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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dictionary with ‘real’ British translation

British people are known for being very polite when speaking and expressing themselves. However, those who learn English and come from societies that use a more 'direct' way of communicating can misunderstand the message being transmitted.

The following is a list of examples (includes humour) that explains what a British person says, what they mean and what others understand from such expressions.

Table 1: Dictionary with ‘real’ British translation
What the British sayWhat the British meanWhat others understand
I hear what you sayI disagree and do not want to discuss it furtherHe accepts my point of view
With the greatest respect...I think you are an idiotHe is listening to me
That's not badThat's goodThat's poor
That is a very brave proposalYou are insaneHe thinks I have courage
Quite goodA bit disappointingQuite good
I would suggest...Do it or be prepared to justify yourselfThink about the idea, but do what you like
Oh, incidentally / by the wayThe primary purpose of our discussion is...That is not very important
I was a bit disappointed thatI am annoyed thatIt doesn't really matter
Very interestingThat is clearly nonsenseThey are impressed
I'll bear it in mindI've forgotten it alreadyThey will probably do it
I'm sure it's my faultIt's your faultWhy do they think it was their fault?
You must come for dinnerIt's not an invitation, I'm just being politeI will get an invitation soon
I almost agreeI don't agree at allHe's not far from agreement
I only have a few minor commentsPlease re-write completelyHe has found a few typos
Could we consider some other optionsI don't like your ideaThey have not yet decided

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1 comment:

MovingOn said...

This is a great list, and I agree that these could be very confusing in inter-cultural communication! It's funny how the same phrase can elicit completely opposite reactions for speakers of the same language in different areas.



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