Avempace internacional

Proyectos internacionales y de interculturalidad

Mes: junio 2016 (página 1 de 3)

Los británicos y la prensa

En el Reino Unido hay, como en todas partes, periódicos de derechas, de centro, de izquierda… En la sátira politica Yes, Prime Minister, de Jonathan Lynn & Antony Jay, de la que ya hemos hablado en la entrada anterior, el Primer Ministro Jim Hacker intenta demostrar a sus asesores Sir Humphrey y Bernard que él entiende muy bien la prensa británica y por qué la leen los ciudadanos. El fragmento no tiene desperdicio:

«Hacker: I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country. The Times is read by people who actually do run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who own the country. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country1The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about people who read The Sun.

Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country as long as she’s got big tits.»

1 The Morning Star is a socialist newspaper with a very small circulation (about 20,000). When this satire was written, it often supported the policies of the Soviet Union. That is the ‘other country’ in the extract.



Cómo debe ser un Primer Ministro

En el libro humorístico de Antony Jay & Jonathan Lynn, Yes, Prime Minister (BBC Books), encontramos este fragmento, donde queda claro como algunos altos funcionarios prefieren un Primer Ministro… un poco especial:

The ideal Prime Minister

Here is another extract from Yes, Prime Minister, the political satire. It is a section of the private diaries of a senior civil servant. In it, he describes his conversation with another top civil servant, in which they discuss who should become the new Prime Minister.

               “We take a fairly dim view of them both [the two candidates]. It is a difficult choice, rather like asking which lunatic should run the asylum.

               We both agreed that they would present the same problems. They are both interventionists and they would both have foolish notions about running the country themselves if they became Prime Minister (…) It is clearly advisable to look for a compromise candidate.

               We agreed that such a candidate must have the following qualities: he must be malleable, flexible, likeable, have no firm opinions, no bright ideas, not be intellectually committed, and be without the strength of purpose to change anything. Above all, he must be someone whom we know can be professionally guided, and who is willing to leave the business of government in the hands of experts”.

Prime Ministers since 1940

  • Winston Churchill (1940-45)
  • Clement Attlee (1945-51)
  • Winston Churchill (1951-55)
  • Anthony Eden (1955-57)
  • Harold Macmillan (1957-63)
  • Alec Douglas-Home (1963-64)
  • Harold Wilson (1964-70)
  • Edward Heath (1970-74)
  • Harold Wilson (1974-76)
  • James Callaghan (1976-79)
  • MargaretThatcher (1979-90)
  • John Major (1990-97)
  • Tony Blair (1997-2007)
  • Gordon Brown (2007-2010)
  • David Cameron (2010-2016)

(Tomado de James O’Driscoll, Britain for Learners of English, Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 87.)

The Angel of the North and the Godess of the North

«The Angel of the North» is a very well known steel sculpture by English artist Antony Gormley. It is placed in the north-east of England, near the city of Newcastle. It’s a 20-metre high figure and its wings measure 54 metres.



Another well known modern sculpture is the Goddess of the North, a huge reclining figure with breasts which are 30 metres high. It is placed very close to the main road and the east coast railway line to Scotland. She is made out of the earth and other waste materials that have been taken out of the ground for mining.


British symbols

The Kingdom of four nations, that is, Great Britain.

The English flag is St. George’s Cross. The Welsh flag is the Dragon Cadwallader. The Scottish flag is St. Andrew’s Cross. The Ireland flag is St. Patrick’s Cross. The Lion Rampant also represents Scotland, like the thistle (=cardo). The plant that symbolize England is the rose. The symbolic plants of Wales are the leek (=puerro) an the daffodil (=narciso). And the plant that symbolize Ireland is the shamrock (=trébol).


By colors, white represents England, orange represents Wales, blue represents Scotland and green represents Ireland.

The patron saint’s day of England is 23 April (St. George). Of Wales, 1 March (St. David). Of Scotland, 30 November (St. Andrew). Of Ireland, 17 March (St. Patrick).

John Bull, a symbol of Englishness

«John Bull is a fictional character who is supposed to personify Englishness and certain English virtues. He can be compared to Uncle Sam in the USA. He appears in hundreds of XIX century cartoons. Today, somebody dress as him often appears at football or rugby matches when England is playing. His appearance is typical of an XVIII century country gentelman, wvoking an idylic rural past» (From James O’Driscoll, Britain for learners of English, Oxford University Press, p. 10).


La pérfida Albión

Albion is a word used by poets and songwriters to refer to England or to Great Britaian as a whole. It comes from a Celtic word and was an early Greek and Roman name for Great Britain. The Romans associated Albion with the Latin word «albus», meaning white, probably referring to the chalk cliffs around Dover on the English coast, the first land formations one sights when crossing the sea from the European mainland.

The expression «La pérfida Albión» was used during the postwar period in Spain referring to England and the UK as an enemy.


«La pérfida Albión» es una expresión utilizada para referirse al Reino Unido en términos anglófobos u hostiles. Fue acuñada por el poeta y diplomático francés de origen aragonés Augustin Louis Marie de Ximénès (1726-1817) en su poema L´ere des Français (publicado en 1793), en el que animaba a atacar a «la pérfida Albión» en sus propias aguas: Attaquons dans ses eaux la perfide Albion. (…)

El adjetivo «pérfido» aplicado a Inglaterra ya se había empleado al menos desde el siglo XIII y fue usado también en uno de sus famosos sermones por el historiador y teólogo francés Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, que comparaba la oposición a la fe católica romana con la que los britanos, aislados por sus mares, sostuvieron contra los antiguos romanos: L’Angleterre, ah, la perfide Angleterre, que le rempart de ses mers rendait inaccessible aux Romains, la foi du Sauveur y est abordée.

Napoleón Bonaparte la popularizó durante las guerras posteriores y ha vuelto a ser utilizada en todos los conflictos en los que ha intervenido el Reino Unido, como por ejemplo en la Guerra de las Malvinas. También fue una expresión usada en la España de la posguerra.

En la rebelión irlandesa de 1916 conocida como el Alzamiento de Pascua se inspira una canción tradicional («Foggy Dew») que presenta a la pérfida Albión vacilante ante el ruido de los rifles al caer la negra noche:

Oh the night fell black and the rifles’ crack Made perfidious Albion reel.

En el capítulo XIX del libro Bodas Reales perteneciente a los Episodios Nacionales de Pérez Galdós se cita «que es la Inglaterra, esa puerca, ya lo sabe usted, a quien dan el mote de la pérfida Albión».

En fin, que hemos oscilado siempre entre la anglofilia y la anglofobia. Y ahora con el Brexit


The most successful British films (since 1981)

The longest-running theatrical production anywhere in the world is The Mousetrap, from the book by Agatha Christie. It opened in London in 1952. And, more than 23,000 performances later, it’s still going!
Here are some of the most successful British films since 1981.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Gregory’s Girl (1981)
Ghandi (1982)
A Letter to Brezhnev (1985)
My Beautiful Launderette (1985)
A Room with a View (1985)
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Shirley Valentine (1989)
The Crying Game (1992)
Howard’s End (1992)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
The Madness ofKing George (1994)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Trainspotting (1996)
The Full Monty (1997)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Notting Hill (1999)
Chicken Run (2000)
Billy Elliot (2000)
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Love Actually (2003)
Vera Drake (2004)
The Queen (2006)
The Last King of Scotland (2006).

Some interesting books about Britain

During the summer you can read some books lo learn English and a lot of things about Bristish culture, history, literature, daily life… There are here some titles:

  • James O’Driscoll, Britain for Learners of English, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • John Randle, Understanding Britain, Oxford, Blackwell.
  • E.M. Forster, A Passage to India (film and book).
  • Evelyn Waug, Brideshead Revisited (film and book).
  • Willy Russell, Educating Rita (film and book), about how Open University classes changed the life of a working-class woman.
  • Charles Dickesn, A Chritsmas Carol.
  • Paul Scott, The Raj Quartet, also set in India.
  • Paul Theroux, The Kingdom by the Sea.
  • Suart Maconie, Pies and Prejudice. In Search of the North, about what the northerners feel about themselves.
  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights.
  • Graham Swift, Waterland.
  • Hughes and Tudgill, English Accents and Dialects, Edward Arnold.
  • Kate Fox, Watching the English, Hodder &Stoughton.
  • Nigel Barley, Native Land, Penguin.
  • Georges Mikes, How to be an Alien, How to be Inimitable, How to be Decadent (Penguin), three humorous books.
  • Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island, Britain seen by an outsider.
  • A.A. Gill, The Angry Island.
  • Jeremy Paxman, The English.
  • Antony Jay & Jonathan Lynn, Yes, Prime Minister (BBC Books and TV series).
  • Sue Townsend, The Queen and I, a fantasy in which the Queen has a dream about her country becoming a republic.
  • Kenneth Harris, The Queen, Orion.
  • Antony Jay, Elizabeth R.: The Role of the Monarchy Today, BBC Books.
  • Andrew Morton, Diana, Her True Story; Diana, Her New Life, Michael O’Mara Books Ltd.
  • Crime and detective stories: Colin Dexter, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, A. Christie…
  • Raymond Seitz, Over here.
  • Philippe Daudy, Les Anglais.
  • Beppe Severgnini, An Italian in Britain.
  • Harry Ritchie, The Last Pink Bits, Sceptre, 1998.
  • Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim.
  • David Lodge, Small World.
  • Tom Sharpe, Wilt.
  • Malcolm Bradbury, Howard Jacobson.
  • Delia Smith, cookery writer.

¿Por qué hay tantos equipos británicos en la Eurocopa?

En estos días estamos asistiendo a la UEFA Football Cup, la competición deportiva por excelencia. España se ha clasificado para octavos de final y jugará el lunes, 27 de junio contra Italia. Pero… ¿e Inglaterra?, ¿cuántos equipos británicos juegan en la Eurocopa?

Veamos: el Gales de Gareth Bale, la Inglaterra de Rooney y, además, Irlanda del Norte. ¡Y menos mal que no se han clasificado Eire (República de Irlanda) y Escocia! La cuestión es que el Reino Unido es el resultado de la unión de cuatro reinos, y que, en algunas competiciones, participan como una sola nación y, en otras, como varias.

En los Juegos Olímpicos, solo participan Gran Bretaña e Irlanda.

En el cricket, Inglaterra y Gales forman una selección, Escocia otra e Irlanda la tercera.

En la Rugby Union, tienen selección nacional: England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Y en el fútbol, England, Walles, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. ¡Casi nada!

Bueno, pues nada más. ¡Y a por ellos!

Una cita de Samuel Johnson (1763)

El escritor inglés dijo su famosa frase en 1763:

«When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life».

Antiguas entradas