L'esame di guida più difficile del mondo: The London Cabbie Exam

L’esame per ottenere la licenza per guidare un black cab è considerato uno dei più difficili del mondo. Per orientarsi tra più di 25.000 strade e migliaia di luoghi turistici, i veri tassisti londinesi si avvalgono di un unico strumento: la memoria.

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Alex Warner

Speaker (UK accent)

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London traffic

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Have you ever taken a taxi in London? Not an ordinary taxi, but one of the famous black cabs? Their drivers are not ordinary, either! Known as ‘cabbies’, they know every backstreet of the complicated labyrinth that is London. They are custodians of ‘The Knowledge’. 

Black cab londres

Black cabs

Estos coches con sus característicos ángulos redondeados son uno de los símbolos indiscutibles de la capital británica. Su nombre completo es hackney carriage, y datan del siglo XVII, cuando se pusieron a disposición del público los primeros carruajes tirados por caballos. A diferencia de los mini cabs o los taxis privados, que solo funcionan bajo llamada, los black cabs pueden recoger a los pasajeros en la calle.

A SPECIAL TEST

Does that sound like something from Game of Thrones? Actually, it’s more practical than that. London cab drivers are not allowed to have satnavs. That’s because the satnav is in the driver’s brain! To get a licence to drive one of London’s iconic black cabs, cabbies have to prove they know their way through this enormous metropolis of nine million people. They must pass an incredibly difficult memory test known as ‘The Knowledge’.

A SPECIAL TEST

Does that sound like something from Game of Thrones? Actually, it’s more practical than that. London cab drivers are not allowed to have satnavs. That’s because the satnav is in the driver’s brain! To get a licence to drive one of London’s iconic black cabs, cabbies have to prove they know their way through this enormous metropolis of nine million people. They must pass an incredibly difficult memory test known as ‘The Knowledge’.

25,000 streets

To pass the test, aspiring cabbies have to study hundreds of routes through 25,000 streets, in a six-mile radius starting in Charing Cross, the junction that is taken to be the centre-point of London. They have to learn everything by heart in order to get their licence. They also have to memorise about twenty thousand landmarks and places of interest. These include tourist destinations, museums, parks, churches, theatres and schools, not to mention hotels, restaurants and even shops, no matter how small they are. And that’s not all. London cabbies must also know which direction these streets run, which are one-way streets and which are dead ends

AN ATLAS OF LONDON

The Knowledge test was introduced in 1865 and London has grown significantly since then. Today, there are approximately 21,000 black cabs operating there – although only around two per cent of black cab drivers are women. It usually takes between two and four years to pass the test and some cabbies have described the process as “having an atlas of London implanted into your brain.”

American vs British English: Divided by a Common Language
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American vs British English: Divided by a Common Language

Gli equivoci linguistici, spesso divertenti, talvolta imbarazzanti, sono molto frequenti nella comunicazione tra britannici e americani. Nel corso dei secoli il lessico si è differenziato ampiamente, tuttavia negli ultimi anni le serie televisive hanno riunito il pubblico.

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