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Practice 3

Are We Really That Different?

  • Certain lessons have to be learned the hard way. Some well meaning articles and presentations on cultural differences have a potential to do more harm than good and may not be as They present too many generalizations or quite a distorted view. Both of these certainly lead to misunderstandings. Differences between people within any given nation or culture are much greater than differences between groups. Education, social standing, religion, personality, belief structure, past experience, affection shown in the home, and a myriad of other factors will affect human behavior and culture.
  • Sure there are differences in approach as to what is considered polite and appropriate behavior both on and off the job. In some cultures “yes” means, “I hear you”, while in others it means “I agree”. In Turkish culture, for example, “yes” means the latter. Length of pleasantries and greetings before getting down to business; level of tolerance for being around someone speaking a foreign (not-understood) language; politeness measured in terms of gallantry or etiquette (e.g., standing up for a woman who approaches a table, yielding a seat on the bus to an older person, etc.); and manner of expected dress are all examples of possible cultural differences and traditions.
  • In Mexico it is customary for the arriving person to greet the others. For instance, someone who walks into a group of persons eating would say provecho (enjoy your meal). In Chile, women often greet both other women and men with a kiss on the cheek. In Russia women often walk arm in arm with their female friends. Paying attention to customs and cultural differences can give someone outside that culture a better chance of assimilation or acceptance. Ignoring them can get an unsuspecting person into trouble.
  • There are cultural and ideological differences and it is vital to have an understanding about a culture’s customs and ways. Aaron Pun, a Canadian ODCnet correspondent, wrote: “In studying cross cultural differences, we are not looking at individuals but a comparison of one ethnic group against others. Hence, generalization cannot be avoided.” Another correspondent explained the human need to True and true, but the danger comes when we act on some of these, especially when they are based on faulty observation. Acting on generalizations about such matters as eye contact, personal space, touch, and interest in participation can have serious negative consequences.
  • Stereotyping can have intense negative effects, especially when educators or managers make fewer attempts to involve those of other cultures because they have been taught not to expect participation! Or do not realize there may be something wrong when a student or employee of a different ethnicity makes little eye contact with them.
  • As we interact with others of different cultures, there is no good substitute for receptiveness to interpersonal feedback, good observation skills, effective questions, and some common sense. There is much to be gained by observing how people of the same culture interact with each other. Making a genuine effort to find the positive historical, literary, and cultural contributions of a society; learning a few polite expressions in another person’s language; and showing appreciation for the food and music of another culture can have especially positive effects.
  • The varieties between cultures and peoples are real and can add richness and humor to life. My assertion is that people everywhere have much in common, such as a need for affiliation and love, participation, and contribution. When the exterior is peeled off, there are not so many differences after all.

 

 

  1. What do the following refer to in the text?
  2. these (para. 1) :______________________________________________________________
  3. the latter (para. 2) :________________________________________________________________
  4. it (para. 4) :______________________________________________________________
  5. Find words in the text which mean the following. Do not change the form of the words and write ONE WORD ONLY.
  6. an indefinitely large number (para.l) (n) :________________________________
  7. giving up (para. 2) (v) :_____________________________
  8. claim, belief (para. 7) (n) :__________________________

III.   Answer the following questions.

  1. Why is it important to accept customs of a different culture?
  2. Why are generalizations inevitable?
  3. How can stereotyping have positive effects?
  4. How do the differences affect life?

 

 

Word Part of Speech Pattern + Definition + Collocations Context in which the word/phrase is used
distort distorted verb [T] adjective to explain a fact, statement, idea etc in a way that changes its real meaning The    Journalist     was     accused    of distorting the facts. They present too many generalizations or quite a distorted view.
assimilation assimilate noun [U] verb [T, I] the process  of  assimilating  or being

assimilated

to take in, fit into, or become similar (to)

The EU should remain flexible enough

to assimilate more countries quickly.

Paying attention to customs and cultural differences can give someone outside that culture a better chance of assimilation or acceptance.
ignore verb [T] to   deliberately   pay   no attention   to something that you have been told or that you know about As far as homelessness goes, the vast majority of people Just sit back and ignore it. Ignoring them can get an unsuspecting person into trouble.
correspondent noun [C] someone    who    is    employed    by    a newspaper or a television station etc to report news from a particular area or on a particular subject Our correspondent in   South   Africa sent this report. Aaron Pun, a Canadian ODCnet correspondent, wrote…
involve verb [T] to ask or allow someone to take part in

something

involve  sb  in sth:   Try to involve as

many children as possible in the game.

…educators or managers make fewer attempts to involve those of other cultures because they have been taught not to expect participation!
ethnicity noun [U] an ethnic quality or affiliation resulting from racial or cultural ties Ethnicity has a strong influence on community status relations. Or do not realize there may be something wrong when a student or employee of a different ethnicity makes little eye contact with them.
receptive receptiveness adjective noun [U] willing to consider new ideas or listen

to someone else’s opinions

You   might   find   them   in   a   more

receptive mood tomorrow.

[+   to]:   receptive  to new ideas and

values

…there is no good substitute for receptiveness to interpersonal feedback, good observation skills…
genuine adjective a genuine feeling, desire etc is one that you really feel, not one you pretend to feel in order to deceive people; sincere The   reforms   are   motivated   by   a genuine concern for the disabled. Making a genuine effort to find the positive historical, literary. and cultural contributions of a society…
affiliation noun [U, C] the    act    of    joining    or    becoming connected   with   a   larger   group   or organization My assertion is that people everywhere have much in common, such as a need for affiliation and love…

 

 

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