As momentum gathers to pull up the drawbridge and lower the portcullis against the marauding bands of the Unenglish beating a path to our gates, the burning question on the lips of each and every Daily Mail journalist and radio”phone in” presenter is this : “Once here, how do we make them integrate? How do we make them more English?”
The well known master of post modern irony, Reg Dwight, mournfully sung that “Sorry seems to be the hardest word” and how wisely ironic was that old sage of the keyboard. For an Englishman, and I shall persist with that term, “sorry” is as far from being the hardest word as is the deep fried Mars Bar from being a vitamin supplement, and English spoken without its regular and meaningless usage is American, which means that when it is used it will be unbearably sincere and equally unintelligible as it will be pronounced as if it were a South Asian female garment. So, I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to teach all new arrivals how not to be sorry, ever, but to say that they are, often, and as a matter of course. It may well be possible to speak English fluently with that word alone, a full vocabulary of hand, head and foot gestures together with a sound understanding of the subtleties of mime. On reflection, there is an important section of our society that has done so for time immemorial..sorry…for a very long time.
When my ex-wife lived in Paris (many years ago), she taught people that one should not say, “Sorry”, or “Pardon”, but that one should say, “Bloody what!”
She may have a lot to answer for… 🙂
Brilliant….”bloody What” with a thick French accent could lead to trouble ….bluddy twat:)
Big Man has taken to using the word without realsing it in Spain – it’s used to much in England and probably one of the earliest words he learned!
It must be the most confusing word in the language…although there are a few other close competitors:)
God, this is so true! It’s a word that greases the wheel and keeps things moving. I do it all the time. It’s like stateside with the “How are you?” They aren’t asking, it’s just saying hi. Which can get confusing. If I ask you how you are, I’m actually asking.
We aren’t interested in replies unless it’s the affirmative to “Can I have” or the negative to “Am I fat”…:)
It better be a negative answer to Am I fat?! 🙂
Sorry, but it’s a great catch all phrase, meaningless and handy. Sorry (can you get out of my way or do I have to push my way through).
It’s extraordinary that a word can be made meaningless or become a word of 101 meanings —-:)
You may have to teach them about smoking, too.
If you can get to them through the fog:)
You DO make me laugh on so many mornings Roger!! Having had rather a number of friends who are psychiatrists have heard the same dinner party trivia from more than one: ‘You are quite sane bar that garden-variety neurosis of always saying .’sorry’! You almost seem to mean it’ 🙂 !! Actually I do but do not find it hard to utter!!!!!!
I find myself using it still, much to the consternation of the French who are rarely sorry:)
Oh, I am so terribly sorry. Damn foreigners! c
They’re everywhere…I won’t take my passport to a foreign country in case the buggers steal it:)
I mean really – have you ever eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. They do them in the fish and chip shops at home but i have never been brave enough – I mean ‘I am so terribly sorry’ to change the thread or whatever but a deep fried mars bar does not sound terribly ENGLISH! c
I too have never eaten one, I’m pleased to say. However, the deep fried Mars Bar is a delicacy found in the North of England and in places like Glasgow, in Scotland…so I’m told. On a more serious note, it appears that there is a large discrepancy in life expectancy between the people who live in the North of England and those who live in the South…..the diet plays a large part in this..avoid the deep fried anything:)
Having read (I think in Kate Fox’s book about the English) that we say “sorry” even when we are the victims, I carried out an experiment as I was leaving a fy full plane by “accidentally” bumping everyone with my bag as I passed their seats. Without exception, they all said “sorry!”
Brilliant….so it was you, was it….:)
My youngest has the antidote to this. She will do something mildly offensive such as eating the last biscuit or not refilling the kettle. When challenged she will reply “Sorry, not sorry.” This is usually accompanied by a lot of immature sniggering (by her).
Out of the mouths of…and all that. What a wonderful thing youth could be in the right hands:)
Bam Rog! Your social commentary is fucking heaps better than mine!! 🙂
I think it’s just about getting old:)
The one I really liked from Rog was – on meeting me as a psychiatrist for the first time when I was his photography student – “HOW MAD IS THAT?!!! I must have heard him say it at least 100 times that week but never once did he say “Sorry” or even “Pardon”……
God, I’m sorry….how could I have been so mad…:)
There was discussion lately based on a book which states that women say “Sorry” far too often. They need to act more like men, “Man up” as they say. Yes, our society will be so much better when everyone acts like pigs.
In many state fairs across the country, deep fried foods are a main attraction. From turkey legs to candy bars, everything goes into the deep fryer. The winner, in my book, is the guy who came up with deep fried butter, literally a stick of butter that’s deep fried. Unbelievably, the idea has caught on and is standard fare at a number of fairs. To me, it’s simply natural selection at work.
Fantastic set of observations, John, which I have carefully filed for later use. It’s always good to read your illuminating posts which give me insights into Italian home cooking as well as America today and yesterday.