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Changing Values and Norms of the British Family

The family in Britain is changing. The once typical British family headed by two parents has undergone substantial changes during the twentieth century. In particular there has been a rise in the number of single-person households, which increased from 18 to 29 per cent of all households between 1971 and 2002. By the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be more single people than married people. Fifty years ago this would have been socially unacceptable in Britain. In the past, people got married and stayed married. Divorce was very difficult, expensive and took a long time. Today, people's views on marriage are changing. Many couples, mostly in their twenties or thirties, live together (cohabit) without getting married. Only about 60% of these couples will eventually get married. In the past, people married before they had children, but now about 40% of children in Britain are born to unmarried (cohabiting) parents. In 2000, around a quarter of unmarried people between the ages of 16 and 59 were cohabiting in Great Britain. Cohabiting couples are also starting families without first being married. Before 1960 this was very unusual, but in 2001 around 23 per cent of births in the UK were to cohabiting couples. People are generally getting married at a later age now and many women do not want to have children immediately. They prefer to concentrate on their jobs and put off having a baby until late thirties. The number of single-parent families is increasing. This is mainly due to more marriages ending in divorce, but some women are also choosing to have children as lone parents without being married.

Family Size On average 2.4 people live as a family in one home Britain. This is smaller than most other European countries. Most people in England live in urban areas. Towns and cities are spreading into their surrounding environment to cope with the increase populations. In England, an average of 7,000 hectares of farmland, countryside and green space were converted to urban use every year between 1985 and 1998. This is almost the equivalent size of 9,600 international football pitches!

This house is over 600 years old Who owns houses in England? More people are buying their own homes than in the past. About two thirds of the people in England and the rest of Britain either own, or are in the process of buying, their own home. Most others live in houses or flats that they rent from a private landlord, the local council, or housing association.

People buying their property almost always pay for it with a special loan called a mortgage, which they must repay, with interest, over a long period of time, usually 25 years.

What are houses in England like? Most houses in England are made of stone or brick from the local area where the houses are built. The colours of the stones and bricks vary across the country.

Types of houses in England England has many types of homes. In the large cities, people often live in apartments, which are called flats. In most towns, there are streets of houses joined together in long rows. They are called terraced houses.

The main types of houses in England are:


Detached (a house not joined to another house) Semi-detached (two houses joined together) Terrace (several houses joined together) Flats (apartments)

Almost half of London's households are flats, maisonettes or apartments. 2007 Average wage per year: 23,244 Average house price: 184,924 There are about 3.7 million businesses in the UK. About 75% of British jobs are in service industries - hotels, restaurants, travel, shopping, and computer and finances. It is our fastest growing business and employs over twenty million people. The Working Day The usual working day starts at 9am and finishes by 5pm. Most people work a five-day week. How hard do British people work? The working week is, on average, the longest of any country in Europe. In 1998 a new law was passed saying that workers do not have to work more than 48 hours a week if they don't want to. However, about 22% of British workers do work more than a 48-hour a week. Paid Holidays British employers must give their workers 24 days paid holiday a year. B ritain's So cial Custo ms Time British people place considerable value on punctuality. If you agree to meet friends at three o'clock, you can bet that they'll

be there just after three. Since Britons are so time conscious, the pace of life may seem very rushed. In Britain, people make great effort to arrive on time. It is often considered impolite to arrive even a few minutes late. If you are unable to keep an appointment, it is expected that you call the person you are meeting. Invitations Drop in anytime and come see me soon are idioms often used in social settings but seldom meant to be taken literally. It is wise to telephone before visiting someone at home. If you receive a written invitation to an event that says RSVP, you should respond to let the person who sent the invitation know whether or not you plan to attend. Never accept an invitation unless you really plan to go. You may refuse by saying, Thank you for inviting me, but I will not be able to come. If, after accepting, you are unable to attend, be sure to tell those expecting you as far in advance as possible that you will not be there. Although it is not necessarily expected that you give a gift to your host, it is considered polite to do so, especially if you have been invited for a meal. Flowers, chocolate, or a small gift are all appropriate. A thank-you note or telephone call after the visit is also considered polite and is an appropriate means to express your appreciation for the invitation. Dress Everyday dress is appropriate for most visits to peoples' homes. You may want to dress more formally when attending a holiday dinner or cultural event, such as a concert or theatre performance.

Clothing When it comes to clothes, there are no limits and restrictions on how to dress. Just make sure that you respect the general rules when in formal situations. Observation will reveal that people in larger cities dress more formally, especially in London. Men and women wear wools and tweeds for casual occasions. Slacks, sweaters and jackets are appropriate for men and women. Do not wear a blazer to work -- it is country or weekend wear. On formal occasions, always select an outfit that fits the dress code. When attending a holiday dinner or cultural event, such as a concert or theatre performance, it is best to dress formally.

DOs and DON'TS Manners are Impo rtant Do stand in line: In England we like to form orderly queues (standing in line) and wait patiently for our turn e.g. boarding a bus. It is usual to queue when required, and expected that you will take your correct turn and not push in front. 'Queue jumping' is frowned upon.

Do take your hat off when you go indoors (men only) It is impolite for men to wear hats indoors especially in churches. Nowadays, it is becoming more common to see men wearing hats indoors. However, this is still seen as being impolite, especially to the older generations. Do say "Excuse Me If someone is blocking your way and you would like them to move, say excuse me and they will move out of your way. Do Pay as you Go: Pay for drinks as you order them in pubs and other types of bars. Do say "Please" and "Thank you": It is very good manners to say "please" and "thank you". It is considered rude if you don't. You will notice in England that we say 'thank you' a lot. Do cover your Mouth: When yawning or coughing always cover your mouth with your hand. Do Shake Hands: When you are first introduced to someone, shake their right hand with your own right hand. Do say sorry: 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'.

Do Smile: A smiling face is a welcoming face. Do drive on the left side of the road Do open doors for other people Men and women both hold open the door for each other. It depends on who goes through the door first. Do not greet people with a kiss: We only kiss people who are close friends and relatives. Avoid talking loudly in public It is impolite to stare at anyone in public. Privacy is highly regarded Do not ask a lady her age: It is considered impolite to ask a lady her age Do not pick your nose in public: We are disgusted by this. If your nostrils need de-bugging, use a handkerchief. Avoid doing gestures such as backslapping and hugging: This is only done among close friends. Do not spit. Spitting in the street is considered to be very bad mannered. Do not burp in public You may feel better by burping loudly after eating or drinking, but other people will not! If you cannot stop a burp from bursting out, then cover your mouth with your hand and say 'excuse me' afterwards.

Do not pass wind in public Now how can we say this politely? Let's say that you want to pass wind. What do you do? Go somewhere private and let it out. If you accidentally pass wind in company say 'pardon me It is impolite speak with your mouth full of food Do not ask personal or intimate questions We like our privacy. Please do not ask questions such as "How much money do you earn?" "How much do you weigh?" or "Why aren't you married? Never eat off a knife when having a meal. GREATINGS In all countries of Britain Introduction and Greeting It is proper to shake hands with everyone to whom you are introduced, both men and women. An appropriate response to an introduction is "Pleased to meet you". If you want to introduce yourself to someone, extend your hand for a handshake and say "Hello, I am.... Hugging is only for friends. Women in Britain are entitled to equal respect and status as men (and indeed vice versa) in all areas of life and tend to have more independence and responsibility than in some other cultures. Women are usually independent and accustomed to entering public places

unaccompanied. It is usual for women to go out on their own as well as with friends. Men and women mix freely.

It is ok for women to eat alone in a restaurant. It is ok for women to wander around. It is ok for women to drink beer.

How to Greet someone in Britain

The Handshake

A handshake is the most common form of greeting among the English and British people and is customary when you are introduced to somebody new.

The Kiss

It is only when you meet friends, whom you haven't seen for a long time that you would kiss the cheek of the opposite sex. In Britain one kiss is generally enough.

Formal greetings

The usual formal greeting is a '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 and the correct response is to repeat how do you do?' You say this when shaking hands with someone.

First person "How do you do?" Second person How do you do?" 'How are you?' is a question and the most common and polite response is "I am fine thank you and you?" First person "How are you?" Second person "I am fine thank you and you?" Nice to meet you Nice to meet you too. (Often said whilst shaking hands) Delighted to meet you Delighted to meet you too. Pleased to meet you Pleased to meet you too. . Glad to meet you - Glad to meet you too Good Morning / Good Afternoon / Good Evening

Informal greetings

Hi - Hi or hello Morning / Afternoon / Evening (We drop the word 'Good' in informal situations). How are you? - Fine thanks. You?

Thank you / thanks / cheers

We sometime say 'cheers' instead of thank you. You may hear 'cheers' said instead of 'good bye', what we are really saying is 'thanks and bye'.

EATING MANNERS Dining When you accept a dinner invitation, tell your host if you have any dietary restrictions. He or she will want to plan a meal that you can enjoy. The evening meal is the main meal of the day in most parts of Britain. Food may be served in one of several ways: "family style," by passing the serving plates from one to another around the dining table; "buffet style," with guests serving themselves at the buffet; and "serving style," with the host filling each plate and passing it to each person. Guests usually wait until everyone at their table has been served before they begin to eat. Food is eaten with a knife and fork and dessert with a spoon and fork.

What should I do or not do when I am eating in Britain? The British generally pay a lot of attention to good table manners. Even young children are expected to eat properly with knife and fork. We eat most of our food with cutlery. The foods we don't eat with a knife, fork or spoon include sandwiches, crisps, corn on the cob, and fruit.

Things you should do: If you cannot eat a certain type of food or have some special needs, tell your host several days before the dinner party. If you are a guest, it is polite to wait until your host starts eating or indicates you should do so. It shows consideration.

Always chew and swallow all the food in your mouth before taking more or taking a drink. Always say thank you when served something. It shows appreciation. You may eat chicken and pizza with your fingers if you are at a barbecue, finger buffet or very informal setting. Otherwise always use a knife and fork. When eating rolls, break off a piece of bread before buttering. Eating it whole looks tacky. On formal dining occasions it is good manners to take some butter from the butter dish with your bread knife and put it on your side plate (for the roll). Then butter pieces of the roll using this butter. This prevents the butter in the dish getting full of bread crumbs as it is passed around. In a restaurant, it is normal to pay for your food by putting your money on the plate the bill comes on. When you have finished eating, and to let others know that you have, place your knife and folk together, with the prongs (tines) on the fork facing upwards, on your plate. Things you should not do: Never lick or put your knife in your mouth. It is impolite to start eating before everyone has been served unless your host says that you don't need to wait. Never chew with your mouth open. No one wants to see food being chewed or hearing it being chomped on. It is impolite to have your elbows on the table while you are eating.

Don't reach over someone's plate for something; ask for the item to be passed. Never talk with food in your mouth. It is impolite to put too much food in your mouth. Never use your fingers to push food onto your spoon or fork. It is impolite to slurp your food or eat noisily. Never blow your nose on a napkin (serviette). Napkins are for dabbing your lips and only for that. Never take food from your neighbors plate. Never pick food out of your teeth with your fingernails.

Things that are ok to do: It is ok to pour your own drink when eating with other people, but it is more polite to offer pouring drinks to the people sitting on either side of you. It is ok to put milk and sugar in your tea and coffee or to drink them both without either.

I am not used to eating with a knife and fork. What do I need to know? We eat continental style, with fork in the left hand and the knife in the right (or the other way round if you are left handed). At the top of your plate will be a dessert spoon and dessert fork. If you are eating at a formal dinner party, you will come across many knives and forks. Start with the utensils on the outside and work your way inward with each subsequent course

How to eat with a knife and fork in England The fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right. If you have a knife in one hand, it is wrong to have a fork in the other with the prongs (tines) pointed up. Hold your knife with the handle in your palm and your folk in the other hand with the prongs pointing downwards.

How to hold a fork

How to hold a knife

When eating in formal situations, rest the fork and knife on the plate between mouthfuls, or for a break for conversation. If you put your knife down, you can turn your fork over. It's correct to change hands when you do this, too, so if you are right handed you would switch and eat with the fork in your right hand. If it is your sole eating instrument, the fork should be held with the handle between the index finger and the thumb and resting on the side of your middle finger.

How to eat Soup When eating soup, tip the bowl away from you and scoop the soup up with your spoon.

Soup should always be taken (without slurping of course) from the side of the spoon, and not from the 'end' as in most of the rest of Europe. How to eat peas To be very polite, peas should be crushed onto the fork - a fork with the prongs pointing down. The best way is to have load the fork with something to which they will stick, such as potato or a soft vegetable that squashes easily onto the fork. It's sometimes easier to put down your knife and then switch your fork to the other hand, so you can shovel the peas against something else on the plate, thus ensuring they end up on your fork. The fork should not be used as a scoop but held so that the points of the tines face How to eat pudding (desserts) To eat dessert, break the dessert with the spoon, one bite at a time. Push the food with the fork (optional) into the spoon. Eat from the spoon. (Fork in left hand; spoon in right.)

How to use a napkin or serviette The golden rule is that a napkin should never be used to blow your nose on. This is a definite no-no. Napkins should be placed across the lap - tucking them into your clothing may be considered 'common'. What do you say or do if you've accidentally taken too much food and you cannot possibly eat it all? Say:

"I'm sorry, but it seems that 'my eyes are bigger than my stomach'.

or "I'm sorry. It was so delicious but I am full". The main thing is not to offend your host

What is a pub? The word pub is short for public house. There are over 60,000 pubs in the UK (53,000 in England and Wales, 5,200 in Scotland and 1,600 in Northern Ireland). One of the oldest pubs, Fighting Cocks in St. Albans, Herts, is located in a building that dates back to the eleventh century.

A Pub

Pubs are popular social meeting places Pubs are an important part of British life. People talk, eat, drink, meet their friends and relax there.

Inside a pub Pubs often have two bars, one usually quieter than the other, many have a garden where people can sit in the summer. Children can go in pub gardens with their parents.

Pub Bar Groups of friends normally buy 'rounds' of drinks, where the person whose turn it is will buy drinks for all the members of the group. It is sometimes difficult to get served when pubs are busy: people do not queue, but the bar staff will usually try and serve

those who have been waiting the longest at the bar first. If you spill a stranger's drink by accident, it is good manners (and prudent) to offer to buy another drink.
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