleman” actually means, “You are an idiot, you are insane, I don’t agree at all. I don’t like your idea. Don’t come for dinner, I’m just being polite.” Quite different indeed.
Have a look at the table and think back to the last conversation you had with that guy from England you met in the pub. Did you understand him correctly? Or was he just being “polite”?
|WHAT THE BRITISH SAY||WHAT THE BRITISH MEAN||WHAT FOREIGNERS UNDERSTAND|
|I hear what you say||I disagree and do not want to discuss it further||He accepts my point of view|
|With the greatest respect||You are an idiot||He is listening to me|
|That’s not bad||That’s good||That’s poor|
|That is a very brave proposal||You are insane||He thinks I have courage|
|Quite good||A bit disappointing||Quite good|
|I would suggest||Do it or be prepared to justify yourself||Think about the idea, but do what you like|
|Oh, incidentally/ by the way||The primary purpose of our discussion is||That is not very important|
|I was a bit disappointed that||I am annoyed that||It doesn’t really matter|
|Very interesting||That is clearly nonsense||They are impressed|
|I’ll bear it in mind||I’ve forgotten it already||They will probably do it|
|I’m sure it’s my fault||It’s your fault||Why do they think it was their fault?|
|You must come for dinner||It’s not an invitation, I’m just being polite||I will get an invitation soon|
|I almost agree||I don’t agree at all||He’s not far from agreement|
|I only have a few minor comments||Please rewrite completely||He has found a few typos|
|Could we consider some other options||I don’t like your idea||They have not yet decided|
[Source : The Telegraph]
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