What do people ask their search engines to tell them about Britain? Or, to be more modest about it, what do they ask that leads them to Notes? A few sensible things, but never mind those, we’ll explore the stranger ones.
british place names pronunciation dictionary
A pronunciation dictionary would be handy but the whole point of spelling your hometown one way and pronouncing it some other way is to leave outsiders looking silly. Dulwich? That’s pronounced like a dull itch. Beaulieu is Bewlee. The unpronounceable-looking Ightham Mote? That’s Item Mote. And (I always toss this one in) Woolfardisworthy is Woolsery.
why do they not call england great britain anymore
Please sit down so the shock doesn’t leave you with a torn muscle: They never did. But the universe holds an inexhaustible store of ignorance about this so we’ll never be rid of the question.
Of course it would help if the country very formerly known as England, then known as the United Kingdom, and after that as the United Kingdom of several confusing places and in other contexts, for rational but confusing reasons, known as Britain and also as Great Britain and occasionally as You There, would settle on one name and somehow get rid of all the others even though they make perfect sense if you can only get your head around their differing uses and meanings.
Guys, I know its your country and you can call it what you like, but are you sure this is a good idea? For a good portion of the rest of the world, wrestling with your name(s) is like reading a Russian novel: You have to figure out that Ivan is the same person as Vanya and Vanechka (if I’ve got that one right–don’t trust me too far on it) and Ivan Borisovich and Grushkov, but they’re all used for different reasons by different people and convey different relationships to him. And of course, there are fourteen other important characters and twenty-five minor ones, all with an equal number of names.
But to answer the question, they never did call England Great Britain. You’ll find a link to an actual explanation of this further down. But in the meantime, since we’re talking about Russian novels:
War and Peace
berwick still at war; also berwick on tweed at war with russia
It’s not. What’s even more disappointing (since this would have been a bloodless war, without even diplomatic consequences), it doesn’t seem to have ever been.
The story goes that little Berwick-upon-Tweed was listed in the declaration that started the Crimean War but was left off the peace treaty, stranding it forever in a war that it had to carry on all by its tiny self. I’ve done just enough research to learn that people who do genuine research have discredited the tale. Although, hey, it could all be a conspiracy to cover up something huge and dangerous. You can’t prove it isn’t, can you? The absence of evidence could be evidence of how big the cover-up is.
The story of why it might have gotten a separate mention in either a declaration of war or a peace treaty, since larger towns didn’t, is (like many things British) convoluted and interesting. You’ll find it here.
Profound Philosophical Questions
why do we saygreat britain
What was the person who typed this trying to ask? Was it:
- Why do we say “Great Britain” at all? or
- Why do we say, “Great, Britain,” in a tone of encouragement or celebration? or
- Why do we say “Great Britain” when we could say, for example, “saxophone” or “peanut butter”?
If it’s 3, it’s probably because Great Britain is on our minds at the crucial moment and peanut butter and saxophones aren’t.
Is it unwise to think of peanut butter and saxophones at the same time? It’s not good if you’re a saxophonist. If you’re not, it’s probably okay, although if you let the mental image get too vivid (and I have, unfortunately) it can be unpleasant.
If it’s 2, it means Britain’s doing well in some international sports uproar.
If the question is 1, however, it’s because that’s the place we were talking about, so saying “France” or “Puerto Rico” or “Berwick-on-Tweed” wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.
But honestly, why do we say anything at all?
I do hope that helps, although I’m not optimistic about it.
What does it all mean, bartender?
It means I should embed a link to an earlier post on the subject, that’s what it means.
why does beer in london taste better than thr us
Because you had too much before you sat down at the computer. Also because you were a tourist in London and happier there. It wasn’t your real life. It’s (relatively) easy to be happy when you’re not in your real life. Even the beer tastes better.
It’s also made differently. Different countries, different brands, different approaches to making the stuff. Way back when I was less than a hundred years old, one of the Minnesota beers ran an ad campaign implying that the water made a difference. I don’t mean to sound naive, but maybe it does.
If it makes you feel any better, the bagels are better in New York.
how english people feel about american tourists
Let’s start with the American part of the question, although without getting into the problem attached to calling one country by the name of two entire continents. English people (at least the ones who are willing to go on record) all (every last one of them) think our accents are charming. Or they claim to. Maybe they’re being diplomatic.
Everyone seems to agree that we’re noisy, and there’s a lot of empirical evidence to back this up.
A lot of them think we say water and butter in the most amusing way possible.
Beyond that, I’m not sure you’ll find any sort of unanimity.
The tourist part of the question? Tourists anywhere are a pain in the neck. Local economies are desperate for their money, but that doesn’t mean anyone loves them.
Sorry. I thought someone had better tell you.
americans are more tolerant of brits than the other way around
how do people recognize american tourists?
I asked for help on this one.
M. says it’s by their shorts and tee shirts.
Both I. and C. say it’s by their noise level.
I say it’s by the way they butt into line–or (since a British friend had no idea what I meant when I said this), jump the queue.
Were you hoping to skulk around incognito?
Requests Important for Cultural Information
do they have brownies (desserts) in the uk
Do you mention “(desserts)” to distinguish them from the junior version of Girl Scouts who in the U.S. are called (no, I have no idea why) Brownies? In that case, no. They have Girl Guides in the U.K., not Girl Scouts, and girls as young as five can join. You don’t want a junior version when five is the minimum age. It leads to crying and running into the street.
People who type questions into search engines have an obsession with brownies (of the dessert variety). And with whether they exist in (depending on the phase of the moon) Britain, Great Britain, the U.K., or England. The answer is no. In order to distract us from the Brexit fiasco, a tyrannical government has banned them. To shut off the supply, spy networks have been established to search out people who deal in them.
This, of course, means there’s a lot of money to be made, so restaurants sometimes take the risk but hide them under random combinations of ice cream, whipped cream, fruit, and chocolate syrup.
Someone’s going to take that seriously. I just know they will.
in england what color are the mailboxes and boobs
Well, dear, the mailboxes are red. The boobs are generally the same color as the rest of the person wearing them, although on people whose skin has tanned they’ll be a bit lighter than the parts that see the sun. Unless, of course, they’ve also seen some sun.
Why did you feel you had to ask?
visiting britain do they talk about the weather
Not as often as people ask about whether they talk about the weather.
I’m reasonably sure the British unleashed that stereotype on themselves, and that they think it’s funny. But correct me if I’m wrong.
In fact, the British do talk about the weather, but then so do Minnesotans. Both groups also talk about other things. Both groups believe they have a lot of weather to talk about.
It’s okay, O prospective visitor. You can drop by without packing a prefabricated set of weather observations. If someone says the weather’s wonderful, all you have to do is agree with them. If someone says the weather’s terrible, you agree with them too. Don’t tell them how much better or worse it is where you come from. Nothing awful will happen if you do, but you won’t kept your side of the unwritten bargain.
is bell ringing dangerous?
Mostly, no. But after you stop giggling, you can google bell ringers’ injuries and find out about everything from rope burns to broken bones to why giving the rope a good hard yank if one of the bells is hard to ring might just bring the bell down on your head.
what do the english think of americans right now?
That we’ve made some, um, strange political choices. Or possibly that we’ve lost our minds. That’s not a universal opinion but Hawley’s Small and Unscientific Survey reports that it’s fairly common.
As for me–sorry to get serious on you–I am completey horrified by what the country’s been doing on the Mexican border. I’d like to say that I don’t recognize the country I grew up and lived most of my life in, but that’s not entirely true. The seeds of this have been lying around for a long time. This flowering has left me thinking about how easy it is to come to terms with evil.
does english beer have less alcohol than united states; also enhlish beer compared to usa
The United States is a big country. Not as big as Russia. Not as big as Canada or China. But still, big. On the other hand, since it’s a country instead of an alcoholic drink, it’s hard to find a reliable measurement of its alcohol content. Or its taste if that’s what the second question is asking about.
That’s not taste as in the famous H.L. Mencken quote, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public”–especially since that isn’t what he actually wrote. He wrote something baggier, snobbier, and less memorable.
But no, we’re talking about the taste of English–on enhlish–beer compared to the U.S., which is like comparing apples and radial tires. That makes it a question no one can answer.
As an aside, lots of people want to know about British (or English, or Enhlish) and American beer. Mostly they want to know which is stronger. If I wrote about nothing but beer, I’d have more subscribers but they’d all be too plastered to read.
church of england prdinad funding
If they get any money that way, I haven’t been able to find out about it. It could be another cover-up.
what did people call themselves if they were from great britain and ireland
Some called themselves Saoirse, which was awkward for English-only speakers, because they go into brainlock when that many vowels bump up against each other. Some called themselves–well, you don’t want me to go into the full list of possible first names, do you?
I’m not sure what time period we’re supposed to be talking about. The past tense covers a long stretch of time, but if it’s a relatively recent period we’ll just remind ourselves that in these days of intercultural mingling (and they’ve been going on much longer than most people think) they’re no longer limited to names that comes from English and Gaelic. They could call themselves Ahmed or Svetlana and still be from both places. And other people could call them that as well.
If, on the other hand, the person who asked that was looking for British a parallel for Irish-American, I doubt they’ll find anything as compact. A friend describes herself as being British, of Irish heritage. It’s clunky but its accurate, and it’s not at all the same thing as Anglo-Irish.
putting the kettle on
I have no idea what someone was hoping to find by typing this into a search engine–maybe an invitation to drop in and have a nice cuppa.
As far as I’ve been able to figure out, this brushes up against one of the friendliest things you can say in British: either I’ll put the kettle on, or Shall I put the kettle on?
I’m not sure why it has to be shall instead of should, but it does seem to work that way.
Footnote: I’ve lived in Britain for thirteen years now but I still don’t have a great ear from British speech, so I could be wrong about that shall. I can tell you, though, with absolute certainty, that getting dialog right in someone else’s version of your language is no easy trick. I’ve seen British journalists, whose training emphasizes getting their quotes right, substitute the British phrases they thought they heard for the ones some American they were interviewing would have said. The examples I can remember involve an American talking about his mum and someone else talking about a drinks cabinet.
We–or most of us, anyway–seem to have an over-eager little translator built into our brains, who takes any number of the interesting things we hear and turns them into the predictable things we expect to hear and then engraves them in our memories that way. Which is a long-winded way of saying what I already said: I could be wrong about the shall.
It’s also a warning: Unless you’re goddamn good, don’t try to write (never mind speak) in someone else’s version of your language.
I deny all knowledge of her. She’s a know-it-all and a nuisance.