British Comedy

"British humour" is another way of saying in Poland that something is "not funny." But the British are proud of their humour. Its unique mixture of surrealism, satire and just plain silliness is one of things that define the British character. But, as humour - like bad wine - does not travel very well, Colin Graham gives you a guide to the things that make the British laugh.

The Notting Hill Thrill

Perhaps made famous to foreigners thanks to Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in the film of the same name, this part of London is really on the map because of the annual carnival in August, second only to Rio de Janeiro's.

If you imagine the Notting Hill Carnival as a colourful, loud and fast moving pageant, you are wrong. It is far more resplendent and clamorous, and way too crowded to move with any speed at all - the streets are not as wide as in Rio!

The Africans

Contrary to general belief, Africa is neither a monolithic nor a monocultural society. There are three mainly Negroid groups - West African, Sudanic and Bantu, scattered all over the huge continent. These main groups are further divided into subgroups. For example, the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, who are the second-largest African tribe (population: about 20 million) are made up of at least 25 subtribes each with distinct customs, traditions and cultural practices.

For Your Reference.

How would you learn English without a dictionary? These books that we now take for granted would never have existed if it were not for the immensely hard work of a few exceptionally talented men.

"Dictionaries", said Samuel Johnson, "are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true." He should know, having been single-handedly responsible for the creation of the most famous and most influential of historical English dictionaries, A Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755.

Beating the Cheats

Hilary - an English teacher from London who has taught the subject in many countries, writes about the British attitude towards cheating and cheats.

Power to the Pupils

The results of the 2003 PupilPower Competition, sponsored by The British Council and The World of English, among others, were announced to an excited audience at the Roma Theatre, Warsaw, on June 17. The winners were from the V Liceum Augusta Witkowskiego, Kraków, who received their award from Queen Elizabeth's cousin, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent.

The Duke of Kent, British Council Director, Susan Maingay, and the delighted winners from Kraków

Working Capital

London offers the best of what can be expected of any European capital: excellent galleries and museums, fantastic bars and clubs - and a top quality education. It's difficult to resist the pull of London when making your choice of where to study abroad, so Jan Majdecki opted for it. Here he describes briefly how to get into a British university. But be warned: it doesn't come cheap!

FAQs: Joining the European Union

When Poland joins the EU will everything in the shops be as expensive as in Paris or London?

Of course not. If Poland does join the EU, prices will gradually increase at the same rate as wages. There will be no dramatic increase in the cost of bread, beer or clothing.

Will we have to get rid of the zloty then?

Celebrations World-Wide

One thing all nations have in common is celebrations of one kind or another. Some are of religious origin, others are secular. Nearly every country has its national day or independence day, celebrated throughout the land, as well as local observances, restricted to certain regions or even individual villages. Typically such occasions include parades or processions, marching bands or folk musicians, and nearly always there is food, music, games and general merriment.

The Art of Bad Taste: The British Tabloid

12 million people everyday read The Sun newspaper in Britain. Infamous for it's page three topless models, its obsession with the private lives of the rich and famous, and its innovative way with the English language, Britain's most popular newspaper is just one of many tabloid titles that you can find at the newsagent's. But why are tabloids so popular in Britain?