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  • Hi, everyone. In this lesson we're going to look at manners in England.

  • Here are the things that are considered polite, and the things that are not considered polite. So this is

  • a talk about the culture, things that people do here in England, and the things that traditionally

  • have been the most acceptable behaviour.

  • Let's start with the things that are very important. So, I'm sure you already know this one:

  • English people and queuing. "Queuing" is when you stand in a line when you don't...

  • When you want something. You don't just, like, run up there to the front or push. You queue

  • in a line. So, we queue up at the bank, for example, or we queue up when we want to get

  • on a bus and there's some other people already there. Now, of course, in London because there

  • are so many people and also not everyone is English so they have their manners from where

  • they came from, you won't always see people queuing to get on the bus or on the tube,

  • but you do generally still see people queuing up in a shop when they need to buy something.

  • Next we have: It's very important to bring a bottle, and that means when you go to somebody's

  • dinner party you take a bottle of wine when you go to the meal there. If you don't want

  • to bring a bottle of wine, you can bring dessert or you can bring some flowers or some chocolates,

  • but the general phrase and the general idea of it is bringing a bottle, as in a bottle

  • of wine.

  • Next we have RSVP. This is a term that comes from French: "Répondez s'il vous plait",

  • and this is a much more formal invitation that you get. If you're going to something,

  • a special event like somebody's wedding... Because weddings are really expensive and

  • they have to be organized so long in advance, people having the wedding really want to know

  • if you're coming. So when you RSVP to the invitation it means you're definitely going,

  • you will be there. So once you've RSVP'd, it's very, very impolite not to go. You must

  • go if you RSVP.

  • Next, I think that in England it's very important to be on time. We do tend to be punctual people,

  • attend... Attend meetings at the right time, turn up to our jobs at the right time, or

  • meet friends at the right time, most of us. Of course, there are those people who are

  • always late for everything, but most people in general do things on time or even, like

  • me, I always end up being 10 minutes early. I just can't help that. So I waste a lot of

  • time being too early.

  • Now let's look at table manners. Some of the things in the table manners' section are changing

  • as people become more relaxed about eating and eating out. But these were all... These

  • are all manners that people follow in more formal situations. Perhaps at home or with

  • your very close friends it would be different. Now, I don't mean it's different for this

  • first one. I'm not saying it's ever acceptable anywhere to slurp, burp-I can't do a burp

  • noise. Anyway, you know what a burp is-and fart. Fart is noise from the other end. These

  • things are never acceptable at the dinner table. Mm-mm, mm-mm. So, no eating noises

  • or doing that when you eat. It's not acceptable.

  • Elbows on the table, in a formal situation you're not going to do that, but relaxed with

  • friends a lot of people do put their elbows on the table these days, not such a big deal.

  • Drinking before... Just drinking your drink before somebody said: "Cheers" is considered

  • impolite, but it's also a sign of being familiar with people. If you're familiar with them

  • you don't have to go: "Oh, cheers for this drink and opportunity to drink with you."

  • So it depends who it is.

  • Using a mobile in the restaurant or when you're eating socially with people is considered

  • rude, so to be like:

  • "Oh, hold on. Let me just take this call. I'm so important, I've got to, you know, talk business",

  • or something is considered rude, or to be like all the

  • time texting on your phone. Of course it happens, and young people and teenagers are definitely

  • going to do it more than older people, but on the whole it's considered impolite.

  • Eating with hands, that's something that's changing, as I suppose we all get more used

  • to a fast food culture and different kinds of foods that are just easier to eat with

  • your hands, like burgers, chips, chicken wings, and some Mexican food - easier... It's easier

  • to eat with hands, so... It depends what you're eating, but traditionally it would be considered

  • rude to eat anything other than a sandwich with your hands.

  • Okay, let's talk about what's impolite now, what's opposite. No, it's not the... These

  • are more things that are impolite, but different situations. Let's imagine the situation of

  • being on a train. It's impolite to talk really loudly on the train, and just have your really

  • loud conversation on the phone that everybody can hear for hours, the whole time you're

  • on the train. It's impolite and it's really annoying. Also, if you haven't noticed, trains

  • in England, if they... Particularly ones that go long distance, they have a silent carriage,

  • and that means a part of the train where: "Don't talk here. Do not talk here." Nobody

  • wants to hear you talking. So there's always that refuge, that place you can go on the

  • train if you don't want to hear people, but it's only one small space, and the rest of

  • the train is really big.

  • It's also impolite to push in. "Oh, I've got to get on this train now", so: "Poo, poo, poo".

  • That happens all the time in London.

  • It's impolite to eat smelly food on the train. Now, a sandwich is okay, you get hungry.

  • A packed lunch that you've brought from home, maybe you've got some cold pasta left over

  • or whatever you made at home. It's fine. But if it stinks, it's not fine. You know foods

  • that stink? It's usually fast food, like McDonald's or from a fried chicken place or something.

  • Impolite to eat this on the train and impolite to even take it on the train because it smells

  • so strong. But anyway, people do it.

  • Impolite to sit there in your chair or all nice and comfy when the poor, old, old person

  • is like, with their walking stick, and you know, they're going to fall over when the

  • train slows down. It's impolite to leave them standing while you sit down. The same applies

  • to pregnant women and to disabled people. So, if you haven't noticed on the tubes...

  • I don't know if they're on the trains, but on the tubes there are special seats. So if

  • you sit in those you must get up for the elderly people or the disabled people, but if you

  • really don't want to give up your seat to anyone, don't sit in one of those chairs.

  • You can sit more in the middle on the tube, and you're very... In a very unlikely situation

  • anyone would expect you to get up.

  • Next we've got holding the door open. This isn't... This isn't something that happens

  • on the train. This is when you're coming out of a building, the door is heavy, and as you

  • come out you hold the door open and you just wait one and a half seconds so that person

  • behind you comes. You hold it until they come, and they take over. You don't have to... You

  • don't have to, like, look at them a long time, or it's not a big deal. You just hold the

  • door open, and then you carry on. You hold the door open for them. Not like:

  • "Oh, I'm so busy I can't wait one and a half seconds", "Boom" in the next person's face. That's impolite.

  • Next we've got not apologizing when you bump into someone. This is when you walk down the

  • street and you didn't mean to, but someone, you know, like walks into you. That's bumping

  • in or more pushing. If you don't say anything, like: "Oom", then that's rude. You're meant

  • to say: "Oh, sorry. Sorry about that", and carry on. It happens sometimes in a busy city,

  • so you're going to bump into someone, but the point is whether you are polite after

  • you say something.

  • Next, it's not polite when you have a friend with you, and you meet somebody else you know

  • and you talk to them, but you ignore that other person there, like leaving them to just

  • wait while you have a long conversation without introducing them. What's polite is to say:

  • "Oh, Julie, this is Sarah. Sarah, this is Julie", and then you can carry on the conversation.

  • Next, let's talk about things to do with the body. These are the kind of things that are

  • more likely to make people disgusted actually and feel sick, and like: "Ahh, that's so gross."

  • Starting with spitting. Spitting on the floor, spitting in public. I've even seen spitting

  • inside one or two times, which is pretty gross and disgusting, and pretty shocking when I've

  • seen it, but yeah, you see things like that around London, spitting on the floor. But

  • it's very, very bad manners and it's also a health hazard. Not... It's not cool, makes

  • people sick.

  • Next is body odour. Now, I'm not talking like...

  • There's different degrees of body odour. Right?

  • Some people are just really, really stinky and they don't mind. That kind of stinkiness

  • is considered impolite, and especially if you're kind of stinky and you're on the tube

  • and you've got your arm out like that, and you know, someone else is standing there having

  • to smell your stinkiness. It's not very nice. It's impolite.

  • Next we've got shoes. So, it's kind of the opposite here in England about shoes. If I

  • know you really well and you're a good friend, you can come in my house, take your shoes off.

  • If I know you really, really, really well and you're part of the family, you can

  • be barefoot in the house. Right? But if I don't really know:

  • "Please keep your shoes on. Please keep your shoes on. Do not touch my floor with your feet."

  • So it's the opposite

  • to how it is in many countries. So, from the other people's side they might find us really

  • gross because in English homes, not so much more now, but traditionally we always had

  • carpets in our houses and it's not like the carpet's always being washed and cleaned.

  • It's being hoovered, but not actually washed and cleaned, and we walk around it with shoes

  • on so a lot of people find the idea of the English floor in their house really gross

  • because in other countries there's a floor that's easier to clean, you know, with water

  • or a mop, so it'd different here. Anyway, don't take your shoes off unless somebody

  • offers you or... Well, it's not really an offer, unless someone invites you to take

  • your shoes off because that's the rule in their house. Okay? So don't... Don't just do it first.

  • And by the way when I... A little story here. It was one of those hard-to-handle cultural

  • experiences when I was living in Turkey and a workman came to fix a window or something,

  • and I didn't know how to say in Turkish: "Keep your shoes on." I wish I did, because he took

  • his shoes off and... In Turkey they're meant to give you slippers if you're not... If you're

  • just visiting they give you slippers to walk in the house. I'm glad I didn't give this

  • guy slippers either. His feet was the most stinking feet, oh, it just smelt so bad. And

  • he fixed the window for about one and a half minutes, and I was cleaning the floor for

  • about two hours to get this stinky foot smell out after. So, if I did give him slippers

  • they'd have to go in the rubbish bin. So, if it hadn't been their rules there, had been

  • the English rules, he'd have kept his shoes on, I wouldn't have smelt his stinky feet.

  • It would have been much better the English way, but anyway, I didn't know the language

  • to say that.

  • Next let's talk about baby changing. Baby changing... Baby changing is for in the baby

  • changing room in, or where the toilet is, there's normally a place to do that. And baby

  • changing doesn't happen around places where you eat food. Again, I'm reminded of Turkey

  • here because I did see a nappy, a baby's shitty, poohy... Poohy nappy being changed on a restaurant

  • table which I thought was really gross, and I never knew it happened before I went there.

  • But anyway, I haven't seen it here in England, but in the restaurant table, but point being

  • there are special places to change the baby here.

  • The next one is an issue that people... People have strong views about and people disagree,

  • which is breastfeeding in public, feeding your baby milk in public. Some people don't

  • like to see that and they consider it to be something that the woman should do with a

  • scarf over the baby, or they think you should do it in a quiet place, and other... Other

  • people say it's natural you should be able to do it wherever you want. And people argue