Understanding The ‘English’

Understanding The ‘English’
Understanding and fitting in with the entire population of the British Isles is a fascinating experience, but not quite as straightforward as it sounds, even for those arriving from other English-speaking nations. Differences between urban and rural dwellers are exacerbated by variations in style between regions and the four countries which make up the UK, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

London is home to a multicultural mix of people from all over the world, with diverse languages, beliefs and traditions, all of which bear influence on its indigenous population. With a few exceptions, Londoners tend to keep to themselves unless in social situations such as pubs, clubs and other such groups, although they’re usually friendly after the first meeting.

People in smaller towns and cities in the South of England tend to be initially friendlier, dependent on your social class – the infamous class structure in England is still alive in wealthier districts and the majority of peoples’ lives is taken up with work and family these days – in that order, leaving little time to socialise and get to know incomers.

The further north you travel, the easier it is to enjoy the more laid-back lifestyle and improved chances of understanding the local people, although in most UK small towns and villages here you’ll need to have been resident for many years before you’re regarded as ‘one of us’ and in the far West Country you’ll always be an incomer!

Notwithstanding, you’ll rarely feel unwelcome due to the English regard for politeness and courtesy. ‘Don’ts’ include pushing to the front of a queue, as queuing is a national institution; pushing for personal details such as income, etc, until you’ve known a person for a while; failing to buy a round of drinks in the pub when it’s your turn and giving loud parties every weekend without inviting the neighbours. Consideration of others is big here.

The Scots, the Welsh and the Irish are totally different nations, with their own rules of conduct, even within their own areas. For example, people from North Wales still speak Welsh as well as English and don’t consider those in South Wales to be truly Welsh. The Scottish pride in the history and heritage of the nation is string, with incomers sometimes kept at arms’ length and the Irish are very friendly as long as their hundreds of years of political and religious strife isn’t mentioned.