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Thread: "proper"

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: May 2007
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    #1

    "proper"

    I have a question: why is it that Americans always smile at me when I use the word "proper" with them?

    It is the right word to use when I want to stress that I have done something in the right way, isn't it? e.g.

    "you have to pronounce that word properly." (= in the right way)

    "I'm a proper teacher now." (= before, I was doing my teacher's training and now I'm finished and therefore a "proper" teacher)

    Any thought on that? Maybe it's just an American thing. I've never been mocked by any British people when using it.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #2

    Re: "proper"

    Be assured by a frequent visitor to the States (another holiday coming up), that you are not being mocked - it is a smile of recognition that you are from overseas, and sounding 'British', in using 'proper' instead of 'pronouncing it right'; and 'proper' instead of 'real teacher'. If anything, most Americans will be even more friendly to you, recognizing that you must be a visitor, than in any way mocking or disparaging. You will have to forgive some of them if they betray a smile that suggests 'patronizing': their belief that the USA is the greatest nation on this Earth has worked its way into their genes.

    If not, and you are being mocked: 'it takes all types' and you'll find the uncouth, the yoboes, in every country.

    What's American Eng. for that? I would be being unfair to 'rednecks' and even 'trailer trash' to impute such bad manners to them.
    Last edited by David L.; 21-Nov-2008 at 22:48.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: May 2007
    • Posts: 61
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: "proper"

    Thanks a lot David, I was really curious about that. The smiling and winking was always done in a nice and more positively joking/patronizing tone, but nevertheless not one American let it go when I used the word in context.

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