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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:05 pm 
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According to a YouGov poll ...

... well, I'll just ask my American friends ...

If I started a statement with, "With the greatest respect ...," what would you think I meant? Would you think I meant that I respected you, for instance?

Just curious ...

How about if I replied to an opinion which you uttered, "I'll bear it in mind."?

You never know when this stuff might come in handy ...

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:58 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
If I started a statement with, "With the greatest respect ...," what would you think I meant?


I would expect that you were about to disagree with me. It would tend to put me in a defensive mindset, if I didn't know you well.


benhall.1 wrote:
How about if I replied to an opinion which you uttered, "I'll bear it in mind."?


That seems pretty benign to me; I would tend to take that at face value, presuming your tone of voice or body language didn't indicate otherwise.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:06 pm 
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An Draighean wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
If I started a statement with, "With the greatest respect ...," what would you think I meant?


I would expect that you were about to disagree with me. It would tend to put me in a defensive mindset, if I didn't know you well.


benhall.1 wrote:
How about if I replied to an opinion which you uttered, "I'll bear it in mind."?


That seems pretty benign to me; I would tend to take that at face value, presuming your tone of voice or body language didn't indicate otherwise.

OK. Interesting. There's loads more of these things, by the way. Us Brits are not even aware of them. But there they are.

"With the greatest respect ..." invariably means, not just that i disagree with you, but that I think you're a complete moron that it isn't even worth arguing with. :) Well, it does to a Brit. :)

But it is interesting that you would think that, "I'll bear it in mind," would be benign. Whatever the body language or tone of voice, when a Brit says that, it always means, "What you have just said is not only one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard, but also so inconsequential as to hardly be worth of notice." It's just quicker to say, "I'll bear it in mind." :)

As I say, there are loads more. :) How about, "I have just a few minor comments ...," or, "Very interesting," or, "Oh, by the way ..."?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:19 pm 
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Interesting! I've lived in the U.K. for years at a time (and married to a British subject for 40 years), but that was back in the 1970's, and I was in Northern Ireland and Scotland almost exclusively. Suffice it to say that I don't remember either of those in common usage back then, in those places.

I suppose every culture/language has their own subtle put-downs. Here in the southern U.S., a big one is "bless your heart"; a very polite way of saying that you're such a simpleton/cretin/arsehole, you don't even have a clue that you are.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:23 pm 
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That's US Speak, too. You nailed it.

benhall.1 wrote:
According to a YouGov poll ...

... well, I'll just ask my American friends ...

If I started a statement with, "With the greatest respect ...," what would you think I meant? Would you think I meant that I respected you, for instance?

Just curious ...

How about if I replied to an opinion which you uttered, "I'll bear it in mind."?

You never know when this stuff might come in handy ...

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:54 pm 
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I'd have to go with context, tone of voice and body language. I have heard each phrase uttered with an entirely different intent! Language is fun. Or is it?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:32 pm 
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Yanks cannot be pigeonholed so easily. As busterbill says,

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I'd have to go with context, tone of voice and body language. I have heard each phrase uttered with an entirely different intent!

- And it's the same with me. Now for the nitpicking:

I don't think I've ever heard "With greatest respect - " used as a preamble at all in conversation. That is stiff and unnatural to my American ears, and the choice of words makes me suspect Ben's source was no Yank. Now, the superficially similar opening formula "With all due respect" is a standard US usage, but it's very specific in application. I would expect it to be British English as well, but in case it's not, here goes: It acknowledges authority, or it is used to confer a degree of respect - possibly superficial or even false - but in every case it signals a contrary opinion, so that's to be understood from the moment you hear it. It is code only in the sense of convention, not in possible ulterior meanings (if they exist, it is only in the speaker's inner monologue, which is irrelevant to the plain fact of demurral within a social context). As a stock introduction, the wording is not open to variation, and it's not normally used for any other purpose. It's a diplomatic way of saying, "Yeah, but..." to someone in power; in fact, a simple "With all due respect!" might stand very well as a shorthand protest to your superiors, all on its own. Or you might use it to pay kind lip service to someone's cherished stance on a matter before you proceed to pee on his roses. Barring that, I'm least likely to say it to a social equal. In any case, when someone opens with, "With all due respect", in the flesh it's not that hard to gauge their sincerity. Print of course would be tougher. Now, in the unlikely event that I did use "with greatest respect" in any fashion, it would most likely be in a public address praising someone in the third person, and the audience's agreement is already presumed. Or I might use it when signing off in a letter, especially if there's real gratitude or the like involved; no hidden "you're a putz" message would be embedded. The recipient's level of paranoia is another matter, though, and what can be done about that? But as an American I definitely would hesitate to use it face-to-face. It's too formal, too wooden, too nonstandard and too obsequious for my self respect, whether I meant it or not. Even worse, it could backfire because it's highly likely to embarrass the recipient. It would backfire on me; it has way too much smarm and cholesterol for comfort. It's a style thing. OTOH, I might use it ironically from atop my throne in my high tower when addressing some detested rival that I mean to squash like a bug - but guests are so few these days. The question, then, is less about what we think it means, than why and how we would use it.

In short, to believe that Yanks might universally take "with greatest respect" at face value is to believe that we could be one-dimensional marionettes. Not that that is what you believe, Ben, but all the same I'm here to assure you that we are not. The fact that you're never quite sure about us should be proof enough that while we might have a different angle, we are just as devious as you lot. :wink:

I always take "I'll bear it in mind" as a polite brushoff, just to be on the safe side; I've used it that way myself. But not every time! And that is precisely why you have to be on your toes around us. :wink:

benhall.1 wrote:
How about, "I have just a few minor comments ...," or, "Very interesting," or, "Oh, by the way ..."?

I see nothing significant to read into the first and third. Why should I? I have little to no interest in what subtler subtexts might be behind them; just say your piece and get on with it, and then go seek counseling for your demons if you must. When I say them it is simply because afterthoughts have arisen, nothing more. Now, inside I may have accompanying judgments about my audience, but I just as well may not, and for that reason such judgments are irrelevant; they are my problem, and have no bearing on the simple fact of the communication at hand. One might use them for a bit of flair when delivering zingers, but it's not the main reason I use them. That's just an added benefit.

As to the second, it depends.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:43 am 
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Well, this has been interesting. I've just finished reading the BBC article plumbing just these differences between Briticisms and Americanisms. Naturally this led me to an article detailing the differing use of swear words between Americans and British. . .but naturally this being a family oriented site. . . :o

Bob

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:25 pm 
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Of course "apartment" is still the norm in the US, but I sense that "flat" isn't as odd in American speech as it would have been years ago.

My perennially favorite Britishism is "Knock you up in the morning." Do people still say that across the Pond?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:38 pm 
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I think the only time I've heard, "With greatest respect" in the US (outside of the context of a BBC drama) has been in an introduction. "With the greatest respect, I'd like to call so and so to the microphone," or something like that. And "I'll bear that in mind," coming from my mouth is a commitment to serious consideration. Though I'd have to agree that if I ever utter the words, "With all due respect," it is a preamble to a rebuttal. Ain't words grand!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:06 pm 
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That's two out of three. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:31 pm 
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With all due respect, Sir!, in the USN would be very much like British usage. You would have to strongly disagree with a superior and this is the only really safe way to express your objection. When I manned the comm on the 0-3 level , relaying the Captain's orders, I heard this exactly one time.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:35 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
...I heard this exactly one time.

I would imagine. It's not something to be said lightly, because your standing might suffer for it.

There was an employee who said "With all due respect" to the boss, and I winced, because he was an arrogant fellow and everyone present knew he didn't mean one bit of it. That was thin ice.

I don't think I've ever said it, myself; too easy to be taken as phony. I'm more likely to say, "May I speak freely?". And if I'm told "No," then I'd probably forge right ahead anyway. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:11 am 
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an seanduine wrote:
With all due respect, Sir!, in the USN would be very much like British usage. You would have to strongly disagree with a superior and this is the only really safe way to express your objection. When I manned the comm on the 0-3 level , relaying the Captain's orders, I heard this exactly one time.

Bob

Here in the UK, I think if one said either "With all due respect ... [with or without 'Sir']" or "With the greatest respect" to one's superior at work, in any context, one's career at that particular firm would be ... short.

If you want to disagree with your superior, here in the UK, you just have to be direct. I have been known even to shout at superiors - to the extent of saying something like, "You're not listening!". That has worked well for me; if I had started with, "With all due respect ..." ... O ... M ... G!!!!! :shock:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:53 am 
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Ben, in the US military, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on maintaining a surface deferral to authority. The UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) is quite clear about the penalties for disrespect shown to an officer. You can disagree with your superior, but you must maintain a surface level of respect. The instance I witnessed involved some seriously poor judgement on the part of an officer.
Successful non-coms master the art of subtly and indirectly correcting poor judgements by their superiors. In this instance, the officer basically told the non-com to myob. Unfortunately, in the long run, it did not turn out well for the officer. . .

Bob

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