English is the first language of all but a very small number of native speakers of Manx Gaelic. All children on the Isle of Man have the option to study Manx at school, and there have been efforts to revive the language. It is a descendant of Old Irish, along with Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic. One of the most striking elements of the language is many consonant mutations can occur, e.g., Doolish the Manx name for Douglas, can easily become Ghoolish.
The Isle of Man is still a very socially conservative place, although some major social reforms in line with the rest of western Europe have been legislated for by Tynwald, the Manx parliament. Despite this, homosexuality, while being legalised, is not widely tolerated, and racial diversity on the island is decidedly lacking.
Capital punishment was not officially abolished until 1993, although no execution had taken place on the island for over 100 years. Corporal punishment has also been abolished - it was used for young male offenders until the mid 1970s.
People from the Isle of Man are known as Manx. The Manx are very proud of their identity; the Manx flag will be frequently seen. To dismiss the island as just a "tax haven" may cause annoyance; the finance industry is the major employer and considerable efforts have been made by the Manx authorities to improve the regulation and propriety of this industry. Nevertheless, taxes are considerably lower than in the UK - although Valued Added Tax is the same by agreement between the Manx and UK Governments.
The UK is often referred to simply as "across" i.e., travelling across to the UK.