Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Show 356 Tuesday 24 April

Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

Prince William, who is an English prince, broke up with his girlfriend Kate Middleton.
And who cares, right?
But I did see one story that I thought was interesting in terms of language.

This story in CNN starts like this:
Snobbery is thriving in Britain -- if you believe the upper-class scorn poured on Kate Middleton's mother after Prince William broke up with his middle-class commoner sweetheart.
And then it quotes a journalist as saying: This country is riven by the class system. It is more alive than it has ever been.

The class system is hard to explain. I was just reading the social class section in Wikipedia ... and basically it’s about power – who has power and who doesn’t. But the systems are different in different countries and have changed over time.
I think a good example of the class system is in the movie Titanic . In that movie the ... the rich characters thought that they were better than the poor characters. And that is snobbery.
Snob. n. a person who has an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth and who looks down on those regarded as socially inferior.
So apparently the class system is pretty strong in Britain. I don’t really know much about that – but from what I understand it sounds quite different than New Zealand.
But snobbery does exist to a certain extent in New Zealand. Like some people think they’re pretty special because they own lots of stuff or money – but whatever, they’re just delusional.

Anyway, back to the story. There’s an example about language in the story – by the way this story may not be true, it might just be gossip like most “news” stories about famous people.
But I’m going to tell you anyway, because I think it’s an interesting language point.
Apparently, when Kate’s mother met the queen, she said: pleased to meet you. Shock, horror! Apparently, the upper class in Britain say: How do you do?
I had no idea that it was so important - I would’ve said: nice to meet you. Which is probably even more shocking ... so I don’t think I have much of a chance with the prince.

Another shocking thing Kate’s mother said was toilet. She said something like: where’s the toilet? Apparently, upper class people say lavatory. I didn’t know that either. I usually say bathroom. I can’t remember if that’s what people usually say in New Zealand or not.

I think a lot of students in Japan learn the phrase how do you do? – but they’re unsure when to use it.
So, my advice is – if you meet the queen of England, you should definitely use it. As for the rest of Britain, I’m not sure. And if you go to New Zealand don’t say it. I have never heard anyone in my entire life say how do you do?. Then again, maybe I don’t mix with the right crowd.

And as for the toilet ... my advice is to try and adapt to the situation. So listen to other people and listen to what words they use and try and copy them.
If it’s an informal situation it could be fine to use words like loo, bog or dunny. But remember if you’re trying to impress the queen of England you might want to use lavatory

And, the moral of today’s story is: If you want to hook up with an English prince, you’d better to study hard because language is very important. So keep watching The Daily English Show.


Kia ora in Stick News today according to a study two out of three British web uses waste significant amounts of time wilfing.

Many people log on to the internet with a purpose, but end up becoming distracted and aimlessly browsing irrelevant websites.
This is called wilfing – which is short for “what was I looking for?”
According to Reuters, 2400 people were questioned in a British study.
And it was found that wilfers lose two working days a month to aimless browsing.
Men were the worst offenders.
And shopping sites were the most distracting.

And that was Stick News for Tuesday the 24th of April.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
#221 What does wilfing mean?

Step 1: Repeat Taka’s lines.
Step 2: Read Taka’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Taka What does wilfing mean?

Sarah It’s basically just online procrastination, I think.

Taka Is that a common word?

Sarah I don’t think so. Today was the first day I’d heard of it.

Taka Do you wilf?

Sarah Yeah, a lot.

Taka Do you look at shopping sites?

Sarah No, never shopping sites. I don’t know why. Maybe cause I have no money. But I’m generally not much of a shopper.

Taka How do you procrastinate?

Sarah Usually reading news or stuff on Wikipedia.


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