English is a mother tongue for most people living in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. These countries share the same language, but every one of them has its own traditions and habits.
Great Britain comprises England, Wales and Scotland. Together with Northern Ireland, it forms the United Kingdom. It includes four nations – the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. They differ in their way of life, customs, values and traditions. In England people are said to be reserved in manners, dress and speech. They are conservative and stick to traditions. They are famous for their politeness, self-discipline, reliability and for their specific sense of humour. It is true that the British rarely shake hands when they meet. They like sport, especially football, cricket, golf, tennis and horse racing.
Scotland is a country where special traditions are kept, such as playing bagpipes and wearing kilts (typical knee-length skirts for both men and women). There are many whisky distilleries with a long tradition. The Scottish people speak various dialects of English and Gaelic.
Wales is rich in culture and history. The Welsh people are known for their love of music and poetry. There are two languages spoken in Wales – English and Welsh, which is a Celtic language and very different form English.
Northern Ireland lies on the north of the island of Ireland and is a part of the United Kingdom. Most of the country is rural and over half of the population is Protestant. The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign state and is mostly Catholic. Conflicts between Protestants and Catholics are still alive. The Catholic community wants Northern Ireland to join the Republic of Ireland, whereas the Protestant community wants to remain part of the U.K. The Irish people are hospitable and friendly, they like music and dancing. Social life concentrates in pubs where live music and drinking is very common.
The United States of America is home to people mostly of European origin but also of Afro-American, Native American, Japanese, Chinese and other origins. The people in the USA also speak their minority and immigrant languages. Spanish is an important language, especially in the southern state.
It is said that Americans are loud, extremely self-conscious, dressed in tasteless clothes. However, when you get to know them better, you find out that they are open, friendly, hard-working and independent. America is a wealthy country and Americans enjoy high standard of living. However, there are also many poor people there.
It is a typical custom to teach children independence form an early age. Each adult member of a typical American family has his own car. Most Americans drive to work and students often drive to school. Americans like travelling and they often drive long distances through the country, especially during the holidays, to visit their friends and relatives.
Americans do not usually stay in the same town all their lives. They like to move. It is not unusual for families to move house or go to live in another town or state more than once every ten years
Nowadays, more and more Americans take care of their health. They do some sport, eat healthier food, smoke less and drink less alcohol. Smoking is banned in some public places.