"How to Be an Alien" is an amusing, satirical book written in 1946 by Hungarian-born British author George Mikes. The book offers an immigrant's viewpoint on British customs, behavior, and way of living. It is a funny commentary on the eccentricities of the British and supplies an amusing and informative guide for anyone wanting to take in into British society or simply understand the peculiarities that make the British so charming.
Mikes begins the book by presenting the reader to the quintessential British humor, characterized by self-deprecation, paradox, and understatement. He explains that British humor is not necessarily always amusing, as the British tend to find amusement crazes that may truly give distress. For example, they are known for joking about their consistent, unreliable weather. Mikes recommends that in order to fit into British society, one should find out to value such humor, as it is an essential part of British culture.
Tea and Queuing
As an immigrant trying to take in into British culture, Mikes emphasizes the significance of understanding the British's fascination with tea. Tea is a substantial aspect of British identity, and any social scenario can and will focus on the act of making and consuming tea. The prolonged and intricate tea-making process is a form of cultural bonding, and Mikes recommends that a person may be thought about "civilized" by British requirements if they can making a good cup of tea.
Queuing, or the act of lining up and waiting for one's turn, is another British customized that Mikes discusses in information. The British are known for their aversion to disorderliness, and queuing is a symbol of their preference for organization and structure. Mikes jokingly mentions that the talent for queuing may just be the only thing separating the British from animals, highlighting the significance of this apparently mundane act.
Language and Communication
Mikes then looks into the intricacies of the English language. He explains that the British's unwillingness to learn foreign languages has actually led English to be extensively spoken across the globe. However, this likewise indicates that English speakers may find it challenging to interact with the British individuals, who tend to utilize phrases and expressions that are distinct to their culture.
Furthermore, the book goes over the British's preference for politeness in interaction, even if it means obscuring their real feelings. British individuals tend to avoid fight and select more subtle methods of expressing displeasure. Mikes amusingly recommends foreigners to pay keen attention when interacting with British people, so as not to miss essential cues that show their real feelings.
Sport and Weather
Mikes describes that sport plays a substantial role in the lives of British people, and understanding their passion for sporting events is important when attempting to suit. The British are particularly thinking about football (soccer) and cricket, and talking about these sports can be a reliable icebreaker in social circumstances.
Weather is another repeating subject in British conversations. The unpredictable British weather condition brings individuals together as they commiserate over the hassle it triggers. Mikes encourages foreigners to acquaint themselves with weather-related terms and phrases to assist them talk with British individuals.
"How to Be an Alien" works as a delightful and insightful guide to British customs and eccentricities, offering immigrants with an understanding of the particularities that make the British so special. With his wit and observational humor, George Mikes invites readers to accept British culture and revel in the idiosyncrasies that define this fascinating nation. Ultimately, the book is an event of multiculturalism and the ability to find humor and connection in our differences.
How to Be an Alien
A humorous guide for foreigners seeking to learn the peculiarities and specificities of British life and culture, written in the backdrop of World War II.
Author: George Mikes
George Mikes, author known for his humorous books on English life. Discover his early years, career, quotes and Hungarian roots.
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