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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 05:10 GMT
Table manners off Britons' menus
Man forking in pasta
Burping is acceptable to many - but mobiles are considered irritating
The British are "slobs" who lack basic table manners, according to a survey by cutlery retailer Arthur Price.

A quarter of the 2,000 people asked said they routinely lick their knife, and one in five do the same to their plate - even when dining in company.

One out of every five said it was acceptable to burp at the table.

And the same proportion considered it stupid and old-fashioned to ask permission to leave after eating or to keep elbows off the table.

Half of those asked in the online questionaire said they did not put their knife and fork together when they had finished a meal.

And one in 10 said they would speak with their mouth full.

However, more modern habits remain beyond the pale - three-quarters of those asked said using mobile phones at the table was irritating.

'Show respect'

Simon Fanshawe, author of the The Done Thing - Negotiating The Minefield Of Modern Manners, said it was an issue which needed to be discussed more often.

He said while the survey showed a minority did not care about such things, the majority still did with many battling hard to instill good manners in their children.

"Most people recognise the importance of table manners," he said.

"All table manners flow from a sense of companionship, that we should treat other people in a such a way that they feel relaxed and happy to be there and welcomed.

"They show respect and consideration for others."

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