Monday, April 26, 2010

Are you trying to say something, or is it just innocent?

Many people are guilty of saying "England" or "English" when referring generally to Great Britain or British. This is not just outsiders, but also those who live in England. It seems a small thing, but it irks those who live in Scotland or Wales, or who are originally from those places.

This is not to give excuses, but one might be a little more forgiving to outsiders (Americans who say that, at least) when you remember that 82% of the population of the UK lives in England.

12%, incidentally, of that, lives in the London area. Give or take.

I'm not making excuses for the English, though. Sometimes (as an outsider) I get the hint that it may go deeper than just a slip of the tongue.

DOES it go deeper than just an innocent slip of the tongue? Give me some inside stuff. :)


  1. I already think I know that the attitude of many Scots is that it is done on purpose and with specific intent on the part of Englishmen. I also get the impression most Englishmen have an attitude of "No big deal, get over it." Me? I just want to start a fight. :)

  2. Ok, I admit to unintentionally marginalizing Cymru. I'm sure they care too, not just Scotland.

  3. Mos of us know the difference and respect it.
    No person who ventures north of the border is likely to harbour, for long, the illusion that Scotland and England are the same country. although, nominally, the language of Scotland is English, Scottish English contains a wealth of words which are not found in english, different syntax too, though relatively few scots speak their old tongue, word order and vocabulary are heavily influenced by it.
    there's a renaissance of Gaelic, too.
    Wales also, is a land where you're very aware you've passed an international border, not least because all the road signs are bilingual...... That white van that's racing up behind you? Ambiwlans, so it is.
    In Wales, as in Scotland, the menu is different. mmm feeling hungry already....
    For the most, our nations enjoy a friendly rivalry, which may spill over into fisticuffs... But when things get tough, and outsiders threaten, we come together... and fight for Great Britain.

  4. Hmm, as with most things probably some deliberately stirring up trouble, and some slipping up.

    Personally I hate it being used the other way around, and when specifically talking about England, someone will say Britain.

  5. Love that poster!
    I am looking forward to my Pizza Hut lunch after the World Cup! :)

    'England' was used, by the English, right up till WW2. Churchill always used Britain! 'England' and it's population only discovered they were English in 1996. And being bombastic, arrogant and insular now demand their own parliament, in spite of the one at Westminster being only concerned with England since the dawn of time! "None so blind as those who will not see"
    Britain could well work as a concept, but so far the English have not joined it!

  6. Doctor Who last week accidentally ran into Spaceship UK, from the 33rd century.

    Scotland wasn't there. They wanted their own spaceship.

  7. @Soubriquet - I'm happy to hear everything is going smoothly, then.

    It is those differences you mention when you cross the borders that has interested me enough to start a blog about it. I can't get enough. :)

    @Alison - I never thought of that. I suppose it does work both ways, though. I'm curious how much you were taught about Scotland (and Wales) when you were in school? Is it taught passingly or in depth?

    @Adullamite - I'm not going to get in the middle of this after all. Suddenly I don't feel like fighting anymore. :) I don't think I'm ever going to understand until I study the history of each country in more depth. And even then...

    @The Mother -That's funny. :) (And quite to the point). I'm glad you stopped by.

  8. Oh, and Max, as you can see with Adullamite, there's something so amazingly wonderful about Scotland, just like Ireland, that seems to make so many of its greatest supporters want to live in England. I wonder why that is?

    (currently, one in every five houses in Ireland is unoccupied. Whole estates of speculative new-build houses, unsellable, in every county, the Irish seem not to want to live in Ireland)
    Just google "ghost estates" for the story.
    I have no comparative figures for Scotland.

  9. Wales for teh win.



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