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The 8 things that perhaps you didn’t  know about the English language and     culture.

The 8 things that perhaps you didn’t  know about the English language and     culture.

Published Jul 23, 2020 Updated Jul 23, 2020
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The 8 things that perhaps you didn’t  know about the English language and     culture.

Photo by A Perry on Unsplash

If only they had told you this at language school

This week I take a light-hearted look at selected aspects of the English language and culture.  The opinions are purely personal, and you will be relieved to know that they are not supported by any scientific research.

Most countries have their distinct stereotypical images.  Very often, these images are outdated.  England – like most other countries, is becoming increasingly multicultural.  This means that culture and language continue to develop. 

 

1.  England, Britain, Great Britain, The United Kingdom, The UK, are all the same thing, right?

Wrong – the United Kingdom of Great Britain is comprised of the 4 countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  These terms seem interchangeable and they certainly confuse.  The 4 countries have their own distinct identities and separate flags.  Indeed the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (the Union Jack) is made up of the flags of the 4 separate nations.

Learn More:

https://literallyengland.com/places/the-united-kingdom-of-great-britain/

 

2.  English cuisine is awful

English food, cuisine.

Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplash

My answer to this question is biased.  I am a Foodie and I love cooking.  If I am being truthful, I must confess that traditional English food can be a little bland and boring.  BUT you can always find good quality tasteful cuisine in England.  What I see in England, is similar to what I see in most countries – even those with the best cuisines, and that is the infiltration of convenience foods – particularly in the towns and cities.  That can only mean one thing: the overall deterioration in the taste and quality of the cuisine.  There are some excellent restaurants and cafes in England if you know where to look.  In addition to this, the English love their foreign food restaurants, namely Chinese, Thai, Indian, French and Italian.

 

3.  The English love their idioms

Idioms are not unique to the English language, but the English love them.  Recent estimates are that there are around 25,000 idioms in the English language.  Some of them are easy to decipher, and others are not!

Break a leg

Means

Good luck

This phrase originates from the theatre and it is traditionally used by actors.

Learn More:

https://literallyengland.com/culture/english-idioms/

 

4.  What do Shakespeare, the Vikings and the Normans have in common?

England has a rich and diverse cultural history.  The development of its language and culture has been heavily influenced by Norse, French and Roman civilisations to name but a few.  Here are just a few examples of those influences and  the words that are still in existence today:

Shakespeare:   addiction,   swagger,  cold-blooded

Vikings:   window,    ransack,    Thursday (Thor’s Day)

Normans:   assault,    adultery,    grammar,    pedigree

 

5.  The English alphabet is Latin in origin

It contains 26 letters – both with upper-case and lower-case forms.  The cases (containers) in question were actual cases used by early printers.  The upper cases contained the capital letters, and the lower case contained the standard letters.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

This is called a pangram because this single sentence contains all 26 letters of the English alphabet.

 

6.  There is no official controlling body for the development of the English language.

What, no Grammar Police!  Other European nations, such as France (Academie Francaise) have organisations that control the development and use of language; England does not.

 

7.  Famous scientists, engineers and inventors

The British are very proud of their scientists and engineers.  Here are a few examples of the people behind the inventions:

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS – the internet

Alexander Graham Bell  - telephone

John Logie Baird – television

Frank Whittle – jet engine

Sir George Cayley – world’s first manned air flight in 1849

Learn More:

https://literallyengland.com/science-and-technology/famous-people/

 

8.  The weather

This is possibly the most popular topic of conversation.  The English love to talk about the weather.  The English weather is notorious.  It is possible to experience snow, strong winds, rain followed by sunshine and calm – all on the same day. There are reasons why the weather is so unpredictable. 

Learn More:

https://literallyengland.com/uncategorized/the-seasons-and-the-weather/

 

This is just a short look at some of the lesser-known aspects of the English language and culture.  I cannot emphasise enough the importance of understanding the culture of a country alongside an understanding of the language.

Improve your grammar and vocabulary.  Try my Daily Language Quiz on Facebook.  See the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Literally-England-1116417365214603/

There are whole sections that I haven’t covered here: fashion, music and entertainment.  If there are topics that you would like to see covered in future posts, please send me a comment.

With best wishes from a very warm England – although all that could change in the next few moments!

Made in Great Britain

 

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