A verdade por detrás da educação britância
The British trait of being too polite to speak one’s mind has led to a table translating numerous hollow English phrases becoming an internet hit.
By Alice Philipson 11:46 AM BST 02 Sep 2013
The table sheds light on just how difficult it can be for a foreigner to understand what the British really mean when they're speaking - especially for those take every word at face value.
Phrases that prove the trickiest to decipher include 'you must come for dinner', which foreigners tend to take as a direct invitation, but is actually said out of politeness by many Britons and often does not result in an invite.
The table also reveals that when a person from Britain begins a sentence "with the greatest respect ...', they actually mean 'I think you are an idiot'.
WHAT THE BRITISH SAY
1. I hear what you say
2. With the greatest respect
3. That's not bad
4. That is a very brave proposal
5. Quite good
6. I would suggest
7. Oh, incidentally/ by the way
8. I was a bit disappointed that
9. Very interesting
10. I'll bear it in mind
11. I'm sure it's my fault
12. You must come for dinner
13.I almost agree
14. I only have a few minor comments
15. Could we consider some other options
WHAT THE BRITISH MEAN
1. I disagree and do not want to discuss it further
2. You are an idiot
3. That's good
4. You are insane
5. A bit disappointing
6. Do it or be prepared to justify yourself
7. The primary purpose of our discussion is
8. I am annoyed that
9. That is clearly nonsense
10. I've forgotten it already
11. It's your fault
12. It's not an invitation, I'm just being polite
13. I don't agree at all
14. Please rewrite completely
15. I don't like your idea
WHAT FOREIGNERS UNDERSTAND
1. He accepts my point of view
2. He is listening to me
3. That's poor
4. He thinks I have courage
5. Quite good
6. Think about the idea, but do what you like
7. That is not very important
8. It doesn't really matter
9. They are impressed
10. They will probably do it
11. Why do they think it was their fault?
12. I will get an invitation soon
13. He's not far from agreement
14. He has found a few typos
15. They have not yet decided
The table points out that when Britons say 'I'm sure it's my fault', it actually means 'it's your fault'.
It also reveals that 'very interesting' can often mean 'that is clearly nonsense'.
The table, which has been posted on an number of blogs, has attracted thousands of comments from both Britons and foreigners claiming the interpretations are true to life.
Duncan Green, a strategic adviser for Oxfam who posted it online, described it as "a handy guide for our fellow Europeans and others trying to fathom weaselly Brit-speak".
Mr Green said: "Sadly, I didn’t write it. It’s just one of those great things that is being passed around on the internet."
Although the author of the table is unconfirmed, it is thought it may have originally been drawn up by a Dutch company as an attempt to help employees working in the UK.