Monday, April 5, 2010

Etiquette: Words, Phrases, and Pronunciation

So now that we have learned how to greet people and what to call them, we move on to what to say to them and how to say it.
As always, the number one rule is always politeness. Beyond that, it gets tricky. Nothing can give away a person's so-called "breeding" than how they speak. However, it goes both ways. You can appear snobby by trying to be too sophisticated, and of course, you can show yourself to be quite the idiot by saying the wrong thing. Keeping that in mind, the "old-fashioned" way of saying things may be more formal and out of date, but it certainly more colorful and interesting.
Here are some dos & don't from both sides (keep in mind that these are examples to get the general idea across, not limited rules):

Don't say: Say Instead:
Will you accord me permission? Will you let me? or May I?
Permit me to assist you. Let me help you.
Converse Talk
I recall I remember
Mortician Funeral director
Pardon me! I beg your pardon, excuse me, or I'm sorry
Keeping company with or walking with no equilalent
Drapes curtains
abbreviated words (ex: photo, auto) full words (ex photograph, automobile)

I get most of these rules, but I also included some that I was entertained by. Like Mortician and Drapes - why not use these words? Some of the flowerly language is beautiful to use, but apparently so out of date that people somehow assume that you are being pretentious when using it. Why is that?
Strangely enough the Home vs House debate showed up. As most would agree Home is the sentiment, the feeling, the atmosphere, etc. House is the physical place. What I did not realize is that it is bad taste to call a house a home unless it is your home. Home also can refer to a charitable institution like a Retirement Home, or something like that.
Words to avoid: elegant, refined, dainty, culture. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) Basically, it has to do with pretentiousness; again.
This gets me: Apparently, the term that I so admired, and so wanted to be deemed, "Lady" is also one of those words that even back in 1947, lost its original connotation. The words seems to have deteriorated down to no meaning. It once meant elegance and cultivation, then it meant respectability, and to what we mean now.
Keep in mind: Formal is a synonym for ceremonial. Basically something that is formal follows a set of ritualistic type rules. For example, a formal dinner has a very specific way of progressing - a set of manners that is expected, etc.

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