Living in a big modern world people recognize different places, persons, expressions, rules only by their symbols. For example, different countries are known by: Russia – The Red square, hockey team «Red machine», Lenin; France – The Eiffel Tower, croissants; Japan – sakura tree, geisha.
The aim of the project is to find out the importance of symbols among different nations.
The objectives of the project are:
To examine information about symbols;
To conduct a survey among 3 different nations;
To describe French, Russian and British points of view;
To analyze collected information.
Every country has its personal style; Great Britain is not an exception. When we talk about Great Britain, we remember Big Ben, red bus, tea, Royal Family and London. On the example of British symbols, we will learn about the importance and understanding of symbols among different nations.
The topic of the project is actual because symbols create the portrait of the country, places or people. The more recognizable symbols a thing has, the more people know about it. Symbols represent the unique history of the subject and organize the process of communication among nations.
The novelty of the project includes an understanding that different nations: the British, the Russians and the French have different attitude to the culture. Symbols help us to express emotions, exchange information in a short and more convenient form, this way it is easier to learn about different cultures and their traditions.
The project consists of two chapters, survey and analysis of its results.
CHAPTER 1. THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SYMBOLS
OF GREAT BRITAIN
The concept of symbol
. To speak about symbols, we need to find out its meaning and functions.
Symbol – is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, and represents an idea, object, or relationship.
Symbol is something visible, an object or action, that represents something invisible that is difficult to put into words. For example a pigeon is a symbol of peace, Romeo and Juliette are symbols of eternal love, and Statue of Liberty in New York represents the freedom of their country, democracy.
Symbols work well when we can’t put our thoughts or feelings into words. People often use symbols to express emotions.
Scientist E. Spirova give the following functions of symbols:
Representative – symbols shows not the object, but its meaning.
Discovering – symbols discover reality, thoughts and soul.
Communicative – symbols help to build proper communication among nations, people don’t need to know languages to understand the meaning of the symbol.
Informative – symbols keep information, history.
Symbols can be divided into different groups, for example scientific, religious, cultural, national, literature, mathematic it depends on the sphere where they are used. One of the most common symbols is language, every letter in the alphabet symbolize the sounds of a specific spoken language.
As far as the topic of the project is dedicated to the culture of Great Britain and its symbols we can say that symbols are very important for every culture. Symbols are the basis of every culture. The functions of symbols will help us to find out its importance among different nations.
The role of symbols in the life of the country
As everyone has a name and a surname, every country should have something that will make it recognizable among other governments. That is why during the history nations created its own flags and anthems, they not only symbolized the country, they reflected its history and culture.
It is common knowledge that every country has its national symbols. These symbols are designed to be inclusive and representative of all the people. National symbols are created to unite people by making visual representations of the country, its values, goals and history.
They consist of sounds, marks, objects or expressions, which produce the feeling of being the part of the nation. People of all countries have certain symbols, which somehow seem to represent or symbolize their country.
National symbols can be official or non-official. The official national symbols include the flag ofthe state, national colors, national anthems, royal and imperial hymns, some popular songs, and the office of the Head of the State.
Talking about unofficial national symbols, we can name, national myths about the country's history or founding, national kitchen, national costume, buildings, people, music, holidays and various other national emblems, including special plants, animals, birds and objects associated with the nation.
The main function of national symbols is to unite people, to build a nation. National symbols are necessary for any country in order to realize people as a nation, to associate themselves with its country, which has its own history and traditions. They form national identity.
For example Great Britain has an interesting project that is called the ICONS. In this project people try to collect everything that represents the country. They learn about official and non-official symbols. Locals offer their ideas and vote for them. Nowadays they collected more than 100 national symbols.
CHAPTER 2. INVESTIGATION OF BRITISH SYMBOLS
2.1 Survey description
To investigate the topic we conducted a survey. On the example of British symbols we will try to achieve our aim.
At first, we prepared a questionnaire interviewees were asked the following question: «What do you associate with Great Britain?».
To make our survey more objective we decided to interview people of different nations. They have different traditions, history and attitude to the culture and we remember that symbols are the main part of every culture, so it was interesting to learn different points of view about British culture.
Firstly we talked with the Russians; it was interesting to find out point of view of people who learn English from their childhood.
Secondly, we chose the French, they are the closest neighbors of Great Britain and we expected to get a lot of answers.
Finally, we decided to interview the owners of British culture, locals, and find out what national symbols they will name and will they differ from other answers.
Then we decided to choose the way we would conduct a survey. We found an interesting appliance which you can download into your phone and use every time. It is called – Speaky, it is an appliance for people who want to learn foreign languages by talking with local people. It is a sort of a chat were you can exchange messages.
During the survey we fixed the first association, also when people gave a lot of answers in the same time we fixed them all.
2.2 The analysis of collected answers
To analyze information we will describe answers given by nations. The most popular answers we got from Russian interviewees are:
Big Ben – 21 answers;
Red double-decker buses and telephone boxes – 21 answers;
The Beatles – 17 answers;
The Royal family – 25 answers;
Harry Potter – 19 answers. (Приложение 1)
Also we got such answers as: football, education, tea. People named non-official symbols of the country know all over the world. Russian answers can be explained the following way. During our school education we spend a lot of time to learn foreign cultures and traditions, especially when we learn foreign language. To understand it better we should know about its people. Also a lot of national symbols we see at student books, on TV and the Internet. All the bright pictures from advertisements which include national British symbols shape our associations.
The second group – the British named official and non-official symbols, such as:
National flag – Union Jack –18 answers;
William Shakespeare – 20 answers;
National currency – pound – 20 answers;
White tea – 22 people. (Приложение 2)
Their answers show us that local see and use these symbols in their everyday life, that is why they gave these answers. Symbols are the part of our life, they help us to communicate and express emotions. British answers are a mix of their everyday routine, school education and national identity. They honor their culture and respect the country where they live.
The most interesting thing happened when we talked with French people, their answers were completely unexpected. They half of the answers sounded like that:
“I have never been to France, I don’t know” ;
“I can’t name” ;
Big Ben – 10 people;
Tea – 6 people. (Приложение 3)
We got interested why did they give the following answers. As far as the appliance let us communicate we asked «why they didn’t have any associations». This can be explained by the way people in France get their education, where teachers pay more attention to the grammar rules, than cultural aspects of the language.
Moreover, French language is completely different from English, different words and pronunciation make the process of learning tough. On the one hand education, on the other different language culture, we can sum up that the French people are simply not interested in British culture. In addition to this, they are really proud of their culture and consider it the best one in the world.
As a result, locals and foreigners have different associations about the same country. This is normal; foreigners learn about the country by media, Internet, literature, get knowledge from school or university. Authors of the books always use national symbols.
Locals associate their country with life in it, that is why their symbols are less touristic and more patriotic. If we make the same research about Russian symbols, the answers would be completely diverse; bit for sure will include official and non-official symbols.
Comparing given answers we can say that there is a difference among answers of different nations who live far and near each other. We can say that modern world give us all the opportunities to travel, use the Internet, communicate. That is why we easily got associations about Great Britain even French people named the most popular symbols of Great Britain.
During the history, times and centuries national symbols do their main functions, they bring emotions, they help to organize the process of communication, they represent.
Since ancient times people have attached great importance to the symbolism. Each icon or symbol had its own value that was reflected in religion, astronomy, and customs, in ancient myths, fairy tales, and legends.
All the symbols are very valuable for their countries; they all have their meaning and interpretation, and have come down to our days.
Symbols are spread in our daily life and they make a great impact in society. Symbols are everywhere: letters, numbers, pictures, places, gestures.
It is important to soldiers to quickly identify other soldiers, the same about nations and countries. They have own official symbols to identify one from another: flags, anthems. Moreover symbols help unify a country emotionally; they can express their thoughts by symbols.
The research has shown us that it doesn’t matter how different people are, how far they live from each other they have a universal way of communication – symbols.
In conclusion, we can sum up that the importance of symbols is very high. The attitude to the symbols we learn them from our childhood, we see them at student books, films, advertisements.
Symbols are the part of international language where we don’t need grammar rules to understand each other, to have a mutual language.
The research gave us an opportunity to learn interesting points of view of different nations, showed us how different and at the same time similar we are.
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