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Off topic: Books on The Hidden Rules of British Behaviour
Thread poster: Stephanie Wloch

Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:48
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Oct 31, 2006

Hello everyone who is interested in studying the British behaviour!
I have never been to Great Britain, but often I imagine how it would be to end up in a hotel like Fawlty Towers or having neighbours like the Kumars at No.9.
Which books on the British character can you recommend?
I only found books on English behaviour (online book shop):
Watching the English. The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour - by Katie Fox
The rules of weather-speak. The ironicgnome rule. The reflex apology rule. The paranoid-pantomime rule. Class indicators and class anxiety tests. The money-talk taboo and many more...Through a mixture of anthropological analysis and her own unorthodox experiments (using herself as a reluctant guinea-pig)
Customer review (excerpt):" Not only is it FULL of brilliant observations on the crazy things we English people do (I would have included the Scots, Irish, etc. cos I've lived in Scotland and they act the same way, believe me!"-

The Xenophobe's Guide to the English. by Anthony Miall
Not everybody is happy with that one:"Since the Brits consider themselves to be brutally honest, I was hoping that the authors would mention ALCOHOL under the 'Obsessions' chapter. Hardly. 'The Pub' is described as a social setting when it should be described as a social ill."

Do you know any others? I am just curious.:-)
Steffi


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Angeliki Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:48
English to Greek
+ ...
Have you heard of George Mikes? Oct 31, 2006

Hi there!

He has written a series of very funny books; their titles start with "How to be a...". They are all hilariously funny, and the one you would be interested in is called "How to be a Brit". If you get it, then you may enjoy "How to be Swiss" and "How to be poor"

Enjoy!

Lina

[Edited at 2006-10-31 10:22]


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Isabel Booth  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:48
Italian to English
Ever read Beppe Severgnini Oct 31, 2006

Being British, I find the books by this Italian author are both amusing and accurate!
He also has a website:
http://www.beppesevergnini.com/books.htm
Enjoy!


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:48
English to Arabic
+ ...
Watching the English Oct 31, 2006

I have "Watching the English", though I've only read the parts that I thought would interest me.
I thought it was very interesting, and funny (maybe not very scientific in its approach). For someone like me who hadn't been living in this country for very long, it was very interesting to read about those "hidden rules", things which we foreigners felt but couldn't quite figure out - like why the English love to moan, how they express emotions (or not!), and why they believe that "putting the kettle on" solves all the world's problems. I know a lot of people despise that type of generalisations, but personally and having dealt with people from all around the world, I think these generalisations are a very useful way of understanding people from the same background and knowing how to approach them and interpret their behaviour.

I also read parts of Jeremy Paxman's "The English" which has a more historical/scientific approach.. it's good but I'm afraid I couldn't get over my personal dislike for Mr. Paxman..


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Sheilann  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:48
Spanish to English
Bill Bryson Oct 31, 2006

Notes from a Small Island.

I'm a Brit but have lived in Spain for almost 40 years. Bill Bryson is an American, married to an English woman, who has lived in Yorkshire for years. He writes about British idiosyncrasies seen from an American's point of view. I bought this book to read on the plane, but I had to put it down after the first page or so because I was almost in stitches (British stiff upper lip and all that!). It's straight to the point (or jugular) and so well expressed. He criticises but is never scathing or demeaning. I'd also recommend any of his other books.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:48
German to English
+ ...
Shoot for the top Oct 31, 2006

Hi Steffi:

As you know, I might not fully qualify as one, but you may care to try The English Gentleman: http://www.amazon.co.uk/English-Gentleman-Prion-Humour-Classics/dp/1853754188

(includes links to others)

or his wife:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/English-gentlemans-wife-Douglas-Sutherland/dp/0670296805/sr=8-1/qid=1162303387/ref=sr_1_1/203-5029987-5569546?ie=UTF8&s=books

To get really intrigued, visit: http://www.intriguing.com/mp/

Cheers
Chris

P.S.

Isabel Booth wrote: Being British, I find the books by this Italian author are both amusing and accurate!
He also has a website:
http://www.beppesevergnini.com/books.htm
Enjoy!


Yes Isabel - and beautifully translated into English by http://www.proz.com/pro/4424 (I mean the book "An Italian in America", that is - not the website). [Edited at 2006-10-31 14:32]

[Edited at 2006-10-31 14:36]

[Edited at 2006-10-31 20:31]


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Rita Bilancio  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:48
English to Italian
+ ...
yes, he is incredibly funny! Nov 1, 2006

Angeliki Papadopoulou wrote:

Hi there!

He has written a series of very funny books; their titles start with "How to be a...". They are all hilariously funny, and the one you would be interested in is called "How to be a Brit". If you get it, then you may enjoy "How to be Swiss" and "How to be poor"

Enjoy!

Lina

[Edited at 2006-10-31 10:22]



My English teacher proposed us to read a part of How to be an alien and I had so much fun!!!

[Edited at 2006-11-01 12:52]


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moutassim elharith
Local time: 13:48
English to Arabic
+ ...
More books on English behaviour Nov 1, 2006

You can also try the following books by Jeremy Paxman (BBC Presenter and Writer):

The English
The Political Animal
On Royalty (published approx. 2 months ago)


and Toby Young's (Brit Journalist/Writer) books titled:
How to lose friends and alienate strangers
This book is utterly hilarious as well.

Moutassim Elharith


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