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  1. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #1
    If someone asks you if you 'would like a cuppa', they are asking if you would like a cup of tea.
    If someone says 'let me be mother' or 'shall I be mother', they are offering to pour out the tea from the teapot.

    Hello, I am reading an article titled Traditional Drinks in England. The quote above is an excerpt.

    Here are my questions.

    Q1: Do Britons still use these I highlight in red nowsday?

    Q2: How do I respond when someone says, " Shall I be the mother?" or " Let me be the mother.''?

    If I'd like to have a cup of tea, then what shall I say?
    If I wouldn't like, what shall I say?

    Q3: If I were a man, could I say "Shall I be the mother"?

    Q4: I look up an online dictionary, but it elucidates " shall I be the mother can refer to offer other food but not only tea. Right?

    Shall I be mother? (British & Australian, humorous)
    something that you say in order to ask whether you should serve food or drink to someone. Here comes the tea. Shall I be mother?
    Q5: What kind of tea do Britons love most? Any particular brands? (Optional question)

    Your help is quite appreciated.
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 08-Jul-2008 at 16:12.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Traditional Drinks in England

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hello, I am reading an article titled Traditional Drinks in England. The quote above is an excerpt.

    Here are my questions.

    Q1: Do Britons still use these I highlight in red nowsday?

    Q2: How do I respond when someone says, " Shall I be the mother?" or " Let me be the mother.''?

    If I'd like to have a cup of tea, then what shall I say?
    If I wouldn't like, what shall I say?

    Q3: If I were a man, could I say "Shall I be the mother"?

    Q4: I look up an online dictionary, but it elucidates " shall I be the mother can refer to offer other food but not only tea. Right?



    Q5: What kind of tea do Britons love most? Any particular brands? (Optional question)

    Your help is quite appreciated.
    I think that "Shall I be mother?" is probably still in use in Britain, probably not widespread.

    If someone says this to you the best way is to say OK or yes please.

    If someone offers you tea and you don't want it, simply say No thankyou.
    If you do want it then say Yes please.

    I think I have only heard it in connection with tea, not food.

    Most Britons, I think, prefer Indian tea.

  3. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #3

    Lightbulb Re: Traditional Drinks in England

    Hello bhaisahab,

    Thank you for your reply. You are helpful.

    By the way, I am wondering whether it is okay for a man asks "shall I be mother".

    Could you or someone else give me a hand again? Thanks.


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    #4

    Re: Traditional Drinks in England

    I'll try and answer some of your questions!

    As to favourite teas in the UK I think Tetley, PG tips and Typhoo are a few of the biggest sellers and we prefer breakfast teas for everyday consumption on the whole. I prefer Tetley tea (a blend) personally to most others along with Indian Assam which are both fairly strong!

    As to using 'be mother' as a man. Yes you could do; a friend of mine does say it from time to time! Also, if it says it relates to food not just tea when you looked it up, I'd imagine a situation in serving up a meal would probably be the most common situation where it would be spoken as a guess.

    However, I am one of those who cringes when I hear non-native speakers using very culturally based language terms and slang. I know a lot of learners like to learn these words and phrases (highlighted so much in American movies & music) which is great, but IMO they just sound stupid using it in everyday language.

    Even for me, I would never try and start using slang from say the streets of LA as a native from the UK. Again I think I'd sound like an idiot and think a lot of other people would think so too!

    So, if you want to use it (if you are ever in the situation) by all means, but don't be surprised if you get more than a few strange looks!

    Obviously, some may disagree but that's my view and a view of most native speakers I have talked to about slang and dialect usage by ESL learners.


    Mak
    Last edited by makaveli; 09-Jul-2008 at 02:36.

  4. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #5

    Smile Re: Traditional Drinks in England

    However, I am one of those who cringes when I hear non-native speakers using very culturally based language terms and slang. I know a lot of learners like to learn these words and phrases (highlighted so much in American movies & music) which is great, but IMO they just sound stupid using it in everyday language.

    Even for me, I would never try and start using slang from say the streets of LA as a native from the UK. Again I think I'd sound like an idiot and think a lot of other people would think so too!
    Hi Mak,

    Thank you very much for your answers and valuable comment about the usage of slang.

    Could you please illustrate your opinion which I quote above at your convenience? I'd like to learn more about it.

    Your response will be greatly appreciated.

    PS: I fail to click "thanks" button to you because there's something wrong with my access here now and then. Sorry!

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    #6

    Re: Traditional Drinks in England

    Quote Originally Posted by makaveli View Post
    Even for me, I would never try and start using slang from say the streets of LA as a native from the UK. Again I think I'd sound like an idiot and think a lot of other people would think so too!
    Private Eye had a cartoon on this a while back with one guy looking at the teapot saying 'Shall I be motherf****er?'


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    #7

    Re: Traditional Drinks in England

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hi Mak,

    Thank you very much for your answers and valuable comment about the usage of slang.

    Could you please illustrate your opinion which I quote above at your convenience? I'd like to learn more about it.

    Your response will be greatly appreciated.

    PS: I fail to click "thanks" button to you because there's something wrong with my access here now and then. Sorry!

    Sorry for the delay in posting a reply. This is not that easy to explain and can easily end up on a slippery slope of stereotyping and worse to be honest!


    Let's just say if a person of the complete opposite of what was considered a 'typical' Chinese person by yourself, went out imitated you,dressed up like you, used your dialect and hip young Chinese slang what would you think?

    It is because you don't have any real link or understanding under the surface that I think it appears stupid to native speakers when say a person from Korea uses downtown LA English and looks like 50 cent.

    In other words, one doesn't really understand the culture under the surface of modern media. Yet Native speakers who have these cultural links do. The same could be said of us to say a Chinese person and the mistakes we would no doubt make in the pursuit of trying to look cool in a Chinese way when we are nothing of the sort!

    Other than that I refer you back to my 1st paragraph.


    Sorry and I hope this helps a little.


    Mak

  5. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Traditional Drinks in England

    Mak:

    Thank you for your reply. It is instructive.

    Have a good day there.

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