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"What"

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Looking for your opinions on this.

As some of you know I'm an English teacher in Spain and I was telling my students about this earlier this evening.

If you're talking to someone in English and at one point they don't understand or hear you and they replied with 'what', would you consider this a bit rude / impolite?  Instead of saying something like 'sorry, what was that' or 'pardon' or ''excuse me' etc, (whatever your preference here, there's lots of things we can say here instead).

This discussion started today as one of my students replied to me using 'what' which is obviously OK as they are an English learner but my mind instantly went back to a conversation I was having with another student before Xmas. This particular student was living in London for a period and was shocked when a British person told her that using 'what' can be considered very impolite in the English speaking world particularly the UK.

Of course, it depends on what the context is, what the tone is and perhaps even the relationship with the person you're talking to which I also explained to my students. But in general no? This is considered a bit rude? Perhaps even a bit lazy as well which is something a mate of mine said which I agree with.

My opinion is that it's impolite and a bit rude, it can be used in certain contexts but for the most part it isn't good?

What about the Americans and Australians on here? @Dickie @Spike @Eco @Toinho What do you think?

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1 minute ago, carefreeluke said:

Looking for your opinions on this.

As some of you know I'm an English teacher in Spain and I was telling my students about this earlier this evening.

If you're talking to someone in English and at one point they don't understand or hear you and they replied with 'what', would you consider this a bit rude / impolite?  Instead of saying something like 'sorry, what was that' or 'pardon' or ''excuse me' etc, (whatever your preference here, there's lots of things we can say here instead).

This discussion started today as one of my students replied to me using 'what' which is obviously OK as they are an English learner but my mind instantly went back to a conversation I was having with another student before Xmas. This particular student was living in London for a period and was shocked when a British person told her that using 'what' can be considered very impolite in the English speaking world particularly the UK.

Of course, it depends on what the context is, what the tone is and perhaps even the relationship with the person you're talking to which I also explained to my students. But in general no? This is considered a bit rude? Perhaps even a bit lazy as well which is something a mate of mine said which I agree with.

My opinion is that it's impolite and a bit rude, it can be used in certain contexts but for the most part it isn't good?

What about the Americans and Australians on here? @Dickie @Spike @Eco @Toinho What do you think?

Depends on the tone. Most people don't just say 'what', it's usually 'What did you say?'

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I find it rude too. I didn't when I was teaching overseas, but I also made the point that we should use "pardon" or "sorry, what was that?" or the like. 

Obviously depending on tone, I try tell students now that it's unacceptable, but it's tough being a teacher in this day and age as we are seemingly responsible for bringing up everyone's kids. 

I would say it's generally a bit rude though, will be interesting to hear others responses. 

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Depending on the tone it can be rude saying what in Spanish too (que), i myself if i didn't hear or understand something would say either, "no entendi" which means i didn't understand, or "no escuche" i didn't hear, or even "no escuche/entendi, me lo podes repetir?" which means i didn't hear/understand, can you repeat it?, and i'm sure the same can be said in English and would be much better than just saying "what".

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3 minutes ago, Berserker said:

Depending on the tone it can be rude saying what in Spanish too (que), i myself if i didn't hear or understand something would say either, "no entendi" which means i didn't understand, or "no escuche" i didn't hear, or even "no escuche/entendi, me lo podes repetir?" which means i didn't hear/understand, can you repeat it?, and i'm sure the same can be said in English and would be much better than just saying "what".

It's a lot more common in Spanish though no? But I know what you mean about how it can rude in some contexts. Hispanic culture is a lot more direct though.

My Spanish students were shocked when they found out they couldn't use it. Yesterday one of my students used 'what' when he was talking to me as were leaving class when he didn't hear something I said and he has a very good level of English. I explained to him that it can be considered a bit rude to use that and he was surprised as well.

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3 minutes ago, carefreeluke said:

It's a lot more common in Spanish though no? But I know what you mean about how it can rude in some contexts. Hispanic culture is a lot more direct though.

My Spanish students were shocked when they found out they couldn't use it. Yesterday one of my students used 'what' when he was talking to me as were leaving class when he didn't hear something I said and he has a very good level of English. I explained to him that it can be considered a bit rude to use that and he was surprised as well.

Yeah, i suppose. Most times you can use it no probs, it's just the tone and the context that can turn it into something a bit rude, like using it when you think something being said is ridiculous rather than because you didn't hear it.

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I don't get offended by it but rather pissed off at the fact I have to repeat myself, which I hate doing. Whether that's "What?", "Ehhhhh?", "Pardon?"

 

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7 minutes ago, The Rebel CRS said:

I don't get offended by it but rather pissed off at the fact I have to repeat myself, which I hate doing. Whether that's "What?", "Ehhhhh?", "Pardon?"

 

I also hate that, one time i can tolerate, 2 not so much, but three i just yell at them to make sure they fucking hear it.

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I wouldn't say it if I didn't know the person, but if it's friends, family etc then no problem. Generally comes down to tone voice.

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yeah... no we say "what" all the time, not rude to us just normal (then again Americans are just rude in general hah)? I thought it was common for spanish speakers to say "que" as well?

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Yeah I find it somewhat rude and was brought up to say 'pardon' instead of what (makes me sound so posh xD

But saying 'what' just comes across as sharp, dismissive and a bit blunt which can be off putting (ironic how something can be sharp and blunt at the same time). 

I wouldn't say it's laziness. Perhaps just a bit of ignorance or disrespect to the person you're saying it to. 

I'd be a bit more lenient on someone if English wasn't their first language and they were saying it because they probably don't know the strength of saying one word like that and the nature of it how comes across. 

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Definitely rude. There’s a girl at work who’s always shouting “what?” when your mid-conversation with someone else. 

I encourage it as a teacher though i’d probably try and find a way of explaining that it is used in the English language and that it’s not the most polite saying and that people should use alternatives. 

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Someone had a go at me once cos I said "oi"...."erm Oi is not my name". The only time you'd say pardon is if you were meeting your other halves parents or in a job interview 😂

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7 minutes ago, Danny said:

Someone had a go at me once cos I said "oi"...."erm Oi is not my name". The only time you'd say pardon is if you were meeting your other halves parents or in a job interview 😂

'oi' is quite rude as well to be honest.

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2 hours ago, Danny said:

Someone had a go at me once cos I said "oi"...."erm Oi is not my name". The only time you'd say pardon is if you were meeting your other halves parents or in a job interview 😂

They had every right to have a go. 

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12 hours ago, Danny said:

I wouldn't say it if I didn't know the person, but if it's friends, family etc then no problem. Generally comes down to tone voice.

This

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I get irritated when someone tells me 'sure', after I ask them something. 

Would you like  to grab a bite to eat later?

Sure

Like they aren't even arsed. Give me a yes or a no damnit. 

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19 minutes ago, Cicero said:

I get irritated when someone tells me 'sure', after I ask them something. 

Would you like  to grab a bite to eat later?

Sure

Like they aren't even arsed. Give me a yes or a no damnit. 

'sure' would mean 'yes'. It's an acceptance of your offer in that context. 

I can't see how it could be anything else xD 

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13 minutes ago, Stan said:

'sure' would mean 'yes'. It's an acceptance of your offer in that context. 

I can't see how it could be anything else xD 

It's an acceptance, but for me, it just sounds like they really aren't interested. 

Might just be how I was brought up, but I always got the vibe that they said sure instead of a yes, because they aren't really that arsed. 

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4 hours ago, Danny said:

Someone had a go at me once cos I said "oi"...."erm Oi is not my name". The only time you'd say pardon is if you were meeting your other halves parents or in a job interview 😂

Terrible man. (With terrible dance moves) 

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Even with my best mates, I say 'sorry mate', or 'sorry mate, what was that'.

One of my best mates says 'pardon' all the time, to me that's a bit old fashioned or more 'formal' and he isn't 'posh' at all and has a very 'cockney' or perhaps more accurate 'South London' accent as I've seen our accents been labelled in recent times.

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5 hours ago, Toinho said:

Terrible man. (With terrible dance moves) 

Pulled out the flying rolypoly though

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The correct response is "u wot m8?". 

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1 minute ago, Tommy said:

The correct response is "u wot m8?". 

Image result for u wot m8

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Friends, family, some annoying drunk cunt - yes.

Strangers - no

 

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