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British Culture, Society & Languages
Esoteric articles of general interest, with a focus on British culture and developments related to the English language.
Curated by Robin Yu
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Is Britain sleepwalking towards a European exit?

Is Britain sleepwalking towards a European exit? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
An Observer poll conducted in four countries reveals the widening gulf between Britain and the rest of the EU.
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Could an independent Scotland be just what northern England needs?

Could an independent Scotland be just what northern England needs? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
Would a yes vote in the Scottish referendum leave the English left stranded? Or give the north a valuable new counterweight to London?
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The 500-year-long battle to make written irony easier to understand

The 500-year-long battle to make written irony easier to understand | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
One of our most well-known experts on irony lived a life that was a mess of ironies itself: he was a married, gay High Anglican who lunched with occultists; a leftist politician who revelled in frivolous society gossip; a patriot who spied for both...
Robin Yu's insight:

Do we need a new punctuation mark?

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Johnson: Is fairness untranslatably English?

Johnson: Is fairness untranslatably English? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
GEORGE W. BUSH didn’t actually say “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’.” (Wouldn’t he, just, though?) But...
Robin Yu's insight:

More on the notion of untranslatable words/concepts.

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Why the "golden age" when everyone knew their grammar is a myth

Why the "golden age" when everyone knew their grammar is a myth | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
The why-oh-why-are-things-so-awful-it-was-so-much-better-in-my-day brigade should give some thought to why the worst language abuses come from people who have been well (often expensively) educated.
Robin Yu's insight:

As English teachers, many of us fluctuate between both sides of the points in this article. It's a perpetual war.

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London school bans pupils from using 'innit', 'like', and 'bare'

London school bans pupils from using 'innit', 'like', and 'bare' | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
A new initiative is putting a stop to students using slang on school grounds. Given the chance, which words or phrases would would you put a stop to?
Robin Yu's insight:

Another shot in an ongoing language/culture war. What side are you on?

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Carmenne K. Thapliyal's curator insight, October 16, 2013 2:10 AM

I would use this as a resource in an ESL/ EFL class 

Sophie Ege's curator insight, October 16, 2013 5:34 AM

Det skal nok lære dem :-)

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The London Skyline: Past, Present & Future | Flexioffices Blog

The London Skyline: Past, Present & Future | Flexioffices Blog | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
The London skyline has changed dramatically in the last two centuries. Check out our interactive timeline showing its evolution through the years!
Robin Yu's insight:

Watch London grow (with historical reference points).

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Why are morris dancers under threat from a shortage of irons?

Why are morris dancers under threat from a shortage of irons? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
It's not just lack of members that's a problem for morris dancers
Robin Yu's insight:

Did you know this traditional folk dancing took its name from the Moors?

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The Beauty Of Language: 11 Words With No Translation - Edudemic

The Beauty Of Language: 11 Words With No Translation - Edudemic | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
There are only a handful of words with no translation. From Frank Sinatra to Justin Bieber, we've come a long way.
Robin Yu's insight:

A lovely selection of words with no direct translation. Could be a prompt for an imaginative lesson. What "word" would you make up?

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'Twerking' makes Oxford dictionary

'Twerking' makes Oxford dictionary | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
'Twerking', the raunchy dance move performed by Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAs, is among the new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Robin Yu's insight:

Some new words in the lexicon.

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The places where the pubs are boarded up

The places where the pubs are boarded up | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
The Great British Beer Festival is under way - a celebration of real ale and British pub culture. But in some parts of the UK, pubs are in perilous decline.
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Is Great Britain really a 'small island'?

Is Great Britain really a 'small island'? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
A Russian official referred to Great Britain as "just a small island to which no-one pays any attention". This is obviously wrong... it's not small.
Robin Yu's insight:

Me think thou doth protest too much.

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How many hours does it take to be fluent in English?

How many hours does it take to be fluent in English? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
Immigrants are always being told to learn the language. But how long does it take to speak good English?
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What is the one word that's the same in every language?

What is the one word that's the same in every language? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
The only word in the world that can do its particular job.
Robin Yu's insight:

Huh? Really?

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BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Small object of grammatical desire

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Small object of grammatical desire | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
It's small. It's flat. It's black. And its numbers are shrinking. Welcome to the world of the hyphen.
Robin Yu's insight:

To hyphen or not to hyphen? That remains the question even six years after this article.

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It’s no laughing matter: Britain has become a nation of religious illiterates 'who are baffled by Biblical references in Monty Python film The Life of Brian'

It’s no laughing matter: Britain has become a nation of religious illiterates 'who are baffled by Biblical references in Monty Python film The Life of Brian' | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
The British public has such “poor religious literacy” that a modern audience would be baffled by the Monty Python film The Life of Brian – because it would not understand the Biblical references, a senior BBC figure has claimed.  ...
Robin Yu's insight:

Not sure this is a real loss (the religious illiteracy, I mean, rather than the confusion generated by Monty Python).

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The UK's oddest days out

The UK's oddest days out | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
What are the idiosyncratic British attractions that help us to laugh in the face of inclement conditions, asks Gareth Rubin.
Robin Yu's insight:

Where to go now the weather is back to normal.

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Middle-class asbos: what behaviour warrants one?

Middle-class asbos: what behaviour warrants one? | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
Bella Mackie: Tabloids gleefully tell of rowing, rubbish-strewing neighbours. But what about blasting Radio 4? Or building obnoxious extensions?
Robin Yu's insight:

This made me chuckle.

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David Cameron, this isn't Love Actually. Give up on the greatness guff

David Cameron, this isn't Love Actually. Give up on the greatness guff | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
Stephen Moss: Cameron's 'small island' speech tries to channel the urbane Hugh Grant but ends up as playing-fields-of-Eton hogwash
Robin Yu's insight:

Puts us in our place somewhat...

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Translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness becomes internet hit - Telegraph

Translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness becomes internet hit - Telegraph | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
The British trait of being too polite to speak one's mind has led to a table translating numerous hollow English phrases becoming an internet hit.
Robin Yu's insight:

The table has been doing the rounds for ages but an accompanying article makes this lesson material.

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Where's the class in Paul O'Grady's Working Britain? | Lynsey Hanley

Where's the class in Paul O'Grady's Working Britain? | Lynsey Hanley | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
Controversy over a new TV series shows that discussion of the hierarchical nature of British society can't even be broached It's often in August that the most interesting programmes are shown on TV: that series commissioned by people willing to...
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England needs to start thinking about itself before it is too late

England needs to start thinking about itself before it is too late | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
Henry Porter: Scottish eyes are trained on their coming referendum, but the English are still not addressing their future
Robin Yu's insight:

How might a "yes" vote in the referendum on Scottish independence next year affect England?

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Inside London's secret 'green sheds'

Inside London's secret 'green sheds' | British Culture, Society & Languages | Scoop.it
Behind the doors of London's Cabmen's Shelters - the 'green sheds' which have been a place of refuge for taxi drivers for over a century.
Robin Yu's insight:

Now you won't be able to help but spot them.

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