United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Island. It is an island nation in north-western Europe. England, where William Shakespeare and the 1960s popular rock music band were born, is where the capital London is.
Outside those few generally known facts, there is a horde of other less known or totally unknown facts about United Kingdom. For example, did you know not everyone in the United Kingdom is not English? By what means do UK people know people’s class? What does “stiff upper lip” mean? And at meal, what part of the fork do they scoop food?
Find out the answers to all these and lots more in the following 11 weird facts about United Kingdom.
Population: 63,742,970 (2014 Estimate)
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Currency: Pound Sterling
Prime Minister: Theresa May
Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II
Weird Facts About United Kingdom
1. Not All Are English
It is common to hear people call everyone from Britain English. It is important to know the difference before you meet some British people who are not English. Someone from Northern Ireland is Irish; someone from Scotland is a Scot, someone from Wales is Welsh. Calling these people English could offend them. Only a person from England is English.
2. Detecting People’s Class
It is true that Britain appears to be egalitarian to the unsuspecting person. But there are classes and most Britons can suss out a person’s class through a number of complex variables. These include:
- The person’s demeanor
- The person’s accent
- The person’s manners
- The person’s comportment
Talk about weird!
3. Meaning of “Stiff Upper Lip”
A very popular British phrase is the “stiff upper lip” which is still very much around today. What it means is to remain calm and collected and not act out one’s emotions, especially when such emotions are as a result of adversity. What is weird about it is, it means just grin and bear it.
4. Reserved and Private
British people are very reserved and private. Personal privacy matters to them so much that they are likely to take offence or just feel mildly hurt if you so much as ask, “Where are you from.” This would make them think you are trying to place them in a class. Weird!
5. Sticklers for Protocol
Because of the fact that British people are reserved and private, they are conservative and are sticklers for adherence to protocols. They build friendship much more slowly than people from other nations. So, do not rush into thinking you already have a friend.
6. Keep Eye Contacts Short
In any meeting, a firm handshake is usually the norm. You are expected to hold the persons eye when shaking hands. But you are advised never to prolong the eye contact. If you do that, you will definitely make the person feel uncomfortable. Is that weird or what?!
7. Proper Introduction Procedures
In Britain, protocol still holds in nearly everything. So, unless you are very upper class and senior yourself, never expect any upper class person or very senior person to be introduced to you. The order is for the person of lower status to be introduced to the one of higher status.
8. Entertainments at Home
British people enjoy entertaining people in their homes. And although they are sticklers for punctuality, they expect you to arrive 10-15 minutes late for the meal. However, if they invite you to a restaurant, you are advised to arrive right on time.
9. Using Back of Fork
British table manners are continental. However there is a small variation: in Britain, the fork I held with the tines facing down. That way, weird as it appears the food is scooped to the back of the fork. And that is something that really takes time to master.
10. Fork and Knife Languages
If for any reason you need to get up from the meal table when you have not yet eating, indicate you are still eating by crossing your knife and fork on your plate, with the fork over the knife. But if you have finished eating, indicate by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate.
11. Who Pays at Where
If you are invited to a drink in the pub, it is common to pay for a round of drink for all in your group. If invited to a restaurant, the one who gave the invitation is usually the person that pays. Do not fuss over the bill. Just reciprocate and be the one extending the invitation next time.