Thursday, May 24, 2007

Garden flat

I heard about euphemisms in English from my university teacher more than 15 years ago. She was doing research on their role in British culture, an important role, she said. She gave us some Classical examples, mostly used by the Victorian ladies. I have not forgot this discussion, but was never quite sure what she meant, apart from the obvious stereotypes about the Victorians.

It dawned on me this year, when I was looking for accommodation in London and had to deal with estate agents' newspeak. (After the HR, my second least favourite group of people.)

May I ask you what the words garden flat evoke for you? For me, they bring to mind greenery, space, luxury -- a flat overlooking the garden, that is. Oh no: in the London housing market, it denotes a basement flat embellished with flower pots in the windows or with flower pots down on the stairs.

It defies me why people in London enjoy living in the underground holes likes troglodytes, but it least I understand what my university teacher meant.

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