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Watching the English The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour

In WATCHING THE ENGLISH anthropologist Kate Fox takes a revealing look at the quirks habits and foibles of the English people She puts the English national character under her anthropological microscope and finds a strange and fascinating culture governed by complex sets of unspoken rules and byzantine codes of behaviour The rules of weather speak The ironic gnome rule The reflex apology rule The paranoid pantomime rule Class indicators and class anxiety tests The money talk taboo and many Through a mixture of anthropological analysis and her own unorthodox experiments using herself as a reluctant guinea pig Kate Fox discovers what these unwritten behaviour codes tell us about Englishness


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    Update This is very funny but sadly true The Monday Morning Moan Ritual 'English work moaning is a highly predictable regular choreographed ritual It is universally understood that everyone hates Mondays that we all had trouble dragging ourselves out of bed that we really could have done with an extra day to get over the weekend that the traffictubetrainsbuses just seem to be getting worse and worse that we have far too much to do this week as per bloody usual that we are already tired and our backheadfeet are hurting and the week’s only just started for God’s sake and look now the photocopier is on the blink again just for a change typical This takes place in every workplace from factory to boardroom every Monday morningThere are endless variations on this Monday morning moan and no two such moans are ever exactly alike – but like the infinitely variable snowflake they are all nonetheless remarkably similar Most of them start and sometimes end with a bit of weather speak ‘Bloody cold’ or ‘Raining again’ we grumble and triggers another complaint either about the weather or the traffic trains etc At the end of the first morning moan ritual someone may close the proceedings with ‘And it’s still raining’ or ‘Well’ stoical sigh ‘at least it’s stopped raining’ This is the cue for everyone to shift from their habitual moan position and start reluctantly getting on with the day’s work muttering ‘Right well s’pose we’d better make a start’ or ‘Back to the grind then’ or if in a position of authority ‘All right c’mon you lot let’s get some work done’This is English humour No one is really serious about moaning and everyone is enjoying the morning moan ritual This is not the time or place or people for serious complaintsThe author is a very astute study and extremely likeable having admitted that she is lazy and tells liesWhy do the English talk about the weather when they meet? It's a way of saying helloWhat should you reply to any talk about the weather? Just agree If you don't agree say Yes Then put your perspectiveWhat is the reply to How do you do? It's How do you do? It's another way of saying helloWhat do you say to How are you? you say Fine thank you and how are you It's yet anotherWhat do you say if someone comes up to you and says Hi I'm Harry and I'm staying here too or similar You reply with a half smile Hello and nod your head It's his way of saying hello If you are English it's not yours That was embarrassingWhat do you do if someone says Hi I'm Jane and I'm a doctor here You? You reply with extreme surprise Hello Jane At no point do you give your name or occupation It's for you to know and them to find out And that is just about the key to English interactions Everything is private everything has to be wheedled out bit by bit Unless it's gossipAnd the book says men gossip as much as women but call it 'exchanging information