Can an American get British humo(u)r?

Barb Taub

A friend sent me a link to the BBC story here about how Americans can’t tell when British are politely calling them idiots.

“WITH THE GREATEST RESPECT…”
What Americans hear: “I’m really listening to you.”
What British mean: “You’re a complete idiot.”

Clearly, I’m not the first American to have these communication issues.

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In 1942, the US War Department realized that most of the thousands of young servicemen they were sending to the UK wouldn’t have a clue what to expect when they arrived. They quickly developed a little booklet called “Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain 1942” to prepare them to be His Majesty’s guests until the allies could “meet Hitler and beat him on his own ground”.

Advice to Americans coming to the UK—Don't force your way into dart games, complain about warm beer, or expect to get the jokes. Do buy the next round. --Advice to Americans coming to the UK—Don’t force your way into dart games, complain about warm beer, or expect to get the jokes. Do buy the next round.
“Welcome to Britain”, [click…

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