By Andrew Whittaker

ISBN-10: 1854186272

ISBN-13: 9781854186270

Few international locations rival the wealthy historical past, creative success and modern verve of england. yet who're the British? What does it suggest to be British and is there any such factor as British tradition? There hasn't ever been a time whilst the query has occasioned rather a lot debate.

Speak the tradition: Britain peels again the layers of this wealthy and complicated historical past, exploring the criteria – ancient, political, cultural, creative – that make the British tick.

British tradition is strewn with names that ring a bell internationally: Shakespeare, Churchill, Dickens, Pinter, Hitchcock, Vivienne Westwood, Lennon and McCartney … converse the tradition: Britain examines the folk, the historical past and the events that experience formed Britain because it now's, delivering key info in simply digested, enjoyable chunks.

It additionally unearths the tradition of daily life, exploring adaptations among the English, Scots and Welsh, and dissecting their lifestyle: how they devour, socialise, vote, gown and chortle.

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The biggest chunk of first language English speakers, about 215 million, live in the USA. English is an official language in more than 50 countries. Talking in class Britain’s inky linguistic pool is clouded further by class. You can go pretty much anywhere and discover a wellheeled ‘local’ coughing up Received Pronunciation (RP) (‘received’ meaning accepted or approved). RP began as a regional accent of the south Midlands, but was in the right place at the right time when its patrons moved south to London in the late medieval period and grew wealthy.

Literature and philosophy 3. Art, architecture and design 4. Performing arts 5. Cinema, photography and fashion 6. Media and communications 7. Food and drink 8. Living culture: the state of modern Britain The Ulster Viking connection Local Celtic chieftains ensured neither AngloSaxons nor Vikings advanced much beyond the coastal fringes of Ireland, and the region retained the Celtic identity that became diluted elsewhere. The Vikings, however, did leave some impression; the province of Ulster (within which modern day Northern Ireland lies) took its name from Uladztír, a Viking term itself derivative of Ulaidh, Irish name for the region’s ancient inhabitants.

By the 19th century, the accent had become the oral hallmark of Britain’s upper classes. RP is also sometimes referred to as Queen’s English; go back 20 years and it was also called BBC English, a term no longer appropriate at the linguistically egalitarian Beeb. The changes on television reflect a wider shift in accents in the south-east of England, where the growth of Estuary English, in which the twang of Cockney meets the airs of RP, gives the burgeoning middle classes the feel of workaday credibility.

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Speak the Culture: Britain by Andrew Whittaker

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