Not English, British!

Article published on Aug. 31, 2006
Article published on Aug. 31, 2006

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

It’s all so easy for those on the continent. The French speak French, the Germans German, the Italians Italian ... Not so on our side of the Channel. English may be the language spoken by virtually everyone in our country (albeit with varying accents) but the adjective English does not refer to everyone living on our fair island and offence is often taken by the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish when it is used in all-encompassing way. But it’s no wonder that people everywhere get confused about when to use it: Great Britain refers to the mainland, or England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland is not included in Great Britain, but is in the UK, which is the abbreviation for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. However, people living in the UK, even those in Northern Ireland, have British passports! Still with me? So, before writing Anglais, Engländer or Inglesi, stop and consider whether or not you should find a word for ‘British’...