Why do some countries drive on the left and some on the right? We’ll answer that for you and we’ll quiz you on which countries are left handed when it comes to traffic.
Email from Pilar Martinez from France
Hi, How are you?
I have a little question, or I must say a Curiosity
I’m watching these days an American TV series (I’m watching an American TV series these days) and they use a lot ‘you guys’ even with women. They also use “same here” to say “me too” or “the same to me” (the same for me/the same as me)
Is it only used in American English, or also in British English?
Thanks and don’t change anything.
Voice message from Jair from Mexico City
“I’ve been listening to you for three months” (great use of the present perfect continuous!)
Should we say more things in Spanish?
Voice message from Alberto in Australia
Luigy who’s living and working in London – Integrating into British Culture: http://www.inglespodcast.com/263
“Take it easy, mate!”
You are unique – you need to be yourself.
Use more modal verbs (should, may, could, might etc)
Go to a club to make friends.
Voice message from Alberto who’s in Italy
Why do British people drive on the left?
It’s all about the scabbard (vaina, funda) for the sword (espada)
Episode 259 has language about Traffic.
Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman troop s marched on the left.
In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII directed pilgrims to keep left.
Following the French Revolution, all traffic in France kept right.
Napoleon was a fan of travelling on the right and made the territories he conquered do the same. That included Germany, and Hitler continued to spread the tradition across Europe as he took power (Czechoslovakia, Austria etc)
America has been driving on the right side of the road since colonial times. Probably both as a rejection of British customs and because it made it easier to control a wagon. Drivers either sat on the left of their wagon or led their horses on foot on the left-hand side, so it was much easier to see oncoming traffic by traveling on the right side of the road. Plus it made it less likely that you’d fall in a ditch!
Sweden switched to the right in 1967, having been on the left since around 1734 despite having land borders with right-hand countries, and approximately 90 percent of cars being left-hand drive vehicles! Iceland also changed the following year.
Left or right?
Ireland – left
India – left
Thailand – left
Pakistan – left
Jamaica – left
Sri Lanka – left
South Africa – left
Kenya – left
Hong Kong – left
Australia – left
Grenada – left
Japan – left
Gibraltar – right
Nigeria – right
Guyana – left
Suriname – left
Myanmar/Burma – right
In Japan, they historically drove on the left. In 1945, the U.S. forced the Japanese to switch to the right. They returned to the left in 1978!
In Spain they used to drive on different sides depending on the region- eg. on the left in Madrid and the right in Barcelona until the 1930s!
Reza, you’ve driven on the left and on the right in various countries. Do you have any problems switching? Which side do you prefer?
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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On next week’s episode: Ellipsis…leaving stuff out
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