CLASS SYSTEM IN GREAT BRITAIN
Some things about Britain make sense only to the British. Of these, probably the strangest is social
There are three main class divisions in Britain with some 'in between' variations (such as ‘upper
middle’): upper, middle and lower or working class. And people in Britain are very conscious of class
The different classes in Britain tend to eat different food at different time of the day (and call the
meals by different names), they like to talk about different topics, they enjoy different pastimes and
sports and have different ideas about the correct way to behave.
The easiest way to guess the class to which the person belongs to is to listen to the way he or
A person’s accent in Britain is an identity card. Other people will be able to say what social
background you come from, where you were born or educated, and what kind of job you do.
Changing an accent is difficult, even for actors. To achieve the desired accent, a British person must
speak it from childhood. This is one of the reasons why people still send their children to expensive
private schools. It is not that the education there is better, but because, as adults, they will have the
right accent and manners.
A person’s vocabulary is also very important. Here is a good class-test you can try: when talking to an
English person, say something too quietly for them to hear you properly. A lower-middle or middle-
middle person will say ‘Pardon?’; an upper-middle will say ‘Sorry?’ (or perhaps ‘Sorry – what?’); but
an upper-class and a working-class person will both say ‘What?’ The working person, however, will drop the ‘t’ – ‘Wha’?’
‘Toilet’ is another word that makes the higher classes exchange knowing looks. The correct upper
word is ‘lavatory’ or ‘loo’. The working classes all say ‘toilet’, as do most lower-middles and middle-
middles, the only difference being the working-class dropping of the final ‘t’.
Here are some more examples:
(about midday meal)
An interesting thing about the class system in Britain is that very often it has nothing to do with
money. A person with an upper-class accent, using upper-class words, will be recognized as upper
class even if he or she is unemployed or homeless. And a person with working-class pronunciation,
who calls a sofa ‘a settee’, and his midday meal ‘dinner’, will be identified as working class even if he is
a multi-millionaire living in a grand country house.
Adopted from the Speak-out (What are the British like)
to make sense иметь смысл, быть понятным
in between промежуточный, пограничный
social background социальное происхождение
to achieve добиваться, достигать
to drop опускать, не произносить
loo разг. туалет
serviette франц. салфетка
settee диван, канапе
to have nothing to do with не иметь никакого отношения к
grand великолепный, роскошный
Видео по теме
British Accent training