Toilet or lavatory? How words Britons use betray national obsession with class

Few things are as British as the notion of class – and little betrays it as effectively as how you speak and the words you use.

Usefully for those keen to decode this national peculiarity, 2016 is the 60th anniversary of the publication of Noblesse Oblige, a slim collection of essays edited by the notorious author and socialite Nancy Mitford, which investigated the characteristics of the English aristocracy.

The volume opened with An Essay in Sociological Linguistics by Alan Ross, a professor of Linguistics at Birmingham University, in which he set out the differences between “U” (Upper-class) and “non-U” (Middle Class) usages, covering forms of address, pronunciation and the use of particular words.

Read more: The Conversation

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