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3 Comments

  • Consider ‘serviette’ forever stricken from my vocabulary. I’ll simply have to learn to fight that inner desire to sound posh…

  • I beg your pardon, but shall we then be meek and mend our ways at every bidding of the degenerated upper-class’ ‽ I understand this phenomenon is partly due to either inverted snobbish or neglectful attitude, or even a sense of always pardoned impropriety.

    I do not see how the time-honoured ‘pardon’ can be replaced by ‘sorry’ still less by ‘what’,

    The latest OED does not label ‘serviette’ as vulgar.

    Also, OED shows that in these senses ‘sorry’ dates from the first half and second half of the twentieth century. See.

    add [1] d ellipt. for I am sorry. colloq. (a) Expressing apology or regret.

       1914 G. B. Shaw Fanny’s First Play 167 Sorry. Never heard of him.    1923 Radio Times 28 Sept. 19/2 No! sorry, I thought you were Cardiff.    1938 E. Waugh Scoop ii. ii. 157, I will say you’re a quick worker. Sorry to barge in on the tender scene.    1954 W. Faulkner Fable 76 He said, ‘All right. Sorry. I didn’t know you had a wife.’    1982 W. J. Burley Wycliffe’s Wild-Goose Chase i. 17 ‘Sorry to bother you on a Sunday morning‥.’ ‘Think nothing of it’.

    (b) Interrogatively, requesting an interlocutor to repeat words that the speaker failed to catch or to understand.

       1972 T. Stoppard Jumpers II. 62 Miss Moore, is there anything you wish to say at this stage? Dotty (in the sense of ‘Pardon?’): Sorry? Bones: My dear, we are all sorry—.    1978 P. Howard Weasel Words vii. 46 For its part ‘sorry’ is coming to mean: ‘Please say that again; I did not hear you.’

  • Serviette was an Americanism, so i thought. Napkin makes me think of a cloth and serviette makes me think of paper. Napkin is a really cute word and it is very nice to have a cloth instead of a crummy bit of paper. It does feel nice to eat with proper cloth napkins and it feels very civilised. Today many people use kitchen towel. some of them are thicker and better than paper napkins.