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  • Are you saying things you shouldn't in English?

  • We need to talk.

  • Hi, I'm Vicki And I'm Jay.

  • And this video's about things you SHOULDN'T say in English.

  • So it's about what NOT to say.

  • That's right.

  • There are some things that might work in one language and one culture, but when you translate

  • them into English they become rude.

  • Give us an example.

  • Grandma.

  • Grandma?

  • Yeah, and Grandad.

  • Like that comment we had on one of our YouTube videos.

  • Right.

  • I know the one you mean.

  • It was funny.

  • Yeah. Let me explain.

  • We love getting comments on our videos.

  • And usually people say really nice things and thank you all for that.

  • It's very motivating for us.

  • But we had a funny comment a while ago.

  • Someone wrote and they said 'I just love your video, Grandma.'

  • Technically speaking they were correct.

  • I am a grandma.

  • And I love being a grandma.

  • But grandma also has another meaning in English.

  • We use it informally as an insult to talk about people we don't know.

  • So it's a rude thing to say.

  • Exactly.

  • An insult is when you say something that's rude in order to offend someone or to upset

  • them.

  • Grandma can imply that someone is very old and feeble

  • Feeble means weak and ineffective.

  • We might call someone grandma when we think they're mentally or physically slow.

  • Granddad or grandpa is similar.

  • It's also used as an insult.

  • So if an old person is taking too long to do something we might say 'Oh hurry up grandma'

  • Or 'Get out the way Grandad.'

  • So what did you think when you read that comment?

  • I wasn't sure what to think.

  • Obviously we are old a little for YouTubers, but still

  • Then I thought maybe it's just an English mistake.

  • So not an insult?

  • Yeah.

  • So what did you say to them?

  • I just wrote 'thank you'.

  • You didn't ask them what they meant?

  • No.

  • Perhaps I should have asked.

  • I wanted to know what they meant, but then I thought, don't feed the trolls.

  • 'Don't feed the trolls'.

  • This is a useful expression.

  • There are trolls on the internet.

  • Trolls are people who make rude or nasty comments because they want to get an emotional reaction.

  • Don't feed the trolls means don't respond to them.

  • Yes.

  • But in this case I didn't know if the comment came from an internet troll or not.

  • I probably should have asked.

  • But then another viewer did ask.

  • Yes, they came to my defence.

  • That was nice.

  • They said, hey, why are you calling her grandma?

  • Be more polite.

  • And then first viewer wrote back and explained.

  • In their culture, for them, Grandma was a term of respect and admiration.

  • So they were trying to be respectful?

  • Yes, maybe grandma means experienced and wise.

  • But in some cultures you can use grandma and grandpa to show respect to people you don't

  • know.

  • So there was a happy ending to this story.

  • A very happy ending.

  • It's good to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  • That's another useful phrasethe benefit of the doubt.

  • Yeah.

  • If you think someone might be doing something bad, but you're not sure, you can decide,

  • hey, I don't know so I am going to presume you're not being bad and you're being

  • nice.

  • You give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Yes, and if you want to be safe, don't call people grandad or grandma in English.

  • Unless they're YOUR grandma or grandpa.

  • Then it's OK.

  • Yes, or unless you want a black eye.

  • Get out of the way, grandma.

  • A black eye is a dark area of skin around your eye that you get if someone hits you.

  • Now there's another term like grandma, that's dangerous in English.

  • What's that?

  • Aunt or Aunty.

  • Be careful how you use these words.

  • In English an aunt is a family memberit's the sister of your mother or father.

  • Yes, but there are cultures where it has another use and people call lots of older women aunt.

  • It's a term of respect again and also affection.

  • Usually we only call blood relatives aunt in English.

  • Yes, there might be a very close family friend that children call aunty, though it's not usual

  • in British English.

  • It's unusual in American English too.

  • But here's the thing.

  • Sometimes people I hardly know contact me on the internet and they write Dear Aunt or

  • Dear aunty.

  • That sounds very weird in English.

  • Why do they do that?

  • I think they're translating and trying to signal affection, but it doesn't work

  • It sounds too familiar.

  • It suggests we have a personal connection that we don't have.

  • It's uncomfortable.

  • OK, so aunty is another thing you shouldn't say in English.

  • Yes.

  • Don't use it.

  • And I have some more.

  • Oh tell us.

  • Well, sometimes people ask us questions that don't work in English because they're too intrusive

  • and too direct.

  • Can you give us some examples.

  • OK. 'How old are you?' is one, and also 'How much do you earn?'

  • Wow, they're very intrusive questions….. much too direct.

  • People really ask these questions?

  • Yes.

  • In some cultures you might ask them to get to know someone, so they're more friendly

  • then because they show you're interested in them.

  • And they're not rude?

  • Well no because you expect vague answers.

  • Vague means not clear, not detailed.

  • But they just don't work in English.

  • They're really rude.

  • Yes, they're way too personal.

  • Don't ask them.

  • Don't go there.

  • 'Don't go there' means don't bring up that subject of conversation.

  • You'll get a very bad reaction if you do. Or a black eye!

  • Any more questions?

  • No, but I've got one more thing you shouldn't say in English.

  • What's that?

  • This happened to a friend of mine.

  • He was travelling in China and he met someone he hadn't seen for a while and they greeted

  • him with 'You're looking fat'.

  • What?!

  • He was horrified, really shocked.

  • Well of course.

  • We all want to look slim.

  • Why did they say that?

  • It was a direct translation that didn't work.

  • I think they meant to say you're looking healthy and prosperous.

  • So they meant to say 'You look well' or 'You look healthy'.

  • Exactly.

  • We'd say something like 'You look great.

  • Jay, you're looking good.

  • Thanks, of course I do.

  • So the important lesson here is to be careful how you translate.

  • Yes.

  • And also remember that when we're communicating with people from other cultures, these translation

  • mistakes happen so we have to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  • That sounds like great advice.

  • What do you think?

  • Perhaps you know more things that don't translate well into English from your language.

  • Write and tell us in the comments if you do.

  • And if you've enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.

  • Don't forget to subscribe to our channel and see you next week everyone.

  • Bye.

  • Bye-bye.

Are you saying things you shouldn't in English?

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B1 UK TOEIC rude aunt people insult black eye

5 things you shouldn't say in English (if you want to be polite)

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    Emily posted on 2018/11/12
Video vocabulary