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Old 06-21-2000, 03:44 PM
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I figured it's about time I cashed in on this thread style.

Go on then, ask away. Any question answered, even if it's about Benny Hill, morris dancing or tea.
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Old 06-21-2000, 03:55 PM
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Okay...


Just what the heck is morris dancing?

And any ideas on why Brits have such funny television (Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Whose Lines Is It Anyway?, Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served, etc.). Or do we only see the good ones in the US?
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Old 06-21-2000, 03:57 PM
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Brit Bloke,
I dig beer, especially stouts and porters. When I visited London a while back, I went to several pubs looking for "real ale", but they didn't have any. Where can I get real ale next time I go?
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:05 PM
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alright, i'll bite.


Is there any kind of bias against Japanese cars? I've never been to Britian, but from what I've seen in the media and in movies, I hardly ever see one.
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:06 PM
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JeffB - morris dancing is a very, very silly type of English folk dancing. I think it's something to do with summer and fertility, but it basically involves middle-aged men dancing with bells and handkerchiefs tied to their extremities. Click here for more details. And silly pictures, no doubt.

As for comedy, I think you just get the good ones, just as we (for the most part) just get the good American ones. Be thankful you never saw "Grace & Favour", "Oh! Doctor Beeching" or "Birds of a Feather". Or any British version of an American sitcom (especially the shortlived remakes of "Married with Children" or that '70s-based teen sitcom). FWIW, the papers here always bemoan Britain's lack of US-style comedy show writing teams.

goboy - London pubs aren't the best for real ales, mostly because they're either major chain pubs owned by breweries more interested in profits than quality, or else they're tourist pubs. There are some exceptions. Pubs in the Hogshead or Firkin chains usually have two or three "guest" ales (especially in the Hogshead chains). Your best bet for decent beers are in small, out-of-town pubs (especially in villages) which aren't affiliated to particular breweries.
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:13 PM
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vandal - none at all. Japanese manufacturers use Britain a lot, so the economy does rely on Japanese cars. I think maybe they're just regarded as not very cool. Because it's so easy (compared to the US) to get European cars - BMWs, Mercedes, Alfa-Romeos etc - your average Nissan doesn't look quite so hot. On the other hand, I know a couple of people who love their MR2s.

There's also an element of jingoism; Britain has traditionally had a very strong and very good car manufacturing heritage (Rolls-Royce, Rover, Land-Rover, Range-Rover, Jaguar etc), and as this has been in steep decline (and, indeed, foreign ownership) since the 1970s I think some people get a bit uppity.
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:18 PM
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Do you like haggis?

Are most of the British TV programs based on "rich" people, or are some actually about "common" people?

It seems to me that most of what makes its way across the pond is set in the manor of some landed gentry.
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:24 PM
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Did Winston Churchill really reply to an accusation of being intoxicated, "Yes, Madame and you are ugly. In the morning I shall be sober."?
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:27 PM
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Oooh, Britboy, you'll be sorry, as I'm writing a biography of one of your countrywomen . . .

• How long did it take London to recover from WWII? Rebuilding, etc.? Transportation?

• What were the abortion laws in England in the 1950s, and how easy or hard would it have been for a well-connected woman to get one?

• When did television really start to catch on with the British public? Early 1950s? Late '50s?

Thanks, toots!
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:45 PM
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What the hell is the deal with the Brits and transvestism?
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Old 06-21-2000, 04:52 PM
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Your opinion on two concepts, please.

It is a common theory that the British ruling class (meaning not royals, but educated, well meaning intelligent people who would have made good leaders) were killed by the droves as officers in trench warfare in WWI and in the Royal Airforce in WWII.

The British Empire did not recover from WWII. Again, Mr. Churchill upon India becoming it's own country, "I did not become Prime Minister to oversee the dissolution of the British Empire". After the contribution the Empire made to the war, there was really no choice but to let them become independent.

I hope I haven't offended you, I've wondered for some time about those ideas.
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Old 06-21-2000, 05:05 PM
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Okay, one at a time.

Mjollnir - haggis is a peculiarly Scottish thing. Despite living in Edinburgh for four years, and having a Scottish family on my mother's side, I've only eaten it once, without the sheep's stomach lining. It was lovely - basically mincemeat and oatmeal, with potatoes.

About the TV...I think "class-based" comedy was more a product of the late 1970s and early 1980s (from "The Young Ones" to "To The Manor Born" etc), when politics wasn't quite as "centrist" as it is now. Since the early 1990s, when the then Prime Minister John Major declared the Britain was now a classless society (riiiight), it hasn't played nearly so much of a role. Comedy now seems to be divided between "Friends" clones ("Coupling", "Cold Feet"), lad-comedy ("Men Behaving Badly") and trendy 20-something comedies about people with a far larger disposable income than me. Not that I'm bitter.

carnivorousplant:

According to a quick web search, quite a few sites say it was part of a conversation between him and Lady Nancy Astor.

I can't confirm this at http://www.winstonchurchill.org, but I did find this:
Quote:
Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, Viscountess Astor, b.1879, first woman Member of Parliament (elected 1919, served until 1945) and wife of Waldorf Astor. She was an American, born in Greenwood, Virginia. You can find out more about her in an Encyclopedia.

Although a Conservative, like Churchill after 1924, she clashed often with him over Dominion Status for India and British relations with Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. She was a strong backer of the appeasement policies of Prime Ministers Baldwin and Chamberlain. The famous exchange between them is apparently not apocryphal, as we had previously believed: "Winston, if I were married to you I'd put poison in your coffee"...."Nancy, if I were married to you I'd drink it." This occurred during a weekend house party at Blenheim Palace in the early 1930s.

Another amusing encounter in the House of Commons is reported to have occurred as Churchill was orating about mankind, saying "Man" this and "Man" that. Every time he would mention "Man," Lady Astor would interject: "...And Woman, Mr. Speaker...And Woman!" Finally Churchill is supposed to have exclaimed, "In this context, Mr. Speaker, the understanding is that Man EMBRACES Woman." This did not improve his relations with the Noble Lady.
Eve:

All of these are based on either my (semi-educated) WAGs or some brief web searches.

(1) Can't say. I'll let you know if I dig up anything new. TomH, London_Calling, anyone want to help out here?

(2) Can't say either. This link might be of some brief help.

(3) Late 1950s, according to my parents. My impression is that most people couldn't afford TV sets until comparatively later than people in the US, and that the radio was always regarded as a pretty damn good source of entertainment. However, some digging gave me this link:
Quote:
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey ushered in the television age.
Permission had never been given before for television cameras in the Abbey. Some felt it wrong for people to watch such a solemn occasion while drinking tea in their front rooms. An estimated 20 million TV viewers saw the young Queen crowned.

In 1957 the Queen broadcast the Christmas Message on television for the first time and it was the decade when the BBC faced its first competition. ITV was born on September 22, 1955.

By the end of the decade television was available to more than 95% of the UK population.
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Old 06-21-2000, 05:22 PM
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pldennison - I've no idea; that's a new one on me. WAG: if there is a "deal", it probably has something to do with the whole "stiff upper lip" stereotype of sexual repression and not showing your true emotions in Britain. Plus, more tenuously, (a) Britons have traditionally shown a more open mind to "eccentrics" and (b) male public school culture has a stereotyped history of homosexuality and feminine affectations. No cite, sorry.

carnivorousplan - no offence taken.

(1) May well be true. Well-off rich lads would normally be expected to go into the officer corps rather than rank-and-file infantry (usually via the still-present academy at Sandhurst). I would guess that, given the suicidal charge-across-open-land style of trench warfare favoured by British generals in World War I, casualties among officers leading these infantry charges (from the front, with a whistle and a revolver a la Blackadder) would be very high.

Being a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps (as it was then) was a notoriously short-lived profession. New technology, very skilled opponents, cavalier attitude as tactics had yet to really come into play.

(2) Sounds a fair point. I think most Brits were inwardly-focussed after the war; rebuilding, returning troops, families, etc, were far more pressing concerns than empires. The construction of the National Health Service and the importance of building a solid infrastructure would, in my WAG, have outweighed international problems. Plus, Winston Churchill's rhetoric suited a war situation perfectly, but he wasn't a particularly notable peacetime leader.
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Old 06-21-2000, 05:24 PM
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Hey great! I was just about to start a thread with a question.

In a few of Terry Pratchett's books there is a character who is a take-off on Seventh Day Adventist type evangelists--always trying to convert people and pressing pamphlets on them and so forth.

His actual name is Visit the Ungodly with Explanatory Pamphlets (or something like that), but everyone calls him Washpot.

Washpot? What's the joke?
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Old 06-21-2000, 05:33 PM
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Sorry, cher3, no idea.
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Old 06-21-2000, 05:36 PM
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Dang.
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Old 06-21-2000, 05:52 PM
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Alright, here's a few questions:

1) To what extent do the British object to the term `Limey'?
2) What ever happened to Kenny Everet?
3) How are you guys getting along with Germany these days?
4) Do you think, theoretically, you could take France?
5) Could the average Britain distinguish an American Southern accent from a Midwest accent or a Brooklyn accent?
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Old 06-21-2000, 06:20 PM
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Last questions for today!

cher3, sorry. I'm not a big Pratchett reader.

Johnny Angel:

(1) Not much. It would be like you being offended by my calling you a Yank. I suppose it depends on the tone of voice, really.

(2) He died of an AIDS-related disease many years ago. He'd pretty much disappeared from the media spotlight (not regarded as cool or funny) apart from an infamous Conservative Party conference appearance where he semi-jokingly urged the government to nuke Russia.

(3) Politically? Very well indeed. Germany's new Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, is a Tony Blair-clone - all spin doctors, public/private economy divides and style over substance. They get on like a house on fire. Socially, well, as usual. The tabloid media-fuelled hatred of all things French and German continues pretty much unabated, and the recent England-Germany football match saw the usual round of jingoism. We're better than in the 1980s, though.

(4) No. France have a larger, better-equipped standing military and, I believe, far more nuclear weapons (land and air-based). They would also be defending, with all the advantages that entails (morale, fortifications, terrain etc). Of course, we wouldn't actually want to...

(5) Yes to the southern accent, probably to the Brooklyn accent (Janice from "Friends"? Is that about right?). Probably not to the midwest accent. I personally have no idea what that sounds like.
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Old 06-21-2000, 06:28 PM
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Thanks anyway, matt. Actually, I took my lazy self to a search engine and discovered that:

1) It's an insult derived from an obscure biblical reference.

2) Stephen Fry is very popular on the internet.
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Old 06-21-2000, 06:49 PM
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Hi mattk,

It is beleived by nearly everyone in the US, all along the political spectrum, that a government that is not limited by law must inevitably become a totalitarian regime. This seems to be the case in your government and yet totalitarianism has not taken place.

I would appreciate your perspective on this. I will probably have follow up questions to ask as well, if I may.

Thanks for your attention.
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Old 06-21-2000, 08:34 PM
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I am getting jealous! I want my own personal thread!!!



I am curious...many Americans (myself included) feel a special kindred with the British. Do the Brits feel the same about the Americans? I kinda figured it was sort of a one-way puppy-master kind of relationship (Americans being the puppies...BIG puppies, but puppies nonetheless)
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Old 06-21-2000, 08:56 PM
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1. Why the hell is British food so bad?
2. Why does British Airways kick so much ass in comparison to all the US based airlines.
3. When the hell are you guys going to leave my country (Ireland)?
  #23  
Old 06-21-2000, 09:18 PM
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mattk wrote:

Quote:
It would be like you being offended by my calling you a Yank.
I've never heard of an American taking umbrage at being called Yank. Also, here in America, we call the French "Frogs" and the Germans "Krauts." What do you call them?

Quote:
The tabloid media-fuelled hatred of all things French and German continues pretty much unabated, and the recent England-Germany football match saw the usual round of jingoism.
Here in America, we pick on Canadians out of a sense of sheer irony, because our differences are so minor. Why do you make fun of the Kanuks?

Quote:
Probably not to the midwest accent. I personally have no idea what that sounds like.
The Midwestern dialect competes with the Oxford dialect as the standard by which all english dialects are judged. Most of the reporters you see on American news programs are speaking with a midwestern dialect.

Well, strictly speaking they speak with a highly rarified midwestern dialect. Actual Midwesterners speak less formally and with great variation that you can almost map. I'm not a linguist, but I think the pattern is that the further north you go, the further back in the mouth the vowels are formed. A spectrum of vowel placement seems to run from Chicago, through Wisconson, up through Minnesota. I don't know how it is south of Chicago.
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Old 06-21-2000, 11:40 PM
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In the older films many times a middle aged british
landowner dressed in knickers and bow tie would say"Now look here old bean"
What the hell is an old bean? It did not seem to be an insult but I never could figure the american equivilent.
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Old 06-22-2000, 12:05 AM
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Just here to say that 'limey' is not a Biblical reference (Why would a book make reference to a civilization that postdated its writing?) but is a crack at the British Navy. Salilors in days of yore ate limes to fend off scurvey. Therefore, Brits=Limeys, just as Germans=Krauts and French=Frogs. All based on stereotypical diet. I wonder what Americans would be called if we were insulted with a word based on what people from other lands thought we ate. Macs?
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Old 06-22-2000, 12:14 AM
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Hi Derlith


I believe that cher3 was refering to the nickname of the Terry Pratchett character that she was asking about earlier, not the term "limey".
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Old 06-22-2000, 01:09 AM
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Two questions from a British horror novel I've read.

The author gives his chapters titles with dual meanings. Both the literal meaning and idiomatic meaning refer to events of the chapter (for example the opening chapter is "In the Fog" and has a character literally walking in a fog while in a confused state ie "in a fog"). One of the chapters is titled "Jack in the Machine" and features a tape recording made by a character named Jack. But does the phrase "Jack in the Machine" (or a variant of this phrase) have an idiomatic meaning in England?

In another part of the novel a character refers to the "four mile radius." Judging from the context it appears that this was a limit in London beyond which cabs where not required/allowed to travel (this was set during the late Victorian era). Have you heard of this and was there any deeper context to this phrase?

Thanks for any help you can give.
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Old 06-22-2000, 09:02 AM
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Thanks, Britboy! Shall I credit you in my book as "Mattk?"

I just ordered a 1960s book called "The New Look: A Social History of Britain in the 1940s and '50s," which I hope will be just what the doctor ordered.
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Old 06-22-2000, 09:47 AM
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Hope you don’t mind me crashing your thread, matt.

Quote:
The Midwestern dialect competes with the Oxford dialect
The Oxford dialect is not the same as received pronunciation (“standard” or “BBC” English).

The people of Oxford speak with a distinctive version of the south-west Midlands accent that also covers Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, a bit like on The Archers, although you can detect elements of “Estuary English” (similar to Cockney but more whiney) in some of the younger people’s speech.

Most Oxford educated people speak either with the accent of the place they originally came from or with received pronunciation, or something between the two.

Little Nemo,

I don’t know about “Jack in the machine”, but the verb-phrase to jack in means to give up or quit, usually suggesting a sense of frustration or disgust.

Quote:
a tape recording made by a character named Jack
I don’t know when the novel was written, but if it’s post-1970s, this phrase might have a particular resonance. During the hunt for the “Yorkshire Ripper”, Peter Sutcliffe, in the 1970s, the police received a tape recording purportedly from the killer, which began with the words, “I’m Jack”. The man had a Wearside accent and the police decided they were looking for somebody from that part of the country (Sutcliffe was in fact a Yorkshireman with a Bradford accent). The tape was played again and again on TV and radio, and your reference immediately put me in mind of it.

Quote:
In another part of the novel a character refers to the "four mile radius."
You are essentially correct, except these days it’s six miles measured, I believe, from Charing Cross (a medieval monument near Trafalgar Square). Once the cabbie stops for you, he has to take you where you’re going if it is within that area. London cab drivers have to pass a test called “the knowledge” in order to get their licence. They are required to be able to give the shortest route from any location to any other location within that area, and it takes months of studying maps and driving round London on a scooter to qualify.

I am very familiar with the six mile radius, having spent three years living almost exactly 6.5 miles from Charing Cross.
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Old 06-22-2000, 11:54 AM
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You bastard. I'd just about erased Oh! Dr Beeching from my memory.
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Old 06-22-2000, 12:32 PM
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I'm dying to ask about a TV show, "The Secret Diaries of Adrian Mole" I've got the book--it's hilarious--was the show half as funny? Was it even a hit?

Also, same question about the "Darling buds of may"

Ta!
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Old 06-22-2000, 01:41 PM
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Thnaks for the help. I realize my question was a little rambling; it was late when I wrote it.

The novel I was refering to was Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. Newman combines characters from the novel Dracula with the Jack the Ripper murders. In his book, the killer is Jack Seward, one of Van Helsing's proteges, who is now murdering vampires. (Not a spoiler, incidentally, this is revealed in the beginning of the book.)

It was actually a phonograph recording not a tape (see my remark above on being tired). I recognized the reference from Dracula, where characters used phonographs for keeping records. But I hadn't known about Sutcliffe's recordings.
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Old 06-22-2000, 01:46 PM
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Here goes..

cher3, I had an answer emailed to me by a former poster:

Quote:
Re Terry Pratchett question, "washpot" is a ref to Psalm 60 v 8, "Moab is my washpot And over Edom will I cast out my shoe".
2sense, in theory Britain does have the rule of law, it's just not written down anywhere. Arguments for a written consitution have been banded about for yeeeeears - usually to be stonewalled by whichever party happens to be enjoying the freedoms of government. It's usually said that, as Britain enjoys the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, no Parliament could bind its successor by introducing a consitution. Of course, the fact that many European laws take precedence over British ones means that's a joke.

I think that most Britons still think that it's all down to "fair play" - witness the middle classes up in arms in the early 1990s over the introduction of the poll tax. As for totalitarianism...well, it is possible. If a government enjoys a majority in both Houses of Parliament, and it can ensure that all members vote the same way, then in theory there's nothing to stop it steamrolling legislation through - the Lords can delay legislation but the Commons gets the final say. In practice, though, splits over issues such as European integration mean that parties never vote the same way unanimously.

It certainly isn't ideal, and some would argue that Thatcher pushed it to the limit of totalitarianism.

avalongod - as a Londoner my view is coloured by the number of tourists. WAG: Britons are schizophrenic in how they see Americans; on the one hand, Americans are the obnoxious, greedy, spoiled, obese stereotypes hovering around Buckingham Palace. On the other hand, Americans are generous, free-spirited, entrepreneurial and most Britons would, I think, happily emigrate to a country that was portrayed until recently on TV as the land of sunshine, happiness, easy money and fame. Personally, and probably thanks to this board, I think of Americans as the same - maybe with a different set of values (personal freedom meaning more than it does here), but certainly no better or worse. America's success and Britain's relative decline means that most Britons wouldn't act too superior!

Grendel69:

(1) It isn't. Don't believe every stereotype you hear; it may have been once thanks to the after-effects of World War II rationing, but you can get pretty much any cuisine you care to mention now.

(2) No idea, never travelled on BA.

(3) I'll assume you're joking. There's enough rubbish talked about the British presence in Northern Ireland without you or me adding to it. FWIW, I'd be happy to hand it over to whoever wants it - there's far more problems there now than a simple withdrawal would solve, I reckon.

Johnny Angel:

(1) Those names are pretty much the same here, except that Germans are also known as "Jerries" or "Huns" (by the tabloids, at least). You said that you don't really take offence at "Yank" - well, I doubt most Brits would be too upset at "Limey" either.

(2) Er...we like Canadians, I think. If you meant why does Britain seem to have such a problem with Germany, it's down to three things: (1) a couple of wars, (2) many, many defeats at football, and (3) because they've done so much better economically than us since the war. Several tabloids try to stir it up by claiming Germany is out to use it's economic power to create a "European super-state" that'll destroy British "culture" and identity.

justwannano: no idea. Maybe a corruption of "human being/bean"? (complete WAG, obviously)

Little Nemo: what TomH said.

Eve - no worries!

TomH - feel free mate. All of a sudden I'm realising how little I actually know about my own country.

smilingjaws - I vaguely remember it being okay. It was on so long ago - I think it was on Channel 4, which doesn't usually get the huge audiences, so I doubt it was an enormous hit. The books are though - I think there's three or four available now. Sue Townsend also has a weekly column in a national newspaper (The Guardian) entitled "Adrian Mole - The Cappuccino Years". This incredibly long link should take you to a search for recent articles by her.

The Darling Buds of May was hugely popular, maybe because it was harking back to a "kinder, gentler" age, and all the storylines ended happily or funnily. Putting it on in a perfect-for-the-old-folks evening slot was a bright move, too. Having said that, it was well-acted, well-filmed and entertaining in a "nice" way.
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Old 06-22-2000, 02:06 PM
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My Questions:


The relative decline of Britain as an industrial power puzzles me. If you look at a list of significant inventions, many were invented by British engineers and scientists. Also, most Nobel Prizes were won by Britons> So why couldn't you stay on top? It seems to me that being first confers tremendous advantages-yet you blew your early lead in such fields as steel, radio, chemical engineering, and auto manufacturing!
I ask this because the British intelligensia has been obsessed by this question, ever since the 1890's-if you read the literature of that period, people were scared of Germany surpassing Britain (which happened)-so why didn't you DO anything about it?
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Old 06-22-2000, 02:17 PM
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tea versus tea


How do you distinguish tea meaning "afternoon snack" from tea meaning "stimulated beverage made by soaking imported leaves in hot water"? As in,

"I've just had tea."
"Oh, did you have it with milk and sugar?"
"Well, some clotted cream went on the scones, and there was some sugar in the recipe, I suppose ..."
"No, I mean, did you have milk and sugar in your tea?"
"Tea, no, can't stand the tannin."
"Didn't you say you just had tea?"
"Certainly. But I had no tea. Scones and fruit juice."
"Oh bugger. I'm going back to Limeyshire."
"Did you say bugger? Is someone stealing jewelry from drunks again?"
"What?"

and so on.
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Old 06-22-2000, 02:41 PM
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Quote:

Are most of the British TV programs based on "rich" people, or are some actually about "common" people?

It seems to me that most of what makes its way across the pond is set in the manor of some landed gentry.
Well there is Eastenders. I've watched it one or two times, but I bet a native could describe it better than I could.
  #37  
Old 06-22-2000, 02:50 PM
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Quote:

How do you distinguish tea meaning "afternoon snack" from tea meaning "stimulated beverage made by soaking imported leaves in hot water"? As in,

"I've just had tea."
"Oh, did you have it with milk and sugar?"
"Well, some clotted cream went on the scones, and there was some sugar in the recipe, I suppose ..."
"No, I mean, did you have milk and sugar in your tea?"
"Tea, no, can't stand the tannin."
"Didn't you say you just had tea?"
"Certainly. But I had no tea. Scones and fruit juice."
"Oh bugger. I'm going back to Limeyshire."
"Did you say bugger? Is someone stealing jewelry from drunks again?"
"What?"

and so on.
LMAO! Almost spit water all over my keyboard.

So now I have a question for the limey guy. How come us Yanks get so much pleasure out of making fun of you guys?

( heheheee.... "limeyshire".....!)
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Old 06-22-2000, 02:59 PM
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Regarding kindredship between our two counries and the Revolution:
How far would Hitler have gotten if the USA had been part of Great Britain? Wouldn't he have wet his knickers and kept on painting houses?
  #39  
Old 06-22-2000, 05:06 PM
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Athena's question wasn't for me, but I'll answer it anyway. It's harder for me to laugh at American foibles because I am immersed in them at all times. They start seeming less like foibles and more like demonic attempts to drive me whacko.
Wizard.
Round the bend.

Anyway, British eccentricities seem amusing and non-threatening by comparison. Mint-and-mutton flavored potato crisps are certainly a hoot, though.
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  #40  
Old 06-22-2000, 05:09 PM
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egkelly - I can't say for sure, but my theory is that it's not about inventing but about exploiting the invention. Frank Whittle was a jet pioneer, but it was the USA that really ran with jet propulsion after World War 2. It's long been a complaint that British industry doesn't encourage creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit to the same degree as US industry. I think that's a fair comment - for example, for many years now British universities have been flooded with social sciences and arts students and have struggled to attract students to science courses. I personally stayed away from science because I saw more money in a career in "business".

Boris B, you should be a scriptwriter. Truth is, nobody knows for sure. I get confused with the word "dinner" - for some parts of Britain that's an early evening meal, for other parts it's lunch. I use "tea" interchangeably, but most people seem to be able to work it out by context. Oh bugger indeed.

carnivorousplant - impossible to say. Maybe the political map would have been completely different; if the US was part of Britain it would no doubt have been involved in World War I at an earlier stage and in greater numbers. Hitler might never have come to power; Germany might never have been in a position to re-arm. Even if, hypothetically, World War II was on the horizon, Hitler might have limited his ambitions to Continental Europe, Asia and Africa, and left the UK to throw dirty looks across the Channel.
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Old 06-22-2000, 10:08 PM
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I get confused with the word "dinner" - for some parts of Britain that's an early evening meal, for other parts it's lunch.

Matt, don't feel badly about that. It is the same way here. Some have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while others have breakfast, dinner, and supper. Luckily, my family has always been a breakfast, lunch, and supper group
  #42  
Old 06-22-2000, 10:26 PM
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Ha, you showed up at just the right time, Brit Man! I've got a few questions for you....

1) Does American speech sound bad to the average Brit? I read somewhere about an American tourist in England overhearing a Londoner remark on the tourist's "dreadful accent".

2) A friend told me that the whole time she was in England, she never saw any overweight people. Are you guys in overall better shape than us?

3) All those jokes about "English teeth"....are they really that bad? (The teeth, I mean!)
  #43  
Old 06-22-2000, 10:46 PM
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Who are the Welch, ethnically, culturally, and politically? Do they have an identity unto themselves apart from having names chock full of L's? Somehow it seems as if, comparted to the Scottish and the Irish, the Welch are less defined, more blended in. Is this correct?

::trying to visualize a fervent Welch separaratist movement::
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Old 06-22-2000, 10:55 PM
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The Welsh are from Wales, Dude. As in 'Prince of'. Maybe our expert can tell us how Wales came to be part of Great Britain.
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Old 06-22-2000, 11:59 PM
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I'm sure AHunter realizes the Welsh people are from Wales. I think what he is asking is how distinctive Welsh culture is in the UK. Do Welsh people have a stereotypical image like Texans or are they just people from a certain locality like Pennsylvanians? And which is more correct; Welch or Welsh?
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Old 06-23-2000, 02:48 AM
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Thanks for the reply mattk!


Judging by the number of sites I found with a yahoo search of "Doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty", I should be able to find my way. Thanks.

I would like to know your opinion of the Clinton Impeachment trial. I would also be interested in any non-American viewpoint. Would you mind if others replied as well?
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Old 06-23-2000, 02:53 AM
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How Wales become part of GB?


You can blame those stormin' Normans for that 1, carnivorousplant, and for Ireland and Scotland as well.
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Old 06-23-2000, 03:04 AM
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Well, 2sense's question isn't really for me, but I'll answer it anyway:

...

Just kidding.

Wales was joined with England a really long time ago. Like, before my dad had finished school. The seventh century A.D. rings a bell. I think some Saxons beat down the poor Celts who lived there, in more or less the same way that the Saxons always seemed to beat the Celts. I don't know if there is/was a word for "Britain minus Scotland", i.e. England and Wales alone - most of those dastardly Saxons were quite content to ignore Welsh (and Cornish and Manx?) identities and call it all England. And it even worked, in the case of Cornwall.

One question I often ask, just for the sake of formality: what is England? Not where or who or whence, just what. Wales is a Principality; N.I. is a Province; England ...? Can't be a Kingdom, cause there's only one of those and it's United. It's not really a political division either; there is no peculiarly English government. So I just sight and call it a "historical kingdom", like Aragon or Munster or whatever.

Mmmm ... munster, on some good cobblestone bread.

Terry Jones described the difference between English speech and Welsh speech in the "Life of Python" documentary. He said English sentences end on a low tone - firm and commanding and certain; Welsh sentences end on a high note - excited and pleading. Made for funny arguments between high-note Jones and low-note Cleese (with Chapman mostly puffing his pipe demanding an end to all the silliness).
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Old 06-23-2000, 03:09 AM
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sorry Matt...

... but I'm up early, and bored, so I'm going to tackle the Welsh Question.

First of all - it's definitely "Welsh" not "Welch".

Wales is, politically, more integrated with England than Scotland is (or for that matter Ireland, which is of course a completely independent country). Wales was not a united country at all, but a group of principalities when King Edward took it over in the 13th century. So, unlike Scotland, Wales does not issue its own currency, or have its own legal and educational systems; its Assembly has less power than Scotland's Parliament; etc. And yes, Plaid Cymru (the Welsh nationalist party) is far less fervently separatist than its counterpart in Scotland.

However, it would be a monumental mistake to conclude from this that there is not a strong Welsh national identity. The Welsh often consider themselves the original inhabitants of the island (which isn't strictly true, although they were certainly there well before the English). Referring to a Welsh person as "English" will bring you a quick and firm correction. Their national football and rugby teams, although not very good, are well supported and are inevitably accompanied by hoards of flag-waving fans whenever they travel. Welsh is also the healthiest of all the Celtic languages.

And yes, they do have a "stereotypical image like Texans" ... it has to do with sheep. I'll leave it at that
  #50  
Old 06-23-2000, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
How do you distinguish tea meaning "afternoon snack" from tea meaning "stimulated beverage made by soaking imported leaves in hot water"?
Context. You can say “a cup of tea” to refer to the drink if you need to distinguish. There are other subtle distinctors: “I’ve just had tea” or “I’ve just had my tea” always means the meal; “I’ve just had a tea” or “I’ve just had a cup of tea” always means the drink.

Quote:
Are most of the British TV programs based on "rich" people, or are some actually about "common" people?
I would say that most British TV programmes are about “ordinary” people—certainly all the soaps and most sitcoms are.

Quote:
I get confused with the word "dinner" - for some parts of Britain that's an early evening meal, for other parts it's lunch.
This is also a class thing: Breakfast, lunch, dinner = middle class; breakfast, dinner tea = working class.

Quote:
1) Does American speech sound bad to the average Brit? I read somewhere about an American tourist in England overhearing a Londoner remark on the tourist's "dreadful accent".

2) A friend told me that the whole time she was in England, she never saw any overweight people. Are you guys in overall better shape than us?

3) All those jokes about "English teeth"....are they really that bad? (The teeth, I mean!)
1) Not as a general rule. My guess is that the accents which sound bad to Americans also sound bad to us.

2) That’s the impression I get, but I don’t believe that she never saw an overweight person, unless her criteria for what constitutes “overweight” are very different from mine (there’s all those American tourists, for a start ).

3) The teeth are not that bad, but we don’t do the same aggressive orthodontic work on children that you do. Braces, etc. tend only to be used for real problem cases, they are not used routinely to give everyone perfectly straight teeth.

Quote:
Who are the Welch, ethnically, culturally, and politically?
There is a militant Welsh separatist movement, the Sons of Owen Glyndwr. They burn down holiday cottages belonging to English people from time-to-time. There is also a Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, which has about three seats in Parliament.

The Welsh have their own language (imaginatively called “Welsh”), which is spoken as a first language by about 5 % of the Welsh population and contains all the leftover Ls and Ps from other languages. It is also protected by law, so road signs, etc. have to be bilingual and a certain proportion of Welsh TV broadcasts have to be in Welsh.

The Welsh administrative and legal system is the same as the English one, whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland have different systems.

Quote:
And which is more correct; Welch or Welsh?
Welsh. “Welch” is obsolete, but is still used in a limited number of cases such as the name of Robert Graves’s old Regiment, the Royal Welch Fusiliers.
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