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THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN

Many foreigners who have not visited Britain call all the in­habitants 'English', for they are used to thinking of the British Isles as 'England’. In fact, the British Isles contain a variety of peoples and only the people of England call themselves English. The others refer to themselves as Welsh, Scottish, Irish, as the case may be; they are often slightly annoyed as being classified as ‘English’.

Even in England there are many differences In regional charac­ter and speech. The chief division is between southern England and northern England, South of a line going from Bristol to Lon­don, people speak the type of English usually learnt by foreign students, though there are local variations.

Further north (roughly beyond a line going from Manchester to Hull) regional speech is usually 'broader' than that of southern Britain.

Northerners are apt to claim that they work harder than the Southerners, and are more thorough. They are more open-hearted and hospitable; foreigners often find that they make friends with them quickly. Northerners generally have hearty appetites: the visitor to Lancashire or Yorkshire, for instance, may look forward to receiving generous helpings at meal times.

Io accent and character the people of the Midlands represent a gradual change from the southern to the northern type of Englishman.

In Scotland the sound denoted by the letter “r” is generally a strong sound, and “R” is often pronounced in words in which it would be silent in southern English. In the Highlands and the Western Isles the ancient Scottish language, Gaelic, is still heard— in 1971 some 88,000 people spoke Gaelic. The Scots are said to be a serious, cautious, thrifty people, rather inventive and somewhat mystical. All the Celtic ðåoples of Britain (the Welsh, the Irish, the Scots) are frequently described às being more 'fiery' than the English. They are of a race that is quite distinct from English.

The Welsh have preserved their language to a remarkable extent. The English generally look upon the Welsh as an emotional people who are, however, somewhat reticent to and difficult to get to know easily.

Ireland is divided into two parts. The 6 counties of Northern Ireland are still part of Great Britain, though, in normal circumstances, they have their own Parliament. The majority of people in northern Ireland are Protestants. The Republic of Ire­land, which covers the larger part of the island, is a separate state, not part of Great Britain. The population is predominantly Catholic. Irish, often called Årse, is a form of Gaelic. It was in danger of dying out, but when the territory of the Repub­lic became independent (the Irish Free State', 1922), Erse was revived, and is now the official first lang uage of the Republic, English being the second. The Irish are known for their charm and vivacity, as well as for the beauty of the Irish girls.

 

 


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 1732


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