Learn Buck/ham Pal/ce English !
There used to be a habit of getting as close as possible to the King's English, nowadays it seems the Queen's English is full of surprises, as illustrated by a recent article in The Sun. Alison Maloney sure has a knack for writing fun ! Her article is based on a book by social anthropologist and author Kate Fox (Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour), who lists the words that have become impossible to utter at Buckingham Palace. Six of them are of French (Norman ?) origin:
- "Pardon" is recommandable when you want someone to repeat; not with the Royals, though; say : "Sorry?" or "Sorry, what ?" (A Queen should never beg, even if it is someone's pardon ...)
- "portion", like a ‘portion’ of food, has to be replaced by : a ‘helping’.
- "toilet" for which the French use the English W(ater) C(loset) while Americans go to 'bathroom', has to be strictly avoided. Use the word ‘lavatory’, or even 'loo', although it sounds definitely lower middle class !
- "perfume" is low-rate; use the word "scent". Sixty years ago, was it not the opposite ? You would buy scent at Woolworth's, and Dior "perfume"at the perfume-shop ...
- apparently, "serviette" is also forbidden; 'napkin' is preferred.
- "lounge" (probably from the French s'allonger) is to be discarded ; 'drawing-room' and 'sitting-room' sound much more royal ...
We can understand why posh and tea sound out of place : they are definitely lower-class phrases (especially 'tea' as a synonym of 'evening meal'). So ‘dinner’ or ‘supper’ are the words to use. As for 'posh', it was originally an acronym ("Port Outward, Starboard Home") describing the shipboard cabins of wealthy travelers to India. But the Royals prefer ‘smart’.
And even if the Queen's Mother remains for every Briton "Queen Mum", by no means should you make use of the phrase "Mum and dad". ‘Mummy and daddy’ are the only terms royals use.
Tags: English, Kate Fox, Royals
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