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English Characteristics

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English Characteristics
The English proverb says: "Every country has its customs". That means different countries have different traditions and customs, different ways of life. In a nation of many millions people, there are different kinds: good and bad, honest and dishonest, happy and unhappy. However, we can talk about some general things. The best-known quality of the English, for example, is reserve. A reserved person is one who does not talk very much to strangers. He never tells you anything about himself. If English people are making a journey by train, they will try to find an empty compartment. If they have to share the compartment with a stranger, they may travel many miles without starting a conversation. But the people of the North and West of Britain, especially the Welsh, are much less reserved than those of the South and East. Closely related to English is modesty. If a person is very good at tennis and someone asks him if he is a good player, he will probably give an answer like ²I'm not bad² or ²Well, I'm very keen on tennis²
One of the most striking features of English life is the self-discipline and courtesy of people of all classes. There is little noisy behaviour , and practically no loud disputing in the street . English people are generally disciplined, they do not rush excitedly for seats in buses or trains, but they take their seats in queues at bus stops in a quiet and orderly manner. Englishmen are naturally polite and are never tired of saying ²Thank you², ² I'm sorry², ²Beg your pardon². If you follow anyone who is entering a building or a room he will hold a door open for you . Many foreigners have commented on a remarkable politeness of the English people. English people don't like displaying their emotions even in dangerous and tragic situations, and ordinary people seem to remain good-tempered and cheerful under difficulties. The Englishman does not like any boasting or showing off in manners, dress or speech. Sometimes he conceals his knowledge: a linguist, for example, may not mention his understanding of a foreigner's language. And also on Sundays even the richest man dresses in some old clothes and doesn't shave. But on the continent even the poorest person puts on his best suit and tries to look nice and respectable.
English people take everything with a sense of humour. You can easily offend them only if you tell them they have no sense of humour.
English people do not shake hands when meeting one another, they just smile and say ²Hello². They say ²How do you do² sometimes, but not very often, only to people they meet for the first time. But they really don't embrace one another - except after scoring goals in football matches. Fathers do not embrace their sons - except when they are very little.
The Englishman prefers his own house to an apartment in a block of flats, because many of the English people love gardens and flowers, they want to have a bit of land, where they could plant something.
The Englishman says ²My house is my castle², because he doesn't wish his doings to be overlooked by his neighbours. It's a tradition with English people to have fireplaces in their houses. It is usually made of stone in the wall of a room and with a chimney in the wall. A chimney, therefore, is the main feature of almost every roof.
The fireplace is the natural centre of interest in the room. People may like to seat at a window on a summer day, but for many months of the year they like to sit round the fire and watch the dancing flames. In the evening when the members of the family come home, they like to gather round the fireplace and exchange the day's experience.
In recent years, however, the television set is becoming the centre of interest in the room. Yet in many houses you will still see fireplaces, sometimes with columns on each side and a shelf above it, on witch there is often a clock, or a mirror, or photographs; but many fireplaces are now modernized, they are gas or electric fireplaces.
Many Englishmen help their wives at home in many ways. They clean the windows on Saturday afternoon, they often wash up the dishes after supper in the evening. English people like to drink tea best of all. Tea with milk is called the English tea. Today the people of Britain drink more tea than any other nation in the world. They drink it in bed in the morning, round the fire on winter afternoons and out in the garden on sunny summer days. There are two kinds of tea ²afternoon tea² and ²high tea². ²Afternoon tea² takes place between three-thirty and four-thirty. Families, which do not usually have a late dinner, have ²high tea² between five-thirty and six-thirty. When people drink tea together, there is always a lot to talk about.
The English people like animals very much. Pet dogs, cats, horses, ducks, chickens, canaries and other friends of man have a much better life in Britain than anywhere else. In Britain they have special dog shops selling food clothes and other things for dogs. There are dog hair-dressing saloons and dog cemeteries. The English arrange dogs' shows and organize dogs' supper parties for winners of dogs' competitions. They do all they can to make animals feel well in their homes, and outside their homes too. There were photographs in English newspapers of a mother-duck and her young family crossing slowly the road from Hide Park lake to the waters of Kensington Gardens. All traffic around was stopped to let Mamma Duck and her little ones walk quietly from one park to another. In recent years the English began to show love for more ²exotic² animals such as crocodiles, elephants, tigers, cobras, camels.
London Airport has a special animal ²hotel². Every year thousands of animals arrive at London Airport . Some stay the night there; others stay several weeks. In one month, the ²hotel² looked after 47000 creatures: birds, insects, fish, elephants, monkeys and other animals.
Sunday is a very quiet day in London . All the shops are closed, and so are the theatres and most of the cinemas .
Londoners like to get out of town on Sundays . The sea is not far - only fifty or sixty miles away and people like to go down to the sea in summer or somewhere to the country for skiing in winter.
People on the continent say that in England many things are the other way round. On the continent people seldom speak about weather. If they do, it usually means they have no other topics to discuss. In England, if you don't repeat the phrase "It's a nice day today, isn't it?" two hundred times a day people are surprised and think that you are very dull.
A typical Englishman is characterized by courtesy and modesty. He is naturally reserved and good-tempered. He likes his family, the house with the fireplace, the garden and animals. He drinks tea with milk several times a day and eats porridge in the morning. He spends weekends out of town. He has got a sense of humour and thinks it's not boring to discuss weather.
reserve - сдержанность, скрытность
reserved - сдержанный, скрытный
modesty - скромность
courtesy - учтивость, обходительность, вежливость
embrace - обнимать
cemetery - кладбище
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abonataliya
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