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Enjoy & Learn

British stereotypes

There are a number of distinctive types of people in the British Isles. There are, of course, the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish but it goes beyond that with regional differences between the various English people as well.

The English

“You may become British but you will never be truly English” (-George Mikes, How to be an Alien).

The English are a peculiar people who have many stereotypes associated with them. Some are more obvious than others. The English drink tea (with milk) at 4 in the afternoon. English food is terrible and boiled to death. They are a well-mannered and respectable bunch who are very loyal, but a bit closed and reserved until you get to know them. An Englishman is a friend for life once you become his friend. They are fiercely independent and don’t like Continental Europeans, as they are very xenophobic.

They love the queen and are very patriotic. The greatest English attribute is their sense of fair play and sportsmanship as illustrated in the phrase “it’s not the winning that matters-it’s the taking part” and the thought of cheating at anything is one of the most abhorrent thoughts that an Englishman could have.

In addition there are stereotypes about the differences between the North and the South of England. The Southerners (anywhere south of North London) think the Northern English are poor, uneducated, working-class, uncivilised and rowdy people who can’t even speak English properly! Whereas the Northern people think of Southern people as aristocratic (“posh”) and rich, but negatively they don’t know what real work is as all they do is work in offices and “nice jobs” without getting their hands dirty.

As a generalisation, all the non-English peoples of Britain are perceived as resenting the success and wealth of England.

The Scottish

The Scots are the most Northern of the British People. They have a reluctance to express enthusiasm for anything in direct terms-thus, “It’s no bad”. Scots also have a tendency towards what can only be described as sentimentality. Scots are seen as being “dour and miserly”. However-partly because of the influence of Braveheart-the main stereotype of the Scots is that they are a quaint, rural people, honest and friendly, dressed in tartan and kilts, fond of the bagpipes and their haggis, simple yet shrewd, clever with their hands and tight with their money, living slow, antiquated lives in a damp country covered with heather, Highland cows, and great castles.

The Welsh

The Welsh are seen as largely a rural people who raise sheep on small homesteads. They are passionate about rugby and are fiercely patriotic. The English often see them as being little more than peasants as they have been subjugated to the English for most of the last millennium.

The Irish

The Irish stereotype is one born of tragedy as most people’s knowledge of the Irish comes from the media profile of the “Troubles”. They are often made out to be a dimwitted yet kind and gentle people who are often the butt of English jokes. They are very hospitable people who like nothing better than to drink and tell stories of old legends and the “good old days”.

Richard Horton
FELBERG branch in Częstochowa

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