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Тема : Полное понимание информации в тексте
Раздел: Чтение
18 линия
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Who is the most likely to appreciate the importance of polite weather-related conversation?

1) Older generations.
2) Young people.
3) Those living in rural areas.
4) Tourists visiting England.

The Weather

Any discussion of English conversation, like any English conversation, must begin with The Weather. And in this spirit of observing traditional protocol, I shall, like every other writer on Englishness, quote Dr Johnsons famous comment that "When two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather", and point out that this observation is as accurate now as it was over two hundred years ago.

This, however, is the point at which most commentators either stop, or try, and fail, to come up with a convincing explanation for the English "obsession" with the weather. They fail because their premise is mistaken: they assume that our conversations about the weather are conversations about the weather. Most of them then try to figure out what it is about the English weather that is so fascinating.

Bill Bryson, for example, concludes that the English weather is not at all fascinating, and presumably that our obsession with it is therefore inexplicable: "To an outsider, the most striking thing about the English weather is that there is not very much of it. All those phenomena that elsewhere give nature an edge of excitement, unpredictability and danger – tornadoes, monsoons, raging blizzards, run-for-your-life hailstorms are almost wholly unknown in the British Isles."

Jeremy Paxman, in an uncharacteristic and surely unconscious display of patriotism, takes umbrage at Bryson"s dismissive comments, and argues that the English weather is intrinsically fascinating. From his point of view, the English fixation with the weather is nothing to do with theatricality like the English countryside, it is, for the most part, dramatically undramatic. The interest is less in the phenomena themselves, but in uncertainty... one of the few things you can say about England with absolute certainty is that it has a lot of weather.
It may not include tropical cyclones but life at the edge of an ocean and the edge of a continent means you can never be entirely sure what you"re going to get.

My research has convinced me that both Bryson and Paxman are missing the point, which is that our conversations about the weather are not really about the weather at all: English weather-speak is a form of code, evolved to help us overcome our natural reserve and actually talk to each other. Everyone knows, for example, that "Nice day, isn"t it?", "Ooh, isn"t it cold?", "Still raining, eh?" and other variations on the theme are not requests for meteorological data: they are ritual greetings, conversation-starters or default "fillers". In other words, English weather-speak is a form of "grooming talk – the human equivalent of what is known as "social grooming" among our primate cousins, where they spend hours grooming each other"s fur, even when they are perfectly clean, as a means of social bonding.

These conclusions were based on my extensive participant–observation research, but even when confronted about their motives in a formal questionnaire survey (where people tend to try to appear rational and pragmatic) the majority of English people were prepared to admit that they used weather-talk for purely social purposes. And, perhaps even more striking, our survey findings show that this is by no means just an archaic custom practised mainly by older people. In fact, young people proved to be the most acutely aware of the importance of polite conversation about the weather. The 18-24 age group, for example, was the most likely to say that weather-speak is so popular because it allows us to be nice/polite to people. These young people were also more than twice as likely as their elders to say that weather-talk helps us to gauge other people’s moods.

Ответ: 2

Источник: NeoFamily