‘Those who can and do work are emphatically London…London wears a dismal exterior to the eye of the foreigner, because all London is hard at work.’ –Blanchard Jerrold, London: a Pilgrimage.
This was the epigraph for the chapter, “London at Work” in Culture Shock! London. The chapter begins: “Two perils loom for anyone who would attempt to generalise about working life in London. First, the working population is itself so diverse that any observation about its characteristics can only apply in a limited way. Second, what will be considered remarkable or noteworthy about working life in London will differ a great deal according to what you have experienced before and what you expect.”
The chapter goes on to describe the intricate class system of communication in the workplace in London. “Class in London is a bit like cricket and the weather: it’s always going on in the background, and you can pay as little or as much attention to it as you like.”
Apparently, Londoners can easily distinguish the classes through various English dialects, probably not unlike the blue collar / white collar distinction in the United States. This book will be helpful to point out both similarities and differences to my experience in the States. My hope, of course, is to pay attention, to listen, and to do all I can to not be a dumb American.
Hargraves, Orin. CultureShock! London . Marshall Cavendish Corporation. Kindle Edition.