What Americans think of the British...
The US once belonged to Britain, and many Americans have British ancestors, so when Americans think of Britain, they think of a place that seems very familiar Americans watch British television programmes, especially period dramas (= plays set in a historical period), see James Bond films, and read detective stories by Agatha Christie. As children, they read British books like Winnie-the-Pooh. On the basis of these experiences, which are common even to people who are not of British origin, most Americans know more about Britain than about any other country. Although only a few Americans travel to Britain, almost all have an opinion of the British.
Many Americans would have difficulty drawing a map of Britain. They think the country consists of London and a village in Scotland where one of their ancestors came from. London itself is covered in fog. The average British man wears a bowler hat and carries an umbrella. He waits in a queue for the bus, eats fish and chips, and drinks a lot of tea He has a servant - everyone in Britain does - and he has great respect for the Queen.
Americans admire the behavior of the British, although they themselves would never want all their social rules. Americans think of the British as being perfectly polite and proper, always knowing which knife and fork to use, always saying 'please', 'thank you' and 'excuse me'. The violence associated with football matches is not widely known about in the US. Britons are also famous for their reserve for their 'stiff upper lip', i.e. for not giving their opinion or showing their feelings in public, which makes them seem formal and distant.
Americans often say that the British are «quaint» a word which means old-fashioned, but in a nice way. This impression comes partly from differences in how the two countries speak English. British English has words and structures that have been used in the US for a long time, and so it sounds old-fashioned or formal. A favorite British adjective is lovely, which is used to describe everything, including the weather. Other British words like holiday, smashing and brilliant make Americans smile.
The view of Britain as a country where everyone behaves in a strange but nice way is not realistic and Americans who have been to Britain some negative impressions to add to the positive The British are snobbish and do not seem friendly. The famous British reserve seems cold to Americans who are more used to an open enthusiastic way of communicating. British people cause confusion by not saying what the mean They say: 'That's no problem' when they know that it will be a big problem, and get upset when Americans fail to understand. Overcooked food smallness of the houses, baths instead of showers and the weather which is always dull or rainy are other favorite complaints of Americans visiting the old country'. But in spite of these negative things the view of Britain from the US is, in general very positive and for many Americans, going to Britain almost like going home.
Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1924