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January 31, 2007

Comments

damianm

Interesting insight. I think the definition of being 'English' means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. England is so associated with the concept of class that a person of English nationality is often associated in the eyes of many foreigners as being upper middle-class. I know it's incorrect, but so is the perception.
I'm Irish (from the North)and now live in the States, and the media here tend to portray a typical English person as someone who speaks with a public school accent--which is often referred to as 'a cute British accent,' ironically.

When one thinks of say, the Irish, German, French, Indians or Americans, one does not associate class with their nationality. Maybe it's a throwback to the days of power and empire.


Littlebear

"the media here tend to portray a typical English person as someone who speaks with a public school accent--which is often referred to as 'a cute British accent,' ironically".

Is it ironic that we think the accent is cute or are we being ironic when we say the accent is cute?

The only reason we don't respond in kind to Irish accents, is that so many of us have a grandparent with one that it looses the cute factor.

YellowDuck

'My Englishness arises from the strands of English culture that are impure, dissident, even delinquent: urban youth cultures that absorbed fashion sense and music from America and the Caribbean; humour that flows from self-deprecation, a disdain for snobbery, a keen sense of the absurd; that scepticism business; the whole irony thing.'

Very true. You don't find anything like that on the continent I think. It is the one part of Englishness I still carry around with me and regularly lands me into trouble with the natives here.

Irony loses some of its appeal when you have to explain it.

schadenfreud

Because "English" here (SA) is used to refer to English first language speakers (as opposed to Afrikaans, Xhosa, Sotho etc speakers), people from England are referred to here as "British" - though Welsh, Scottish and Irish are referred to as Welsh, Scottish or Irish.

Littlebear

@yellowduck

I think Americans sometimes mistake British irony for sarcasm.

Sarcasm has no appeal to lose.

damianm

Littlebear,

I don't think the majority of Americans understand irony...probably because the culture here is very much 'in your face' or they don't have or take the time to ponder. That sounds awful, but it's not intended that way. Just an observation.
So to answer your question, I think they just find it cute, period!

Littlebear

As I said, I think we 'get' irony just fine. Trouble is, we translate it as sarcasm, which is a huge no-no in this culture. At least for anyone over the age of 13. Hence we stoutly ignore the sarcasm and get accused of not understanding irony. Whew! That's probably more data than you needed, but I've really been thinking about this. Whatch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Trust me, we 'get' irony.

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