The British people as they are
- Опубликовано: admin
- Раздел: Блог
On the occasion of comming British football fans to Kiev:
Great Britain is an island on the outer edge* of the European continent, and its geographical situation has produced a certain insular* spirit among its inhabitants, who tend, a little more perhaps than other people, to regard their own community as the centre of the world. The British look on foreigners in general with contempt* and think that nothing is as well done elsewhere as in their own country. The British people have also been known as superior*, snobbish*, aloof*, hypocritical* and unsociable*.
The ordinary Briton was seen to be friendly and sociable. Englishmen tend to be rather conservative, they love familiar things. They are hostile, or at least bored, when they hear any suggestion that some modification of their habits, or the introduction of something new and unknown into their lives, might be to their advantage. This conservatism, on a national scale, may be illustrated by reference to the public attitude to the monarchy, an institution which is held in affection* and reverence* by nearly all English people.
The British people, who live in other countries, are not fully typical of their nation. As usual, they live a completely different life from the life in Britain. However, we can talk about some general things. The best-known quality of the English, for example, is reserve. A reserved person is one who does not talk very much to strangers, does not show much emotion. He never tells you anything about himself. If English people are making 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 many miles without starting a conversation. If a conversation does start, personal questions like “How old are you?” or even “What is your name?” are not easily asked. Questions like “Where did you buy your watch?” or “What is your salary?” are impossible.
But the people of the North and West of Britain, especially the Welsh, are much less reserved than those of the South and East.
Closely related to English reserve is English modesty. If a person is, let us say*, very good in golf, and someone asks him if he is a good player, he will probably give an answer like “I’m not bad”, or “I think I’m quite good”, or “Well, I’m very keen on* golf”. English people do not readily ask each other to do anything; they prefer to wait for a service to be offered before asking for it. If they do ask, then they say something like “I don’t really like asking you, but…”
The English sense and feeling for privacy is notorious. England is the land of brick fences and stone walls (often with glass embedded along the top), of hedges, of thick draperies at all the windows, and reluctant introductions, but nothing is stable now.
English people rarely shake hands except when being introduced to someone for the first time or as a token* of agreement or congratulation. They hardly ever shake hands with their friends except seeing them after a long interval or saying good-bye before a long journey. Some greetings in England are very informal: a simple “good morning” or a wave of the hand across the street is quite enough. “Sorry” takes the place of “no” when you cannot do something for a person or give a positive answer in situation like “May I use your pen?”, “Do you know the time?” or “Have you any size seven shoes?” “Pardon” is the polite way of asking somebody to repeat what he has said.
The British people are prudent* and careful about almost everything. Their lawns are closely cropped, their flower beds primly cultivated, and their trees neatly pruned. Everything is orderly. Drinks are carefully measured, seats in a cinema are carefully assigned (even if the theatre is empty you are required to sit in the seat assigned to you), closing hours rigorously* observed.
A tradition that is rooted not only in their own soul, but in the minds of the rest of the world is the devotion of the English to animals. Animals are protected by law. If, for instance, any one leaves a cat to starve in an empty house while he goes for his holiday, he can be sent to prison. There are special dogs’ cemeteries. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded half a century before its counterpart* for the prevention of cruelty to children.
The famous English sense of humour is similar. Its ideal is the ability to laugh at oneself — at one’s own faults. “He is a man of humour” or “He has no sense of humour” is often heard in Britain, where humour is so highly prized.
outer edge – внешняя кромка, наружный край;
insular – замкнутый, необщительный, скрытный, сдержанный;
contempt – презрение;
superior — самодовольный, высокомерный;
snobbish — склонный к снобизму (преклонению перед тем, что принято в «высшем свете» английского общества);
aloof — надменный;
hypocritical — притворный, ханжеский;
unsociable – необщительный; сдержанный, скрытный, нелюдимый, замкнутый;
affection — привязанность, любовь;
reverence — почтительность;
let us say – скажем, например;
to be keen on – увлеченный, увлекающийся; сильно желающий ч-л, стремящийся к ч-л; специалист, знаток в ч-л.
token – знак, символ
prudent — благоразумный, предусмотрительный;
rigorously – строго, тщательно, неукоснительно;
counterpart – дубликат, копия, двойник