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There's an ocean between Britain and the USA, but an even wider division between each country's use of a particular word: 'please'.
Linguists Lynne Murphy and Rachele De Felice explain how one nation's obsequiousness is another nation's obnoxiousness.
PLEASE, READ MORE ABOUT IT:
- Lynne Murphy’s blog is Separated By A Common Language. She has written about ‘please’ and ‘please’ in restaurants.
- Anthropologist David Graeber considers the reciprocity in using these niceties.
- “We should use "please" and "thank you" selectively so we don't confuse each other about the difference between favors and obligations”.
- Why do the British say ‘sorry’ so much?
- This claims to be a history of etiquette, but is mainly about forks. Get the forks right, and the rest follows (or so the fork tyrants would have you believe).
- Emily Post may have died in 1960, but she’s still looking out for your manners. Keeping the Post flag politely flying, her great-great-grandchildren host the Awesome Etiquette podcast.
- There's a transcript of this episode at theallusionist.org/transcripts/please.
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MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Lynne Murphy's blog is separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com and she is @lynneguist on Twitter. Rachele De Felice is @racagain on Twitter. If you're interested in linguistics, follow them!
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman, with music by Martin Austwick.
- Please find me at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
Please come back for another episode in two weeks.