This week's UK news: 17 October 2014
17 October 2014

How to identify English people

A researcher says there is a new way to identify English people, in the way we talk. Apparently we use the word "typical" a lot, and in a particular way.

Kate Fox says the way we use the word is very English and can be used for everything from "burnt toast to the outbreak of the Third World War".

She said you have to say the word in a way that sounds both slighly annoyed and as if something has happened as you expected it to.

Other things we say are "mustn't grumble", better make the best of it" and "bound to rain: it's a bank [public] holiday".

Ms Fox also confirmed that we do talk about the weather a lot. She did a survey which found 94 per cent of people had mentioned the weather in the previous 24 hours, and 40 per cent in the previous hour.


Shopping or sleeping?

Another thing British people like doing is shopping at strange hours. John Lewis, a big British store chain, says there has been a 30 per cent increase in online shopping between midnight and 6am. Apparently people buy a lot of Lego, a building brick toy, at around 4am. By breakfast time, schoolwear and childrens' shoes are the items bought most often.


Oxford University defends its interview questions

Oxford university uses difficult interview questions to pick the best students, because this allows students to show their "real ability and potential".

Samina Khan, who's in charge of admissions, says it is a myth that the process is scary or silly.

The university has released some of the questions it has used. People applying to study history were asked: "How much of the past can you count?" Biology students were shown a cactus and told: "Tell me about it".


Don't change your accent to get a job

Young people with UK regional accents should not change the way they speak to get a job, the employment minister says.

In the past, some people have carefully worked to lose their regional accent, usually so they sound more middle-class. These include Margaret Thatcher, the UK's first woman Prime Minister.

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