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Card #6b. What Makes a Nation? The UK People and Their Traditions, Habbits and Customs....
     A nation is born from its land, its history, its art, its traditions and its institutions. These things work together to make people what they are. But above all, a nation is made up of people, and although there are things they all share, all of those people are different. We can say there is still a "British nation,” and one of the most characteristic features of Englishmen is their traditions, which they respect, and which they have kept for centuries.


     In the House of Lords, the Chancellor sits on a sack of wool. This tradition comes from old times when sheep wool made England rich and powerful.

     In the House of Commons there are two rows of benches: one row is for the government and the other one is for opposition. There is a red line in the carpet in front of each "front bench”. The person who is speaking is not allowed to step across it. It is also a tradition from old days, when that division prevented the two parties from fighting during the debates. Even the Legislation of the country is traditional. It includes many laws that haven’t been changed for centuries.

     British Prime Ministers have lived at 10 Downing Street since 1731. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (responsible for money and finance) lives next door at number 11. People often talk about "Downing Street" when they mean the Prime Minister and his or her Cabinet.    

     Other traditional features of Great Britain are the
numerous clubs that unite people of various interests; and the pubs, the local beer halls, where Englishmen like to spend their time talking, discussing traditional matters: politics, sports, and weather, over a glass of beer.

     The British have a reputation of being conservative, for having established values without questioning their validity. They drive on the left side of the road and use double-decker buses. They stick to their own measurement system and continue to measure distances in miles and yards (not in kilometres and metres). They buy cheese in pounds and ounces, milk in pints, petrol in gallons.

     English people are famous for their habit of politeness. It is considered polite to give up one’s seat to a woman who is standing, to open a door for her, carry things for her, and so on. Most British people expect the person in front of them to hold the door open for them. People think you are rude, if you don’t do this.

     English people are very reserved. This means that they don’t talk much to strangers, and don’t show much emotion. A reserved person never tells you anything about himself. But the people of the North and West of Britain are much less reserved than those of the South and East.

     Most British people queue when they are waiting for a bus or waiting to be served in a shop. But during the rush hour, when a bus or train arrives, people often push forward to make sure they get on. This is called jumping the queue.

     British people keep their old traditions and are very proud of them. They are famous for their sense of humour. English people show great love for animals. And, of course, English people are fond of sports. Many continentals think life is a game; the English think cricket is a game. To many Englishmen cricket is both a game and a standard of behaviour. When they consider something unfair, they say "That isn’t cricket”.
     The traditional love of English people for tea is well known. They like to drink tea with milk. They have their five-o’clock tea not only at home or in offices, but also in tea-rooms and tea-shops, which can be found in every town.

     All in all, the traditions don’t only accumulate the experience and wisdom of many generations, but they bring some stability into the rapidly changing world.

Категория: Топики для продвинутых | Добавил: teacher (22.05.2011)
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