¿Qué es el Brexit?

Seguro que has oído la palabra Brexit alguna vez pero, ¿todavía no estás seguro de qué es? Lee este artículo de la BBC y descúbrelo.

Tipo de texto: artículo (adaptado)

Nivel: Upper-Intermediate / Advanced

Fuente: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-46318565

Brexit: Your simple guide to the UK leaving the EU

Feeling a little lost on Brexit? Never really got your head around it in the first place? Let us walk you through it.

What is Brexit?

Brexit is short for «British exit» – and is the word people use to talk about the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union (EU).

What is the EU?         

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 countries which trade with each other and allow citizens to move easily between the countries to live and work.

The UK joined the EU, then known as the EEC (European Economic Community), in 1973.

Why is the UK leaving?

A public vote – called a referendum- was held on Thursday 23 June 2016 when voters were asked just one question – whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union.

The Leave side won by nearly 52% to 48% – 17.4m votes to 16.1m – but the exit didn’t happen straight away.

It was due to take place on 29 March 2019 – but the departure date has been delayed.

What has happened so far?

The 2016 vote was just the start. Since then, negotiations have been taking place between the UK and the other EU countries.

The discussions have been mainly over the «divorce» deal, which sets out exactly how the UK leaves – not what will happen afterwards. This deal is known as the Withdrawal Agreement.

What does the withdrawal agreement say?

The withdrawal agreement covers some of these key points:

  • How much money the UK will have to pay the EU in order to break the partnership – that’s about £39bn
  • What will happen to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU, and equally, what will happen to EU citizens living in the UK
  • How to avoid the return of a physical border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland when it becomes the frontier between the UK and the EU

A length of time, called the transition period, has been agreed to allow the UK and EU to agree a trade deal and to give businesses the time to adjust. That means that if the withdrawal agreement gets the green light, there will be no huge changes between the date of Brexit and 31 December 2020.

Another, much shorter, document has also been drawn up that gives an overview of what the UK and EU’s future relationship will be in the longer term. This is the political declaration. However, neither side has to stick exactly to what it says – it is a set of ambitions for future talks.

The deal was agreed by the UK and the EU in November 2018, but it also has to be approved by British MPs.

Have MPs backed the Withdrawal Agreement?

Well, no. They have voted against it three times. On 15 January they rejected the deal by 432 votes to 202 – a record defeat. Then on 12 March, after Theresa May had gone back to the EU to secure further legal assurances, they rejected it again.

And on 29 March – the original day that the UK was due to leave the EU –MPs rejected it for a third time (this vote was slightly different as it did not include the political declaration).

Is that why the UK didn’t leave on 29 March as planned?

Yes. As MPs did not approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, the prime minister was forced to ask other EU leaders to delay Brexit.

The new deadline is 31 October. However, the UK can leave before then if the prime minister can somehow get her deal approved by Parliament.

Why do people oppose the deal?

There are a broad range of complaints, many of which claim the deal fails to give back to the UK control of its own affairs from the EU.

One of the biggest sticking points has been over what happens at the Irish border.

Both the EU and UK want to avoid the return of guard posts and checks, so something called the backstop- a sort of safety net – was included in the deal.

What is the backstop?

The backstop is meant to be a last resort to keep an open border on the island of Ireland – whatever happens in the Brexit negotiations.

It would mean that Northern Ireland, but not the rest of the UK, would still follow some EU rules on things such as food products.

Could Brexit actually not happen at all?

It is still written into law that the UK will be leaving, even though the deadline has shifted.

The European Court of Justice has said the UK could cancel Brexit altogether without the agreement of other nations, but politically, that’s not likely to happen.

What happens if the UK leaves without a deal?

«No deal» means the UK would have failed to agree a withdrawal agreement.

That would mean there would be no transition period after the UK leaves, and EU laws would stop applying to the UK immediately.

Being British!

Hay cosas que seguro no sabes sobre la gente británica. Por eso, en este artículo te dejamos alguna información interesante.

Many language students tend to focus strictly on learning grammar, vocabulary and English slang and expressions. But it is as important to learn about the English culture and social norms. We hope with these points you become more familiar with the British customs and unwritten rules. Let’s go!

British culture has its roots in the United Kingdom‘s rich history, the people and the four countries — England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — that it’s made up of each with their own unique traditions and customs.

British culture and social norms are very unique. One of the most important things to know before going to any country is what their cultural and social norms are. As an international student from another country, you may be clueless. This article introduces you to everything you need to know about the British culture.

Thing you need to know about the British people

The British are punctual. Being late is odd and, in some cases, considered to be rude. If you’re going to be late to something, contact those involved as soon as you know you will be late. Also, it is less rude to be late to a dinner party at someone’s home than it is to be late to a public meeting (such as dinner at a restaurant).

Never jump lines, known as “queues” in UK. In some countries jumping the queue may be acceptable, but

 in UK, people may not be very happy with you and will definitely let you know how unhappy they are about the situation. Standing patiently in the queue is a normal part of British culture.

In the UK, it’s acceptable to keep one arm’s length between yourself and those you are speaking with. Any closer is assumed to be aggressive and can be uncomfortable for those native to UK.

Please, thank you, and sorry are normal parts of everyday conversations and interactions. Some people are simply baffled by how polite British people are. As an international student, you may not be used to this, but you will probably get used to it quickly after your arrival!

When greeting a good friend or family member in UK, you do not simply shake their hand. Many times, especially if one of the people that are greeting or being greeted is female, you will frequently give and/or receive a small kiss on the cheek. If you are not a close friend or family member, then the physical touch is perceived as odd or uncomfortable (you may shake hands, but often a smile and a bow of the head is acceptable enough).

The British have a high amount of respect for older adults and the disabled. If you are on public transportation, you are expected to give up your seat if someone who is disabled or older comes onto the tram (or whatever vehicle you are in) and there is no other seat. If an older adult or someone who is disabled seems to be struggling with something, you are also expected to ask the person if they need your assistance.

 

British people rarely use superlatives and are not very animated when they speak. They value privacy over everything else, so be careful what you ask because you could be prying without meaning to.

British people often avoid extended eye contact. They find it uncomfortable and intimidating.

If you are invited to the home of a native British person, it is normal to bring along a gift, such as chocolate, wine, or flowers to say thank you.

If you go to a pub with your friends, it is common practice to buy a round of drinks for those who you came with.

The person who has invited you to dinner is typically the one who pays. Do not argue about whose responsibility it is, rather, invite them out to dinner at some point and pay for them to reciprocate.

These little cultural differences will be a regular part of adapting to life in UK, and so it’s important to learn them before you even arrive. You want to make sure that you don’t offend anyone as you’re getting used to life in UK.

If you don’t do these things naturally, the British will definitely know that you’re from out of town. This knowledge will help you get better adjusted to British norms before you start enjoying the rest of student life while attending university in UK.

 

Source: https://www.studying-in-uk.org/british-culture-and-social-norms/

Valentine’s Day in the United Kingdom

Valentine’s Day is a romantic observance celebrated in the UK and many other countries every February 14.

When Is Valentine’s Day 2019?

Thursday, February 14th, 2019.

Is Valentine’s Day a Public Holiday?

Valentine’s Day is only an observance, so unless it falls on a Sunday, shops and banks should be open. However, restaurants, hotels, movie theatres, and other romantic venues might be very busy. Be sure to book your room, table, or tickets well in advance.

Valentine’s Day in the UK

According to a 2017 study more than half (52%) of the UK population didn’t plan to buy a gift for their loved ones for Valentine’s Day. 48% didn’t even plan on buying a card.

However, the study conducted for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) calculated that the people in the UK would spend almost half a billion pounds on Valentine’s Day gifts, men spending about 40 pounds each, which is nearly twice as much as women. The study also predicted that the average spending on Valentine’s Day would rise 12% compared to the year before.

Valentine’s Cards and Dinners

Like Halloween, Valentine’s Day is a celebration embraced by commerce and used heavily in marketing. Cupid, love hearts, red roses, lovebirds, and the color red is used to symbolize romantic love on stuffed toys, cards, chocolates, and other gifts. It is common for couples to eat a romantic meal together on this day, and restaurants are often booked out.

More than 25 million cards are sent for Valentine’s Day each year. Some people also send Valentine’s Day cards to friends and family to show their love and appreciation.

Regional Valentine’s Celebrations

Nearly half of UK adults consider themselves to be romantic, and Valentine’s Day is considered theday of romantic love, often celebrated with a candlelit meal or a romantic getaway.

The City of Love

Glasgow, Scotland calls itself the “City of Love,” as it is believed that the forearm of one of the two St Valentines is kept in the church of Blessed St John Duns Scotus. The relic is decorated with red roses. Special services dedicated to lovers and featuring prayers for those still seeking it are held in the church on Valentine’s Day. The reliquary holding the forearm is a popular spot for men to propose to their girlfriends on Valentine’s Day.

Gretna Green, the first Scottish village encountered when traveling from England to Glasgow, was famous for English couples to elope to as they could marry at 16 there according to Scottish law. It is still a popular place for marriages, especially on February 14.

Jack Valentine and St Dwynwen

In Norfolk, Valentine’s Eve is celebrated by the mystical figure of Jack Valentine knocking on back doors and leaving gifts for kids and adults alike. Jack Valentine is also known as Old Father Valentine or Old Mother Valentine.

In Wales, St Dwynwen’s Day on January 25 is celebrated instead of, or in addition to, Valentine’s. St Dwynwen is the patron saint of Welsh lovers.

The English Origin of Valentine’s

The modern origins of Valentine’s Day come from England. The first real association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love, or “love birds,” comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem Parlement of Foules. Dating from 1382, it states: “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1600–1601) refers to both Saint Valentine’s Day and the phrase “to be your Valentine,” showing that Valentine’s Day was established in British culture by that time.

Typical food to eat in London

Londres tiene infinidad de platos típicos con los que sorprenderte

If you are thinking about going to London this Christmas Holidays, here you have some ideas of what to eat and where to go.

London has several restaurants where you can try traditional English food, if you do try, let us know what you thought about it!

  1. Fish and chips. This traditional British dish is on the top of any foodie list for visitors to London and the UK. Fish and Chips is traditionally eaten with mushy peas and garnished with salt and vinegar! One of the places where you can try is Poppy’s Shoreditch  or Camden.
  2. Sunday roast with yorkshire pudding. Sunday Roast is a true British classic. Traditionally this meal is eaten any time from 12 noon to 5pm on Sundays.  Traditionally served with beef, Yorkshire pudding’s a  true British classic. A traditional roast comes with meat, potatoes, gravy and vegetables and should be so large you find it difficult to walk afterwards!
    The best traditional Sunday Roast can be found in local pubs like The Three Stags, in Kennington or the Windsor Castle, in Notting Hill.
  3. Pie and mash. Pie and Mash has come a long way from simple steak and kidney or pork pies. Today there are a whole plethora of pie types to try! This dish is a real British treat! Pie served with a pile of creamy mashed potatoes and lashings of gravy. One of the best places in London to have this is The Windmill Mayfair.
  4. Bangers and mash. Another classic with mashed potatoes as a side is Bangers and Mash. This is a British typical dish that is guaranteed to keep you full, happy and warm on a cold London day! Essentially sausage and potatoes. One of the best places to eat this is Mother Mash, Soho.
  5. Full English breakfast. You need to find a dish that incorporates: sausages, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, blood pudding, potatoes and toast. This traditional British dish is easy to make, tasty and usually inexpensive. Enjoy! The Breakfast Club is a very good choice!

Next month I will show you the great variety of desserts that London can offer .

See you next month!  

The Royal Wedding

By J. O’Fee (teacher at AIT Language School)

La boda Real fue uno de los acontecimientos del año 2018 en Reino Unido

Royal wedding

Last Saturday, London witnessed the great event of the year in the UK. Do you know what I’m talking about? Let me give you some clues…

There were crowds cheering, waving British flags, eager to get a glimpse of the beautiful couple. The streets were full of colourful flowers and shops overloaded with souvenirs. Horses and cars were parading along the streets, trumpets and drums were played by smart, uniformed soldiers.

So, do you know what I’m talking about? Yes, of course you do: it’s the Royal Wedding! Prince Charles and the late Lady Di’s youngest son, Harry, married the American actress Meghan Markle. The ceremony took place in St. George’s Chapel, which is the place the groom was christened when he was 3 months old. The chapel is just twenty minutes from London in beautiful, cosy surroundings. It was a day to remember!

Royal wedding Royal wedding

Long gone are the days the cheeky, freckled-face, red haired boy would always be in trouble, so naughty! He’s grown into a fine, handsome young man who has married the girl he’s fallen in love with. Just like a fairy tale. And as fairy tales always end… I hope they live happily ever after!

Royal wedding

Easter Holidays

by J. O’Fee, teacher at AIT Language School.

Con las vacaciones de Semana Santa a la vista, te explicamos cómo se celebran tradicionalmente estas fiestas en UK.

Everyone looks forward to holidays… Who doesn’t! Holidays are designed for us to enjoy ourselves, to forget about the daily routine, relax and do things we normally don’t have time to do.

How do we celebrate Easter in the UK?

Easter in UK is short (and usually rainy) holiday. We eat chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies.

The normal thing to do is to go to the park with a picnic and “roll your egg”. This consists of rolling a chocolate or hard-boiled egg (previously painted by the owner) down a hill. It represents the  stone in Christ’s tomb being removed before his resurrection.

Would you like to know more about the British Easter and practice your listening skills? Watch this video by English Like A Native!

We wish you all a Happy Easter… Eat lots of chocolate, and enjoy yourselves!

British Customs You Should Know

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

Cultures and customs all over the world are distinctive and unique to each country. Many factors, such as environmental, social, economic, technological, political, religious, artistic, and educational, help contribute and shape this diversity.

By learning and distinguishing between different cultures and customs, you will be well-prepared for adapting in new environments.

Great Britain is no exception. When travelling to Britain, it makes sense to know some of the customs that can allow you to avoid making mistakes and enjoy a richer experience. Here are six customs you should know about:

1) Visiting

In most houses in Britain, doors are usually kept closed. It is customary to visit people at a pre-arranged time and day. By and large, people are not comfortable if you just drop in.  Nevertheless, if someone says to drop in at anytime, feel free to do so as long as it is not in the middle of the night.

2) Greeting

In Britain, the handshake is the common form of greeting. When you meet people for the first time, it is normal to shake hands. A firm handshake is the norm; there are no issues over gender in Britain. The usual formal greeting is ‘How do you do?’ and a firm handshake, but with a lighter touch between men and women.

‘How do you do?’ is a greeting, not a question. So the correct response is to repeat ‘How do you do?’ You say this when shaking hands with someone.

In Britain, unlike some other European countries, it is not usual to embrace or kiss the other person (unless they are family or a very close friend). The British might seem a little stiff and formal at first but after a while they will relax as you get to know each other. Avoid prolonged eye contact when you meet people for the first time, as it might make them feel uncomfortable.

3) Queuing

Queuing is a unique part of the British culture. People in Britain usually form a queue or a single line in a shop or at a bus stop. It is advisable to take your place in the queue and not try to muscle your way to the front as this may annoy other people in the queue. If you are really in a desperate hurry, people will always let you through to the front if you politely ask.

4) Punctuality

The Brits are generally punctual, especially the Scots. The Brits consider it rude and impolite if you turn up late for an appointment.  Punctuality is very important in business situations. In most cases, the people you are meeting will be on time. Call even if you will be 5 minutes later than agreed. If you have been delayed or cannot make the appointment, then make an effort to contact the person to let them know.

5) How to Behave in Public Places

It is impolite to stare at people in public places; and spitting in the street is considered to be very bad mannered.

Most members of the British public will happily provide you with directions if you approach them politely.  Make sure you are familiar with terms like roundabouts, level crossings, traffic lights, zebra crossings, bus lanes, contra flow, and, if using any of the motorways, traffic jams.

6) Thank you / I’m Sorry / Please

The Brits say ‘thank you’ a lot, even for minor things. If you accidentally bump into someone, say ‘sorry’. They probably will too, even if it was your fault! This is a habit and can be seen as very amusing by an ‘outsider’.

Sometimes the Brits say ‘cheers’ instead of ‘thank you’. You may hear ‘cheers’ said instead of ‘good bye’. What they are really saying is ‘thanks and bye’. There are no absolute rules about when to use polite terms, but you should certainly use them when shopping or addressing strangers. 


Adapted from “Ten British Etiquette and Customs You Should Learn
http://internationalscholarshipguide.com/10-british-etiquette-customs-shouldnt-forget/

Riddle Game!

A riddle (acertijo / endevinalla) is a puzzle or joke in which you ask a question that seems to be nonsense but which has a clever or amusing answer. Many riddles appear in similar form across many countries, and often continents. One of them is the Person-riddle, the most famous example of which is the Riddle of the Sphinx.

riddle Sphinx The Sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion. It is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, and to have asked a riddle of travellers to allow them passage. The exact riddle asked by the Sphinx was not specified by early tellers of the stories, and was not standardized as the one given below until late in Greek history.

It was said in late lore that the Greek gods Hera or Ares sent the Sphinx from her Ethiopian homeland to Thebes in Greece where she asks all passers-by the most famous riddle in history:

«Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?»

She strangled and devoured anyone who could not answer. 

Oedipus, a mythical Greek king of Thebes, solved the riddle by answering: Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age. Bested at last, the tale continues, the Sphinx then threw herself from her high rock and died.


Riddle Game

Here you are some riddles to share and challenge your friends. Have fun!

  1. What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?
  2. What can you catch but not throw?
  3. What goes around the world but stays in a corner?
  4. What kind of nut has a hole?
  5. A cowboy rode into town on Friday, stayed three days, and left on Friday. How is this possible?
  6. What do you call a fish without an eye?
  7. If you drop a yellow hat in the Red Sea, what does it become?

 

 

Here are the answers:

  1. A towel
  2. A cold
  3. A stamp
  4. A donut
  5. His horse’s name is ‘Friday’
  6. A ‘fsh’!
  7. Wet

Riddles source: http://stickyball.net/jokes.html

A British Christmas Dinner

¿Cómo imaginas una comida de Navidad en el Reino Unido? ¿Cuáles crees que son las diferencias entre los platos que se comen allí y los que se comen en nuestro país?

El artículo que compartimos hoy (especialmente recomendado para estudiantes avanzados) explica con detalle y fina ironía inglesa los platos tradicionales navideños y las tradiciones que los acompañan.

Pero antes de empezar, ¿por qué no ponernos en situación con un listening? Aquí tienes este vídeo de Anglophenia sobre los platos que se cocinan por Navidad en distintas partes del mundo.

¿Qué parecidos y diferencias ves entre las tradiciones de otros países y las del tuyo?

 

Ahora sí, te dejamos con el artículo de F. McAlpine, Anatomy of a British Christmas Dinner.

Christmas is coming!

En el post de hoy te traemos una canción tradicional inglesa acompañada de algunas actividades para hacer con los niños de la casa. Para que aprovechéis la Navidad para aprender algunos conceptos nuevos en inglés.


¡Ya estamos en diciembre!

La Navidad está a la vuelta de la esquina y pronto empezarán a oírse villancicos por todas partes. Este año ¿por qué no sorprender a tu familia cantando en inglés?


Christmas Is Coming is a nursery rhyme and Christmas song with lyrics as follows:

Christmas Goose / Will Bullas

Christmas is coming,

And the goose is getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat!

If you haven’t got a penny,

A farthing will do.

If you haven’t got a farthing

A shilling will do.

If you haven’t got a shilling…

GOD BLESSES YOU!

 

 

 


Now it’s your turn

  • There are different versions of this Christmas carol, so the lyrics may change depending on the version. Can you spot the differences between the written poem and the song these young musicians sing?

  • Do you know what a shilling, a farthing and a penny means? Look on Google (English currency) and you’ll find out!
  • Do you celebrate Christmas the same way as they do in Great Britain?
  • Can you name any differences between your country and Great Britain? And, of course similarities?
  • Do you hang your stocking next to the chimney on Christmas Eve?
  • Do you leave food for Rudolph and a glass of milk for Santa?

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