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Alright, mate, I’m Dan from and welcome to another episode of the DanSensei British English Podcast. The podcast designed for intermediate and advanced level English learners who love the UK and wanna learn more about British culture, British life, and of course, British English.

Now today’s episode is part two of 10 things that you should know about British culture, especially if you want to live in the UK, are going to live in the UK, or are already living in the UK. This stuff will help you understand what’s going on around you and what’s going on inside British people’s minds.

We love curry

So the first thing I wanna talk to you about in today’s episode is British food and the fact that, let’s be honest, It’s pretty crap. Even British people don’t really like British food so much, and that’s why you’ll find that the most popular food in the UK, it’s not bangers and mash, it’s not fish and chips, it’s curry. British people love a good curry, and it’s not just Indian Curry, Sri Lankan Curry, Thailand curry, Japanese curry. All curries British people seem to enjoy, and it makes sense, right?

Because the UK has had a lot of immigration from places like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. So of course they brought their food culture over, and British people have jumped on that one. The most popular curry is chicken tikka masala. And this is funny because it’s not even an Indian curry or a Bangladesh curry or a Japanese curry.

It was actually invented in Scotland, so it’s a Scottish curry by that logic. And to be honest, you can tell I’m British cuz it’s my favourite curry as well. I love a good chicken tikka masala. You know, bland as anything but it’s beautiful and I’m a big fan, so Yeah, and you’ll find that every city, every street, there’s usually some kind of curry house. It could be different kinds of curry, but they definitely exist. And certain areas in big cities are just like curry shops.

For example, in London there’s a place called Brick Lane, which has got a load of curry shops. Manchester has got a place called Curry Road. I’m sure you can guess what they sell on that road. And Birmingham’s got something called the Balti Triangle. So yeah, loads of curry places. Yeah. So be prepared to enjoy a good curry if you’re gonna go to England or Scotland or Ireland, whatever UK you get what I mean? And that’s a good point, right?

What actually is the uK?

We should probably talk about what actually is the UK and because we’ve got a few ways to talk about it. You’ve got the UK, you’ve got Great Britain, the British Isles. What is actually going on? The UK is actually made up of four different countries. If you’re not sure, we’ve got England, we’ve got Ireland, but not all of Ireland, just Northern Ireland. And we’ve got Scotland and we’ve got Wales, and together as a group hybrid, they make up the UK and each country has got its own government and its own laws and its own culture, and accents and dialects and all the rest of it, but we are somehow united as a kingdom, hence the term, the United Kingdom, the UK.

Now, something that’s interesting about British culture is that we don’t like anyone, but we join up with the people close to us to dislike other people, right? It’s a jokey kind of rivalry. It’s not that serious, but for example, people in Yorkshire don’t like people in Lancashire and we are next to each other, but together we join up and we don’t like people from Liverpool, but together we all join up to not like people from down south, from London or whatever. And we all join together to not like Scottish people. And we join up with Scottish people to join and we like, we don’t like Welsh people, it goes on and on, and. Definitely visible in like sports with like football or rugby or especially rugby. You’ll find that there’s a lot of friendly rivalry and sometimes not so friendly rivalry. But it’s something to be aware of.

You’ll also find that not all of these countries speak English as a first language. In Wales, they speak Welsh. I’m gonna get this wrong, but maybe in Scotland people speak Gaelic, or maybe that’s Irish. I don’t actually know about that. But there are other languages than English in these four countries, so don’t be surprised if you go to Wales and they don’t speak English. It could happen. They’re probably gonna speak English, but maybe they don’t. Who knows? You need to be careful.

There is no “British accent”

And I guess on that point we should mention the fact that not all British people speak like the Queen. I do not speak like the queen at all. Could you imagine if I did my podcast in this kind of voice and this kind of accent? Now that is completely different to how I actually sound, and that is because the UK and even just England has a massive amount of different dialects and different accents, especially when you consider, it’s such a small piece of land.

As far as I know, there are over 50 different accents and dialects in the UK, and each of those accents and dialects are broken down even further. For example, I come from a city called Sheffield in South Yorkshire, so I speak Yorkshire dialect. Yorkshire accent, right? However, if I drive 25 minutes to Doncaster, it’s different. We have different words, different dialect, different accent, and we drive 30 minutes up the M1 to Leeds and it’s different again and even inside Yorkshire, we’ve got loads of different versions and different dialects.

Now, if you are learning English, that’s gonna be pretty difficult because it’s so different every 25 miles. It’s like a different language, which makes it hard for you. The queen speaks in what we call RP or received pronunciation or some people call it Queens English. This is quite common for certain areas in the south and estuary English and, but it is quite posh, upper class. Not everybody speaks this way.

So if you rock up in London, don’t expect everybody to sound like that. You’re gonna get Cockneys, you’re gonna get South London Road man slang. You’re gonna get all sorts of stuff. So be prepared to not fully understand what people saying around you because It’s not gonna be what you learned in your textbooks, which is why people like me make content like this. To help you understand what British people are actually saying. If you wanna work on this, I offer private lessons all about understanding British people. Send me an email if you’re interested. The link is in the show notes.

Sarcasm is everywhere

Besides the language and the dialects and the accents, there are some other things that make British people pretty hard to understand, and that is that our sense of humour is heavily sarcastic and self-deprecating. We love to make jokes at our own expense rather than making jokes about somebody else, right? And we love a bit of banter. We love taking the piss out of our friends. We love making fun of the people that we like because, I don’t know, it’s a British thing. It’s something that we love doing.

But for people outside of England, it’s really strange if you look at it from the outside. British people are incredibly polite to people we don’t know, and we are really mean to people that we know very well, and we say horrible things to our friends, but that’s because we like them, but people we’ve never met before, we are very polite and very, nice people to them.

So it doesn’t make sense if you’re from the outside, but that’s how it works in England. And some British comedy does translate overseas. You will have probably heard of TV shows, like Mr. Bean or maybe you’ve heard of things like Faulty Towers, Monty Python, that kind of thing. But it is very British and it’s very hard for people to understand. The humour is very dry, it’s very sarcastic and a good joke often people don’t realize it’s a joke.

Are you being serious? Is it a joke? I don’t really know. Should I be offended? Probably not. Probably British people are just trying to pull your leg or take the piss or take the mickey or just make fun of you because it’s something to do and we have a kind of idea that everything is fair game with your mates, right? There’s nothing taboo, nothing is really off the table. And if it’s gonna get a good laugh, go for it. Royal family, politics prison. Anything that you can think of that you can make fun of, probably we are gonna do it. If you’re gonna spend time in the UK and you’re gonna make British mates, I suggest you develop a thick skin. Otherwise, you’re just gonna spend all day being offended.

We really love the pub

The next thing I’ve got for you, we’ve already touched on in a previous podcast, and that is that the pub is like a second home for British people. As you know, we love to go to the pub. It’s a great place to socialise with your mates. To have a drink, to relax to catch up, to have a chinwag, whatever it is you wanna do with your mates. A pub is a great place to do it. Pubs are usually pretty friendly. You don’t have to drink alcohol to go there. You can just drink soft drinks, Coke or 7up or whatever. You can often get food there, especially curry. Most pubs will have a curry night, so it’s worth checking out.

But my favorite thing is to go for a pub quiz or like some kind of quiz night or something like that. You get together with some mates, you make a little team and you do a general knowledge quiz, and you can win some prizes. Usually it’s drinks from the bar or maybe a bit of money depending on the actual pub, but it’s a good laugh of an evening and. Yeah, some people take it seriously. Most people go there and take the piss because it’s sarcastic. I was always in the taking the piss category, but it is a good use of an evening and it’s a great way to meet other people.

One thing you need to be aware of, I did touch on it in the pub podcast, and that is we do often use the system of buying a round. Where in your group you take interns to buy everybody else in the group a drink, right? And then next time it’s somebody else’s turn to buy everyone a drink. If you do this, if you join in the round buying, don’t leave the pub until you’ve bought your round. Don’t be like person A bought a round, person B bought around. Now it’s your turn, but you go home. That is a massive faux pas. Don’t do that.

That just means that you’re a bit of a selfish dickhead. So make sure that you always buy your round before you leave the pub. Otherwise, next time people are not gonna want to talk to you very much. So be sure that you don’t do that. But other than that, go to the pub, have a laugh and get to know some British people. It’s a great way to get started if you just moved to England and you’re looking to talk to new people and meet some new mates.

What do you think?

So there you have it. That was 10 things that you need to know about British culture. It was only five, but the first five or in the previous episode. If you’ve not listened to that yet, go back and listen to the first part and it’ll tell you all the things that you missed. There’s loads of good stuff in there, especially about American English and British English, so be sure to check it out. And I wanna know what you think over the two podcasts, which was the strangest part of British culture that is really different to your own culture. Let me know, leave a comment, send me a message, send me an email. Whatever. I’d love to hear what you think. And while you’re here, don’t forget to share, subscribe to this podcast.

If you listen on Spotify, please leave a rating. I’d properly enjoy it. And if the, some of the words in this podcast were a bit difficult for you to understand. Don’t worry, I’m here to help you. The full transcript is over on You can see every single word that I said written down so you can follow along. It’s great if you want to practice shadowing and if you are not sure about some certain key vocabulary or British words that I used, you can download the free vocabulary cheat sheet. The link is in the show notes. Put your email address in. I’ll send it to you immediately, and you can use it to really understand what I’m talking about in this podcast.

If you wanna go one step further,, you can support the podcast. You’ll get bonus content, extra episodes, all that good stuff. You’ll also be able to join my Study Squad community, where you can practice English with me and other people. All the details are there. Check it out. It’s in the show notes, but that’s it for me today, so I’ll catch you in the next one.


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