Appreciation

GavinCorder

Banned
English English (from England)
I have often noticed a misunderstanding between American speakers of english and English speakers of english surrrounding the word appreciate.

If I were to say (in an argumentative debate), "Yeah, I appreciate what you are saying." What would an american understand by that?

A brit would understand that I am actually saying that I have heard and understood what he is saying but that I disagree with it.

In my experience an American assumes that by the statement that I agree with him (and is often very cross when pointed that the reverse is true).

Comments please.
 
  • TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    Gavin, in the context you cite, I would understand appreciate to mean exactly what you described, which is the third meaning given here:
    3 appreciate, take account
    be fully aware of; realize fully; "Do you appreciate the full meaning of this letter?"
    Elisabetta
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I would understand that to mean "I understand and have taken into consideration what you are saying, but I want to discuss something in addition to what you just said."

    [copied from this thread]
     

    GavinCorder

    Banned
    English English (from England)
    Copied and posted name - got link by mistake - m,y apologies!

    Yes indeed that is true, but I have had many frustrating conversations with (otherwise perfectly charming Americans) who say "No. You don't appreciate what I'm saying at all! You're against it!"
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I really appreciate it, Gavin! ;)

    I also like to have intelligent conversations & am willing to hear other viewpoints.

    Some of my countrymen/countrywomen have the mentality of: "Don't confuse me with the details, I've already made up my mind!"
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    GavinCorder said:
    Yes indeed that is true, but I have had many frustrating conversations with (otherwise perfectly charming Americans) who say "No. You don't appreciate what I'm saying at all! You're against it!"
    Perhaps with those folks you'll need to switch to "I understand what you're saying -- and you're wrong!" :D

    Elisabetta
     

    GavinCorder

    Banned
    English English (from England)
    Yes I could but my countrymen might not - I was merely attempting a linguistic reconciliation to a transatlantic breach that I have observed!
     

    Kevman

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I think in American English the but... phrase is necessary to signify disagreement. If I simply "appreciate what you're saying" it means that I realize and understand it. However, "I appreciate what you're saying, but..." is an introduction to a contrary viewpoint.
     
    It also depends on the context in which it is said. If I was having a debate with someone and he or she said "I appreciate what you're saying", I would understand it to mean that they understood my side of the issue and the context would tell me he/she disagrees. However, if someone said that outside of a debate or arguement, I might take it to mean that he/she agreed.
     

    GavinCorder

    Banned
    English English (from England)
    amorelli said:
    It also depends on the context in which it is said. If I was having a debate with someone and he or she said "I appreciate what you're saying", I would understand it to mean that they understood my side of the issue and the context would tell me he/she disagrees. However, if someone said that outside of a debate or arguement, I might take it to mean that he/she agreed.
    Yes exactly - you have it!

    No we don't mean that we are on your side of the issue. I've been slapped by american before, they say, " Stop saying you appreciate what I'm saying! You don't appreciate it!"

    By why they mean I don't 'like it' - no I don't! But I've UNDERSTOOD IT!
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I find myself among the unenlightened, for once.:rolleyes:

    Oddly, the sample sentence in the dictionary entry for definition #3 sounds perfectly clear to me. However, in GavinCorder's sample sentence, "I appreciate what you are saying," I would expect definition #4 (to recognize with gratitude, something like "I'm glad to hear that!") to apply. Since it clearly does not apply, given the rest of the context, my first assumption would be that the statement was either mocking or condescending, rather than a simple acknowledgement of understanding.

    Edited to add: if you wish to be understood, rather than argue about it again, you might try "I hear what you are saying..."
     

    swyves

    Senior Member
    UK English, Living in Peru
    I think to say "I hear what you're saying" or "I hear you" is a somewhat "ghetto" term for "I agree wholeheartedly".
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I personally would be baffled and taxed beyond my minimal abilities to process a question. That's because GavinCo would've said "appreSEEate," and it would've flown right over my numb li'l old pea-brain. Whuzzy tawkin baout?
    .
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    How interesting - I wouldn't consider it a ghetto phrase at all, nor does it imply "I agree" here. It appears that it is not, however, a good choice after all.

    Back to "I understand," then, I suppose.
     
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