Saturday, February 16, 2013


With 53 million people, England is the largest country in the United Kingdom.  Along with Scotland and Wales it makes up the island of Great Britain.  England is a little smaller than Louisiana.

St. George's Cross

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, England became the world's first industrialized nation.  Today, its economy is one of the largest in the world and London is Europe's largest financial center.

Map of English as an official language
Considering the vast reach of the British Empire, it is no wonder that English is the 3rd most common native language after Chinese and Spanish.  About 375 million people speak English as their first language.  Even more speak English as their second or third language.

There are differences between American and British English.  What's interesting to me is that there are so many different regional accents considering that England really isn't that big.  One thing's for sure and that's that there is no such thing as a British accent.  There is English spoken with various regional accents.  For example, the Scouse accent is what you hear in Liverpool, Brummie in Birmingham, Geordie in Newcastle, Cockney in London and Mancunian in Manchester.  There are also strong accents in Yorkshire, the Midlands and the West Country.  Of course, this is also the standard London posh accent.

I've been to Portsmouth a few times for work but, aside from Heathrow Airport, I've never been to London.  Coming up, I'll have one day to check out the city before I fly on to Iceland.  Liz and her boyfriend will take the train over from Bristol and show me around the city.  So what should I try to see?  With so much to see in London, I already know that there is no way I will even be able to make a dent in the sightseeing list.

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