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.
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 21:48.
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.