In a nation of many million of people, there are many (differ) kinds: good and bad, honest and (honest), happy and unhappy. The British (person), who live in other countries are not fully (type) of their nation. As usual, they live a (complete) different life from the life in Britain.
However, we can talk about some (generally) things. The (known) quality of the English, for example, is reserve. A (reserve) person is one who does not talk very much to strangers, does not show much emotion. He never tells you (any) about himself. If English people are (make) a journey by train, they will try to find an empty compartment. If they have to share the compartment with a stranger, they may travel without (start) a conversation. If a conversation does start, (person) question like “How old are you?” or even “What’s your name?” are not (easy) asked. Questions like “Where did you buy your watch?” or “What is your salary?” are (possible).
But the people of the North and West of Britain, (especial) the Welsh, are less reserved than those of the South and East.
Exercise 7. Read the text and describe the British.
What are the British like?
It's difficult to give a general idea of what more than 55 million people are like. It's even more difficult when you consider that there are four different countries in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and also that people from many other countries have come to live here too.
Even if you've never been to Britain however, films, television, books, etc. have probably given you ideas about what British people are like. So, people abroad have very fixed ideas about the British - they are cold, reserved, aristocratic, arrogant, lazy, etc. Actually this is not always true. Of course, some are shy and reserved with strangers, but some are shy and reserved with everybody. Others are very extrovert and talk to anybody. This just proves that you shouldn't make generalizations about people!
But still, some generalizations are firmly fixed in our consciousness. Everybody knows that all Englishmen wear bowler hats, pinstripe suits and carry umbrellas. Scotsmen are mean, hate spending money and drink whisky all day long. Welshmen do nothing but play rugby and sing. And the Irish? Well, they only exist so that other British people can tell jokes about them.
Some generalizations are probably true. The British don't like answering questions about the details of their lives. You must never ask them how much money they earn, or how old they are. Only officials can ask questions like that; that is perhaps why the British don't really like officials.
One more thing British people share is a love of politeness. It's important to be polite in Britain, even to people you don't know. You can hear such words or phrases as Please", "Thank you", "Sorry, love", "Excuse me" very often. They will also expect you to be polite in the way that is normal to them. Actually, their politeness isn't always real.
The British don't like people who shout loudly in the street or push their way through crowds with their elbows? Their habit of queering is amazing. At bus stops and cinemas, in shops, banks and in lots of other places you'll have to join the queue and wait patiently for your turn to be served. Queuing is as British as fish and chips.
The English are famous for their humour which is kind and tolerant. It's tolerant in that the victim of people's jokes, usually shares in the humour too. People seem to be able to laugh at themselves, their mistakes and their weaknesses.
Some tips to help you get on well with the English.
- Loud talking and other forms of noisy behaviour should always be avoided.
- Try not to stare at anyone in public. Privacy is highly regarded.
- To wait in line in the United Kingdom is to "queue up". You must never "jump the queue".
- When drinking in pub, pick up your change after you pay for your drink. If you leave it there, you would imply that you are leaving a tip. Tipping is not widespread in British pubs.
- Don't stand close to people you are talking to. "Keep your distance".
- An offensive gesture in England would be the V for victory sign done with your palm facing yourself.
- Don’t forget to repeat the phrase “It’s a nice day today, isn’t it?” or “Shame about the weather.” It helps you to break ice with strangers.
- When you are invited to someone’s house, you should either arrive on time or no later than 15 minutes after the time arranged. They don’t take off their shoes entering home.
- Gifts are not supposed to be expensive. In Britain foreigners are usually expected to give typical objects from their country as gifts. Receiving gifts they usually open the box in your presence to express their admiration.
- Try to avoid saying “no” directly. You may sound rude.