Word choices that suggest class in USA

I think most of the word choices like "sofa" vs "couch" and the like are a matter of region rather than class. Class differences are largely based on education in America, and that shows by the size and mastery of the vocabulary, sentence complexity, and the subjects people choose to discuss.
 
We don't really have classes in America. We have rich folk and poor folk. We have city folk and country folk. We have races and religions and regions, but in order to have classes, you need to have aristocrats and we simply don't have anything to compare with families that have been "of the better sort" for four hundred years.

One of my favorite clues into this came from a magazine I saw in the 1980s. It was a German magazine roughly equivalent to People. On the back page, where we would have photos and snippets about rock stars and movie celebs, they had updates on aristocrats. That world fades further with each generation, but it's still there in a way that never was over here.
 
Well, not four hundred years, sknox.

My Great Grandfolks were wealthy "Society" in San Francisco through the late 19th century into the mid 20th century. The kind, as you say, that have their names appear on the who's who, hobnobbing with whom, on those "celeb" type of pages in the newspapers. Aptly named the "Society"pages in America, deep into the 20th century.

My Great Grandparents had a Chinese servant, throughout his lifetime, unto my childhood. I remember the honor, as a young child, of holding The Bell, at my place setting,and being asked to "Ring for Jung," when there was something needed at the dining table.

And it was always a treat when the Grand P's would take the family out to the finest restaurants, for dinner. It was only later in my life that i realized that those occasions were schooling me in etiquette and comportment. I was never, of course, the brat at the table; but there was always a guiding hand to adjust my behavior towards Style and Grace. How to be firm, yet respectful and polite to the "help."

We were expected to be literate, polite and witty.

My mother was still at University until I was five or six years old. I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother and Greatgrandmother. To this day, my Grandmother is the woman in my life whom i respect the most; for Style, Grace and Dignity. The few times I ever saw her miffed, when she should have been livid, she navigated the raucous waters with style and grace.

So to answer the question posed by this thread; it's not about a specific vocabulary. It's about poise and the wit to keep one's temper in the face of rudeness.

And there's a thousand finer points that can't be taught through a Thesaurus. It comes down, again, to a sense of Style and Grace.

A lost art, in America, to be sure.
 
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I don't believe there's a distinction between working and middle class here.
Working class: work with hands/make things, typically less than a four year degree, more likely to spank, bad children are fault of bad influences(peers), middle income
Middle class: professionals, successful small business owners, middle management, typically a bachelor's or master's degree, own real property, bad children result of bad parenting, middle to moderately affluent income
There is a vast difference in attitudes and culture between a plumber married to a store clerk in a 450k home and a senior auditor married to a biochemist lab tech in a 700k home.
 
Your definition of middle class sounds a bit much. Median income for an American family id $62K. No way they could afford a 700k home, and a 450k home would be pushing it hard.
 
Interesting how everyone seems to think about upper classes. I thought about working vs middle-class.

Interesting point. It may be related to a transatlantic cultural glitch.

My first read of the thread title brought to mind an American idiom: If a person is considered to "Have Class" it means that they are tactful, tolerant, stable in demeanor, probably, at least, a bit more sophisticated in arts and sciences than the general hoi poloi.... as I said, above, Style and Grace. "Class" being the difference between MOMA habituees and Walmart shoppers. Even the Wallmart crowd believes that one brilliant scam and a ton of Hard Work can elevate them to Trumphood.

Rereading the thread title through less reflexive knowledge of British culture, derived from extensive studies of Dickens, Kipling, Wodehouse, Python, and Inspector Morse, and the obligatory age-19 "Piss Tour" of the British Isles (1978); I realize that the British notion of class is different, at heart, than the American notion of "Class."

Americans are instilled with the delusion, from a young age, when we study The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and the Revolutionary, so called, Founding Fathers in school; that America is a "Classless Society." i.e. that we are not bound to the Caste of our Fathers or inherited Dynastic Titles. Every individual allegedly has the opportunity to better (or worsen) their Lot in Life through Hard Work, (Sloth) or Cleverness; regardless of the position of their father.

Separated by a common language, Selah.
 
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Your definition of middle class sounds a bit much. Median income for an American family id $62K. No way they could afford a 700k home, and a 450k home would be pushing it hard.
You are conflating middle class and middle income. The blue collar family would earn ~80k; the other ~110k(should have used biochemist for the spouse at ~160k). A median home is 500-550k? Hence the housing bubble and 30 year mortgages.
 
Where do you find your homes!?

Edit: Just looked it up: Median home value is just under $300k.

Much Less around here.
 
Where? The US is monumentally huge, compared to that little island, over there. 50 states are like 50 countries, not to mention regional differences within states, each comprising giant territories.

If I cared to look it up, I could name 30 "Median" home prices in California counties alone; much less state by state.

Trouble is, where Real Estate is cheap, there's a reason that no one wants to live there.
 
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Interesting in the interpretation of 'class'
The first time I read it in an American context was many, many years ago in a private eye novel; some woman was described as a classy broad.
To my English 1970's mind this conjured up a mental image of a fat duchess :)
 

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