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Customs and traditions in Great Britain

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The English are people that cannot be rushed, i.e. they don't allow others to impose on their views, ideas or opinions. They are distrustful of extremes and resentful of interference. The English believe in themselves. They have not the inferiority complex. They are indifferent (безразличный) to what other people think of them. They are practical and realistic, steady, easy-going and fond of sports. The English people are the world's greatest tea drinkers. They drink tea at meals and between meals; in the morning and in the evening; when they are happy and they are upset; to get hot and to get cold; to calm down and to cheer up.

It is impossible not to mention pubs when speaking about the British way of life. Pubs are the most popular places where people come in the evening to have a beer and a chat.

"Hobbies" are a great English and American tradition. The most popular are gardening and pets. They keep dogs, cats, rabbits and horses. Every year the British spend over 1 billions on pet food.

The population of Britain takes part regularly in sport. The most popular sporting activities are walk-jogging, snooker/ billiards, swimming, football, golf.

Many young people in Britain today accept most of the beliefs, customs and behaviour of their parents. But at the same time they are different. They listen to different music, wear different clothes, have different ideas about life, use different words and behave differently. They are more independent, active, pragmatic and spiritually restrained. They grow up too fast and they are very independent. They face many problems, much cruelty and many stresses. They want to become adults as quickly as possible. They are less interested in global problems, and more interested in examination results which can assure them of good positions. Smart clothes, money and success are in fashion now. They are eager to get education and well-paid jobs. They want to take a confident stand in life and show their self-realization.

Most young people eventually get married, buy or rent a house or a flat of their own and start a family. However, as in many other European countries, more and more young people are living together without being married. Most of them register their marriage only if a child is on the way. And in general people get married later than they used to: women in late 20s, men in late 30s.

In Britain young people like Youth Clubs, thousands of them, for music, games, dancing, or just talking, for example, outdoor holidays with various clubs. Walking, pony trekking (езда в фургоне, запряженном пони), climbing and sailing are very popular. The Youth Hostels Association// Ассоциация молодежных турбаз provides cheap accommodation // стол и ночлег for young people travelling, often on foot, through Britain and other European countries.

Clothes and fashion of the Youth. Most British girls today take a great deal of interest in clothes and enjoy looking attractive. In fact, they think much more about fashion than their mothers did 20 or more years ago. Fashion shops for young people are opened all over Britain. London is considered to be the world’s most important fashion center for the young.


Most Britons are reserved by nature and often find it difficult to indulge in small talk with a complete stranger. Indeed, there are situations where idle conversation is actually frowned upon, for example when travelling on the London underground; in these circumstances, a newspaper will act as a defensive tool in public whilst also providing potential material for subsequent social intercourse in private.

On the whole, northerners tend to be more immediately friendly than southerners, although true Scottish Highlanders will hardly say a word until you get to know them better and Welsh farmers can be especially taciturn (неразговорчивый, молчаливый). You should not be offended if people outside the 'Home Counties' of southeast England address you in apparently familiar or overly affectionate terms such as ‘dear’ or ‘love’ (whether you are a man or a woman).

For the most part, the British speak in low, moderate, measured tones without raising the voice or gesticulating wildly for emphasis. They also like to maintain their own personal space and will shy away from those they find invasive.

Although not all Britons are particularly articulate (отчетливо произносить, ясно выражать мысли), you should make an effort to speak in complete sentences; the British generally find the North American habit of trailing off in mid-sentence rather irritating. Nor should you interrupt someone; intonation conveys one has finished speaking and, in British English, the voice normally goes down at the end of an affirmative sentence.

Britons prefer to avoid animated discussions; if an argument does become heated, it is quite likely to have been fuelled by alcohol and it may be time for you to make your excuses and withdraw. For this reason, unless you are desperate for human contact, it is usually best to avoid sitting or standing at a bar. Obviously, this is doubly applicable (применимо) for women. In any case, a newspaper or some work to look at should again afford a degree of protection from bores (зануда) and boors (хамы) alike.

It is always advisable to try to initiate conversation with open questions rather than an assertion of a personal point of view. The British are largely tolerant and open-minded but every nation has its bigots (фанатики) and many Britons derive their opinions from the tabloid press, which typically expresses itself in black-and-white terms (the UK’s sometimes fraught relationship with the EU and continental Europe generally represents a prime example of the way in which opinion can divide into two extremely entrenched camps). This phenomenon is exemplified by the archetypal London taxi driver whose often extreme opinions should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Almost all Britons, however, are proud of their culture and heritage and this should be respected not mocked (высмеивать).

A major difficulty in effective communication can be the British predilection (пристрастие, склонность) for self-deprecation (самоосуждение, самокритика), which manifests itself frequently in the form of irony and litotes. Usage reflects the level of educational attainment but everyone tends to understate (недосказывать) everything, whether good or bad. A pensive (задумчивый) ‘hum’ may convey enthusiasm or hostility - or indifference. This may be disconcerting for foreigners, especially Americans, who are more accustomed to a forthright directness that Britons find embarrassing.

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