A Brit in Italy: 5 Things we do in the UK that would be considered a sin in Italy

Italian and British culture are not exactly the same; let’s discover some of the most common differences with Beth !!!

  1. Cocktails with meals

Cocktail culture in the UK & USA is pretty famous all over the world, but we take it to an extent that every Italian would gasp in horror at. We drink pina coladas with steak, long island iced teas with carbonara, strawberry mojitos with hot-dogs… any combination you can think of, we probably do it! Coming to Italy, I’ve learnt that there are certain drinking rules, e.g., white wine with fish, beer with pizza, red wine with red meat. These were all new to me, but I promise I now abide by your ‘laws’!

 

  1. Going out with wet hair

The infamous colpo d’aria is spoken about every day around the country, but many don’t know that it’s just an old wives’ tale! Of course, if you are already sick and you expose yourself to the cold, it could make it worse. But there’s no evidence that suggests going outside with wet hair can produce a virus or bacteria… which is why in the UK, you’ll see many people outside with wet hair. Plus, it rains so often that you’re bound to end up soaking wet anyway!

 

  1. Walking barefoot everywhere

Although the UK is famous for its terrible weather, the country just doesn’t seem to be as dusty as Italy. It is extremely common for us to walk around the house with no shoes or socks on, especially as most of our rooms have carpets. Additionally, those who live in the countryside or who have gardens can walk around barefoot even outside! As a child I spent most of my time with no shoes on, but of course you shouldn’t expect to see people barefoot in public. I think we can all agree that those who take their shoes off on airplanes are the worst!

 

  1. Drinking coffee at all hours (including with dinner)

This one is no longer a shock to most Italians, but yes… we drink cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, every coffee you can think of at all times of the day! Irish coffees (hot coffee with cream and whisky) are very popular after dinner, and it’s normal for us to have coffee with meals. This of course includes the full English breakfast, but I think you can let us off the hook for that one!

 

  1. Not saying hello/goodbye to everyone

When entering or leaving a party in the UK, we usually just say a sweeping hello/goodbye to the room, or to anyone who needs to know where we are. In Italy, however, I’ve learnt that it’s rude to leave someone out when greetings are involved. Hugs and kisses must be given to everyone! If you visit the UK, feel free to pull an Irish exit… we promise we won’t mind!

 

A Brit in Italy || Vocabulary

Put the following words to the correct definitions.

Four Ways to Describe a Photograph

We see hundreds of photographs every day. Whether it’s on social media or in advertisements; photos are a huge part of our lives. They allow us to document special moments, educate about current events and communicate emotions. Photos have started revolutions and helped to overthrow dictators. They also allow us to relive our favorite memories and see people who may no longer be with us. It is useful to be able to describe the technical aspects of a photograph.

 

Foreground v Background

When you want to describe something in a photograph, you may need to indicate if it is in the foreground or the background. The foreground the part of the image that is closer to you, and the background is the the part that is far away.

“In the foreground there are four men walking.”

“In the background there is a long street with cars parked on the sides of the road.”

The Beatles’ Road Into History on Abbey Road, Iain Macmillan

Color or Greyscale/Black&White

Most photos are taken either in Color or in Greyscale (also known as “black and white”). In the past, it was only possible to make photos in greyscale. Today, whether a photo is in color or greyscale is an artistic choice.

“This photo of the Hindenburg disaster is in greyscale.”

“Today most photos are taken in color.”

The Hindenburg Disaster, Sam Shere 1937

Landscape (horizontal) or Portrait (vertical)

The terms “portrait” and “landscape” can describe the subject of a photo: “portrait” meaning that it is a photo of a person and “landscape” meaning it is a photo of a natural scene. However, these terms can also be used to describe the orientation of a photo. A photo take horizontally is in “landscape orientation” and a photo taken vertically is in “portrait orientation”.

“This photo is in portrait orientation.”

“If you take a photo of a mountain, it will probably be in landscape orientation.”

Dorothea Lange | Migrant Mother | 1936

Natural or Artificial Lighting

Lighting is the most important factor in photography! “Photography” literally means “the study of light”. So the type of light the photographer uses is very important and can change the mood and quality of the photo. A photographer may use “natural light,” meaning light from the sun, or “The photographer used artificial lighting.”

“Landscape photos are almost always made with natural light.”

 

Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite, California. Ansel Adams. 1960

 

Cockney Rhyming Slang

When you visit London, you might overhear people talking like this and feel extremely confused. However, don’t despair! You haven’t lost your ability to understand the English language. Yes, we did teach you real English at Scrambled Eggs!

This is ‘Cockney rhyming slang’, an English dialect that originated in the capital city during the early 19thcentury. Although it is rarely used day-to-day in contemporary times but it remains a unique part of London’s history and culture.

The word ‘Cockney’ originated as a pejorative term for Londoners in the 14thcentury but nowadays generally refers to a native or long-time resident of the city. Traditionally this has been defined as someone who was born within earshot (three to six miles distance) of the bells at the St. Mary-le-Bow church in London’s East-End.

Cockney rhyming slang’ developed in the slums of London and was used by the poorest social classes as a flamboyant form of expression and to converse in code. It was also a useful mode of communication for criminals wanting to evade the law! It has since come to be viewed as a language of the people and a symbol of the city of London.

The dialect combines common words and cultural references into rhymes and non-sensical phrases to form a new vocabulary. Often the second word in a rhyme will sound like the word it intends to mean. Perhaps one of the most famous is ‘apples and pears’, which means ‘stairs’. Sometimes, a part of the phrase is used to convey meaning. For example, ‘butcher’s hook’, which means ‘look’ can be used as ‘have a butcher’s’, which means to inspect something.

So how does a listener understand what a speaker is saying? Well, you have to learn the definitions of Cockney phrases and rhymes by heart. With that in mind, ‘let’s have a butcher’s’ at some useful Cockney rhyming slang for your next trip to London.


Cockney Rhyming Slang | Match

Match the Cockney phrases with their definitions.

So how did you score?

0-2 correct – ‘Please sir, can I take the test again?’

3-4 correct – ‘Pretty Polly’

5 correct – ‘Cor, blimey guv’nor!’

Cockney Rhyming Slang | True or False

Decide if the statement is true or false.