Jan Freeman writes The Word column for Ideas.
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Christopher Shea writes the Critical Faculties column for Ideas.
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Mind the gap
What he learned in the newsroom
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More in Word Watch
Monday, April 16, 2007
The royal flush
It was not Kate's own language, though -- contrary to the Reuters item in today's Globe -- that was deemed too rough. It was her mother, Carole, who was heard saying "Pleased to meet you" instead of "How do you do" and "Pardon" instead of "What?" And, worse, "using the word 'toilet' not 'lavatory,'" according to the Daily Telegraph.
Novelist and biographer A.N. Wilson, defending the Middletons in today's Daily Mail, reviewed some of those shibboleths: "If you say 'notepaper' rather than 'writing paper'; if you say 'spectacles' rather than 'glasses'; if you say 'serviette' for 'napkin,' you are almost certainly a member of the middle classes, rather than upper."
Or you may be an innocent foreigner. Last month, Lynne "Lynneguist" Murphy blogged about the trials of moving from the States to South Africa to England, each time having to learn the preferred way to ask for the bathroom, restroom, toilet, or loo.