Animals represent different things in British culture, and we use them as symbols in advertising, films and television.
Here’s a list of seven popular animals in British culture – and an explanation of what they mean to native speakers.
The Easter Bunny
“Bunny” is a popular word for “rabbit”, and we often say “bunny rabbit” to mean “rabbit”.
The Easter Bunny is a rabbit which brings eggs (normally chocolate eggs) to children at Easter. You’ll see the Easter Bunny in adverts, on cards and in the form of a chocolate rabbit in shops.
Don’t confuse the Easter Bunny with the Energizer Bunny – which is a rabbit cartoon figure used to advertise batteries!
The Andrex Puppy
This is a yellow labrador puppy used to advertise andrex toilet paper. The puppy plays with the paper and shows us that it’s soft but strong. There’s also a lot of it!
Don’t confuse the Andrex puppy with the Dulux dog. This is an Old English Sheepdog, used to advertise paint.
Paddington Bear arrived at Paddington Station (in London) from Lima, in Peru.
His adventures have become famous in books and films, and he’s loved by both children and adults for his kind, polite nature.
Don’t confuse him with “Winnie the Pooh” – another famous bear in children’s literature.
The Pink Panther
The “Pink Panther” is a film – which then developed into a series of comedy films starring Peter Sellers as a French detective, “Inspector Clouseau”.
A lot of the humour in the films involves Inspector Clouseau’s lack of skills as a detective and the way he speaks English.
The British Bulldog can be seen as a symbol of courage and determination (“British” because this breed of dog was traditionally bred in the UK). It was used in wartime propaganda – and was also associated with Winston Churchill.
But you need to be careful as the bulldog is also seen as a symbol of racism and colonialism – especially if it’s used to “glorify” wars and imperialism.
The Cheshire Cat
The Cheshire Cat is a fictional cat from “Alice in Wonderland”. He’s famous for his big smile – so when people have a wide smile on their face, we often say that they look like the Cheshire Cat. For example:
“She had a Cheshire cat grin on her face”.
Toad Of Toad Hall
Mr Toad, of Toad Hall, is one of the main characters in the book “The Wind In The Willows”.
Mr Toad is often seen driving in his open-top sports car. He is rich, but impulsive.
Like all languages, English has lots of cultural references – and you don’t always learn about them in textbooks. When you join the English Fluency Club, you also get these cultural, English expressions that we use all the time.
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