After living in the UK for three years, I decided it was time for me to look into the issue of language a little more deeply. And in walks How To Speak Brit. I think language and how one speaks in analyzed and thought about a little bit more in Britain than it is in North America. It is so revealing about who you are and where you come from. This comes down not just to the words one uses, but also how those words are said.
As an outsider I feel this acutely – both what I say and how I say it makes me stand out. I say ‘garbage’ rather than ‘rubbish’, ‘pants’ rather than ‘trousers’ and don’t even get me started on sellotape, kitchen roll or cling film.
Moore notes the importance of class in British society and how language often indicates class. In writing the book, he also revealed his own class biases. In cataloging Britishisms he includes words such as ‘pottering’ and ‘chavs’, but in order to potter one must have a garden (thereby indicating a certain level of financial attainment) and I wonder whether ‘chavs’ self-identify as chavs, or is a chav always someone else?
Who would like this book? This book is obviously for language lovers and Anglophiles alike. Shortcomings aside, it is a really fun look at the way Brits speak. I imagine How To Speak British would be a great companion to That’s Not English, which seems to be getting an awful lot of book blogger love at the moment.