Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Journal Entry #27 - 3/21/12

Reading about pubs and language class codes in "Watching the English" today was incredibly interesting to me. I find it interesting that the words in films (the most obvious being Harry Potter, of course) are clear distinctions between social class that I was unaware of when I first watched the films and read the books. For example, Ron calls his mother "mum" while Malfoy calls his dad "my father", which Fox clearly points out are words that determines your social class (lower class for the former, upper class for the latter). I'm sure there are a whole lot more of them but I've just never noticed them. I think I've overestimated the cultural differences between Britons and Americans for most of my life. I know we like to joke with their accents, and I have always admired them for their generally large and interesting vocabularies (for example, the first Harry Potter was NOT called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in the United States. It would only be marketable with "Sorcerer's Stone", even though the original legendary rock of immortality was called the "Philosopher's Stone". Count on us Americans not to know that...hehe), the book "Watching the English" really brings to life the fact that the UK is a completely unique and separate nation and culture. I was watching the third episode of "Sherlock" yesterday and I was surprised by how many slang words I really didn't understand, although "really good nick", however you spell it, seemed to mean that something was in good condition (they were analyzing a pair of shoes". But there must be dozens of these words that I don't know, and I counted at least three in the episode yesterday that I had no idea what they meant.

Then there's this whole idea of a pub. I mean, I'm already as awkward as can be when it comes to alcohol, and drinking alcohol is exactly what pubs are for. And two-thirds of the population frequent one. And they are, apparently, the one place where people are prone to open up. What am I going to do? Walk in and just start off the conversation awkwardly with "Yeah, I don't drink - can I get a soda?" So much for making an easy impression on people. Hehe, I'll have to talk to one of my mission companions - he lived in England for three years until he was 17, and then he moved to Florida. He'll probably know how to do it.


  1. Ben! That sounds like a fascinating book. Could I take a look at it?

  2. Sure - it's Kate Fox's "Watching the English". You can look it up online and read part of it on Amazon. I can text you my username/password so you can read the Kindle version I bought.