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Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Cultural differences around the world...
« on: April 02, 2013, 05:22:29 AM »
A topic on reddit (a site I frequent - if you're a redditor, then you may see me as a mod on /r/pics, /r/videos, and the /r/freebies family, along with /r/nottheonion and a few others)...


http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/1bf448/what_is_something_considered_normalappropriate_in/


I thought this was fascinating - What's something considered normal in your culture that is considered inappropriate in other cultures? Fascinating topic!

Offline IgorEliezer br

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 05:59:31 AM »
Brazil and Portugal shares the same language, but sometimes the meaning of a world may vary, or even the a thing has different "names" depending on country or state.

One of pitfalls are the worlds "você" (you, a shorthand for "your mercy") and "tu" (thou).

In Portugal, if you call someone, specially elders, "tu" they may get offended because "tu" is informal. Preferably use "você".

In Brazil, if you call someone, specially authorities, "você" they may get offended (and you may get arrested) because "você" is informal. "Tu" is considered formal and sounds antique in some states. Preferably use "senhor" (sir/mr.).

EDIT:

About being blunt. Some people in my professional area complained I was blunt.

-- want some coffee?
-- no
-- how's your horseshoe today?
-- ¬¬'

Stuff went real when I needed to do a direct question or argue something, or when I need to say "this project is not good".

The thing is, Brazilians like warming and evasive conversations and hate any kind of conflict. There are some posts in this forum, in Portuguese board, saying I'm "severe" moderator or admin. *evil grin*
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 10:45:40 AM by IgorEliezer »

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 06:09:55 AM »
I was dating a girl from Taiwan in my much younger years.  We had been dating about three months and it was time to "meet the parents".  I came over for dinner one evening, had a lovely dinner and when relaxing later on, getting along great with her parents, I put my feet up on the coffee table to relax.

Apparently that's VERY BAD.  Her parents didn't say anything at the time but I sure heard about it afterward.  They were extremely offended that I did that, did not want to invite me for another dinner and within a matter of days she had ended the relationship.  Lesson learned!

Offline Ters

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 05:44:33 PM »
When it comes to being blunt, there are almost as big variations on the small scale. When I was interviewed for my current job, I was warned about the department's manner of speaking. It was and is full of bluntness, sarcasm and irony, which suits me perfectly. We often say stuff like "You broke it!" or "It's that idiot's fault", but also things like "Don't check out now, I've **** up the code!" so we give and take. There are also comments that border on sexism and something similar to racism, except on a much smaller scale (villages as opposed to continents/counties) that has nothing to do with ethnicity.

There is however an ever present danger that we don't moderate ourselves when communicating with other departments and people from the outside, especially in writing. A year in or so, I learned that someone had labeled me as a brash and offensive person, but had completely changed her impression for the better after meeting me in person (or was it hearing me on the telephone) for the first time.

I was dating a girl from Taiwan in my much younger years.  We had been dating about three months and it was time to "meet the parents".  I came over for dinner one evening, had a lovely dinner and when relaxing later on, getting along great with her parents, I put my feet up on the coffee table to relax.

Apparently that's VERY BAD.  Her parents didn't say anything at the time but I sure heard about it afterward.  They were extremely offended that I did that, did not want to invite me for another dinner and within a matter of days she had ended the relationship.  Lesson learned!

To me, the surprise is that they didn't just break your legs right there. I'm wary of putting my feet even on my own table. There are dedicated pieces of furniture for that.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 09:29:19 PM »
To me, the surprise is that they didn't just break your legs right there. I'm wary of putting my feet even on my own table. There are dedicated pieces of furniture for that.

Haha, yes, lesson learned!  I grew up in a house where my father always put his feet on the furniture, so I never even thought that some people might consider that rude.  The many things we learn that we didn't know when we were 16 years old :)

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 09:54:21 PM »
My internship in 2009 in Seattle, I was with three people from Puerto Rico. When the woman would see me, she'd kiss me on the cheek. I knew it was cultural, and I try to accommodate cultural things I know about - but I also admit, it was nice anyway. hehe

(I didn't take it for more than it was - a simple greeting)

Offline isidoro

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 11:49:39 PM »
One of the worst consequences of globalization is the loss of cultural differences.  It is the thermal dead of human culture, a physicist would say.  I'm a pro-localization guy...  I like New York City very much, but I don't like to see a New York-like city every time I get off the train somewhere else...

Talking about cultural differences, we can travel to different places as well as travel in time...  For instance, in Ancient Rome, it is said that burping after a meal you were invited to wasn't bad manners at all.  Much on the contrary, it was a deference towards your hosts.  Perhaps the English sentence: Do in Rome as Romans do, comes from that.

When in a public place (the bus, a bar, ...) in China and most Mediterranean countries, everybody talks aloud, while some other people would consider that bad manners.

If you realize (which is unfortunately not always the case) that other people may have other frames of reference and you don't feel that your views are better that everyone else's, everything is ok.

Nevertheless, we must be aware of stereotypes.  Not all Germans are tall guys with fair hair and a pint of beer in their hands.  Even sometimes stereotypes are just wrong: while reading lesson 27 of the Chinese course I'm taking (新使用汉语课本), I learned that there is a stereotype among Chinese people regarding Westerners: we are supposed to lick our fingers when eating and they get dirty...  I haven't seen that in my life...  Bad luck in meeting the appropriate Westerners?  ;)


Offline (RP)Kuruya

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 02:36:26 PM »
The Philippines has many similarities with our neighbor Asians and Spain. In terms of language we have countless words that are similar for example para is used in the PH if you want the vehicle your riding to stop, silya is tagalog for chair which is cilia in spanish, there are also many words in english that are used as filipino words they are just spelled more simpler like the word nurse is spelled as nars in tagalog but Filipino's commonly mix Filipino language and English together. There are still countless words that are similar or derived from other languages.
In terms of culture there are also lots of similarity. Spanish culture was once very abundant in the Philippines before WW2 but it is still observed today. After 300 years of spanish occupation in the philippines you wont even wonder why the philippines doesn't look like an asian country, but there are also lots of cultures that had clashed with filipino cultore like the chinese and indians that had been trading with the Philippines years before the age of exploration began.
In the Philippines you would think that it would be the same with Mexico, or countries in the west indies, well your almost right, but what the mexicans or other asians don't have is our "kakaibang trip" or our being always happy. Filipinos also likes to be up to date in terms of songs and dance like "Teach me how to dougie", "Gangnam style", "Harlem shake", and many more.

Offline Markohs

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 02:43:07 PM »
... silya is tagalog for chair which is cilia in spanish ...

 It's actually "silla" in spanish.

... After 300 years of spanish occupation ...

 Yep, that's from the times of the spanish empire spanned across the entire world, and the sun allways was up in some part of the spanish empire. :)

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_empire_on_which_the_sun_never_sets

Offline sdog

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Re: Cultural differences around the world...
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 04:12:23 PM »
[...] I put my feet up on the coffee table to relax.
This most certainly would also be considered extremely rude here in Toronto, same country just separated by a continent's width.

Quote
Nevertheless, we must be aware of stereotypes.  Not all Germans are tall guys with fair hair and a pint of beer in their hands.  Even sometimes stereotypes are just wrong: while reading lesson 27 of the Chinese course I'm taking (新使用汉语课本), I learned that there is a stereotype among Chinese people regarding Westerners: we are supposed to lick our fingers when eating and they get dirty...  I haven't seen that in my life...  Bad luck in meeting the appropriate Westerners? 
I have to observe myself, perhaps i do it too. I can't stand having anything sticky or greasy on my fingers. In china this happens often enough.

Being from Bavaria (southern germany), I felt the cultural differences with north america going especially deep. Much more than towards other european countries but also the rift feels deeper to me than towards China or Japan. For one this is the British cultural background (see below, this is likely not so strange to northern germans) where people just don't say what they mean. But at the same time the culture is extremely immodest. Rich people who are boastful are not considered to be an embarrassment or uncivilized. (The worst are people who donate to, say a Hospital, and get a large plaque with their names, rooms named after them and so forth.) The most startling is a very deep hatred towards highly educated and intellectuals.

While Japan is completely strange, there are many points that seem to be common ground. With China it doesn't seem too enigmatic, just my immense ignorance. There being rich is also much more publicly desired than i would consider prudent in my own country, but other values are still respected. The matter that the exclusive materialism of rich kids is now an important matter in discussions seems to rather support it.

The cultural differences between Bavaria and north(-eastern) part of Germany seem to me much deeper than those with northern Italy. This most likely is still related to the borders of the roman empire, and protestantism that followed that imprint.