Breaking up is never easy, as Abba sang, but the Ministry of Justice is so pleased with its online divorce pilot that it has launched the scheme nationwide this month.
Are citizens of the United Kingdom annoyed when people use the term England to refer to them？
Divorce: a love story
While the government talks up family values, marriage break-ups are
Jan 23rd 2016 | CHONGQING | From the print edition
soar: to rise swiftly
e.g. After news of the possible acquisition broke, Crumbs' stock soared 990% from 3 cents to almost 35 cents as of mid-morning trading. (Los Angeles Times Jul 10, 2014)
YANG YOURONG’s wife kicks him as they walk upstairs and he falls back a
few steps, then follows again at a distance up to the cramped
offices of a district-government bureau handling divorces in Chongqing,
a region in the south-east. After more than 20 years of marriage, Mr
Yang’s wife has had several affairs; she is “quick tempered”, he says
(she had slapped him earlier, he claims). At the bureau, divorce takes
half an hour and costs 9 yuan ($1.40). It is administered a few steps
away from where other couples get married and take celebratory
photographs. Mr Yang and his wife have second thoughts, however;
they return home, still arguing. Most couples hesitate less.
cramped: Restricted; narrowed.
e.g. Still, he was drawn to the cramped apartment where his birth mother, uncles and grandmother lived. (New York Times Dec 15, 2016)
have second thoughts: 更动主意；
e.g. The idea was preposterous and I determined not to give it a second thought.
Divorce rates are rising quickly across China. This is a remarkable
transformation in a society where for centuries marriage was universal
and mostly permanent (though convention permitted men to take
concubines). Under Communist rule, traditional values have
retained a strong influence over family relationships: during much
of the Mao era, divorce was very unusual. It became more common in the
1980s, but a marriage law adopted in 1994 still required a reference
from an employer or community leader. Not until 2003 were
concubines: a woman in the past who lived with and had sex with a man who already had a wife or wives, but who was socially less important than the wives
e.g. Were these the royal concubines, buried near the deceased emperor to serve him in the next world as they had in this life?(National Geographic Oct 12, 2016)
reference: A statement about a person's qualifications, character, and dependability.
e.g. We will need references from your former employers.
Not until: 直到……才……
e.g. Not until we pointed out their fault to them did they realize it.
The trend reflects profound economic and social change. In the past 35
years, the biggest internal migration experienced by any country in
human history has been tearing families apart. Traditional values
have been giving way to more liberal ones. Women are becoming better
educated, and more aware of their marital rights (they now initiate
over half of all divorce cases). Greater affluence has made it easier
for many people to contemplate living alone—no longer is there such
an incentive to stay married in order to pool resources.
tear apart: 撕裂；
e.g. The unpredictable ebbs and flows of the world economy often threatened to tear apart the integrity of small and weak states.
give way to: 让位于，被……替代
e.g. Those initial existential concerns have given way to a new debate over the “normalization” of Trump and Trumpism in the wake of his election.(The New Yorker Nov 29, 2016)
marital: Of or relating to marriage
e.g. “I can’t remember the last time I cared so much about the marital prospects of a fictional character,” A. O. Scott wrote in The Times.(New York Times Dec 22, 2016)
contemplate: to think about something that you might do in the future
e.g. The promoter of Michael Jackson's comeback concerts had contemplated a worldwide tour for the entertainer.
incentive: Something, such as the fear of punishment or the expectation of reward, that induces action or motivates effort.
e.g. And yet the system of incentives that drives academic advancement—grants, publications, and tenure decisions—rarely rewards openness.(The New Yorker Dec 26, 2016)
pool: to combine your money, ideas, skills etc with those of other people so that you can all use them
e.g. Tradition dictates that prize money is pooled and distributed among the team members.(Seattle Times Jul 11, 2014)
As long as both sides agree on terms, China is now among the easiest
and cheapest places in the world to get a divorce. In many Western
countries, including Britain, couples must separate for a period before
dissolving a marriage; China has no such constraints. In 2014, the
latest year for which such data exist, about 3.6m couples split up—more
than double the number a decade earlier (they received a red
certificate, pictured, to prove it). The divorce rate—the number of
cases per thousand people—also doubled in that period. It now stands at
2.7, well above the rate in most of Europe and approaching that of
America, the most divorce-prone Western country (see chart). Chongqing’s
rate, 4.4, is higher than America’s.
agree on terms: 完毕①致；
e.g. The two sides have been unable to agree on the terms of a power-sharing arrangement to break the political deadlock gripping the country since a disputed presidential election in late December.
Helped by the huge movement of people from the countryside into cities,
and the rapid spread of social media, the availability of potential
mates has grown with astonishing speed, both geographically and
virtually. But many migrants marry in their home villages and often live
apart from their spouses for lengthy periods. This has contributed
to a big increase in extramarital liaisons. Married people
previously had limited opportunities to meet members of the opposite sex
in social situations, according to research by Li Xiaomin of Henan
University. Peng Xiaobo, a divorce lawyer in Chongqing, reckons
60-70% of his clients have had affairs.
lengthy: continuing for a long time, often too long
e.g. Like many a lengthy novel, it might have worked better as a television series.(Seattle Times Jul 10, 2014)
liaison: a secret sexual relationship between a man and a woman, especially a man and a woman who are married but not to each other
e.g. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes.(Washington Post Jul 06, 2014)
reckon: to think or suppose something
e.g. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights, based in Beirut, reckons the region has become more hostile towards activists in the past year.(Economist Jul 10, 2014)
Such behaviour has led to much soul-searching. The notion that
“chopsticks come in pairs” is still prevalent; propaganda posters
preach Confucian-style family virtues using pictures of happy,
multi-generation families. (President Xi Jinping is on his second
marriage but this is rarely mentioned.) Many commentators in the
official media talk of separation as a sign of moral failure; they
fret that it signifies the decline of marriage, and of family as a
social unit—a threat, as they see it, to social stability and even a
cause of crime. The spread of “Western values” is often blamed.
propaganda: information which is false or which emphasizes just one part of a situation, used by a government or political group to make people agree with them
e.g. There was almost no independent media left in the country and the intensity of state propaganda rivaled even the Soviet days.(Time Dec 26, 2016)
fret: to worry about something, especially when there is no need
The Germans like rules and discipline, and fret about excessive debt and the moral hazard created by bail-outs.(Economist Dec 08, 2016)
But marriage is not losing its lustre. In most countries, rising
divorce rates coincide with more births out of wedlock and a
fall in marriage rates. China bucks both these trends. Remarriage is
common too. The Chinese have not fallen out of love with marriage—only
with each other.
lustre: the quality that makes something interesting or exciting
e.g. And indeed Chinese entrepreneurs are gradually becoming victims as their brands acquire lustre.(Economist Jun 20, 2016)
** coincide with**: 与……一致
e.g. He gave great encouragement to his students, especially if their passions happened to coincide with his own.
wedlock: the state of being married
e.g. No one could have predicted that something like 70 percent of black births would be out of wedlock.(Salon Nov 13, 2016)
buck: to oppose something in a direct way
e.g. Hidden Figures, both a dazzling piece of entertainment and a window into history, bucks the trend of the boring-math-guy movie.(Time Dec 23, 2016)
It is tradition itself that is partly to blame for rising divorce
rates. China’s legal marriage age for men, 22, is the highest in the
world. But conservative attitudes to premarital relationships result in
Chinese youths having fewer of them than their counterparts in the West
(they are urged to concentrate on their studies and careers, rather than
socialise or explore). Living together before marriage is still
rare, although that is changing among educated youngsters. People still
face social pressure to marry in their 20s. Their inexperience makes it
more than usually difficult for them to select a good partner.
socialize: to spend time with other people in a friendly way
e.g. It was — and I found this shocking because socializing is usually stressful for me — an exhale moment.(New York Times Dec 14, 2016)
Couples’ ageing relatives are part of the problem too. Yan Yunxiang of
the University of California, Los Angeles, says “parent-driven divorce”
is becoming more common. As a result of China’s one-child-per-couple
policy (recently changed to a two-child one), many people have no
siblings to share the burden of looking after parents and grandparents.
Thus couples often find themselves living with, or being watched
over by, several—often contending—elders. Mr Yan says the older ones’
interference fuels conjugal conflict. Sometimes parents urge their
children to divorce their partners as a way to deal with rifts.
watched over: 监督；
e.g.These websites offer young people the information and tools they need to watch over their money.
conjugal: relating to marriage
e.g. Many of these communities sought to regulate conjugal relations.(The New Yorker Sep 26, 2016)
rift: a situation in which two people or groups have had a serious disagreement and begun to dislike and not trust each other
e.g. The most bruising presidential election in modern history lifted the curtain on the nation’s deep family rift — just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.(Seattle Times Dec 23, 2016)
Women are more likely to be the ones who suffer financially when this
happens. Rising divorce rates reflect the spread of more tolerant,
permissive values towards women, but legislation tends to favour men in
divorce settlements. A legal interpretation issued in 2003 says that
if a divorce is disputed, property bought for one partner by a spouse’s
parents before marriage can revert to the partner alone. That
usually means the husband’s family: they often try to increase their
child’s ability to attract a mate by buying him a home.
issue: to officially make a statement, give an order, warning etc
e.g. Bhatia, who acts both in Bollywood films and regional Tamil cinema, immediately issued a public statement and demanded an apology from the director.(BBC Dec 27, 2016)
revert to: if land or a building reverts to its former owner, it becomes their property again
e.g. Of course, if it does go bankrupt, the project itself will revert back to the state. (Washington Post Nov 28, 2016)
In 2011 the Supreme Court went further. It ruled that in contested
cases (as about one-fifth of divorces are), the property would be
considered that of one partner alone if that partner’s parents had
bought it for him or her after the couple had got married. In addition,
if one partner (rather than his or her parents) had bought a home before
the couple wed, that person could be awarded sole ownership by a divorce
court. This ruling has put women at a disadvantage too: by
convention they are less often ** named on deeds**.
contest: to formally oppose a decision or statement because you think it is wrong
e.g. However, some experts contested Ozerov’s claim, saying the crew’s failure to report a malfunction pointed at a possible terror attack.(Time Dec 25, 2016)
put ... at a disadvantage:使……处于不利；
e.g. A lack of regional cohesion will put the area at an economic disadvantage to the more dynamic markets of East Asia.
deed: a legal document that you sign, especially one that proves that you own a house or a building
e.g. Those rolls contained images of Dakota County’s mortgage documents and land deeds dating back to the 1850s.(Washington Times Dec 17, 2016)
In practice, if the couple has children the person with custody
often keeps the home—more often the mother. Yet the court’s
interpretation sets a worrying precedent for divorced women. Their
difficulties may be compounded by the two-child policy, which came
into effect on January 1st. If couples have two children and both
partners want custody, judges often assign parents one child each.
Marriage and the family are still strong in China—but children clearly
lie in a different asset class.
in practice: 实际上；
e.g. This is certainly a theoretical risk but in practice there is seldom a problem.
custody: the right to take care of a child, given to one of their parents when they have divorced
e.g. The inmates often lose connections to the outside world, including custody of children.(Washington Times Dec 26, 2016)
compound: to make a difficult situation worse by adding more problems
e.g. Lack of sleep likely compounded her health problems.(Washington Times Dec 24, 2016)
come into effect: 生效；
e.g. This is certainly a theoretical risk but in practice there is seldom a problem.
asset: a thing of value, especially property, that a person or company owns, which can be used or sold to pay debts
e.g. The deal included the possibility of adjustments to the purchase price depending on the evaluation of the assets.(Wall Street Journal Dec 27, 2016)
From the print edition: China
The latest initiative in the department’s ?1 billion modernisation programme enables couples splitting up across England and Wales to complete their applications on a website without going to court.
Language has been simplified for the digital form, allowing payments and evidence to be uploaded from home. More than 1,000 petitions were issued through the system during its test phase, with 91% of users, according to the MoJ, reporting that they were satisfied with the service.
•People who are English won‘t care
The system allows couples to terminate their marriage for ?550 and upload official documents online.
•Welsh will care and think you‘re an idiot
Sir James Munby, the judge in charge of the high court’s family division, recently described online divorce as a “triumphant success” and “final proof positive that whatever people think, government can do IT [information technology]”.
•Scots will really care， and think you an idiot
A refined version of the scheme was rolled out across England and Wales at the beginning of May. The department says there has been a 95% drop in the number of applications being returned because of mistakes.
•Roughly 50% of people in Northern Ireland will really， really care and think you‘re either an idiot or being deliberately provocative
One woman responding to the MoJ survey said: “It was marvellous, pain-free and less stressful than the paper form which I tried several years ago but got fed up of it being rejected.”
So it‘s not a great strategy。 Use “British” if you have to use only one word。 For Northern Ireland， I’d always say “Northern Irish” though this has the potential to annoy some unionists/loyalists。 Better to take that risk than to say “British” to nationalists/republicans though。
The Courts and Tribunals Service cited the example of divorce applicant, Rebecca, who used the new online service and received legal confirmation of her divorce less than 12 weeks later.
I am British， and born in England。 If people call me English and referring to me as being born in England， but if they are referring to my nationality， it annoys me。 I am British， and have British citizenship。 The Queen is the Queen of the United Kingdom， but can， informally， be called the British Queen。 People who call her the Queen of England are uneducated， as there has not been an English Queen since the Act of Union in 1707。
Welcoming the change as a means of reducing the stress of parting, the justice minister Lucy Frazer said: “Allowing divorce applications to be made online will help make sure we are best supporting people going through an often difficult and painful time. More people will have the option of moving from paper-based processes to online systems which will cut waste, speed up services which can be safely expedited, and better fit with modern life.”
The problem stems from a lack of understanding between the differences of the United Kingdom， Great Britain， England， Scotland， Wales， and Northern Ireland。 It doesn’t help that we have four separate teams in both Football and Rugby。 People aren’t taught the difference at school abroad and maybe they should be。
The quickening pace of court modernisation has, however, raised concerns in parts of the legal profession about funding for the ambitious programme which, it was revealed last week, will see 6,500 court and backroom jobs disappearing across England and Wales by 2022.
Depends which of the four countries they‘re from。 If you refer to an English person as being from England， then no。 However， if they’re from Scotland， Wales or Northern Ireland， they will be most definitely annoyed。 The name UK is more of a political umbrella term that covers all four countries， but the individual country names represent history and culture。 Any citizen can be referred to as from the UK， but to be honest they‘d probably prefer being referred to as from England， Scotland， Wales or N。 Ireland。 If they have an obvious recognisable accent， use one of the four to describe them。 If they don’t， stay safe and say U.K。 or British。 They‘ll probably tell you where they’re from， and then you say English， Scottish， Welsh or N。 Irish。 But never refer to someone who is definitely from Scotland， Wales or N。 Ireland as from England， cause you‘ll come across as ignorant and offend them。