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Approval Law in England

by Ge Juan
(Chofu, Tokyo)

England

England

From the time we started to learn English, the British always like to talk about the weather when they meet each other and don’t like to talk about private affairs. One of my college teachers once told us an interesting fact: When she had her business travel in England, one time she took a taxi with her friend, then the driver kindly said to them: "Good afternoon, today it’s not cold, right?"

But at that time, London was just after a snow and it was very cold. Then my teacher said: "Uh, I feel very cold here." The driver showed an embarrassed expression. My teacher’s friend gave her a look and quickly said: "Yes, it’s really cold today." Then the driver seemed to be very happy.

After they got off the taxi, my teacher asked curiously: "It is really very cold today, why did the driver prefer hearing your answer?’ Her friend laughed: "You are the first time at England, so you don’t know when we meet each other and talk about weather, you always should say yes, this is our custom."

"But why?" then my teacher said. He said: "Our country is an island surrounded by the sea, and the four seasons of the sea breeze soon lead to weather changes. Perhaps it is sunny now, the next moment it will begin to rain. In order not to let abnormal changing weather influence daily life, people will give more attention to the weather.

As a result, speaking about the weather became a custom. Talking about the weather is just a starter, so if you agree, he will think you and he have something in common and a cordial harmony continues. If you say a negative point of view, then it will be stalemated. This way of communication is called 'approval law.'"

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