We in Britain are obsessed with the timeless topic on weather and its wide range of description in any form and shape – in terms of its forecast, actual presence and likely/unlikely impact on our soil and soul.
In continental Europe, people who talk about the weather passionately are classified as “boring old farts”. Here in Britain, we regard people who chat about the weather keenly – especially after one hour of pure silence – as “very exciting” and really interesting or even “lovely to listen and talk to” .
The English language loves different levels of understatements and overstatements.
As to the topic on weather, you can probably hear across Britain about one million times on any day of the year: ” It’s not so nice today, isn’t it?” – on a day of torrential downpour. At times, some people might add: “And it’s a bit blowy as well!” – as one witnesses trees outside getting uprooted by a “mild hurricane”. A few snowflakes, falling at the start of year which would be normal business on the Continent, creates chaos on the train tracks in Britain. Many trains get inevitably cancelled because of the “wrong kind of snow on the tracks”. Who would have thought snow could be so disrespectful. Maybe it’s the snow from abroad!
The privately run train operators express their profound apologies in the national newspapers on the following day: “ Sorry for the inconvenience caused by the sudden arrival of snow!”
In my IDEAL English language lessons, I get asked a lot about the British weather. “How come the British grass is always so green and the British people have got such a dry sense of humour?” My answer was swift and very much to the point: “Because it rains a lot in this part of the world”. One of my dear friends, an older and wise English gentleman, told me many years ago when I dared to complain about an incessant spell of rain in the summer time: “Peter, what are you on about? Rain is character-building and you ought to be out there without an umbrella and enjoying it!”.
Here is my advice to all English language learners!
lf you want to be respected as a normal human being on our island, you must learn certain weather phrases by heart and respond, such as: “It’s quite a nice day today, isn’t it?” – despite heavy rainclouds and stormy weather conditions. Under all circumstances, you must reply: ” Yes, it is!” If you don’t, your time is up, and you will never hear another word from that person who has paid such nice compliments about the weather on a horrible day as far as the real weather conditions are concerned.
“It’s not too cold actually” or “the weather might get a little warmer eventually!” is always an interesting comment when it’s actually freezing outside and there’s no hope of any sunshine for the next 15 days! Sunny optimism always gets you far on our beautiful little island.
As you can see from above examples, the British always try to be on the bright side of life – even when darkness is clearly is in charge. This trait is very laudable but it couldn’t possibly be copied by any other nation. That would look ridiculous!
We at Ideal in Brighton UK will teach you the all weather phrases you need to converse freely in personal and business situations and send you out (even on a rainy afternoon – without an umbrella!) for real practice sessions on Brighton beach. What a great way to embrace and enjoy the wonderful English language and culture at the same time!