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TOP 5 – Things most people don’t know about Wales

3 anos atrás ----- Cultura Inglesa Read All In English

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One of our main attractions at the Festival this year is the band Los Campesinos. The band was formed in Wales, the most discrete of all the countries within Great Britain.

Wales has got some amazing landscapes, of course, but also features loads of peculiar aspects that makes it even more charming. So, in honour of Los Campesinos, here it goes: the TOP 5  things most people don’t know about Wales! Check it out:

Top5 A land of dragons

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Up to this point in history, no actual dragons have been spotted in Wales :( The reason why a red dragon is on the Welsh flag has to do with an old prince. He used to use these creatures as his symbol. The dragon was also incorporated into the Arms of the Tudor dynasty, so that everyone would know that they were of Welsh descent.

 

Top4 A land of sheep

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A classic (and sort of offensive, to be honest) stereotype about Wales says that all of its people are actually sheep. Detractors also tend to say that if a Welsh’s dad isn’t a farmer, he’s a miner. The truth is: 78% of its territory is dedicated to agricultural activities, including sheep farming. There are about 8 million sheep living in the country, which makes the sheep population of Wales 3 times bigger than the human one! And this abundance leads to pretty weird situations, like the one pictured above…

 

Top3 A land of singers

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People say Wales is the “land of song”. They sing well indeed. Not ALL of them, naturally, but they do have many choirs over there, and a lot of really interesting bands come from Wales, like Super Furry Animals, Manic Street Preachers and our dearest Los Campesinos to name a few!

 

Top2 A land of rugby fans

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Wales has a pretty strong rugby national team for such a small country. It is, after all, their all time favourite sport. The main rival of the Welsh, obviously, is neighbouring England, and every once in a while they go really far at the most important championships in the world. They’ve never ever been left out of the Rugby World Cup (just like Brazil played every single Football World Cup!)

 

Top1 A land of few vowels

Wales has two official languages that are just as important: Welsh and English. The latter is the most used, but the first one is widespread and really popular in the countryside. Most signs and official communication are written in both languages throughout the whole country. Welsh is a very interesting language and is full of history, but has too many consonants if compared to other latin or even anglo-saxon idioms (take a look at the picture above!).

If you wanna discover more about Wales, have a look here.

Wales? Is that in England?

3 anos atrás ----- Cultura Inglesa Read All In English


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Wales is indeed part of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, and Cardiff, the Wales’s biggest city, is just 240km distant from London. So, is Wales in England?

Well, this infamous question bothers the hell out of any Welsh citizen, as you can see by Catherine Zeta-Jones face above.

To shine a light on this subject, we reproduced below the most scathing and definitive answer to this question. It was written by Welsh journalist Elena Cresci and published by the English 2 English tumblr:
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Short answer: NO IT BLOODY WELL ISN’T GO BACK TO SCHOOL AND LEARN GEOGRAPHY PROPERLY, YOU NINNY.

Long answer: This is possibly the most annoying thing you could say to a Welsh person, closely followed by “you got hammered in the Six Nations” and “Leigh Halfpenny isn’t THAT great.”

Here’s the thing – we completely understand, the UK is a little bit confusing, and it just seems easier to call it all England. Wales certainly stumped your former President George Bush, who asked our voice of an angel Charlotte Church which state it was in.

(Here’s video of Charlotte Church telling the story on Graham Norton.)

It doesn’t help that when it comes to British stereotypes, most of them are most definitely from the wrong side of the Severn Bridge as far as the Welsh are concerned. Unfortunately, these stereotypes travel, so even though Ann Romney apparently has Welsh ancestry, we still get Americans thinking Wales is actually a city in England or something.

For Wales, this is an insult of the highest order.

If you think the British-American relationship is a little weird, take a look at the English-Welsh divide. Basically, it boils down to this: Wales is an extremely proud nation with a bone to pick with the Sais (that’s the English). Meanwhile, England doesn’t really have that much of an opinion on Wales and just wishes it would stop shouting at it.

There are plenty of reasons for this animosity – from an entire Welsh valley being uprooted and flooded to provide water for Liverpool to the fact there hasn’t been a Welsh Prince of Wales for more than 700 years. That’s barely scratching the surface of this old rivalry.

Of course, it doesn’t mean every Welsh person hates England – we mostly just hate it when we lose to them at rugby. But that doesn’t stop the pang of annoyance when it’s assumed we are English. We’ve got our own language and a dragon on our flag – WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?!

Anyway, I’ll round this off with some Welsh vocab, because then you can impress the next Welsh person you meet:

Yr Unoldalaethiau – The United States

Un byrgyr gyda sglodion, os gwelwch yn dda – one burger with chips, please

Cymru am byth! – Wales forever!

(NB: before any of you clever clogs pipe up and say Wales is a principality and not a country… according to the Welsh Assembly Government: “Wales is not a principality. Although we are joined with England by land, and we are part of Great Britain, Wales is a country in its own right.” SO THERE.)
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And don’t forget, Cardiff band Los Campesinos plays for free at the 18º Cultura Inglesa Festival in May!

TOP 5 – Mistakes that changed the English language

3 anos atrás ----- Cultura Inglesa Read All In English

 

Languages are dynamic, and English is no exception to the rule. Throughout history, a lot of the changes that the English idiom went through came from everyday “mistakes”.

There are some patterns of behaviour people keep doing relentlessly that drive those errors into the official grammar and spelling rules. (But please do not use this universal truth as an excuse to get bad grades in school!)

Take a look at the five most interesting (and sometimes useful) mistakes that changed (and keep changing) the English language:

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Top5 Messing up the letters

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There are sequences of letters in particular words that sounded unnatural to so many people, and for such a long time, that implicitly and little by little they simply got rearranged or respelled in order to facilitate the pronunciation. This process is called metathesis and happened with the words iron, nuclear, comfortable, pretty, horse and prescription (they used to be: iern, nucular, comfterble, purty, hros e perscription). Much easier to read them now, right?

[Source: Wikipedia, Guardian]
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Top4 Merging the letters

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This is a funny story: in the Middle Ages, words were written so close to one another you couldn’t exactly tell where one began and the other ended. So letters started “jumping” in-between words.

The same phenomenon happens when we speak two very nasal words close together. That’s why we have words like “apron”, “adder”, “lone” and “nickname”. The words “apron” and “adder” used to begin with an n (“napron”, “nadder”), but when you say “mine napron” or “a nadder”, the second nasal sound disappears into the article that comes first. Try saying “mine napron”. Now say “mine apron”. It’s pretty much the same thing…

The modern word nickname originated from the expression “eke name”, which was used to refer to an “additional name” (that’s what “eke” means). But, with time, “an eke name” melted together and now we say “a nickname”.

[Source: Wikipedia, Guardian]

 

Top3 The ghost letters

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Some transformations took place because of a weird thing people do, which is putting new letters into words. One of people’s favourite places to do that is between a nasal and a non-nasal sound. That’s exactly why we now have the words “thunder” and “empty” (they used to be “thuner” and “emty”). And that’s what is happening nowadays to “hamster” and “warmth” – sometimes they are pronounced with an additional p (“hamspter”, “warmpth”) simply because it’s more comfortable to enunciate.

The opposite can occur as well. “Handsome”, for instance, now has a silent d.

[Source: Wikipedia, Guardian]

 

Top2 The travelling words

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Some words pop up out from somewhere else to join our vocabulary. They’re foreigners who arrive with this weird pronunciation that has nothing to do with their spelling. When words travel into our language, we normally have two options: either learn how to pronounce them the original way or just say them the way our phonetics tells us to.

More often than not, we take the easiest path. It happened with the Norwegian word “ski”, for example. In Norway “sk” sounds like “sh”, so, at first, English people used to say “shi” instead of “ski”. But as time went by, the majority adopted the “English way”, pronouncing the k as k and eventually “ski” became the official pronunciation.

[Source: Wikipedia, Guardian]

 

Top1 The stolen words

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Linguists call this a “syncope”, and it is quite a common driving force within live languages. In Portuguese, syncope turned “vossa mercê” into “você” and makes Brazilians actually saying “cê” in their everyday life. In English, syncope is behind the origin of Wednesday. “Woden’s Day”, the Nordic god Odin’s day, became “Wednesday” (from which, by the way, you don’t even hear the d anymore). The same happened to Christmas: it came from “Christ mass” and nobody remembers to pronounce the t anymore – we wish each other a merry “chrismas”, right?

“Right”, by the way, lost its t as well on the streets of East London. We may end up spelling “righ” in the foreseeable future…

[Source: Guardian]

TOP 5 – British recipes that can mess with your head

3 anos atrás ----- Cultura Inglesa Read All In English

Some people say Italy, France, Brazil and other countries have “cuisine”, while Britain has just “food”– but the truth is that, little by little, this has been proven to be nothing but a myth.

After all, British cuisine has been changing and adapting itself for a while now and it’s definitely prospering (not by accident, a lot of british chefs have actually become worldwide known celebrities).

Still, if you try to get to know traditional british food better, you might find some aspects of it a little weird. That’s because we’re not used to some of the UK’s favorite ingredients, and even when they’re cooking “normal” things, they still manage to do it in some pretty bizarre ways… Also, they’ve got a whole lot of different pies and puddings, and you can never really tell if they’re sweet or savoury.

We’ve selected a list of typical british recipes that can get you pretty confused – do you think you can tell which ones are sweet and which ones are savoury?

 

Top5  Yorkshire Puddings

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Yes, they’re called puddings, but, no, they don’t look like the puddings we’re used to eating in Brazil. They say these fried pastries were invented in order to reuse the fat that drops from roasted meat.

So, you get it, right? They’re definitely not served as dessert. Check out the recipe here.

Top4 Steak and Ale Pudding

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Now, this pudding might look a little more familiar to you than the first one. But this one is savoury! “Steak and Ale Pudding” is – obviously – made of steak. You can see the recipe here.

Top3 Ecclefechan Tart

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At this point, you’ve probably already realised that the fact that something is called a “pie” does not mean it tastes like one.

That pie looks like a pizza, right? But hold the phone! This Scottish pie is actually sweet. The filling has raisins and walnuts. Oh, by the way, Ecclefechan is a small village in Scotland. Check out the recipe here.

Top2 Black Bun Cake

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This one might look like what Brazilians call “empadão”, which is savoury, but that dish is called cake. Ok, another hint: the Black Bun Cake is generally served at New Year’s Eve at… dessert time!

Yes, it’s a cake, and it’s sweet. Recipe: here.

Top1 Stottie Cakes

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Stottie Cakes! This is easy, they’re called cakes and, by the picture, you can tell they’re sweet.

Actually, they’re a sort of Scottish bread, and are therefore: savoury! Stottie cakes are usually filled with ham, bacon or sausages. Check out the recipe here.

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Do you wanna get to know the British cuisine a little better 
and learn how to cook lots of different recipes? Go to our Pinterest board “British Cuisine”!

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Do jokes get lost in translation?

3 anos atrás ----- Read All In English

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Is a gag always funnier in its mother tongue? British newspaper The Guardian asked its readers across the globe to submit local jokes to check if they would survive the trip to English.

In the video above, you can see a selection of German, Mexican, Hungarian, Indian and Brazilian jokes told in the original language and then in English.

The Brazilian classic “não, nem eu” joke is on the list! Check it out here.

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Top 5 – Beatles songs in the English football

3 anos atrás ----- Read All In English

What does the biggest band of all times have to do with football in Britain? Everything! One doesn’t know for sure how much into football were Paul, John, Ringo and George – they’ve always been very discreet on that matter – but the influence that the Fab Four still has upon British footie fans, oh that’s very evident.

To prove so, we’ve selected five of the best chants intoned by the crowds at British stadiums. It’s out of this world! Just press play:

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Top5Coventry City’s “Twist and Shout”


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On January this year, Coventry City, a small English club, hit the sports headlines around the world. During the halftime of a game against almighty Arsenal F.C, the fans who were on the queue to get beer and food belted out with one voice the classic “Twist and Shout”. This brilliant flashmob didn’t restrain the club from losing 4-0, but it was an unforgettable moment at the Emirates Stadium.
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Top4 Manchester City’s “Hey Jude”
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Manchester City fans (Oasis’ Gallagher brothers included) sing Beatles beautifully as well. That video above shows them chanting “Hey Jude” after winning the local derby against Manchester United. “Jude” is often replaced by “City” at Etihad Stadium.

 

Top3Arsenal’s “Hey Jude”

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“Hey Jude” again. Supporters use all sorts of songs to praise their favourite players and “Hey Jude” is one of the most popular tunes for that purpose. Arsenal forward Oliver Giroud, for instance, was blessed with his very own version of “Hey Jude” (“Giroud” almost rhymes with “Jude”).

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Top2Liverpool’s “Yello Submarine”

Jamie Carragher has played for Liverpool his entire career. In 2013, after 15 years of devoted services, he hung up the boots, but his name was immortalised by the scousers in this moving version of “Yellow Submarine”.

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Top3 Liverpool’s “She Loves You” (1964)
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Liverpool is The Beatles home town, so it makes perfect sense to have the supporters of the biggest team in the city as the pioneers of the art of mixing Beatles with football (although, we must say, Paul McCartney revealed that his family supports Everton, Liverpool F.C. main rival). Anyway, this video above is epic. It depicts Liverpool F.C. fans at the kop singing “She Loves You” to celebrate the 1964 league title. Just watch it to get goosebumps all over you!

 

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[The Insider] At the backstage of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant

3 anos atrás ----- Blog Read All In English

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Jamie Oliver is a phenomenon. He’s a genius cook, a millionaire, the owner of an empire that employs more than 4 thousand people and, if all this wasn’t enough, Jamie has been recently voted Britain’s favourite celebrity chef.

His fame kicked off in 2002 after opening the Fifteen at 15 Westland Place in London, his first (and still most cherished) restaurant.

It was here that Jamie Oliver became a TV celebrity, started his successful charity foundation and gave birth to his thriving restaurant chains.

The Blog popped into the restaurant to talk to two of its senior workers and to investigate its backstage and some of the stories behind Britain’s favourite chef – including the reason why he loves Brazilians so much. Watch it above!
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The main dish (a haddock fish) ↑
The kitchen ↑

 

The menu ↑
Fifteen’s building ↑