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25
votes
4answers
4k views

Do accents still play a role in British class distinctions to the present day? How have things changed since the 1960s and Received Pronunciation?

An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him. The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him. If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do, ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Meaning of “ ‘Western’ world” and alternative terms

The discussion on the meaning and connotations of the world 'Oriental' got me thinking along similar lines on the usage of 'Western' world or 'the West' to denote North America and Europe. I find it ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Why did the descriptive “Orientals” shift into a pejorative?

It seems as if a shift occurred and the descriptive "Oriental" was replaced by "Asian" as the accepted term in polite society — what caused this shift?
6
votes
4answers
229 views

Does the word “gentleman” retain the distinction “of leisurely lifestyle” anywhere in British English?

I've been watching a great deal many British period films lately, and having done so has made me grow acutely aware to the nuance of the word gentleman. Once upon a time, a gentleman wasn't just some ...
9
votes
9answers
4k views

What do you mean when you ask “How are you?”

I have been asked one simple question many times by Americans: "How are you?". I know this does not mean that the person I am talking to wants to know how I feel, but sometimes I see that they repeat ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between “social” and “societal”

What's the difference between social and societal? Are they perfectly synonymous? If not, what is the difference in nuance? The relevant definition of social reads: relating to society or its ...
2
votes
6answers
21k views

Appropriate replacement of “nice to meet you” for online salutation?

I would like to use "nice to meet you" in an online email exchange but I feel that "meet" and "see" are not appropriate for online use. There is also a question about it. I have also read somewhere ...
2
votes
3answers
107 views

Why don't you say “good work” in English?

I am an Italian student and I am writing a thesis comparing our two languages. I am aware of the fact that you don't say "good job" or "good work", in order to wish someone the best in his/her job. ...
0
votes
2answers
137 views

Why do more sentences start with 'data' as a plural, than when it is within the sentence?

I recently put together some Google n-grams for a short piece on the transition of the word data into a singular (mass) noun: Data are Beautiful: Data's story in grammar. There was one peculiar ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Does America have its Versions of U- and Non-U English?

In Britain and most of Europe, some form of U-speak exists: old-money language has certain features that distinguish it from other language. In Dutch, it doesn't really have a name, but it is still ...
3
votes
3answers
426 views

Is any utterance in English used only by men or only by women?

In my native language, there are some interjections used only by women. For example Va (pronounced /vʌ/), is an exclamation used to express surprise only by women. If any man happens to use them, he ...
-3
votes
1answer
313 views

Native English inferiority [closed]

"Nativity" is a fancy word for "birth", and what makes it "fancy" seems to be that it's derived from Latin. English-speaking people tend to regard words obviously derived from Latin or Greek as more ...
11
votes
1answer
448 views

U-English of the 1950s: what was used instead of “ON holiday”?

I am reading U and non-U by Alan S.C. Ross, written in 1956. He wrote that the preposition on was non-U in the following sentence: She's on holiday This made me wonder what the correct U ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What does “down with homework” mean?

I was watching The Simpson series. In season 7, episode 12, Bart exposes a t-shirt on which the phrase "DOWN WITH HOMEWORK" is written. Then the entire students in the classroom start a riot all of a ...