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15

Context is key. That being said, in most cases, in American English at least, "How are you?" just means "Hello." Not even a formal "fine" response is required. It would not be uncommon to hear two Americans have this conversation: Joe, how are you? Nate, how are you doing? or Joe how are you? Nate, good to see you. If you want to ...


14

Things have certainly changed in that, for example, you find more TV presenters with regional English accents in more "serious" roles on national UK television. On the other hand, national news programmes still tend to be fronted by presenters with what are perceived as essentially "standard" English accents. Perhaps tellingly, it's been for some time common ...


14

Expectations regarding explicit markers of politeness when an imperative is given are highly context-dependent (and not just in western society, of course). They will be affected by such things as the urgency of a given situation; the setting (e.g. school, workplace, army); the existence of a hierarchical/power relationship (or lack of it); the existence of ...


11

'Western' is often used to refer to the developed world, but even then tends to limit itself to countries populated by white people. You have mentioned North America, the UK and Europe. You might be interested to know that usually, Australia and New Zealand are considered a part of 'Western' culture and society regardless of their proximity to East Asia. ...


8

The New Oxford American Dictionary says on this topic: USAGE: The term Oriental, denoting a person from the Far East, is regarded as offensive by many Asians, esp. Asian Americans. It has many associations with European imperialism in Asia. Therefore, it has an out-of-date feel and tends to be associated with a rather offensive stereotype of the people ...


8

"Down with" is simply an idiom, used to express negative emotions toward something. A close cousin of "Down with homework" could be "Say no to homework". You might hear protesters use this kind of language while chanting at a demonstration (it's short, and to the point); it also makes it way onto T-shirts, and even magazine covers from time to time.


8

It depends on who asks the question. In casual conversation, people expect the response: "Fine, how are you?" If a doctor asks you the question, he expects the truth.


8

We say "good luck" when we tell somebody we hope they do well in the future. Both "good job" and "good work" refer to the past (that is, we're saying we approve of what someone has already done). It's just a matter of specific phrases being linked to the past or future to help with disambiguation. I don't imagine there's any deep sociological reason behind ...


7

Ross mentions it briefly in his 1954 paper, where he gives it as an example of his claim that 'Some phrases with prepositions are non-U', but he doesn't offer the U alternative. As David has said in his comment, it’s quite possible that U speakers would say She’s holidaying. Holiday is first recorded as a verb in the OED in 1869. Two other examples of the ...


7

Japanese is the classic example of the phenomenon you describe, which in the linguistic literature is sometimes referred to as lexical classes or lexical strata. In Japanese, there are three lexical strata: Yamato Japanese: words that don't have their origin in borrowing from another language. Sino-Japanese: words originating from Chinese, centuries ago. ...


7

Yes. The most stereotypical example is Ebonics and is a somewhat touchy subject due to the racial implication of calling African-Americans a lower class. The term seems to have officially become African American Vernacular English. Most other examples I can think of are things like hick or valley girl. The terms are shifty and ill-defined because of the ...


7

Depends what you are asking. U speak in English was a parody/attack on the bourgeois middle classes for using clever or fancy terms for things in order to sound more upper class. While the actual upper class didn't use any of these words because they knew they were upper class and the whole point of being upper class is not caring a damn what anyone else ...


6

For the most part, I don't think there is such a speech divide in the USA. Britain is much more noted for the association of class and speech than is the USA, where speech patterns are more likely to indicate region of origin than social class. In the USA, social class is more likely to be linked to income (money, economic class) than anything else. (In ...


6

One use of "down with <object>" is to state the speaker's desire to do away with the object. This usage also contains a call rousing others to action, usually aggressive, to achieve that goal. In this case, Bart's t-shirt expresses his desire to do away with homework and is implicitly calling on his classmates to help him to achieve that.


6

I understand why the term Oriental is derogatory, but my family, who are Japanese-American, have always used the term to differentiate Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cultures, which share some common cultural threads, from other Asian cultures. For example, people from Indian are Asian, but their culture is very different from Japan, China, and Korea. Has ...


6

The answer to this question would vary in different situations. In most cases you should reply with neutral: "Fine. What about you?" "Great! How are you?" Even if you had a really bad day, when you have a business meeting, you wouldn't answer something like this to the question you mentioned: "Oh, I had a really bad day..." "Bad, what ...


5

Pretty bad! I remember I was with an African-American friend in line to get into the movie hall and I said it(the color) out a little too loud and the whole area went silent with everyone trying to avoid eye contact. It was pretty embarrassing. Don't even want to think what would have happened if I had used the n word instead. :( Besides here is the ...


5

In the past a gentleman might have been expected to be independently wealthy, or have pretended to be so, but he would never have been a gentleman without being of the right class. This meant education, accent, etiquette, vocabulary, parentage (anything I've missed?). Outside of referring to these gentlemen of past times, no one in the UK now would think a ...


5

I was pondering on ways of addressing society's most challenging issues. (Toughest instead of most challenging also works.) Another term that may fit what you are looking for is "wicked," as in "wicked problems," a term largely attributed to Rittel & Webber's 1973 paper "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning." The term recently got a bunch of ...


5

In my experience (in the Midwestern United States) I would recommend the following: When you are using an imperative in a way that benefits the other person, it's not common to say please, and it's not rude. 'Go ahead', 'take one', 'let me know if you need help', are examples where you would not say please because you're really offering the other person ...


4

Kate Fox is an anthropologist rather than a linguist, so I'm dubious of some of her descriptions of accentual differences, but it's easier to distinguish accents than to explain them so there's still some value in quoting: There is, however, a distinction between upper-class speech and 'educated' speech -- they are not necessarily the same thing. What ...


4

To supplement the other good answers here, I did an Ngram of Oriental, Asiatic, and Asian to provide a timeline of the various terms' use in print: As you can see, the use of Asian increased dramatically starting in the late 1940s. One guess as to the reason is the use of Pacific-Asian Theater in popular media to define the non-European areas of WWII ...


3

Oriental is not considered especially offensive in the UK. It is not the preferred term for a person of Asian origin or descent, but it is not one that is universally avoided. I should add that in the UK "Asian" almost exclusively refers to South Asian (but not Indo-Chinese) origin, unless the context requires otherwise. In any case, the term "Asian" ...


3

Western is much clearer than the West. From the New Oxford American Dictionary: Western: living in or originating from the west, in particular Europe or the U.S. while there are many possible definitions for the West: the West: Europe and its culture seen in contrast to other civilizations. historical the noncommunist states of Europe and ...


3

Social has over 500M hits in NGrams, as opposed to only 7M for the more recent societal. So the main difference is OP probably always wants to use the former, because that's the standard word and it covers all meanings. Societal is the more recent word for of [human] society, which is its only meaning. It's primarily used in academic writing, so OP is ...


3

An interesting note on how bad the word "nigger" has become: In the 1970's it was okay to say "nigger" on television. Sanford & Son said that word in a handful of episodes (usually said by Fred Sanford). But even White People used that word in the 1970's. Chevy Chase famously said it on Saturday Night Live when speaking with Richard Prior in a sketch. ...


3

I accidentally came across this on Wikipedia. It is a page about the Geordie dialect in the north of the UK: Phonology There is some differentiation in pronunciation in the Geordie dialect based upon the speaker's sex. For example, English sound /aʊ/, pronounced generically in Geordie as [əʊ], may also have other, more specific pronunciations ...


3

It is just a conventional way to exchange the first introductory words when you meet someone. The idea is to create a positive contact with the other person showing interest in his respect. But it is sort of fixed expression which has lost its literal meaning and has evolved into a sort of stereotype. So, don't worry about the meaning and just say: I am ...


3

Talk refers to the act of interpersonal communication through speaking. So if you say: Talk to me! This would imply that the person is not speaking or communicating with you to you ( - otherwise you would not need to say it!). Tell me! on the other hand, means tell me the information. With the verb tell, the person you are telling is the indirect ...



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