|One of my new favorite blogs is separated by a common language, run by an American expat linguist in Britain named |lynnequist lynneguist [d'oh! I have no idea why I put a 'q' instead of a 'g' there, ruining the pun in the process; something melted in my brain --H]; it details all sorts of interesting linguistic matters, focusing on the variations between British and American usage (as well as regional variations within each). Lynnequist Lynneguist recently took (and passed) the test to become a British citizen (apparently they are now calling themselves citizens, not subjects, though they still must swear or affirm "allegiance to the Queen, her heirs and successors"). That one has to take a test at all is a recent (and some believe, suspiciously American) innovation.
So I asked her what some of the questions were on the citizenship test, but she informed me that she was sworn to secrecy, and if she revealed the questions, she could retroactively fail the test. She pointed me instead to this test put together by the BBC based on the book you have to study to prepare for the test. Try it out, Brits and non-Brits alike. Could you become a British citizen?
I think I failed: 6 out of 14 correct. How did you do?
Sadly, there aren't as many historical questions as I'd hoped there would be, so BtR readers are at little to no advantage.
- Correct: the name of the 1215 document outlining English rights; what it's "very important" to ask a solicitor before engaging him or her; when 18 yr-olds got the vote; what your rights are if asked to go to the police station for an "interview"; what to do if you spill a person's pint at the pub (an important one, that); where Father Christmas calls home.
- Incorrect: what it means "to be British"; by what factor native-born English outnumber Scots and Welsh; the calendrical order of the four national saints' days (George, David, Patrick, Andrew)--calendrical order?!? that's much harder than naming the first president and the one who freed the slaves; where the myth of Father Christmas comes from (I "knew" it but thought it was a trick question); what two telephone numbers you can dial for emergency services (I only knew about 999--"London's burning with boredom now / London's burning dial 99999," but why the extra two 9s?); what or who is "PG"; what you have to do to own a dog; the minimum time you must be married before getting a divorce.