Following on from our previous post on the phrase bon appetit, it’s perhaps a reflection of the priorities here in the UK that it’s far easier to come up with a single English word for what we say before we drink – Cheers! Typically, when you and the people you’re drinking with have new, full glasses, you say Cheers and then raise your glasses to each other or sometimes touch glasses (though this isn’t essential). Drinking remains a fairly central part of British culture, as anyone who visits London after 5 o’clock in the evening will see!
One of our summer school students commented last year that she was amazed to see the pubs full on a Monday or Tuesday evening, all full of office workers (or suits as they’re often called!) who seemed happy to drink several pints or glasses of wine without feeling the need to eat anything other than a bag of crisps or nuts! This is reflected in an interesting report by Demos on drinking and youth culture, which found that nearly half of those interviewed drank with colleagues and clients. They said it was seen as an important part of group bonding and getting to know colleagues and they believed that not drinking (alcohol) could be a barrier to getting on at work.
However, the report also points out that at the same time, the actual numbers of young people who drink and the amount they drink has been falling quite significantly, so it’ll be interesting to see if our drinking culture changes over time and whether not drinking will become the norm. Still, for anyone studying English in the UK, cheers will continue to be a useful word to learn because it’s also very commonly used to mean ‘Thank you’. For example:
A: Could you open the window?
So, cheers for reading. Hope to see you next time.
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- What do people in your country say when they drink – if, of course, they do drink?
- How important is drinking and alcohol in your country?
- What are the trends for young people and alcohol?
- If people don’t drink in your country, what do they do to bond with colleagues and clients.