The New York Times has an amusing article on the small revenges people take against things that annoy them.
This mystifies me, though:
bq. Most people participate in this sort of behavior on some level, Professor Scott said, adding that his own habit was to write “England” rather than “United Kingdom” on letters he sends to his British friends. He described this as his way of disregarding British claims to Wales and Scotland.
Is this correctly summarized? Or should it read ‘on letters he sends to his English friends…disregarding English claims…’?
He surely doesn’t write ‘England’ on letters to Wales and Scotland, does he? Because that would have the opposite effect.
I usually write ‘England’ on letters to England and ‘Scotland’ on letters to Scotland. Am I making a statement I didn’t intend? Sometimes I write ‘Great Britain’, though. That would be incorrect if I wrote to Northern Ireland, wouldn’t it? But I don’t write to Northern Ireland.
Perhaps it’s too late to think straight, but I can’t think of any way of achieving what this man seems to want to do.
It’s a problem for German students learning English, too. They often say ‘England’ meaning the UK. That’s OK if they are referring to London, but not for Glasgow. Or they will translate ‘die englische Königin’ as ‘the English Queen’ instead of ‘the Queen’.