Министерство общего и профессионального образования
Муниципальное общеобразовательное учреждение
Средняя общеобразовательная школа № 67
Кузеванов Игорь Александрович,
9 класс, МОУ СОШ № 67
Ваторопина Елена Васильевна,
учитель английского языка высшей категории
МОУ СОШ № 67
Chapter I. So many countries, so many characters….……...… 5
Chapter II. British life today ………… . …. .…….……...…10
Chapter III. Investigation……….….……….............................24
The national character is the stereotypical personality that most host and guest populations hold in their mind when they think of a particular country or community of people. It is directly related to the culture of a country and is reflected in how its citizens view themselves, as well as in how they are viewed by the rest of the world. In reality, most countries are very complex, with national characters that have formed over a long period of settlement and nation building.
The overall national character of a country is most easily seen in its international relations and the personalities of its institutions. These stereotypes are more fundamental than the daily changes in a country's political or economic circumstances.
The process of accurately generalizing the complexities of a country's character is difficult, and can be offensive to minorities who may see it as ethnic nationalism. However, positive images that reflect the national character of a country play a major role in their promotion as destinations. It is efficient to be able to portray the character of a country in a single image or icon, such as the maple leaf for Canada or the Eiffel Tower for France.
The aim of my project is to learn information about the different opinions and stereotypes of the national character of Englishmen. Why them? English people are known as superior, snoblish, aloof, hypercritical and unsociable. These characteristics are noted by people from all over the world. But are they typical for all the Britons? I’d like to find out it.
To achieve the aim of the project I have learnt a great amount of information from Internet, books and periodicals and held the investigation – we asked our schoolmates some questions connected with the topic. Then we analyzed the results of the questionnaire.
The objectives of the work are:
- to develop skills of research work ;
- to find out answers to some questions closely connected with the topic ;
- to improve my knowledge of the English language.
Chapter I . So many countries, so many characters.
It is very interesting to learn, investigate and compare information about representatives of different countries.
Russians had a quick transit from communism to capitalism. The thing is that some Russians jumped too deep into capitalist world, while some stayed too far behind. Russians were grown up in the world of total equality, where the friendship of nations was an important part of life. If you notice a Russian person staring occasionally at a black person, it’s just because of curiosity – there are not many black people in Russia. But old people sometimes are too much patriotic, so be careful and try not to hurt their feelings.
Russians like everything extraordinary. But too often they don’t express this feeling enough, so when it comes out, it’s like a volcano. That’s why you hear Russian tourists singing folk songs at night and that’s why they make a revolution every 80 years. Russians believe in magnetism. The thing is that from time to time the sun sends some electro-magnetic signals and this affects the whole course of events on the earth, including people’s mood and feelings. So, if you meet Russians discussing how bad their day went because of the electro-magnetic storm that happened in the afternoon – don’t think they are adepts of some sort of new age philosophy. It’s completely normal.
Russians are superstitious. And if you want to shake their hand, you can’t do it through the doorway. You have to come in or he has to come out otherwise they believe you will quarrel. If you come back to your house just after you left – look at the mirror, it’s for your own good. If you’re sitting at the corner of the table, you won’t be married for 7 years. If a fork falls, a woman is going to come, if a knife falls, a man will certainly appear.
Most Russians know some words in English, but they are shy to speak. Nevertheless, you will see a lot of things written in English on the streets. Also, almost more than a half of Russian products have their ingredients listed in English. Russians learn English at school, and many people can understand the basics, but are shy to speak to a stranger. Russians like to dress up. You will often see men in suits even in clubs on Friday night, while women prefer smart and sexy outfits. Men usually choose dark or grey colors, while women prefer something light. Sure it’s a generalization and you’ll see a lot of different people and outfits.
A club is not a place to party for everybody – not everyone can get in. Russians have so-called “dress code” in most clubs and you may not be allowed because you wear Nike sneakers, old khakis or a fleece coat. Anyway, the rules are not so strict for foreigners, so if you are uncertain about your appearance, just speak English and you’re guaranteed to get in. Russians are not extrovert although they shout and kiss in public. It’s acceptable also to show affection in public and you will see many kissing couples on the long escalators in Moscow metro. At the same time you won’t see a lot of people sitting in public places with their legs stretched or crossed in American way and Russians do not gesticulate much when they are talking.
Many Russians smoke but if you say that it bothers you they will turn off the cigarette. Many people have a positive attitude towards healthy lifestyle and have a daily morning exercise routine or run in the park.
Obedience is the keynote of German character. It is begun in the little children. It is maintained by the family life at home; it is furthered by the compulsory military training that every boy must have. Not that the German is a whining weakling; he is the reverse – big and stout and often full of conceit, but he has learned from early childhood to obey where obedience is due. It all makes for the strength of the nation. One day in Berlin Richard Ewers took me to see a new part of the city (although all of Berlin is seemingly newer than our American cities, certainly more beautifully built), and we reached at last some rows of concrete houses. I recall that they were of beautiful architecture; that each floor had its window boxes in concrete and that these were gay with flowers. The street was wide, and as clean as possible. "There, Mr.Wing, how would you like to live in one of these houses?" asked my friend. "Oh, well enough," I replied, "but they would not be in my class; these must be for the very rich." "On the contrary," he replied, "every house in this street is occupied by laboring men; these are model tenements." I was impressed, but the impression was deepened later. We visited the gardens where laboring men plant things. A tract of land of perhaps forty or eighty acres is divided into little squares, perhaps fifty feet or larger, and each one is the garden of some family. Little streets or alleys separate the gardens. Nearly every garden is equipped with a small summer-house where the gardener may keep his tools, a table and a few stools. After the man has- done a fair and honest day's work, he goes, not tired out, to his pleasant house; there his wife meets him at the door with a big basket, and the children. Then they all go out to the garden; there unlocking the door of the little house, they take out the hoes, rakes and pruning knives. They dig and train and prune; they exclaim in sincere wonder at the growth of this plant or that flower; they dig a few potatoes, perhaps, or cull some flowers; then the table is brought out, and luncheon of bread and sausages and a bottle or two of beer is enjoyed. They sit there in the midst of their little garden, eat their very simple dinner, and then while the mother and two children do more things to the garden the father sits and smokes his big pipe as happy as a king. He is content; he does not go on a strike; his wages are low, it is true, but he has so much enjoyment out of what he does earn that he is well off.
The good house for the man, the clean, orderly, beautiful environment, the little parks for the children, the garden, the habit of contentment with simple, natural, wholesome pleasures – these are what make the German workman a good man. And these perhaps are at the foundation of the great difference that exists between industrial Germany and industrial England. The fact is that Germany shows on her face a greater advance and prosperity along nearly all lines of human endeavor than any other country that I have seen, the United States not excepted. In fact, our towns and cities look dingy, old and cheap beside the new, orderly and beautiful towns and cities of Germany.
American society seems to be much more informal than the British and, in some ways, is characterized by less social distinction. Students do not rise when a teacher enters the room. One does not always address a person by his title, such as "Major" or "General" or "Doctor" in the case of a holder of a Doctor of Philosophy degree. The respectful "Sir" is not always used in the northern and western parts of the country.
However, it is best to use a person's title when first meeting him/her, and then allow the person to tell you how he/she wishes to be called.
They use first names when calling each other, slap on the back, joke and are much freer in their speech, which is more slangy than the conventional British English. You will often hear the word "Hi" (a form of greeting among friends) used instead of the usual "Hello," and "Howdy" instead of "How do you do?"
Those who don't easily show these signs of friendship are called "snooty" or "snobbish." In contrast, people who show such simple signs of friendship, particularly to their own economic and social inferiors, are praised as "regular guys," or as "truly democratic." As a description of character, democratic is generally used to signify that a person of high social or economic status acts in such a way that his or her inferiors are not reminded of their inferiority.
Yet, in spite of all the informality, Americans, even in the way they address each other, show consciousness of social distinction. For example, one is likely to use somewhat more formal language when talking to superiors. While the informal "Hello" is an acceptable greeting from employee to employer, the employee is more apt to say "Hello, Mr. Ferguson," while the employer may reply "Hello, Jim." Southerners make a point of saying "Yes, sir," or "Yes, Ma'am," or "No, sir," or "No, Ma'am," when talking to an older person or a person in a position of authority. While this is good form all over the United States, "Yes. Mr. Weston" or "No, Mrs. Baker" is somewhat more common in a similar situation in the North or West.
Certain other forms of politeness are observed on social occasions. Women may wear hats in church, in restaurants, and often when attending luncheons in public places and other public social functions except those that take place in the evening. Men who do wear hats ordinarily remove them in elevators, churches, restaurants, private homes, business offices – in fad, in most public situations when they wish to show respect.
Chapter II. British life today.
There are certain stereotypes of national character which are well-known in Britain. For instance, the Irish are supposed to be great talkers, the Scots are not a very happy or fun-loving nation and have a reputation for being careful with money, and the Welsh are renowned for their singing ability. These characteristics are, of course, only caricatures and are not reliable descriptions of individual people from these countries. Nevertheless, they indicate some slight differences in the value attached to certain kinds of behavior in the countries concerned.
However, the people from Scotland (the Scottish), Wales (the Welsh), Northern Ireland (the Irish) and England (the English) are all the British.
The British live on the same island; of course, there are some common cultural characteristics. For example, it is true that British people often talk about the weather, especially if they don't know each other very well. It is true that they are more reserved than Russian people: they don't like to show their emotions and they don't make friends easily with strangers. It also seems to be true that the British are not very good at learning foreign languages.
The national character of the English has been very differently described, but most commentators name one quality, which they describe as fatuous self-satisfaction, serene sense of superiority, or insular pride.
England’s coastline has helped to shape both the history of the English nation and the psychology of the English character. The knowledge that there was a wide stretch of water between the British and “foreigners” encouraged a sense of security that could easily slide into one of superiority. And it was true that her physical isolation made this country different.
In Britain traditions play more important part in the life of the people than in other countries. The long centuries during the land was free from invaders means that the British could keep their traditions. The British are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up.
One of them is their attitude to the royal family. In the days of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), ordinary British people thought that the royal family was very special. Victoria, her husband and their nine children were seen as an example of perfect family life.
But today things are different. The Queen is still generally popular, but there have been too many problems with royal marriages. The Queen's sister and three of her four children -Charles, Anne and Andrew - are now divorced.
Prince Charles, the Queen's oldest son, married Princess Diana in 1981. Diana was young and beautiful and the newspapers and television were very interested in her. Soon she was more popular than Charles, her husband. But her marriage to Charles was not happy. When Diana died in a car accident in 1997 with her lover, Dodi Fayed, many British people were very sad.
The royal family is still very important for tourism in Britain. Special days like the State opening of Parliament in November and the royal weddings bring colour to people's lives. People in Britain enjoy reading about the lives of the royal family in newspapers and seeing them on television.
Housing. A traditionally the British like to live independently in their own houses. No wonder their favourite saying is "My home is my fortress". They do not like to live in flats.
In recent years the percentage of people who have their own houses has increased greatly, and more than half of all families in the country live in homes built after 1945.
Basically people live in three types of houses, all depending on your income: in terraced houses, and in detached or semi-detached houses. The older type of housing is the terraced house. These houses, especially in old industrial centers, were arranged in long rows or terraces all standing together and with each house containing its own door, a front room and a back room on each of its two floors, with perhaps a small room above the entrance hall. The other type of house is the detached house standing on its own land and not attached to another building. Such houses are generally more expensive to buy than semi-detached houses, which are houses attached on one side only to another, usually very similar house.
These houses have their tiny front and back gardens and offer necessary privacy and comfort which every British wants to enjoy. Traditionally they have the dining-room, the living-room for receiving guests and the kitchen on the ground floor, and the bedrooms upstairs. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms and the size of the house depends upon its price. Some houses have large gardens, especially in countryside.
Today, most British people own the home that they live in. Of all the homes in Britain 67% (16.7 million homes) are owned by the people who live in them. In the south of England, the numbers are 74.7% in the south-east and 72.8% in the south-west. In Wales 71.5% of homes are owned by the people in them. In Northern Ireland the number is 71.4%. But in Scotland the number of home-owners has traditionally been lower (now 60.2% of homes). On average, 2.4 people live as a family in one home in Britain. This number is smaller than in most other European countries. About 65% of people over the age of 65 live alone. When children grow up, they usually leave their parents' home for university or work. After they buy their own home, their parents do not usually come and live with them.
Spare time. British people now have more free time and holidays than they did thirty years ago. The average number of working hours has fallen, and by the mid-1990s almost all full-time manual employees were entitled to four weeks' holiday or more, in addition to public holidays including Christmas and Easter. Although for some people there was more leisure time (for the increasing number of pensioners for example), in general the pace of life became busier in Britain in the 1990s.
Typical popular pastimes in the UK include shopping, listening to pop music, going to pubs, playing and watching sport, going on holidays, doing outdoor activities and watching TV. The number of people playing sports has risen, partly due to the availability of more sporting facilities such as local leisure centers. As more people become aware of the necessity for exercise, it is estimated
that one third of the adult population regularly takes part in outdoor sport and about a quarter in indoor sport. Among the most popular sporting activities are walking, swimming, snooker and darts; fishing is the most popular country sport. Football, cricket, horse racing and motor sports are all popular spectator sports. Many magazines are published which relate to popular and minority sports and interests.
Multi-screen cinemas have become more common and the number of people going to the cinema increased in the mid-1980s, having fallen by more than a half between 1971 and 1984. This was despite a large increase in the popularity of home videos: Britain has one of the highest rates of home video ownership in the world.
Pubs are an important part of British social life (more than restaurants) and more money is spent on drinking than on any other form of leisure activity. Holidays are the next major leisure cost, followed by television, radio, musical instruments, and eating out.
If they have enough money, people travel more, usually by car or by air, and they take more holidays. The numbers going abroad increased from 7 million in the early 1970s to 32 million in the late 1990s, with Spain still the most popular foreign destination.
Who watches what? One of the biggest changes in the way people in Britain have spent their leisure time in recent years has been the increase in the amount of time spent watching television. The average winter viewing figures are now about twenty-eight hours per week.
As you might expect, television viewing is less popular in summer than in winter and more popular with old people than with any other age group. Viewing also varies according to social class, with professional and managerial classes watching less than the unskilled and the unemployed. On average, women watch more than men.
British TV has an international reputation for producing programmes of a high quality such as documentaries, nature programmes, comedies and drama series and according to the government there should be a combination of “competition, quality and choice” in any plans for the future of TV. However, not everyone agrees that more TV means better TV and it has been argued that the standard of programmes may drop in the future with companies concentrating on making programmes with a mass appeal such as soap operas, quiz shows and situation comedies. “Minority” programmes, such as many of those broadcast on BBC2 and Channel 4, might disappear.
The British and Food. Visitors to Britain generally agree about one thing - British cooking. "It's terrible!" they say. "You can cook vegetables in so many interesting ways. But the British cook vegetables for too long, so they lose their taste." These visitors eat in the wrong places. The best British cooking is in good restaurants and hotels, or at home. “British tastes have changed a lot over the past twenty years. In 1988 the national average for each person was 352 grams of "red" meat each week, but now it's less than 250 grams. People prefer chicken and fresh fish. And more people are interested in healthy eating these days. In 1988 the national average was 905 grams of fruit and fruit juices each week, but now it's nearly 2,000 grams.
Today many people want food to be quick and easy. When both parents are working, they cannot cook large meals in the evenings. 'Ready-made' meals from supermarkets and Marks and Spencer and 'take-away' meals from fast food restaurants are very popular. If you are feeling tired or lazy, you can even phone a local restaurant. They will bring the food to your house. Twenty years ago, British people usually ate at home. They only went out for a meal at special times, like for somebody's birthday. But today, many people eat out at least once a week. In the past, traditional steakhouses were very popular places, but now many people prefer foreign food. Every British town has Indian and Chinese restaurants, and large towns have restaurants from many other countries too.
Pubs are also very popular. There are over 60,000 pubs in the UK (53,200 in England and Wales, 5,200 in Scotland and 1,600 in Northern Ireland). British people drink an average of 99.4 liters of beer every year. More than 80% of this beer is drunk in pubs and clubs.
A Nation of Animal Lovers. The British are traditionally a nation of animal lovers. This is clear from the large number of animal programmes on TV. There are programmes about wildlife in Britain and other countries, and about pets at home. There are programmes like Animal Hospital about sick animals and the working lives of animal doctors. Some programmes try to find new homes for unwanted or homeless animals. All these programmes are very popular. There is a pet in nearly 50% of the 24.2 million homes in Britain.
What is a typical Englishman like?
Many people, especially those who never lived in England, picture the Englishman in such a way: A tall, slim, fair-haired gentleman, with regular aristocratic features and a look of superiority in his blue eyes; conscious of his historic mission “to rule the world”; contemptuous of all other, non-English, nations; formal, cold, haughty, very reserved even in his relations with his fellow Englishmen; living in reasonable luxury in his suburban country house which is supposed to be his “castle” and going on short round-the-world trips in a private yacht, now and then, like Sir Francis Chichester, just to prove that Britain still remains the country of great sailors; very conservative in his political and social views; well-bred, polite, quiet, taciturn, reticent in speech; fond of sports and animals; and at last, possessing a great sense of humour, a special “English type” of humour, often difficult to understand for foreigners.
Many books and articles have been written on this subject by different authors, both English, giving first-hand information, and foreign, who have lived in Britain long enough to know.
Some of them are full of praise and admiration for this country and its people, others are rather critical; some present a serious study of the subject, others are just humorous; some are true to fact, others may be erroneous.
All of them help us to understand better and get to know these people.
Chapter III. Investigation.
To find out what my schoolmates think about Englishman’s character, to get complete idea about them, I asked them some questions connected with the topic, and analyzed the results of the questionnaire.
What is a typical Englishman like?
What are the main English characteristics?
Sense of humour Primness
From the diagram we can see, that many Russians, specifically my schoolmates, think about the Englishmen as the kind, hospitable and restrained people.
The aim of our project was to learn the character of the English people, to compare it with the characters of other nationalities. Also we tried to learn the stereotypes about them.
We have acquainted with much information, and held the investigation – sociological questionnaire. We tried to make the complete picture of the way of life of the Englishmen, and their distinction from other people. So our work can help to allocate the variety of human’s characters. The result of our project is the generalized information about the Englishmen.
The most number of people thinks, that the Englishmen are self-satisfied, self-confident, self-contained and self-important. Their main characteristics are self-praise and superiority. But our research work shows, that Britons are kind, hospitable and restrained people. So we can say, that there is no common opinion about them.
English people’s character is wonderful and unusual, it doesn’t look like another country’s one.
Timanovskaya N. Spotlight on English-speaking countries. Tula. Издательство «Автограф», 1999.
Satinova V.F. Read and speak about Britain and the British. Minsk, Издательство «Выш.школа», 1998.