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What is a stereotype? “something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment” (Webster Dictionary)
Aim: -to define what typical stereotypes Russian people have about Britain and if they are true. The steps of the work: -to know our classmates’ opinion about their stereotypes of Britain; -to study sociocultural information; -to compare our stereotypes with the present affairs in Great Britain; -to try to define if these phenomena are reflected in reality
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There are a lot of people on our planet and all of them have their own views and beliefs. Our opinion always influences our life perception. So we have certain stereotypes about any topic or problem. So, what is a stereotype? According to the dictionary the word stereotype is defined as “something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment”
When we speak about people or countries everybody has certain associations. Do you have any ideas what foreign people think about Russia? Typical Russian people are seemed rather cruel and unsmiling with the foreigners. But you can agree that it’s not true at all. We Russian people also think that the British are very prim and conservative, they respect their traditions most of all. But is it really so? Working at our project we tried to answer this question.
So the theme of our project is «Stereotypes about Britain».
And the aim of it is to define what typical stereotypes Russian people have about Britain and if they are true.
During our work
- we asked our classmates’ opinion about their stereotypes of Britain;
- we studied sociocultural information;
- we compared our stereotypes with the present affairs in Great Britain;
- we tried to define if these phenomena are reflected in reality.
The poll of our classmates showed that the most known stereotypes are the following:
1. British are very polite;
2. 5 o’clock tea is an essential part of British life;
3. They always speak about weather;
4. British have special sense humor;
5. The food in Britain isn’t tasty, porridge is their favorite one;
6. The only means of travelling around a city is a red double-decker.
Let’s consider them.
Five o'clock tea.
This ancient tradition no longer exists for 99% of the British. It is associated primarily with the aristocracy. Nowadays , only a few people follow a special "tea timetable." I would say that Russian drink as much tea as the English, and get from it the same pleasure. However, the difference is still there in how and what with we drink tea. In the UK, if someone offers you a cup of tea, the only question you ask may be: "Weak or strong?" And "How much sugar?" Nobody will ask if you want to add milk to tea - it is added automatically! If you do not drink tea with milk, you should warn about this in advance, or it will be too late!
The English are very polite.
The truth is that politeness and good manners are very important for the British, but behind it there is a mysterious aspect of their life. According to the rules of society in the country, the British are very restrained and cannot openly express their feelings and emotions or behave as they please. They are carrying weight of public opinion on there's shoulders, which in the end leads to the fact that the British more complex than that of most other nations. We are polite because society makes us to do so, not because we are more disposed to politeness than others. However, no matter how strange the British do not seem - we are people too!
Talking about the weather and foggy Albion.
It is true that the British are always talking about the weather. However, it says more about their communication style than the eternal love of meteorology! Talking about the weather is used as a sign that you want to start or continue the conversation. This is a popular topic for discussion because it is difficult not to agree with the state of the weather, and the British do everything they can to avoid conflicts and differences of opinion. There is a representation that London is always shrouded in a fog. In fact, the fog was typical for London in the past, at time when Britain was at the forefront of industrialization and its numerous factories covered sky with the smoke. Houses in London were heated by coal. Smoke from the chimneys that were mixed with fog made smog, which had a popular nickname "London special" because of its brown color and the yellow density. Currently, there are about forty-five foggy days a year in London. Sometimes the fog leads to traffic, but a thick yellow smog, became famous London climate, left in the past.
We have all heard about the self-deprecating humor and sarcastic English. The British know their weaknesses and do not hesitate to make fun of them. Such a peculiar sense of humor gave many English writers and comedians worldwide fame. For Example
- What do you call a man without a left arm and a left leg?
- All right!
British eat porridge for breakfast.
It is one more outdated stereotype that has nothing common with reality for the most majority of the British. "I hate oatmeal and practically do not know a single person who would eat it. My generation grew up on corn flakes with milk. Other types of cereals that are eaten Russian, are not common in the UK, for example, buckwheat and other stuff." These are the words of one British man.
In the UK, food is tasteless.
Several years ago, Jacques Chirac joked that it is impossible to trust a country with such bad food as in the UK. Tastes differ but let's try to reflect on this topic. Here are three kinds of the most popular British food: roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, "fish and chips" and tikka masala curry. Moreover, in 2009 the Scottish Parliament was formally applytikka masala assign the status of a national Scottish dish. One example of this the current state of affairs is really reflected in the UK today. You can find culinary representation of almost all countries of the world. But what is considered to be traditional food maintains its position. Many famous chefs open their modern restaurants of British meal and pubs and regularly update their menus to fit the trends of fashion and culinary principles of healthy eating. Try fresh fish dishes at seaside resorts, modern pie beef stew with vegetables in a gastro, tea with scones and clotted cream scones - and you will realize that Jacques Chirac was still joking.
Everybody in Britain go by red double-decker buses.
Previously, red double-decker buses were almost in all cities of the country, but now they are only in London and mainly for tourists. The same situation is with the red telephone booths. In Britain, there are the usual single and double-decker buses, not red.
So to sum everything up we may say it is obviously that traditional stereotypes are not always true. And you should be very careful with your thoughts and opinion if you want to understand countries’ culture, traditions and customs properly.
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