Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks - Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for "Culture of English Speaking Countries Lessons", Xiangtan Normal University...






Scotland: Scotland gets it's name from the Scots, the people who first arrived in the late 3rd to mid 4th centuries AD. It was not until about 500AD that they built up a sizeable colony.



What do we know about Scotland’s culture? - In a recent survey in England the top ten answers were: 

 Being Mean.

 Scottish Ancestry.

 Kilts and Tartan.




 Football and Pubs.


 Loch Ness Monster.

 The Weather.

Scotland - Physical Characteristics: Scotland is divided into three main regions; the Highlands, the Midland Valley and the Southern Uplands. The cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee together with numerous towns, most of the population and the majority of Scotland's industry is located within the Midland Valley. This broad valley averages only 50 miles across running across the centre of the country.

The country of Scotland also includes 787 islands, many being very small, only 62 are larger than three square miles in area. There are 26 rivers flowing directly into the sea, the most significant are, the Rivers Clyde and  Forth. 

Scotland is well known for its mountainous and beautiful scenery. Scotland is also well known for its lochs (the name for lakes in Scotland). The most famous loch is called Loch Ness, which is famous for its stories of a monster in the lake. 

Scottish Culture includes many types of Highland Dancing, including the sword dance which has war as its basic theme.

Culture in Scotland is known worldwide, mainly for the bagpipes. They are is one of the oldest instruments still in existence.

Scotland - Government and Commerce: A new Scottish Parliament was elected in 1999, following devolution of powers from the United Kingdom Parliament in London. This is the first time Scotland has had its own parliament in 300 years. The Scottish Parliament, which sits in Edinburgh, is responsible for most aspects of Scottish life. The national parliament in Westminster (London) retains responsibility for areas such as defense, foreign affairs and taxation. 

Scotland is divided from England by a wall: The Wall, known as Hadrian’s Wall, was built by order of the Emperor Hadrian, probably given during his visit to Britain in AD 122. Over the next six years professional soldiers, legionaries, built a wall 80 Roman miles long (117km or 73 modern miles).

The wall was built "to separate the Romans from the Barbarians" There are many theories about why the Wall was built but it is generally agreed that Hadrian wanted to mark the northern boundary of his Empire.

Scottish Food and Drink: Scotland has very distinctive food, often based on very traditional foods, some of the main Scottish foods are as follows:

Arbroath Smokie: A wood-smoked haddock still produced in small family smoke-houses in the East coast fishing town of Arbroath. 

Bannocks (or Oatcakes): A barley and oat-flour biscuit baked on a griddle. In modern times bannocks are often eaten with cheese. There are several traditional recipes and many manufacturers in Scotland today.

Scottish Beef: The Aberdeen-Angus breed of beef cattle are now widely reared across the world. Renown for their rich and tasty meat, which makes excellent steaks. Good butchers will still hang and prepare meat in the traditional manner, although these butchers are rare these days and people often complain that even Scotch Beef has lost its taste. 

Scotch Broth or Hotch-Potch: A rich stock is traditionally made by boiling mutton (the neck is best), beef, marrow-bone or chicken (for a chicken broth). There is also freedom over the choice of vegetables, which should be diced. Carrots, garden peas, leeks, cabbage, turnips and a stick of celery can all be used. The hard vegetables should be added first to the boiling stock, with a handful of barley, with the softer vegetables being added later. 
The final consistency should be thick and served piping hot.

Scottish Salmon: The Rivers Tay and Tweed are major salmon fisheries. Since Victorian times these and other rivers have hosted wealthy fishing parties on the estates of the aristocracy. There is much more information on fishing on the River Tweed. Poaching (illegally catching) salmon is an equally traditional activity.

In recent times, many major fish farms have been established in the Sea Lochs on the West coast of Scotland. These are major commercial sources of fish, although the quality is not considered to be the same as wild river-caught salmon. Today the salmon tends to be smoked, and thinly sliced, served as an entrée.

Haggis: Perhaps the best known Scottish delicacy, and it is wonderful stuff, with a rich flavour, although those partaking for the first time are often put off when they hear what it is made of... 

Haggis is made from sheep's offal (or pluck). The windpipe, lungs, heart and liver of the sheep are boiled and then minced. This is mixed with beef suet and lightly toasted oatmeal. This mixture is placed inside the sheep's stomach, which is sewn closed. The resulting haggis is traditionally cooked by further boiling (for up to three hours) although the part-cooked haggis can be cooked in the oven which prevents the risk of bursting and spoiling. 

Porridge: A simple dish, made of boiled oatmeal. It needs to be boiled slowly and stirred continuously with a wooden stick to avoid the formation of lumps! 

Drink: Scotch Whisky (or simply "Scotch") is certainly the best known Scottish drink. 

Scottish Weather: The Weather is a subject of constant discussion in Scotland and the UK generally. The fascination that the British have with their weather, and the reason it enters into almost every conversation, is its variability. At most times of the year it is perfectly possible to have glorious sunshine, chilling cold, together with wind, rain and even snow - all in the one day! This means people's lives can be driven by the weather alone; its often impossible to plan an outside event because of the risk of changeable weather. 

Scottish Dress and Tartans: A mans skirt made from woolen cloth is the kilt. The woolen cloth is known as tartan. The kilt is very traditional, with each family name having its own style of tartan.

History of the Kilt in Scotland: The tartan kilt has long been the most recognisable cultural tradition of the Highland Scots. Therefore, it surprises most people that many of the most recognisable features and traditions associated with the wearing of the kilt have, in fact, been developed in the nineteenth century, not by Scottish Highlanders, but by the Nobles of England and Scotland. Highland dress and the tartan are among the most powerful, romantic and dramatic of all the symbols of Scotland. Nowadays, the kilt is seen as the national dress of Scotland.

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