United Kingdom

 

The UK today is a diverse patchwork of native and immigrant cultures, possessing a fascinating history and dynamic modern culture, both of which remain hugely influential in the wider world. Although Britannia no longer rules the waves, the UK is still a popular destination for many travellers. The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom is London.

Talk

There’s an old joke that the people of the US and the UK are “divided by a common language”, and travellers from English-speaking countries outside the UK may have difficulty catching specific words where regional accents are strong, but still there should not be any major difficulties in communicating. The British are good at understanding English spoken in a foreign accent, and visitors who speak English as a second language need not fear making mistakes. You may just get a slightly blank look for a few seconds after the end of a sentence while they ‘decode’ it internally. Most British people will not criticise or correct your language, although some are very keen to promote a British over American usages when talking to non-native-speakers.

A few examples of words that overseas visitors may not be familiar with:

  • Wee – small (Scotland, Northern Ireland, some English people)
  • Loch – lake (Scotland)
  • Lough – lake (Northern Ireland)
  • Aye – yes (some parts of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and North England)
  • Poke – ice cream served in a wafer cone (Northern Ireland); a paper bag, especially one containing chips or sweets (Scotland)
  • Downing Street – used to refer to the Government (similar to White House referring to the President of the United States)
  • Cymru (pronounced’Cum-ree’) – Wales (Wales)
  • Cockney rhyming slang is not a language but a collection of terms, some local and temporary, others so long-lasting that they are used by many people who don’t realise that they are rhyming slang. Example of the latter: “raspberry” for the derisive noise called “Bronx cheer” in the US – derived from “raspberry tart”, rhyming with “fart”.

British people have historically been very tolerant of swearing, when used in context.

(source: Wikitravel)

 

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