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The British always like to talk about what class a person’s in. A lot of people think they aren’t in any class
but the British can always put them in one!
The class you’re in comes from the work that you do and the work that your parents did. Factory workers, miners, waiters and shop assistants are the working classes. Cousins of the Queen, people who live in castles and everyone whose family has been rich for more than a hundred years are the upper classes.
Between the working classes and the upper classes, there are millions of people. These are the middle classes, and they’re the people who talk most about class. A lot of them are businessmen doctors, teachers and lawyers. They say that they’re the upper middle class, and think they’re much better than the lower middle class. The lower middle class is the class of shopkeepers, clerks and skilled workmen.
All this is called the class system. It started in Britain about a hundred and fifty years ago, and the British haven’t seen yet that the world today is different from the world a hundred and fifty years ago. Workmen don’t like their bosses, and bosses don’t like their workmen; but, if you ask them why, they’ll tell you that they don’t like each other because their grandfathers didn’t like each other.
The British think they can always tell someone’s class when they hear him talking. They listen to his accent, and then they say: “Yes, he speaks working-class English,” or “He speaks very good English. I think he comes from an upper-class family. ”
Working-class people usually speaks with the accent of the where they live. Most of them say “at” for hat and “ungry” for hungry: when they do this, the British say that they’re dropping their hs. The middle classes speak the upper classes. The upper classes speak with their mouths nearly closed; their English is like English spoken under water!
A lot of people go from one class to another, and then they try to change their accent. But they can’t often hide their old accent, and you can usually tell which class they come from.
People usually try to go up into a higher class; but today the British think it’s very good to be born in the working classes. So a lot middle class teachers, writers and politicians try to speak like the working classes. They tell people they were born poor and have worked hard.
Today, the upper classes haven’t got much money. They must pay large taxes, and it’s very expensive to repair their big houses and castles. So they show their homes to tourists to make enough money to pay their bills. But the wages of the working classes get bigger every year, because there aren’t enough people to work in the factories. The working class man often has a bigger car and better clothes than the upper class man![/grade][/frame]