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Dreadful food Options
Tomahawk71
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 7:07:34 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/7/2010
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Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Hi,
Is this a joke or something?

Background:
These people has just left a party where the guests were offered sherry and wine. Then, they decided to leave.

QUOTE:


For a moment the noise in the room stopped. For a moment, no more, he could discern nothing but the steady gaze of Shane Hecht upon him, and knew she was waiting for an answer. And then she released him as if to say: 'I could crush you, you see. But I won't, I'll let you live,' and she turned and walked away.

He contrived to take his leave at the same time as Ann and Simon Snow. They had an old car and insisted on running Smiley back to his hotel. On the way there, he said:
'If you have nothing better to do, I would be happy to give you both dinner at my hotel. I imagine the food is dreadful.'
The Snows protested and accepted, and a quarter of an hour later they were all three seated in a corner of the enormous dining-room of the Sawley Arms, to the great despondency of three waiters.




If the food is dreadful, bad, why do you invite people to dine with you?
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 7:21:10 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,155
Neurons: 40,093
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Because it's good manners.

The couple has done him a favour by giving him a lift back to where he's staying. He repays his debt to them by inviting them to a meal.

However, he's not in his own home but a pub. Pubs have not always been noted for their overall good food. So he is apologising in advance: - their 'favour' to him was really a great help - his 'Thank You' gesture might not be on an equal footing, as the meal might not be a good one. However, it meets the criteria of showing good manners and appreciation, and they all understand that.
Tomahawk71
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 9:22:44 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/7/2010
Posts: 415
Neurons: 122,723
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Romany wrote:

Because it's good manners.

The couple has done him a favour by giving him a lift back to where he's staying. He repays his debt to them by inviting them to a meal.

However, he's not in his own home but a pub. Pubs have not always been noted for their overall good food. So he is apologising in advance: - their 'favour' to him was really a great help - his 'Thank You' gesture might not be on an equal footing, as the meal might not be a good one. However, it meets the criteria of showing good manners and appreciation, and they all understand that.


Except me! :)

Thank you.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 12:28:01 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,155
Neurons: 40,093
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom


Of course no-one expects you to understand all the ins and outs of our culture - everywhere one travels there are different customs and different sets of manners.

Just as, if one of us goes to Turkey, we won't know what's considered good and bad manners. We all just hope like hell we aren't giving offence each time we go to a different culture. Pray
Maggie Kirkpatrick
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 1:27:08 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/11/2017
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Neurons: 1,453
Location: Concord, North Carolina, United States
returning a favor
NKM
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:15:53 PM

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Joined: 2/14/2015
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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Quote:
'If you have nothing better to do, I would be happy to give you both dinner at my hotel. I imagine the food is dreadful.'


I guess this qualifies as an example of British humor. 

I say that because the word "dreadful" would almost certainly not have occurred to an American. Probably every American is well acquainted with that word, but we rarely use it in conversation. We'd be more likely to say something like: "I'd be happy to treat you to dinner at my hotel, though I can't say how good the food is."

Put that way, there seems to be nothing humorous about it — and the invitation most likely would not have been accepted.

almo 1
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 6:23:23 PM
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Joined: 10/16/2016
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Location: Fussa, Tokyo, Japan



"I imagine the food is dreadful."


It's a Smiley's way of saying "The food may not be very good, but I hope you like it."

******************

As for cultural thing:

"In Japan, when we give a present someone, we say “つまらないものですが” which means “I brought you a little something”. But a literal translation of “つまらないものですが” is “This is a trivial thing, but accept this”. If you should understand that, you might think that it is rude manner. Although this Japanese phrase is negative expression, we are accustomed to be humble to express respect others. In Japanese sense, it is not considered a positive thing to praise ourselves in front of others. Japanese people regard it as arrogant. The more valuable a person who we give a present, we act more humbly in Japan. Then many Japanese people use humblythe phrase “つまらないものですが” when we give a present someone, but my first boss taught me to say “お気に召すといいのですが Okini mesuto iinodesuga” which means “I hope you like it”. I think this phrase is more natural, so you might want to say “お気に召すといいのですが” in Japan."


https://blog.gaijinpot.com/gift-giving-in-japan/


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 9:58:45 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
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Neurons: 149,215
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
almo 1 wrote:
In Japanese sense, it is not considered a positive thing to praise ourselves in front of others. Japanese people regard it as arrogant.

The manifestation is a little different, but the philosophy is the same in Britain.

This novel does seem to be making fun of the whole culture (the waiters being despondent because they have customers was the funniest bit to me). However, this lack of praising self is a very true observation.

When giving a gift:
"Please accept this small token of our appreciation." - which sounds surprisingly similar to “つまらないものですが”.
It can become overly obsequious - "Nothing could show the level of thanks which we owe, but we hope you would feel fit to accept this little symbol . . .".
That's rare but you do hear the style occasionally. Sick

"I hope you like it." would be perfectly acceptable in Britain too.

The main noticeable thing in Britain is the unwillingness (even inability, sometimes) to accept praise.

The response to any praise is "Oh - it was nothing . . ."
"It was just luck, I was in the right place at the right time . . ."



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 12:42:23 PM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

NK - now that *really* surprises me.

It's one of the most common words in BE - it was probably coined specifically to describe our weather. Because that's *always* dreadful. The state of the roads is dreadful. Automatic check-outs are dreadful. Our bloody train service is especially dreadful.

In fact, my Grandmother was not impressed with my mother's choice when she married my father. Unless nudged severely by my Aunt Joan, she called him "That dreadful little man" until she died!

I just can't imagine the world without the word "dreadful".

(What's your equivalent: - something that's just part of the way things are; but that it's surprised you to learn we didn't know about?)
NKM
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 5:03:28 PM

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Hi, Romany -

One word that comes to mind is "garden". To us a garden is a place where we grow vegetables. (There are also "flower gardens", but if we mean that we have to specify the whole phrase, because just plain "garden" is for raising vegetables.)

We may have a garden in our back yard, and/or a flower garden as part of our lawn. Interestingly enough, when we need someone to mow our lawn or prune the shrubs in our yard we may hire a gardener, who would never be expected to work in the garden (though he might take care of the flower garden.)

Confusing enough?

//Norm

Romany
Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 6:35:35 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,155
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Blimey!

OK, I think I've got it. And yeah - whenever we go on about our "gardens", you must think we spend our whole time growing onions and cabbages!

Thanks for that - it's something I shan't forget from now on.
NKM
Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 12:33:15 PM

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Joined: 2/14/2015
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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Hi again, Romany -

Another one that occurs to me is "holiday". We don't go "on holiday", we go "on vacation".

To us, a "holiday" is a calendar event: Christmas, New Year's Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day etc.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, July 15, 2017 8:21:50 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 27,115
Neurons: 149,215
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I remember when I was nine or ten. Our school was visited by a representative of the Vatican (a cardinal or something).

When he spoke to the assembled kids, he announced that, to celebrate his visit, he had arranged for "tomorrow to be a Holy Day". He didn't realise that "Holy Day" and "holiday" were different.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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