A. You’re going to listen to four people talking about the typical characteristics of people from their country (England, Ireland, Scotland, and the USA). Listen and try to match the speakers 1-4 with their nationality. Use their accent and what they say about people from their country to help you.
English ___ Scottish ___
Irish ___ American ___
B. Listen again. Write down at least one negative and two positive characteristics about each nationality. Does each person think they are typical or not? Why (not)?
English 3 Scottish 4
Irish 2 American 1
Speaker 1 (American)
(+) individualistic, hard-working, optimistic
(-) materialistic, very interested in money
He is quite typical (optimistic and individualistic and has drive = energy and ambition), but is not materialistic.
Speaker 2 (Irish)
(+) sociable, easy-going, religious, family oriented, good storytellers
(-) melancholic, nostalgic, drink a lot
She is quite typical but not melancholic.
Speaker 3 (English)
(+) tolerant, open to new ideas
(-) self-satisfied, arrogant towards foreigners, lazy, careless in the way they dress, drink too much
He is not very typical but admits to having one of the weaknesses.
Speaker 4 (Scottish)
(+) proud of their identity, inventive, sociable, like to have a good time, great travellers, well behaved abroad
(-) melancholic, negative attitude towards their neighbours (the English), quite negative towards foreigners
She is not typical but is patriotic.
I think above all we are strong individuals. We want as few rules as possible governing our lives. We are also very hard-working. People here live to work and don’t work to live. We are also very optimistic, and we think that if we work hard, we can achieve anything. On the negative side, I think we are extremely materialistic. The measure of success for most people here is money. We are extremely concerned with ‘things’ – possessions and the bigger the better. Personally, I think I have inherited the typical optimism and drive, and I’m also an individualist, so I think I’m probably quite typical, but I hope I’m less materialistic than many of my countrymen seem to be.
Generally speaking, I think we are very sociable and easy-going, and we’re great storytellers. People are also quite religious and family oriented, we’re also very patriotic. Maybe this is because we are a small country and so many of us live abroad. Historically there has always been a lot of emigration. Weaknesses? I think we can be very melancholic and nostalgic, you only have to listen to our music to hear this – it’s often quite sad and slow. It’s probably because of our climate and our history. The stereotypical image is that one minute we are laughing and telling you a funny story and the next minute we are crying into our beer. Which reminds me that we also drink quite a lot. I think I’m quite typical in many respects, although I’m not particularly melancholic.
It’s difficult to generalize about us as a people, especially as our big cities now have such a multi-ethnic population, but I would say that we’re basically very tolerant and open-minded. We’re not nearly as insular as we used to be. We defend the things that we believe in – when we have to – and we avoid taking extreme positions, which I think is another strength. One of our main weaknesses, though, is that we can be quite self-satisfied and arrogant towards foreigners. Just think of our inability, or our unwillingness, to learn foreign languages! I’d also say that we can be lazy, and we’re a bit careless about the way we dress, and also we drink too much. I don’t think I’m very typical, though I do definitely have one of the weaknesses – but I’m not going to say which!
As a nation we’re very proud of our identity and our cultural heritage. We’re an inventive people, but we often feel marginalized and forgotten by our bigger neighbour, England that is. We’re very sociable and like to have a good time. We’re also great travellers and people often compliment us on the good behaviour of our sports fans abroad.
On the other hand, we do have a tendency to melancholy – maybe it’s something to do with the weather, you know we tend to think that life is hard. There’s also a negative attitude towards our neighbour – and this can range from humorous comments to actual violence. And although we are keen travellers, we can be quite negative towards foreigners. Some people would like to see the country kept only for us, without apparently understanding how negative that could be.
I don’t think of myself as a typical example. I love the country, and think it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, but I feel that we tend to focus too much on the wrongs done to us in the distant past, rather than trying to move on.
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