Hi, everyone. In this lesson we're going to look at the geography of the United Kingdom
and we're also going to look at some culture related to all the different terms we use
to describe Great Britain, England... All these different words, when do we use them?
So we're going to break it down and look at that.
Let's start with the name. The official name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, but often we just say "UK" because it's such a long country name, so we just
say UK. I drew a map. My map is not to scale. And I tried my best, but it was hard to do
it with the pens on the board, so we're going to show you a correct map. We've got England,
Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And the dotted line shows where Northern Ireland
ends. This part is part of the United Kingdom; this part is not. More on that later.
So, the UK is a sovereign state or we could say a sovereign country. This means that they
make all their own laws, and they govern themselves. So, the UK is a sovereign state or a sovereign
country. But the reason that's confusing is that we... When we're talking or when we're
describing a place in the world, we talk about Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland as being
countries. So, you think: "Is...? If the UK is a country, are Scotland, England, Wales,
and Ireland also a country?" Well, they are, but they don't make their own laws. So, we
have a word for it and we can call them "constituent countries". We can say England is a constituent
country of the United Kingdom. We can say Scotland is a constituent country of the United
Kingdom, etc. Okay.
Now it gets more confusing because when we're talking about the UK, we can say it's made
up of those countries - Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We can also say
it's made up of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain is this land mass,
this island shape, here; and Northern Ireland is part of the land mass, the island of Ireland.
So, if we put this bit and this bit together, we get the United Kingdom.
Great Britain has three constituent countries. Remember, this is Great Britain, Scotland,
England, and Wales make up Great Britain. Britain... Now we're getting smaller. This
is Britain, England, and Wales. So, I can say: "I'm from Britain", because I'm from...
I was born about here in London, so I can say: "I'm from Britain".
Now, we have another term called "The British Isles". The British Isles is a geographic
term, so we use it to describe a place on the map. And the British Isles would include
everything we see here. Actually, perhaps except these islands. These islands are called
Jersey and Guernsey, and they're closer to France. But the British Isles could describe
everything here in a geographic sense. And I wasn't able to draw all the islands, but
there's actually over 6,000 islands up in Scotland, some down here as well. So, many,
But the trouble with that term, to say the British Isles is that some people in Ireland
don't like that term to describe... To include them because it makes it sound like Ireland,
it's British, even though Ireland is independent. Ireland is a sovereign country by itself.
So some people object to calling this the British Isles.
If you do object to calling it the British Isles, you can say the North Atlantic-I can
never say this word-Archipelago. Archipelago. And this means, like, collection of islands.
And the place in the world is in the North Atlantic. Right.
So, now, already mentioned it a bit, but the Republic of Ireland... The Republic of Ireland
is not part of the United Kingdom, and it is a sovereign state. So, Ireland, they make
their own laws there, they have their own government. They're a completely separate
country and a separate state to the United Kingdom.
Next, it's important to point out that England is not the same as saying the UK or Great
Britain, because sometimes people can put the idea together in their head that England
represents all of it. Perhaps because the government is in London, people might think:
"Oh, England. You can say England to mean all the countries, but it's not correct to
Also, something I want to say about Isle of Man - this is the Isle of Man; and about the
Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, which are down here. So, these islands are not part
of the United Kingdom, but we have the same monarch at the moment - that's the queen,
so we have the same queen as them, but they're not part of the UK, and they can make up their
own laws and they can govern themselves. And the laws are different, so they run themselves
one way; and in the Isle of Man, they run themselves in another way. So, I think that
in the United Kingdom we've got one of the most complicated ways to describe our geography.
When we come next, we're going to look at the more cultural differences between the
different parts of the United Kingdom.
I want to add a note that this... I'm filming this in 2017, so things I'm talking about
here could change, and that depends on things, like: "Does Scotland want to have its own
independence from the United Kingdom? And if they have a referendum, if they vote, would
they want to leave?" So, at the time of making the video, this is how things are in the UK,
and I'm going to look at what the countries of the UK share; and after, what's different
about all of them.
So, starting here, everybody born in one of the countries of the UK gets a passport that's
exactly the same; same colour, and on the passport, it says: "British Citizen". Now,
I'm English and my passport is a burgundy colour, and says "British Citizen". But I
found out that if you're Welsh or you're Scottish, you might like to buy an unofficial cover
for your British passport, so that it looks like you've got a Welsh passport. Now, it
wouldn't be accepted when you go to present your passport, but perhaps that would... You
would like... You'd like that idea of having a separate passport, so you can purchase such
things on the internet, if that's what you're after.
Next, we have the same official and national language, which is of course English, and
I'm speaking now in English to you. We have the same government, and the government is
in Westminster, in London; the Houses of Parliament. So, where the laws are made in Westminster,
they are sovereign over all the laws made in... Okay, I was going to mention it later,
but Scotland and... There are some devolved governments in the countries of the UK, in
Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, so they can make some laws about some issues
for themselves, but even... Even though they have their own government, the government
in Westminster in London, is sovereign. So, what they say has the most power over the
other government. Okay?
We share the same monarch. At the moment, that's Queen Elizabeth II. We share the same
flag, which is the Union Jack flag. We use the same money, which is... We use the same
currency, which is the Great British Pound Sterling. We share the same National anthem,
which is: "God Save The Queen."
And in the Olympics, everybody in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland can
compete under Team Great Britain, if they choose. Now, this is an unusual choice of
name for the team of the Olympics, because if you remember, Great Britain doesn't include
Northern Ireland. So, where do Northern Ireland compete in the Olympics? Well, they can choose
to be part of team Great Britain, or they can choose to be in Team Ireland, if they
want. So, they get a choice.
What's different between the countries of the UK now? So, we share the same currency-Great
British Pound Sterling-but if you go to Scotland or Northern Ireland (I forgot to write, there
- Northern Ireland) they have different bank notes. So, their money actually looks different
or some of their money. In Scotland, you will often still see English money.
If you come down from Scotland with your Scottish money and try and buy something in a pub or
a fish and chip shop in England, you will be looked at very suspiciously with your Scottish
money, and people will be checking it, holding it up, and they won't want to accept your
Scottish money here. It is legal to accept it, but it's not something that we see that
often in England, so be prepared for some suspicious looks, if you want to pay with
the Scottish money.
What's different also is... Okay, we all speak English, but the dialects can be so different
that when... If you're speaking to somebody up in Scotland or you're speaking to Northern...
Someone in Northern Ireland or Wales even, they can sound so different, it's like a different
dialect of English. But in some cases it's also... In some cases it's also different
language. If you go to Wales, many people in Wales speak Welsh, and things like their
road signs in Wales are in two languages at the same time. They have two official languages;
they have... In Wales, they have Welsh and they also have English. In Northern Ireland,
a percentage of the people will speak Gaelic.
Now, they're... I'm not going to talk about the cultural differences, but I will say that
there is a sense of a different culture or a different identity that people have in the
different countries of the United Kingdom. So, an English person considers themselves
to have a different culture to a Scottish person, and the Scottish person feels different
to a Welsh person. And, again, they feel different to a Northern Irish person. So, although everybody
has the same passport that says "British Citizen", there are differences between the country
that people are aware of and are often proud of the differences between their countries
The countries of the United Kingdom have their individual flags, which you may see at things,
like, football competitions. And together, when you put these flags on top of each other,
they make up the Union Jack flag - that famous flag that you're used to saying. However,
I must add something, here. It's not all the countries. It's an old flag, so what it represents
is the countries a long time ago. And that was when England, Scotland, and Ireland were
in a union, and that's what the Union Jack represents. You might ask: "Well, why isn't
Wales in there?" That's because at that time, Wales wasn't considered an independent country;
it was just part of England back in those times.
And you might also say: "Well, why don't we change the national...? The Union Jack, and
put a Welsh dragon on it or why don't we change it because it includes the whole of Ireland?"
That's a good question. Many people argue about such things. And perhaps because the
Union Jack is such a well-known symbol and many people... Even people not from the UK
would like to buy souvenirs and t-shirts with the Union Jack on. Perhaps for those reasons
people don't... The government doesn't think about changing it. That's what I think. Let
me know what you think in the comments.
Moving on to national anthems: "God Save The Queen" is for everyone; everybody in the UK
can sing that as their national anthem. However, the Welsh also have a Welsh national anthem
which they may prefer to sing. This is in the Welsh language: "Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau".
I have no idea how to pronounce it in Welsh, but that's theirs. Scottish people do not
have their own official national anthem; yet, they do have an unofficial one, which is "Scotland
the Brave". England and Northern Ireland do not have their own separate, individual national
anthems, either official or unofficial they don't have. Also, all these countries have
their own football teams, and they compete as themselves in the big football competitions.
So, considering what's... What countries share and what's different, I want to talk lastly
about various questions of identity about: What does it mean to be an English person,
or a Scottish person, versus a British person? And one way to look at that is to look at
the data of the 2011... 2011 census. This is something that happens every 10 years where
the government asks people lots of questions, and they collect information to see: "How...?
How are people changing? How do they live their lives differently?" And some of the
questions in the census ask people about their identity, so they will ask them: "Do you feel
English or do you feel more British?" So, here are the statistics from that census.
Back then in 2011, 60% of English people said they consider themselves to be English only.
So, these people do not consider themselves British. In their minds they don't have so
much to do with Scotland, or Wales, or Northern Ireland. Yeah, they're in the UK, but they
don't consider themselves British, as if we're all together in a group. It's like English
first. 62% of Scottish people consider themselves to be Scottish only. So, that's slightly more
than in England.
And this is an interesting thing to think about because there are people in Scotland
who wish for their own independence from the United Kingdom. So they would like to separate
from the United Kingdom, and many of them would like to join the European Union on their
own, and not be part of the United Kingdom. So a slightly high... We could... We could
say, if we... If we compare the percentages, there, that in Scotland people are slightly
more... What would you say? Would it be patriotic - love of their own country, or nationalistic
- loving their Scotla-...? Their country first before the United Kingdom? And 58% of Welsh
people consider themselves Welsh only.
Now, that's kind of a surprise to me because in my life experiences, those times when I
have met Welsh people... Okay, I'm making it sound like a rare thing. I've met many
Welsh people, but in my experience they tend to mention Wales a lot, and the Welsh language,
and what it's like in Wales and how Wales is different. So I would have thought, based
on my experience, that there would be more people in Wales who consider themselves only
Welsh or Welsh first.
So, now I want to mention the difference between who's... Who's saying they're British and
who's saying they're not British. So, 14%... Only 14% of white British ethnicity say that
they're British. Okay? So I'll break that down. Someone who lives in England, Scotland,
Wales, or Northern Island who looks white and has... As far as I know, haven't come
from somewhere else, only 14% of those people would say that they're British. They would
put their own English or Scottish or Welsh first; whereas the younger generation, the
younger people of today and more people who live in cities where it's a lot more diverse
as people who've immigrated from other countries, and their parents before them or grandparents
before them, in the cities, a higher proportion of people will say that they have the British
So, just going back to a point about this: If it's the 14% is ... If you think about
it this way: The older... The much older generation, they were alive during the war. Some of them
were... Some of them are still alive. They're still living, so they remember a different
time, and they remember different kind of Britain and a different kind of place in the
world. So there can be quite big differences in attitudes between the younger... The younger
folk and the older folk over here.
So, what you can do now is go and do the quiz on this lesson, and I'll see you soon. Bye.