The words you use (terminology) and how you say them (pronunciation) give away either the class you are, or, in the case of those taking elocution lessons, the class you want to be.  You may think this stuff was all firmly consigned to the past, but an interesting book, Watching the English (by Kate Fox) reveals it to be alive and kicking in our linguistic present.

Upper classes like to think their way of speaking is correct, as lower classes swallow their t's and drop their h's (with to wiv; thing to fing; Harry to 'arry.)  Yet uppermost classes repeatedly drop their vowels:  ask the lower classes for the time and they'll say, " 'alf past ten," whereas the upper class will say "hpstn."  Neither is right nor wrong, just different, diff'rent or diffrnt, depending on where you were brought up.

Is class a peculiarly English thing?  How do the Germans do it? They, too, reflect social graces in their language, but, being German, they perfected a language that helped you classify tone and correct speech at the point of opening your (or one's) mouth.  German has three forms of address to another person: you (Sie) polite; you (du) familiar singular and you (ihr) familiar plural.  The instant a German converses, you know if you are the boss (Herr Schmidt rather than Harry;) a family member or a group of people you quite like. You are so busy thinking about the rule that governs the linguistic social convention of 'you', there is no time left to deflect vowels or drop consonants.

This rule helps us interpret Rammstein's songs. In Ich will (I want), when Rammstein are saying, "I want...all your fantasies; I want... all your energy," they use the form of address that is neither ultra polite nor meant for one pair of (familiar) ears only: in choosing 'ihr' to express 'you', they are talking to lots of familiar faces i.e. their fans.

It's a shame that English over time has lost this distinction - we used to have it (think of the Lord's Prayer, 'thy will be done,' and the Christmas carol, 'O come, all ye faithful' and Shakespeare himself, 'Wherefore art thou, Romeo?')  Everything now is stripped down to plain old 'you' (unless, of course, you have been brought up to say 'one.') But that's surely back to the class divide. innit?

I'd love to hear from German speakers as to whether they believe class distinction is alive and kicking in their mother tongue as it is in English - one knows where to find me......