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Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour (2004)

by Kate Fox

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2,309586,697 (3.83)83
Anthropologist Kate Fox takes a revealing look at the quirks, habits and foibles of the English people. She puts the English national character under her anthropological microscope, and finds a strange and fascinating culture, governed by complex sets of unspoken rules and byzantine codes of behaviour.… (more)
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» See also 83 mentions

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NF
  vorefamily | Feb 22, 2024 |
A very useful read. Definitely clarified why the English would be put off by US behaviour. What's interesting is that English that read the book find it humorous and amusing, while as a foreigner I found it factual and dry. Even had to take a 3-book reading break to finally finish it.
Most important lesson: they are reserved and modest: http://www.langmaidpractice.com/wp-content/uploads/Rules-of-E1-1024x702.jpg

No more non-fiction for a while, please. ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
I much preferred the first edition, this second edition is huge and feels harder to get through. Just read the conclusion chapter & use it as a reference book. ( )
1 vote BritishKoalaTea | Mar 1, 2022 |
Excellent, I loved this. Can't say I've read anything like it before, but interesting content explained in a really nice, humorous way - which I guess shouldn't be surprising :-) ( )
  expatscot | Nov 29, 2020 |
A fantastic book! It was humorous and extremely interesting at the same time. There's so much detail, but I didn't feel as if it ever became tedious to read. Kate Fox does a wonderful job of keeping the the book light while being informative about the English. A perfect combination! ( )
  BookishHooker | Dec 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
"Social dis-ease", she decides, is the "central core of Englishness". She holds this congenital awkwardness responsible for everything from our "obsession with privacy" to our celebrated courtesy, famous reserve and infinite capacity for embarrassment. "We do everything in moderation," she believes. Fox's curiosity about English behaviour, which she attempts to reduce, in this prodigously long investigation, into key constituent parts, is matched only by her regret that we are not a more free and easy nationality.
 
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To Henry, William, Sarah and Katharine
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I am sitting in a pub near Paddington station, clutching a small brandy.
Quotations
There are of course other theories of language evolution, the most appealing of which is Geoffrey Miller's proposition that language evolved as a courtship device - to enable us to flirt. (from footnote 15)
the Edwardian rhyme "The Germanys live in Germany; The Romans live in Rome; The Turkeys live in Turkey; But the English live at home. (from footnote 31)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Anthropologist Kate Fox takes a revealing look at the quirks, habits and foibles of the English people. She puts the English national character under her anthropological microscope, and finds a strange and fascinating culture, governed by complex sets of unspoken rules and byzantine codes of behaviour.

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