PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

The weirdest things about the UK (according to non-British people)

Why do bathrooms have a string as a light switch? 

Due to a "perceived risk" of electric shock when a person is immersed in water, they should not be able to reach a light switch or other electric fixtures, according to British regulations. That’s why there are no light switches in the bathrooms like there are in the kitchen or elsewhere in British houses.

Saying your goodbyes 

Foreigners might well be confused when they have their first telephone conversation and want to say goodbye to the other person. Instead of the short expressions used in countries like Germany, France, Italy or similar, British people will connect at least three of these together in a singsang-y voice. In fact “bye” will become a long “Alright, thanks, cheers, thanks, bye bye byyyye...”

Addressing strangers 

Oftentimes you will hear people say “love” to someone they don’t know very well. Especially older women use endearing terms like “sweetheart” or “my dear” to address strangers. While this is meant to sound welcoming and nice, some people might interpret it as inappropriate due to the boundaries of their mother tongues.

Saying thank you 

These particular expressions can even confuse American speakers of English as they are unique to the UK. If somebody is saying thank you they might say “ta” meaning “thank you” or the infamous “cheers mate”. Generally, you will become everyone’s “mate” which does not necessarily indicate a close friendship but embraces you into the way of British life, mate.

Food Visitors, be terribly aware of British food

As savoury and nice it may be, if you’re new to the country and somebody offers you a “pudding” it might not be what you expect. For German speakers at least, a pudding is either a chocolate or vanilla creamy pudding, a sweet delight for after dinner. Not so much for British people, here you may encounter inventions like “Steak and kidney pudding” or the savoury pies (not apple pies) which have colourful descriptions like “Admiral’s pie” (the admiral is not a fussy eater).

Water taps 

The UK has separate taps for hot and cold water in the bathroom sink. It stems from quite old regulations but still persists to this day. Many visitors are baffled by the sight of the separate taps as most countries have combined faucets. By Jasmin Schorr (with some help from the BBC!)
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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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