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一つの言い回しから広がるイギリス人気質への考察:国民投票

2016.06.23
嫌いな言い回しのひとつ、"What's the damage?"をイギリス人はどう思うのかを友人達に尋ねて以来、多くはないが、とても興味を惹かれる返事をもらっている。

http://loveandhatelondon.blog102.fc2.com/blog-entry-2691.html

 昨日、僕よりふた周り以上も若いイングランド人男性の友人から以下の返信が送られてきた。

Dear Koji,

Interesting comments underneath your friends article about other European languages that use a similar phrase.

As the article said it's generally seen as a slightly humorous thing- in one sense it's an ironic play on exactly what you've mentioned- I've chosen to spend my own money, yet am acting as if some kind of calamity has befallen me.

But as I said to you I also think it springs from the reluctance of British people to talk in a direct way about money, or about debt to others. I remember, growing up, that my parents would never answer when I asked them how much money they earned, and it would've been the height of rudeness to ask that question in a social setting.

Jokes are a way of deflecting directness... being too direct is seen as rude. I noticed this a lot when I started working with African colleagues whose use of language and tone is a lot more direct. I thought I was being 'polite' but they saw my way of asking things as very long and indirect. Why would you say 'excuse me I was just wondering if you might possibly do this if you have time?' when you could say 'can you do this?'

Interesting connection you make to the referendum- are British people just miserable?! Or if not miserable do they like to just discuss things in a negative way?

It certainly seems to be a feature of the British character that to be too positive about something is seen as a bit 'off' somehow. In fact I would go further and say that British people generally struggle with sincerity about things...

Fascinating anyway how one little phrase can have so many interpretations and ripple out into so many topics.


 世界が固唾をのんで注目している国民投票が始まった。お膳立てよろしく、昨晩、ロンドンは雷が華々しく鳴り響く夜だった。今、個人的に思うのは、市井のイギリス人がどれだけグローバル化のPros & Consを理解しているのか、グローバル化の激震を乗りこなせる柔軟性をもっているのかどうかが投票結果の一部になって現れるのかなと。

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Comment

- Yoshi

Koji-san,

Thanks for this entry, which again I really enjoyed reading. I like the way the English tend to avoid direct expressions, which suits many Japanese people, I think, including myself.

When I studied in a US uni, my composition tutor often criticised my frequent uses of passive construction, and stressed that active sentences are shorter and much easier to understand, and consequently make better composition. In UK, my academic adviser, when reading my drafts, often corrects my active sentences, changing them into passive ones. I don't know if it may have something to do with the English characteristic of avoiding direct expressions. But I like it very much.
2016.06.23 Thu 07:58 URL [ Edit ]

- 守屋

Yoshi san,

Sorry for my late reply.

I have come to feel that it would be a good way to understand people by knowing how they express themselves in their own language.
2016.06.26 Sun 15:32 URL [ Edit ]

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