Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

April 4, 2009

It's just not English

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Language, Media, Radio

The poor soul following the G20 summit in London for the ABC got a bit confused over what's English... and what's not.

On radio in Trouble at the G20 meeting in London, PM's presenter Mark Colvin asked reporter Lyndal Curtis about a meal cooked up by a celebrity chef and served to the G20 leaders.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Yes, a dinner prepared by Jamie Oliver; Scottish salmon and other English delights. They had a red carpet walk up to Downing Street; lots of photographers and paparazzi getting the leaders in their finery.

Scottish Salmon

Scottish Salmon

Other English delights?

Since when has Scottish salmon been English?

It's a common mistake though that people - including journalists - make when referring to things in the UK.

They never really understand what the difference is between the various parts of the UK.

Colvin let Curtis continue but was then quick to correct the mistake.

MARK COLVIN: I'll just apologise to any Scottish listeners for us suggesting that Scottish salmon is an English delicacy before we go on.


LYNDAL CURTIS: Sorry, I should have said British.

Google Maps UK

Google Maps UK

For the record, England, Scotland and Wales are separate parts of mainland Britain. To be English is to not be Scottish or Welsh.

Add on Northern Ireland and you have the United Kingdom, or UK, although some in Northern Ireland regard themselves as British.

A Scottish journalist friend of mine will curtly correct anyone who refers to "British soccer thugs", saying "they're English, never Scottish".

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.