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  1. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #1

    Smile Being Modest & Custom

    Could someone please answer my question as below? Thanks in advance!

    Son: I've got the best dad in the world.
    Dad: Now you know how that embarrasses me.
    Son: I know. Toodley doodley.


    An American father was drinking with his neighbour while his son came in. The kid said thanks to his father for helping him complete a scientic project. The dialogue I quoted above is based on such a context.

    I'm wondering why the father would feel embarrassed when his own kid praised him in public. It sounds like slightly self-depreciating or being modest, doesn't it? I was told native English speakers don't get used to be self-depreciating like we Chinese do usually. So if someone said something good for me, I just need to say thank you and show my confidence rather than being too modest. Isn't it true?

    For example, If someone told Mary she was pretty, she would respond differently. (Actually, she is really pretty and she thinks so)

    Mary responded to a native speaker, "Thank you for your compliment".
    Mary responded to a Chinese: No. I am very ugly!


  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Customs vary somewhat from one country to another. Also, individual attitudes vary within a country. One possibility:
    Me: You have really nice hair. It's pretty.
    Soup: Thank you.
    Me: You're welcome.
    Being a North American speaker, Soup would know that "Thank you" is the expected response to a compliment. (Nothing more is required.) If an American would say to a Chinese girl, "Gosh, you're really pretty" and she said, "No, I'm really ugly" the American probably wouldn't know what to say, but he might be put off by such an odd (to him) response.

  3. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #3

    Smile Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Hi BonBee,

    Thank you for your illustration. But why did that American father say," he feels embarrassed"?

    The dialogue below is excerpted from American cartoon-The Simpons.

    Son: I've got the best dad in the world.
    Dad: Now you know how that embarrasses me.
    Son: I know. Toodley doodley.

  4. RonBee's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hi RonBee,

    Thank you for your illustration. But why did that American father say," he feels embarrassed"?

    The dialogue below is excerpted from American cartoon-The Simpsons.
    Well, maybe Homer knows that he is not the best dad in the world.


    Also, remember that it is not a normal context. It is a cartoon, and the point is humor. (The Simpsons are anything but normal.)


  5. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #5

    Smile Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Well, maybe Homer knows that he is not the best dad in the world.


    Also, remember that it is not a normal context. It is a cartoon, and the point is humor. (The Simpsons are anything but normal.)

    Hi RonBee,

    I'm so sorry for typing your handle wrong. And Thank you for your comment.

    But the father was not Homer but Ned Flanders, who seems almost perfect in my eyes.

  6. RonBee's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hi RonBee,

    I'm so sorry for typing your handle wrong. And Thank you for your comment.

    But the father was not Homer but Ned Flanders, who seems almost perfect in my eyes.
    I stand corrected. In any case, it is an individual thing and not a cultural thing.


  7. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #7

    Smile Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    In any case, it is an individual thing and not a cultural thing.

    Gotcha!

    It is my fault that I didn't clarify my question clearly. Thank you very much for your help.

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    #8

    Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hi RonBee,

    I'm so sorry for typing your handle wrong. And Thank you for your comment.

    But the father was not Homer but Ned Flanders, who seems almost perfect in my eyes.
    I'd say that Ned enjoys the compliment and pretends to be embarrassed, while Honer (if that's the neighbour) would know that his son would never say it and it wouldn't be true anyway.

  8. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #9

    Smile Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'd say that Ned enjoys the compliment and pretends to be embarrassed, while Honer (if that's the neighbour) would know that his son would never say it and it wouldn't be true anyway.
    Hi Tdol,

    Thank you for your answer.

  9. RonBee's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Being Modest & Custom

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'd say that Ned enjoys the compliment and pretends to be embarrassed, while Honer (if that's the neighbour) would know that his son would never say it and it wouldn't be true anyway.
    Yep, Homer and Ned are neighbors. And you are right. Bart would never say it, and it wouldn't be true anyway.

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