When you are talking to people from Britain, it is safest to use “Britain” when talking about where they live and “British” as the adjective to describe their nationality. This way you will be less likely to offend anyone. It is, of course, not wrong to talk about “people in England” if that is what you mean – people who live within the geographical boundaries of England. After all, most British people live there. But it should always be remembered that England does not make up the whole of the UK.
There has been a long history of migration from Scotland, Wales and Ireland to England. As a result there are millions of people who live in England but who would never describe themselves as English. They may have lived in England all their lives, but as far as they are concerned they are Scottish or Welsh or Irish – even if, in the last case, they are citizens of Britain and not of Eire. These people support the country of their parents or grandparents rather than England in sporting contests. They would also, given the chance, play for that country rather than England. If, for example, you had heard the members of the Republic of Ireland World Cup football team talking in 1994, you would have heard several different kinds of English accent and some Scottish accents, but only a few Irish accents. Most of the players did not live in Ireland and were not brought up in Ireland. Nevertheless, most of them would never have considered playing for any country other than Ireland.
The same holds true for the further millions of British citizens whose family origins lie outside the British Isles altogether. People of Caribbean or south Asian descent, for instance, do not mind being described as “British” (many are proud of it), but many of them would not like to be called “English”. And whenever the West Indian or Indian cricket team plays against England, it is certainly not England that they
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Национальная лояльность – National Loyalties