Half the fun of learning a new language is understanding the culture of the country that speaks it. While TV programmes like Dr. Who and Downton Abbey, or musicians like The Who and The Beatles have presented a certain image of the UK, how many of those typical British stereotypes are true? In today’s post we are going to break down five of the most common stereotypes people have of the UK and Brits, and see if they are fact or fiction.
WE LOVE OUR TEA – FACT
Tea is something of a national treasure for us Brits. It could be a traditional English Breakfast “builder’s tea”, a smoky Lapsang Souchong at midday or an exotic and spicy Chai to mix things up- a good “cuppa” is never far away. In fact, we are so passionate about tea that we regularly argue about how to make it properly. (The tea should be poured first, and the milk added after!) Regardless, making a brew is paramount in British hospitality, so if you have guests coming round make sure the pot is brewed!
WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER – FACT
If you’ve ever been stuck in a lift with a Brit, you will know all too well the first words that come out of their mouth: “What about the weather today then?”. It is an undeniable fact that we simply love to talk about the weather. Small talk is a big thing in the UK, and the weather is number one on the list of topics. So whether it’s a heatwave in summer, a snow day in winter, or just a typical rainy day, there is always something to discuss. If you want to learn more about this, read our post on Small Talk: The Weather.
IT ALWAYS RAINS – FICTION
Even though we do love a good chinwag about the weather, it’s certainly not the case that it rains every day. Depending on where you are in the UK has a big impact on the amount of rain. For example, Cambridge sees only 108 days of rain per year, whereas the Outer Hebrides has to put up with a whopping 205 days. Don’t forget that brolly!
WE ALL KNOW THE QUEEN – FICTION
Despite many Brits- though not all of them- being big fans of the Royal Family, it’s safe to say that not everyone has Queen Liz’s Whatsapp. Though you might have a friend of a friend whose sister’s uncle once played darts with Prince Phillip…
WE ALL HAVE A ‘POSH’ ACCENT – FICTION
This is a huge misconception about us Brits. While there are many people who speak like royalty, that accent you heard on Downton Abbey is not common all over the UK. Whether it’s Geordie in Newcastle, Scouse in Liverpool, or Cockney in London, the UK boasts a massive variety of accents and languages. This deserves its own blog post, so stay tuned for the ultimate guide to UK accents and slang!