What people really want to know about Britain, part sixteenish

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. 

Place Names

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. 

Semi-relevant photo: The waterfall at St. Nectan’s Glen, which is pronounced St. Nectan’s Glen, which in turn is no fun at all so it’s also called St. Nectan’s Kieve, which is pronounced keeve.

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:

  1. Why do we say “Great Britain” at all? or
  2. Why do we say, “Great, Britain,” in a tone of encouragement or celebration? or
  3. 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. 

Tourism

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

Sez who?

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.

Miscellaneous

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.

ellen hawley

I deny all knowledge of her. She’s a know-it-all and a nuisance.

101 thoughts on “What people really want to know about Britain, part sixteenish

  1. Beer – I can confirm that Youngs ales have never tasted the same since they closed the sewage works on the River Wandle. So, yes, the Water is important in beer just the same as it is in whisky.

    Tea – Shall I put the kettle on sounds ok to me though sometimes the invitation to to partake might be just a simple ‘Cuppa?’ My Scots Aunt used to greet me with the word ‘You’ll have had your tea then?’ which was actually asking if I wanted a cup of tea :-)

    I had a good laugh reading this over my morning cuppa!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m glad you did.

      I’ve heard cuppa used more by my relatives in New Zealand than I have here in Cornwall, although I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that I’m just not listening closely enough. I’ve got a fair ear for American speech (or I used to–I’ve been gone a long time) but I’ve never developed a good one for the British varieties. I suspect I’d have needed a translator with your aunt–and she probably would have with me as well.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ref translation into your version of a language, this story, an integral part in the film ‘Official Secrets’, was in the Guardian recently. How a young journo made a mistake by simply ‘correcting’ the spelling of some words into her language and it blew up a bit from there… https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jul/27/international-incident-work-mistake-official-secrets-film

    When I was a ‘Cub’ (not yet old enough for Boy Scout) the girls were indeed Brownies before themselves being old enough to become Girl Guides. I can’t remember far back enough to know at what age the change point was set. It was single figures I think, but that would be a very large double figure ago.

    I also have as many names as Ivan but none of them is Vanya.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe you should consider Vanya. It’s got a nice ring to it and everyone could use a new name from time to time, don’t you think? For a birthday or something? A friend once gave me a middle name as a Christmas present. It was Helen: Ellen Helen Hawley.

      As for capital-B Brownies, oops. I’m not sure how I screwed that up or if the categories have changed, but thanks for correcting me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Guides is technically only for 10-14 yr olds, 7-10 yr olds are brownies and 5-7yr olds are rainbows… 14-18yr olds can go to rangers… I am technically a guider…which means I can be in charge of guides, although I never have been. If I were in charge of brownies I would be a Brown owl, which sounds much nicer…

    I have mixed feelings about the word shall. when it is informal like “shall I put the kettle on” or “I shall fetch the gin and biscuits forthwith” I have no problem with it.
    People at my work, and probably others, keep using it in contracts to imply an imperative. “the product shall be blue” etc. To me shall is far to wishy washy for this, the word they are looking for is must.

    Lastly there is a place in Kent called Trottiscliffe, pronounced Trosley, I have no idea why, I can’t make the letters mean that!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can explain Trosley: gin and biscuits. Lots of gin and biscuits.

      In the U.S., I think, shall is going into eclipse and has a vaguely archaic ring. My mother (b. 1911) was taught a set of rules for how to figure out when it implied not so much an imperative but determination and when it was just, oh, I don’t know, roughly the equivalent of will. It depended on whether you were using it in the first or third person, although I never remembered which was which since neither of us thought it mattered. The rule was illustrated with the sentence “I shall drown and no one will save me.” Unless it was “I will drown and no one shall save me.” Anyway, because they person saying it got it wrong, they let him drown, thinking he was determined. And good enough for him, everyone said when they understood their mistake. That was what happened to people who got their grammar wrong in the good old days.

      The lesson was clear: If you’re drowning, avoid the word shall.

      Then I moved here and found that the word’s still a working part of the language, like whilst, which we’ve also retired. And most people seem not to have drowned. Except your co-workers, and you really shouldn’t have done that to them.

      Thanks for the explanation about Brownies and bourbon creams and Guides. It involved numbers so I didn’t understand a word of it, but I do at least know that the country contains capital-B Brownies. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Shhhh!! Drowning my co-workers was supposed to be a secret!
        It’s their own fault for insisting on using shall!!

        I think Gin and biscuits explains most things about Britain. Or maybe it explains most things about me…

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was watching Lucy Worsley’s show on the Georgians last night and she talked about why gin became such a problem when it first made a home here. According to her, people drank it like beer: If you were used to drinking a pint, you drank a pint. Even if (and she didn’t say this) you had to chug down the last few sips while lying under the table.

          And I’m sure you’re right about whose fault those drownings are. Your secret’s safe with me.

          Liked by 1 person

            • Shan’t! I’d forgotten all about shan’t! I think my grandmother used the word. Not my immigrant grandmother, my American-born one. She and her apartment jumped into my memory when I read it.

              I’m still not sure how seriously to take ol’ Lucy on the gin issue. That is, surely, a hell of a lot of gin.

              Like

  4. Girl Scouts who in the U.S. are called (no, I have no idea why) Brownies – When my daughter was in Girl Scouts I looked this up (harder to do since Lord G. didn’t exist back then), it was from the uniform. Girl Scouts (non-Brownies) wore green dresses whereas Brownies wore brown ones, they were still Girl Scouts but the term Brownies caught on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When I was a Girl Scout (U.S.), the handbooks all said that “Girl Scouts” was like the last name and Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior were the first names, each meant to cover three years of the 12-year school program.

      When I joined, Brownies wore brown dresses, Juniors green, Cadettes white blouses with green skirts, and Seniors green Chanel-inspired suits. All four uniforms also featured matching hats, and Cadettes’ and Seniors’ uniforms also featured white gloves. During my membership years the uniform changed and gave us different “options.” The one year my part of the world had a Cadette troop, the “uniform option” my mother picked for me to grow into had a bright orange-yellow shirt, boxy-cut open-front felt vest, and oversized green polyester slacks, and was quite possibly the ugliest, most unflattering outfit I’ve ever worn. Such a uniform may have had something to do with the fact that you hardly ever found a Cadette troop, and I never heard of an active Senior troop.

      Due to this fall-off in membership, non-members recognized only Brownies and “Girl Scouts,” by which they meant Juniors.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Apologies if this has been languishing for a long time. I just dug it out of the spam folder.

        From your description, it sounds like the older groups were meant to sit around practicing how to not strew crumbs on the carpet while nibbling crustless sandwich triangles or whatever it is that you eat when you have white gloves on, which is quite possibly nothing.

        That may be totally unfair. But ack! And here I thought the Boy Scout uniforms were absurd. Sorry–I’m really not a big fan of uniforms.

        Like

  5. Thank you for saving me the purchase price of a tourist guide book. I shall take all these tips into consideration when I finally make it across the pond.
    But for now? I must stand up (or maybe just crouch) for America. Yes, we elected a moron… but it looks like England followed suit. Your moron has terrible hair as well. As for beer? I don’t care whose is stronger, all I know is ours is cold and yours is not. If that doesn’t start an international incident… nothing will.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can’t comment on the beer from personal experience–I stopped drinking long before I moved here–but hearsay tells me that you’re right. On the other hand, it doesn’t get as hot here as it does in the U.S., so not-cold beer may be a good idea. It also means that it’s more likely to be cool than full-out warm.

      But you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, take my word on that.

      As for morons and bad hair, boy are you ever right about that. Only we didn’t actually elect our new blusterer-in-chief; the MPs and then the members of the Conservative Party did, in a system that’s even more bizarre than the electoral college. I need to write a political update, because it’s getting stranger over here by the day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • American beer is mostly lager, not what we call beer. British Beer or Ales are brewed by warm fermentation, giving a more complex taste. Serving English ale chilled would lose some of that flavour. Therefore, ale is served at cellar temperature, between 10°C and 14°C. Temperature has a big effect on taste buds, warmth accentuates flavour, so why would we want to kill it by making it ice cold? Lager, however, you can have ice cold, as it hasn’t much flavour to destroy in the first place.

        Liked by 2 people

        • “Temperature has a big effect on taste buds,” – That’s why one can drink American beer only ice-cold: you need to numb your tastebuds to be able to get that stuff down. ;) Says a German living in Texas. ;)
          But seriously: what I really gabe to tell Americans over and over, that British Beer/Ale is not served “warm” but a cellar temperature. They alwys seem to think that beer in the UK comes from the hot stove. ;)
          I totally agree with you on the taset of Lager!

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I listen to a particular podcast on a regular basis, but when they have a guest that speaks British English I always cringe, depending on their accent.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I posted a package to an English friend once. The postal clerk was adamant the place I was sending it to was not England, the country name I copied directly off an address label from a package this same friend sent me earlier.

    Silly me! What does a resident of that country know about the name of that country! No, a United States Postal Clerk surely is more knowledgeable! She wouldn’t continue the transaction till I changed the address label and customs declaration form to United Kingdom, the way it was entered in the USPS computer system.

    I would see the value of a pronunciation guide for English place names, but it would be even more interesting to have an expanded guide that gave the historic origins of the names, with a step by step walk through all historic vcariations up to the unlikely pronunciations and spellings used today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m guessing the histories of how the spellings and the pronunciations got so befuddled are lost in the mists of time. Which is a shame, because I’d love to know them. As for the USPS, given that they’re in charge of the first step in the delivery, which is getting the package to the right country–well, I hate to agree with an officious clerk but I think I have to on this one. Let them have their way or they’ll send the damn thing to Ukraine. (I say that because I recently had a package I was sending to the US returned from Thailand because no one there had picked it up.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sad but true. When it comes to how computer files are set up, one has little flexibility. That’s why I deferrewd to her but was snarky about reminding her that a native of England used that name in her address label t=and that the English post office didn’;t make her change any forms or labels to “United Kingdom” to suit a computer system.

        Oh yes – America vs. United Statesians or some other construct . That’s one of those arguments without solution. The perception is that we (United Statesers) usurped the term “America” to define a citizen of the USA, that citizens of other North American or South American countries are somehow denied the usage of that name.

        Seems to me, those otehr Americans should feel happy they aren’t lumped with us Americans!

        The Germans refer to Americans as Amis, which I think is a nice alternative to Americans if the rest of the world wants another word to call citizens of the USA.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to have a pronunciation dictionary for British place names in my teaching days of old. What about the “Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names” nowadays, Dies it include pronunciation?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There seems to be a rather large fixation on beer, which might account for all the typos in those search questions you found. Canada also has better beer than the U.S. whose beer is more like malty water. Also, the bagels in Montreal are far superior to anywhere else in the world;-)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I was with a group of guys drinking beer once and one of the fellow beer drinkers took offense at being called British. He said he was English and from England. It is hard to tell what to call someone or what they might call themselves. I can’t decide what ethnic group I belong to. I luge to say it does not apply or none. The beer was very good. It was draft beer. We were in North Carolina mountains on a ski trip. Maybe the beer taste better in the mountains or in North Carolina. It was also snowing. Could be snowing makes beer taste better.
    Thanks for more information about Britain, or Great Britain. I don’t see Britain more clear now but I like to discuss England and beer. Now for a cup of tea. English breakfast tea. It taste better here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Among some people, being English instead of British is a–well, it’s a thing. A right-wing nationalist thing, as far as I understand it. Many people would say they’re English, as opposed to Scottish or British or some other form of British, and that’s just descriptive, but people who get mad about it? That’s another story.

      And then there’s the whole issue of who accepts immigrants as British–or as English–and who doesn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Aha, Saorise. I think that explains one of the mysterious names I couldn’t understand in Outlander. I wish that was all I didn’t understand in that series.
    On a personal note, did you leave America voluntarily, or were you deported?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Is the next installment to be on Welsh place names and pronunciations ? I may have to add extra capacity to my computer . (And I’m still not getting email alerts to your posts.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I heard back from WP and have been waiting for a way to let you know. They write, “Thank you for the information. This user has blocked us from sending email notification which is why they don’t receive new post emails. Ask them to unblock us by following steps mentioned here – https://en.support.wordpress.com/email-notifications/#what-if-the-emails-are-not-getting-through.”

      I did the same thing a while back. I can’t remember why. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. It kept me from getting notifications from everything I followed. Changing the setting reopened the channel. It was startlingly simple to change, just as it was simple to mess up to begin with.

      As for Welsh, not a chance. I can make a fair attempt (in my opinion; I might send a Welsh speaker into hysterics) at the LL, but after that I’m lost.

      Like

      • i had indeed blocked Word Press emails – I have no idea how, as I had never seen that page before. Hopefully now all will be well.
        In Spanish double L is one of the letters of their alphabet, which has 28 letters – I think. I last took Spanish before JFK was assassinated, it is pronounced as a ‘y’ sound – ‘llamas’ is pronounced “yamas.’ Do you suppose Welsh and Spanish are linked, or are Russian hackers responsible – and probably for the Word Press Snafu too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Welsh/Spanish connection has an online-crossed-wires quality to it–especially since the Spanish pronounce the double L as an Ly, which I find it very hard to adjust to, having learned my Spanish on the other side of the ocean. But I do think this predates Russian hackers. Now turning off your WP notifications–that could’ve been them. They got bored late one night…

          Like

  13. I’ve typed “ellen hawley” into a search engine. I remember your name, but I always forget you blog title/url. Sometimes, I forget your last name, so I search for- “fast eddie” ellen uk blog – I know, I should just bookmark this place, but that works. I only search for you when I need to reference your blog – I get alerts for your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Whilst – that’s British English for “while” ;) – in England just recently, we saw signs for Leominster. They pronounce it “lemster.” Go figure. Also, on my first visit to England 21 years ago, my future in-laws took me to Belvoire Castle. I didn’t speak French at the time, but I knew how it should be pronounced. They call it “beaver” castle. That was my introduction to the least intuitive pronunciations I’ve ever heard, at least in English.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I always learn something new about my own country when I read your posts. I describe myself as British rather than English. Perhaps I subconsciously choose that because I have Welsh, Irish and Scottish ancestry. Also, English has some nuanced negativity, as does the English flag. Not something I feel as much pride in, as other nations feel about their flags. Feel prouder of our Union Jack, alas it’s at risk of expiring! And can confirm ‘Shall’ I put the kettle on. Yes, you shall. Two sugars please ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You got it. And if you hurry there’s chocolate chip banana bread to be had.

      I got halfway through writing an explanation of the English/British thing once, realized I was in way over my head and deleted it. It’s fascinating, I wish I understood it, and I don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

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