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In lands I never saw -- they say
Immortal Alps look down --
Whose bonnets touch the firmament --
Whose sandals touch the town --

Meek at whose everlasting feet
A myriad daisy play --
Which, Sir, are you and which am I
Upon an August day?

Emily Dickinson
Learn English in July

National stereotypes

mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭

I was looking up what the Italian stereotype (eat pizza and pasta, lots of hand gestures, loud, flirts/romantics, fashionable, crazy drivers, hot tempered...Italian stereotypes: https://www.justlanded.com/english/Italy/Articles/Culture/Being-Italian) but then thought it would be interesting to see what came up to describe Brits.

True: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/14/british-stereotypes_n_5461440.html
Here it is suggested that the there's some truth in the fact that Brits tend to have a stiff upper lip, lover tea, drink too much alcohol, have a country of beautiful green countryside and lots of stately homes, are polite and apologise a lot, but can be snobbish, cook badly, love the Beatles, and are Dr Who fans.

But misconceptions include their love of queuing, there are red telephone boxes everywhere, people live in thatched cottages, and men wear bowler hats (I'm not sure I have ever seen one!)

Of course there are a lot of misconceptions about stereotypes, but do you think there is any truth in them?

Here are some resources that you might find interesting to explore:


  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    It seems when Europeans joke about eachother it can be crude, but never offensive @filauzio.

    In Britain, it's the Irish who usually get a raw deal, portrayed as stupid and slow witted. In France, Belgiums are the butt of their jokes and it sounds like every country loves to deride its neighbour. What about in Asia @Bubbly, @kindgnice, @chyijung. Which nationalities do you joke about?

  • kindgnicekindgnice LEO Motivator!!! Posts: 8,049 mod
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Poles steal cars, in particular German ones. ;):D
  • kindgnicekindgnice LEO Motivator!!! Posts: 8,049 mod
    @Xanthippe wrote: »
    Poles steal cars, in particular German ones. ;):D

    Seriously my friend? He he
  • kindgnicekindgnice LEO Motivator!!! Posts: 8,049 mod
    Haha. That sounds cool! I feel relieved because I'm not in Germany now. ;)
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    Any good reason behind. ;)

    Poles steal cars, in particular German ones. ;):D

  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I don't know about it too much as we as Pakistani make jokes of each other all the times. :) But, I have heard one thing about Brits that they don't get easily attached with you or don't involve in any relationship easily. Two of my colleagues and my students who are there usually say it about Brits. It may be their personal judgement but I don't feel it by talking to you and other Brits on this forum.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    Hahaha @Xanthippe. Wicked Poles! Keywords for Poles: neurotic; never smile but complain a lot; hard bargainers; babysitters; intolerant; heavy alcohol users; your car will be stolen once you cross the border; easy-going; conservative; intellectual; attractive women, aggressive men – always up to pick a fight; hard-working; helpful; listen to folk music; sit in church all day if nothing else to do; very religious... http://www.nationalstereotype.com/polish-stereotypes/

    The Snarky Nomad (that word again @kindgnice) lists some amusing Polish stereotypes from an American perspective. From being dumb vodka guzzlers (but as a country, more sober than the UK!), to being unsmiling, communist, antisemitic, religious zealots! The Snarky Nomad debunks these commonly held prejudices very nicely. Over vodka, of course. Na zdrowie!


    @Bubbly Number 5 on this other list http://www.staypoland.com/poland-stereotypes.htm comes up with car theft!

    This building is a sign of communism that remains in Warsaw and used to be called the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science.

  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @Xanthippe is making this stereotype false by speaking English. :)

    First stereotype: Poles do not speak foreign languages.

  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016
    @mheredge I have never been there but majority of people have a great curiosity about British countryside. This has been well projected in different TV series.

    The British countryside really IS beautiful. All rolling hills, green meadows and sweet rural villages.
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016
    @mheredge are these boxes still in practice? :)

    Our country is littered with red telephone boxes.

  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    This one is really hilarious.

    We're all related to the royal family.
    Oh, that we were! Then we would all have been invited to The Wedding Of The Century rather than watching/enduring it on telly. No, don't ever make a British friend in the hope that they'll be able introduce you to Kate and Wills one day. They won't. They'll just be squashing their nose up against the railings of Buckingham Palace like the rest of you plebs.
  • kindgnicekindgnice LEO Motivator!!! Posts: 8,049 mod
    Thanks for sharing this @mheredge. ;)
    Have you been to Poland many times?
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016
    @mheredge, there is an old joke about the Palace of Culture and Science: it is small but very elegant. ;)

    But I was a bit shocked while reading that we were supposedly communist. To me it has always been the opposite.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    As for religion: the Catholic Church is very influential. E.g. catechism has been introduced in public schools. It isn't obligatory but the sad fact is that schools aren't entirely lay and teaching priests are paid by the state.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    After all I may be too drunk to understand the world. Still guzzling vodka. ;)
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 2,043 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Maybe I've got British ancestors; I would consider having one After Eight at 7:30 a real delight, perhaps not exactly a thrill though; we Italians aren't that much buttoned up I suppose.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    Polish vodka is rather good though @Xanthippe.

    Brits do tend to be fairly reserved @Bubbly. That's a fact rather than a stereotype in my opinion. I found a couple of interesting articles about Pakistani stereotyping that you might like to read. https://www.thelogicalpakistani.com/2015/12/breaking-pakistani-stereotypes/ and http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/13503/‘pack-is-tan’-stereotypes-in-the-us/.

    And as for Filipino stereotypes @kindgnice! Is there any truth in the list here?
  • kindgnicekindgnice LEO Motivator!!! Posts: 8,049 mod
    Thanks for sharing this link to me my friend @mheredge.

    Let's tackle first about the whore thing, I can't blame other nationalities like Americans why they perceive Filipinas as whores, because I sometimes saw Filipinas together with other nationalities like Americans, maybe they met from online dating sites. On the flip side, I'd say that this is just applicable for those Filipinas who have no choice but to date and marry foreigners to succeed in life. But for me, not all Filipinas are desperate to do this, and in general, for me, Filipinas are still traditional and conservative.

    With regards to time, I'd say that it's a humor turned to be true because some Filipinos go with the flow. There's also a joke here saying, for example, if we'll meet tomorrow in a coffee shop, the inviter will say, "Hey bro, let's meet tomorrow at Starbucks coffee shop, 9am sharp! Not Filipino time!!!!".

  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I don't think that all brits can be conservatives!

    Regarding stereotyping link that you shared is based on some old facts. These stereotypes have been replaced with the new ones particularly related to extremists/fundamentals.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe not all Brits @Bubbly, but an awful lot if you believe the polls that elected Cameron's government into power.
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge It might be. Cameron has a different strategy to play with this time. Though, staying away from EU nightmare is over now.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    'French people wear berets while riding bicycles with baskets full of baguettes.' My grandfather used to wear a beret and carry bagettes under him arm (though never on a bicycle). But you'd be hard pushed to see many nowadays.

    Read more: http://www.nationalstereotype.com/french-stereotypes/

    And for more on French stereotypes:


    https://frenchtogether.com/french-stereotypes/ (actually number 10 is true).

  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge gosh! quite weird stereotypes. But, I think @Zom can tell us about these stereotypes in a better way. :)
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 3,080 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016
    hehe - @Bubbly, one day I might jump in one of the Speaking Club sessions, and we will bring these articles about French stereotypes to discuss.
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @Zom not a bad idea. :)
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    So @Zom, how many of the things people say about the French are true? A lot of French people tell me themselves that they like to complain. Brits by contrast do tend to be more stoical.
  • hazel27hazel27 Posts: 570 ✭✭✭
    'How to be an alien' is a book written by George Mikes and is full of British stereotypes.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016
    @Zom, you, poor frog/snail eaters! ;) But we still love Napoleon. :)

    Napoleon again: ;)

    Nous traverserons la Vistule et la Warta,
    Nous serons Polonais.
    Bonaparte nous a donné l'exemple,
    Comment nous devons vaincre.

    If you have a Napoleon substitute you are kindly requested to send him now. We need his help. ;)
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