Our vocabulary can sometimes reveal things about us, like our social standing and our educational background. And although English is widely spoken, the use of colloquial slang and other terms can differentiate speakers of the language.
Etiquette expert William Hanson suggests that our vocabulary can be effective in revealing our social class. For example, for members of the upper class, the word ‘lounge’ is a no-no. They also prefer using the word ‘dinner’ to refer to an evening meal.
According to Hanson, the reflection of upper class social status lies in using English rather than Americanized words.
He also points out the incorrect use of the word ‘toilet,’ which is taken from the 1950s etiquette code for the upper class. He was quoted as saying:
“For those who don’t know, historically your ‘toilet’ was your appearance, your makeup; hence your ‘toiletries bag.’ The porcelain thing you use is the lavatory. So toilet is not only an ugly word but also factually incorrect.”
Hanson also created a helpful list of upper class and non-upper class words that people can use in 2017 to sound classy.
Hanson suggests to use ‘alcohol’ instead of ‘booze,’ and ‘antique’ or ‘old’ instead of ‘vintage.’ Here are his other recommendations:
Upper class vs. Non-upper class
- Avocado – Avo
- Basement – Lower ground
- Champagne/Prosecco – Bubbly/fizz
- Cooked breakfast – Full English
- Film – Movie
- (I’m) finished – (I’m) done
- Hello – Hey
- Invitation – Invite
- Lavatory – Toilet
- May I have – Can I get
- Napkin – Serviette
- Pudding – Sweet/Dessert/Afters
- Pyjamas – PJs
- Repartee – Banter
- Restaurant – Eatery
- Sitting/Drawing Room – Lounge
- Sofa – Settee/Couch
- Takeaway – Deliveroo
- Taxi – Uber
- Telephone/phone – iPhone/Blackberry
- Term – Semester
- Toasted sandwich – Toastie
- (Do you) understand (me)? – (Do you) get (me)?
- University – Uni
- What? – Pardon?
- Wine – Vino
What do you think of these vocabulary suggestions?
Do you think they can make you sound classy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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