Jump to content

Menu

S/o International people views on Americans


Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

When my oldest children were in school they wanted to study German. I tried to convince them to study Spanish because I thought it would be the most useful. They didn't listen and studied German and became quite fluent. They've proven me wrong again and again. One son works for an international company and when they found out he speaks German, he got put on teams for the sole purpose of traveling as their interpreter. They don't need Spanish speakers, but they do need German speakers. Later, we found out that dh's birth family are German immigrants who all speak German and that German is still one of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in our area. Now I let the younger ones study any language they want. What do I know?😂

That's a great outcome for your son, but I wonder how many people in the US end up using the foreign language they studied in high school.  I don't know of any.  We don't have very many opportunities to practice with foreign language in the US.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 993
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

The discussion isn't are all Americans like this or do the non-Americans on the board think this is what all Americans are like. The discussion is why do those who generalize think this way. Amer

I am not wasting time on disclaimers, since you all know that lumping people into a group doesn't account for the individual. But here's what comes to mind (and when I say "Americans", I obviously do

Don't shoot the messenger; these are not all my opinions: On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant co

Posted Images

14 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

That's a great outcome for your son, but I wonder how many people in the US end up using the foreign language they studied in high school.  I don't know of any.  We don't have very many opportunities to practice with foreign language in the US.

I know lots of linguists, but most of them aren't using a language they studied in high school.  Still, having the experience of studying a language or two in school really does help prepare you to learn another one later. It's very uncomfortable to try to retrieve a word and grab it in the wrong language, but that's amusing in it's own way.  There are Americans out there working with a second language but they're likely clustered in areas where those jobs exist. Lots of military linguists take that skill into new jobs when they leave the service.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I know lots of linguists, but most of them aren't using a language they studied in high school.  Still, having the experience of studying a language or two in school really does help prepare you to learn another one later. It's very uncomfortable to try to retrieve a word and grab it in the wrong language, but that's amusing in it's own way.  There are Americans out there working with a second language but they're likely clustered in areas where those jobs exist. Lots of military linguists take that skill into new jobs when they leave the service.

I'm not saying that zero Americans use a second language.  It's just that we don't need it to get around most of North America.  If I lived in Europe and wanted to travel around, knowing a language other than my native tongue would be more useful and necessary. But I can live my whole life in the US and never, ever need to speak anything other than English to get around.  

According to google, only 20% of Americans are bilingual, while 56% of Europeans are bilingual. My opinion, (for what that's worth), is that it's probably much more useful and necessary to be bilingual in Europe than it is in the US. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Selkie said:

Our local public school only has about 12 kids per grade, so approximately 50 high schoolers. This is in the rural midwest.

 

There are quite a few schools in rural Oregon that are under 200 including our local one.   One  that a good friend of my son’s was at was around 50. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MissLemon said:

I'm not saying that zero Americans use a second language.  It's just that we don't need it to get around most of North America.  If I lived in Europe and wanted to travel around, knowing a language other than my native tongue would be more useful and necessary. But I can live my whole life in the US and never, ever need to speak anything other than English to get around.  

According to google, only 20% of Americans are bilingual, while 56% of Europeans are bilingual. My opinion, (for what that's worth), is that it's probably much more useful and necessary to be bilingual in Europe than it is in the US. 

I absolutely agree with you. Americans aren’t too dull or self-involved to learn other languages. They are just lacking the opportunity to use them regularly and without expensive long distance travel as a motivator. You really have to go out of your way to find people who don’t speak any English at all and we don’t often travel to those places. Even when I had a second language in my pocket, and a 3rd and 4th that were better than nothing, I still managed to get into a situation abroad where the person I was trying to speak to knew none of these languages. He knew more than one, but nothing I’d studied. It was comical later but frustrating at the time. Sometimes you want to give a second language a try but the other person’s English is better and they really want to practice it more. I have suspected that this is a ploy to both spare my feelings and save their ears from my inadequate French. 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

I was responding to Garga, who was replying to someone else about hearing people say if you don’t like it then leave. Of course it’s ugly human being, but the whole point of this thread was describing how American tourists are often seen. I was describing how an entire group of American tourists, at a tourist site full of a ton of nationalities, were acting towards another group of people- who were also Americans but the first group of people were too clueless to know that. So people from around the world came to Niagra Falls and experienced poor behavior by American tourists.

eta- yes, I see that the cashier story isn’t relevant here, sorry. They happened the same morning and are stuck in my mind together. 


I understand. I didn’t mean it negatively.

While living in a country due north of us, I gained an enormous amount of respect for the fact that Americans are able to talk about our problems freely. As has been noted upthread, we don’t have or even strive to have a single unifying culture so I feel it's as though we are more free than some places to point out our own deficiencies and discuss them, maybe especially amongst ourselves. We are a far, far from perfect country but we also don’t pretend to be. The greater national conversation can be loud, ugly and divisive for sure, but I have to say I appreciate that we—generally— own our differences and don’t to try hide them from ourselves or the world.

Obviously nothing excuses ugly behavior by any individual. 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

I think it is a super simplistic.  First of all, they have my state in only one category.  They do not haveboart of it being more like Appalachia. They di not have part of it having decidedly French influences. And it doesn't have my city which is most decidedly not the Deep South with rigid social structures. My city, which will in a few years,be age largest city in my state, is full of people who did not come from here.  And since it is very much a nerd city, no rigid social structures either.

The book goes into great depth about historical migration patterns and how they continue to shape our cultures today. It doesn't attempt to detail every last influence, but paints a broad—and very accurate—brush across the continent.

It does illustrate—again, broadly— modern migrations, explaining that  *most* people move (when voluntary) within similar, familiar cultures. New England to the the upper Midwest, coastal west coast or southern Ontario makes cultural sense as they share strikingly similar historical patterns. Coastal California to Alabama, on the hand, share few historical cultural similarities. Perhaps the same is true of your city, perhaps its influences are different from its surrounding greater area.

Several posters from western states have commented that western Canada feels comfortable to them, that there are clear ties that transcend the border. It’s not a surprise, given that both were settled similarly and for similar purposes.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this dialogue about having a foreign language but not needing it fascinating. The rest of the world has recognized the need and the value of having at least one other language added to their skill set. Times have changed, we are living in a global market. China, for example, also a superpower, is aware that being fluent in another language can only forward your agenda in today's economic climate.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. 

Throughout this thread, what I've been trying to convey is yes, of course, there are loud, off putting American tourists. The larger issue, in my opinion, is the quiet superiority that often times shows a lack of inclusion, and a lack of willingness to grow and adapt to the ever evolving world.

It is not unlke white privilege, only seen upon self reflection, and most times not even then.

This is one of the reasons why America is perceived by the world at large of thinking they are better than anyone else. Make America great again......

 

Edited by Islandgal
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MEmama said:

The book goes into great depth about historical migration patterns and how they continue to shape our cultures today. It doesn't attempt to detail every last influence, but paints a broad—and very accurate—brush across the continent.

It does illustrate—again, broadly— modern migrations, explaining that  *most* people move (when voluntary) within similar, familiar cultures. New England to the the upper Midwest, coastal west coast or southern Ontario makes cultural sense as they share strikingly similar historical patterns. Coastal California to Alabama, on the hand, share few historical cultural similarities. Perhaps the same is true of your city, perhaps its influences are different from its surrounding greater area.

Several posters from western states have commented that western Canada feels comfortable to them, that there are clear ties that transcend the border. It’s not a surprise, given that both were settled similarly and for similar purposes.

 

 

 

After some years in Western USA, I found not only some parts of British Columbia, Western Canada easier to adjust to than some parts of USA, but also Toronto, Ottawa and other parts of Ontario easier than New York City and parts of the US southeast—less different seeming culturally and easier accents to understand. When I first moved to NYC, I could barely understand a lot of my teachers and other kids.   It was English, but nearly as different from the English I’d been used to as when Aussies use a lot of shortened down Australian slang words. 

 

Edited by Pen
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

I think it is a super simplistic.  First of all, they have my state in only one category.  They do not haveboart of it being more like Appalachia. They di not have part of it having decidedly French influences. And it doesn't have my city which is most decidedly not the Deep South with rigid social structures. My city, which will in a few years,be age largest city in my state, is full of people who did not come from here.  And since it is very much a nerd city, no rigid social structures either.

Remember that this is in the context of historical influences.  The last half of the 20th century saw a lot of migration, and the last 20 years has seen a shift in rural vs. urban, but that's not what the book is primarily about.  It's about why, when people move a new place from a different region, they're surprised to find different, long standing norms.  This is about the genesis and growth of the norms and how they came to be before now.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

I don't agree at all that there is no variety in USA and everything is Waspy.  New Mexico certainly isn't.  I believe that there are more than 11 cultures in the US.  Noticing differences in cultures is something that really interests me.  And each place we were stationed at had a different culture. ---- some of the most pronounced differences were in regarding time.

Again, they're talking about dominant regional cultures, which is not at all the same as saying that there are only 11 and no others exists.  This is an example of the nuance I was talking about up thread.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Most Americans will never need a second language, and those who speak one will hardly every use it in the US.  I grew up in PHX, in what started out as a rural area full of agro when I was born in 1973 and by the time I moved out in 1993, it was one of the fastest growing regions in the country and a large city. I've been around migrant worker kids on a daily basis.  I went to school with a large number of kids who spoke only Spanish (usually border Spanish) at home.  The Latino population is very high there, and there's no need to learn Spanish.  The only immigrant Latinos who don't learn English are those who immigrated when they were old.  Everyone else learns English.  The kids go to public school, watch American TV, and listen to American music.

You can learn textbook Spanish in every public Jr. High and High School, but for the few situations where a translator is needed, usually legal or medical situations, other employees there are Chicanos who are fluent in both Spanish and one of the many Latino subcultures. When the landscapers come to your house the foreman speaks English and Spanish but most of the workers, who are usually recent immigrants, don't.  If the foreman isn't there and you need to communicate, one of the workers will take out a phone, dial it, speak briefly in Spanish, then hand you the phone and you talk to the foreman or a family who is bilingual, then you hand the phone back, the worker listens to the translation.   In little restaurants where no one speaks English the food options are numbered. You just tell them the number, which they understand, point to the option on the menu, or hold up fingers and they get you what you want.  It's simple and effective.

I know quite a few people who are paid by foreign countries to teach English to their students, some in person, some remotely.  English just happens to be a frequently used second language in many parts of the industrialized world.  It's a quirk of historical and economic fate, not anything that makes English or English speakers any better than anyone else.  International business is frequently done in English.  That's why a second language isn't needed by the vast majority of Americans in the US.  Few students can accurately predict where their future companies will do work internationally.  My uncle regularly does business in China and Russia.  He couldn't have know that was going to happen in high school, and the high school he went to, though large, couldn't have afforded teachers for those languages in the 1960s because of lack of demand.  His company just hires professional translators as needed. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Islandgal said:

I find this dialogue about having a foreign language but not needing it fascinating. The rest of the world has recognized the need and the value of having at least one other language added to their skill set. Times have changed, we are living in a global market. China, for example, also a superpower, is aware that being fluent in another language can only forward your agenda in today's economic climate.

Obviously there are individual Americans who don't see the value of a foreign language but that is not an opinion I personally have come across often. Some of my kids attended a local public elementary school that offers language immersion--half the day was in Chinese starting in kindergarten, taught by a native speaker. Other immersion schools throughout the state teach a variety of languages.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Most Americans will never need a second language, and those who speak one will hardly every use it in the US.  I grew up in PHX, in what started out as a rural area full of agro when I was born in 1973 and by the time I moved out in 1993, it was one of the fastest growing regions in the country and a large city. I've been around migrant worker kids on a daily basis.  I went to school with a large number of kids who spoke only Spanish (usually border Spanish) at home.  The Latino population is very high there, and there's no need to learn Spanish.  The only immigrant Latinos who don't learn English are those who immigrated when they were old.  Everyone else learns English.  The kids go to public school, watch American TV, and listen to American music.

You can learn textbook Spanish in every public Jr. High and High School, but for the few situations where a translator is needed, usually legal or medical situations, other employees there are Chicanos who are fluent in both Spanish and one of the many Latino subcultures. When the landscapers come to your house the foreman speaks English and Spanish but most of the workers, who are usually recent immigrants, don't.  If the foreman isn't there and you need to communicate, one of the workers will take out a phone, dial it, speak briefly in Spanish, then hand you the phone and you talk to the foreman or a family who is bilingual, then you hand the phone back, the worker listens to the translation.   In little restaurants where no one speaks English the food options are numbered. You just tell them the number, which they understand, point to the option on the menu, or hold up fingers and they get you what you want.  It's simple and effective.

I know quite a few people who are paid by foreign countries to teach English to their students, some in person, some remotely.  English just happens to be a frequently used second language in many parts of the industrialized world.  It's a quirk of historical and economic fate, not anything that makes English or English speakers any better than anyone else.  International business is frequently done in English.  That's why a second language isn't needed by the vast majority of Americans in the US.  Few students can accurately predict where their future companies will do work internationally.  My uncle regularly does business in China and Russia.  He couldn't have know that was going to happen in high school, and the high school he went to, though large, couldn't have afforded teachers for those languages in the 1960s because of lack of demand.  His company just hires professional translators as needed. 

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

Edited by Islandgal
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Islandgal said:

I find this dialogue about having a foreign language but not needing it fascinating. The rest of the world has recognized the need and the value of having at least one other language added to their skill set. Times have changed, we are living in a global market. China, for example, also a superpower, is aware that being fluent in another language can only forward your agenda in today's economic climate.

 

 

 The United States is not ignorant of this. My son is interested in a program through the US State Department that sends high school and college students to different places in the world. The goal is both language acquisition cultural understanding. The US government pays for almost all the travel expenses including an intensive language program in Russian, Polish, German, French, Turkish, Arabic, Hindi, Indonesian, Mandarin and a variety of other languages for almost an entire year.

While it's true that most Americans can go their entire lives, even traveling widely throughout the US and Canada, without ever needing to use a language other than English, I know more than a few native born Americans who are fluent in other languages. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Language acquisition is also a bit “use it or lose it.” You can study diligently and reach a level of proficiency, but if you go a few years without the need to use it your language skills can atrophy. It takes a lot of self discipline to be a language student in a void. You really need a person to catch your mistakes. 

There is a lot more material online now and streaming shows in other languages, but that hasn’t been the case for very long. I did most of my language studies before the Internet. 

Living where another language is used often is a huge motivator to learn. Without immersion or a clear plan for use, most people aren’t carving out time in their adult lives for serious language study.  Studying earlier won’t fix this problem either. 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Islandgal said:

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

 

Honestly, what is this dig about? I don't know any American who doesn't realize that people all over the world differently. I mean, I live very differently than the very wealthy families who make up most of the city we live in. Most Americans likely have a number of actual immigrants who are close friends or family and very well know that people live differently elsewhere. We do also learn about other cultures and are taught that we should be very accepting of them. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Islandgal said:

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

My language experience was not like this at all. My kids are learning Latin, which I think will be equally "effective" in "teaching empathy and bringing awareness that others live differently." Thank goodness foreign language acquisition is not the only means of doing this. Our family spends a lot of time with the homeless, the elderly, and the very sick/dying (often these categories overlap). Not only do I not need a foreign language for this, I didn't need to spend any money and/or leave my city. If the bolded is the goal, there are far more accessible methods of achieving that with a much more direct impact on all involved.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/17/2020 at 1:20 PM, SKL said:

Again (the bolded) - you can pick out the loud obnoxious Americans.  Apparently the quiet, considerate ones escape your notice.

I wonder if part of this Americans - only - notice - ugly - Americans - abroad thing is because we feel extra embarrassed as if it's part of our family acting the fool.  Like when my kids or my [non-American-born] loud extrovert friend makes a faux pas, yeah, I notice it.  (And I correct it as best I can.)

I'm a quiet, introverted person who has traveled a fair amount.  I don't have memories of constantly being horrified by other Americans' behavior.  Most people from most countries behave reasonably decently.  The majority of the misbehaving tourists are not Americans in my personal experience.  Are there some, sure, but not to the extent that I'm ashamed for my country.  (But then, I don't consider differences in clothing style etc to be a national disgrace.  So maybe that is the difference.)

I see quiet considerate people of all nationalities, including American. But, I don't see loud, obnoxious people of other nationalities. That isn't to say that there aren't some, but it's noteworthy that the loud, obnoxious people that I have seen are Americans. I'm relating my personal experience, and my personal experience leads me to conclude that our reputation for rudeness in other cultures is understandable.

 

 

 

  • Confused 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Islandgal said:

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

I don't disagree that foreign language acquisition is a good thing, but there are lots of other ways to teach empathy, etc.  I'm not even sure how foreign language alone teaches those things, though the classes my kids took included a cultural component, which was probably more effective than the actual language study.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I see quiet considerate people of all nationalities, including American. But, I don't see loud, obnoxious people of other nationalities. That isn't to say that there aren't some, but it's noteworthy that the loud, obnoxious people that I have seen are Americans. I'm relating my personal experience, and my personal experience leads me to conclude that our reputation for rudeness in other cultures is understandable.

 

How far/broadly have you traveled? The worst behaved people we saw in Mauritius were, ironically, Australians. They were drunken louts and extremely rude with the wait staff. Which means nothing except that THOSE Australians were jackasses. There also just so happened to be a cruise ship in town when we were visiting.

Edited by Sneezyone
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Sneezyone said:

 

How far/broadly have you traveled? The worst behaved people we saw in Mauritius were, ironically, Australians. They were drunken louts.

I wonder this too, and if your community is pretty isolated. Totally not a dig—as you said, we all have our own experiences and I’m totally not discounting yours. But I am surprised that you’ve never encountered a rude tourist, even?
 

 I’m fairly well traveled and have lived in many different states and types of communities and this does represent what I’ve experienced * at all*, whether in North America or overseas. I mean, it’s just never been true anywhere I’ve lived or traveled that only Americans are rude.

Fascinating.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MEmama said:

I wonder this too, and if your community is pretty isolated. Totally not a dig—as you said, we all have our own experiences and I’m totally not discounting yours. But I am surprised that you’ve never encountered a rude tourist, even?
 

 I’m fairly well traveled and have lived in many different states and types of communities and this does represent what I’ve experienced * at all*, whether in North America or overseas. I mean, it’s just never been true anywhere I’ve lived or traveled that only Americans are rude.

Fascinating.

Ditto. I have lived in several major tourist cities and have travelled a lot internationally. I have seen many, many non-Americans and Americans (USians?) being loud and under my culturally defined version of "rude".

I really struggle with saying "obnoxious", because that word is so loaded with value judgments. After all, the behavior of children, teens, older people, insert group of choice here can be seen as obnoxious depending on who you ask. But the intent is not to be obnoxious. Old people dont walk slowly to be obnoxious. Kids dont have loads of energy to be obnoxious. Teens are not self-absorbed to be obnoxious. The middle-aged are not super busy to be obnoxious. But these "in general" behaviors are much more stage-of-life driven rather than because of some negative intrinsic property. Can the same not be said for different cultures? Or the types of people who have enough money/time/energy to travel abroad?

Edited by annegables
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2020 at 5:40 PM, StellaM said:

Final comment.

I feel like this thread was a set up. 

 

 

Fairfarmhand is the OP. I highly doubt she started this thread as a "set-up." She is not that kind of person. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Not  ironically, since we discussed this (deserved) stereotype without defensiveness pages back.  And it does mean something, because their behaviour reflected negative parts of our culture. And anyone is free to discuss that cultural stereotype, and I think you'll find you could do it without any of the Aussies here getting into a tizzie.

 

I don't know enough about Australian culture to see it as a pattern. When we visited Sydney we didn't see anything like that. Thus, it seems neither fair or justified to apply those negative traits to all Australians when the positive ones were just as likely to be representative.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Well, you could maybe listen to the Australians who've seen enough of it to say yes, there is (some) truth in this stereotype, and that stereotype reflects some ugly parts of our culture.

Or you could continue to ignore what we have to say, because that would disrupt the narrative of American polite, doesn't make judgement.

 

Or you could assume, as I said earlier, I prefer not to use lazy stereotypes and react to people based on what I observe them say/do no matter who they are or where they live or what language they speak.

ETA: OH GIVE IT A FREAKIN' REST ALREADY.

Australian/Canadian/British/Etc. national privilege doesn't give you any particular insight into the nuances of American culture either as many of the misconceptions in this thread indicate.

Edited by Sneezyone
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Not  ironically, since we discussed this (deserved) stereotype without defensiveness pages back.  And it does mean something, because their behaviour reflected negative parts of our culture. And anyone is free to discuss that cultural stereotype, and I think you'll find you could do it without any of the Aussies here getting into a tizzie.

I guess the disconnect I'm having in this discussion is that I wouldn't associate loud, drunken behaviour with Australians as a group or as negative aspects of particulary Australian culture. I would think that those particular people were being obnoxiously drunk. Not saying I wouldn't notice their accents as Aussies, but it wouldn't register on my radar as specific to their country of origin since I've seen that sort of stuff from a lot of different groups.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, StellaM said:

 

Sometimes the things we claim about ourselves are not accurate.

Given that I'm not interested in any more of your bullying on the basis of personal animus, we'll leave it there, thanks. 

 

 

That's really rich. Bullying? Really? Do you even know what that means? There was nothing even remotely bullying about my behavior toward you. You asked me to leave you alone and I did. Follow your own advice.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I guess the disconnect I'm having in this discussion is that I wouldn't associate loud, drunken behaviour with Australians as a group or as negative aspects of particulary Australian culture. I would think that those particular people were being obnoxiously drunk. Not saying I wouldn't notice their accents as Aussies, but it wouldn't register on my radar as specific to their country of origin since I've seen that sort of stuff from a lot of different groups.

I think this is what a lot of Americans are saying.

And maybe this is partly our individualistic culture.  We assume what people do is individual, unless there is clear evidence of a national pattern.  We don't say "I saw an Aussie do xyz so Aussies must be xyz."

Also, we are not inclined to categorize like that even if we do see more than a few cases.  We kind of don't care if Aussies do / are xyz as long as it's not infringing on rights we hold dear.  Having our environment completely free of silly people is not a right we hold dear.

In fact, if I see an American going off on some other culture because "I've seen xyz," I consider that person a boor (assuming it wasn't triggered by other culture people going off on Americans first).  Not to say we don't have boors here, but they don't represent us.

Edited by SKL
  • Like 7
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Well, you could maybe listen to those who've seen enough of it to say yes, there is (some) truth in this stereotype, and that stereotype reflects some ugly parts of our culture.

As do all national stereotypes. 

The bolded is your national privilege. 

LOL about national privilege.  I think she was trying to be humble and honest rather than acting like an expert in something when she isn't.  Way to characterize a decent act as a character flaw.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, SKL said:

I think this is what a lot of Americans are saying.

And maybe this is partly our individualistic culture.  We assume what people do is individual, unless there is clear evidence of a national pattern.  We don't say "I saw an Aussie do xyz so Aussies must be xyz."

Also, we are not inclined to categorize like that even if we do see more than a few cases.  We kind of don't care if Aussies do / are xyz as long as it's not infringing on rights we hold dear.  Having our environment completely free of silly people is not a right we hold dear.

In fact, if I see an American going off on some other culture because "I've seen xyz," I consider that person a boor (assuming it wasn't triggered by other culture people going off on Americans first).  Not to say we don't have boors here, but they don't represent us.

 

I think you are on to something. My husband jokes (but not really) that if he told me to run, I'd probably pause to look for danger before taking his advice. This may be a character flaw on my part (DH certainly thinks so) but I don't tend to take anyone's word for something I haven't observed with my own two peepers or been able to verify.

Edited by Sneezyone
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, kdsuomi said:

 

Honestly, what is this dig about? I don't know any American who doesn't realize that people all over the world differently. I mean, I live very differently than the very wealthy families who make up most of the city we live in. Most Americans likely have a number of actual immigrants who are close friends or family and very well know that people live differently elsewhere. We do also learn about other cultures and are taught that we should be very accepting of them. 

It was not meant as a dig. I was replying to Homeschool Mom on what I feel the benefits are of being exposed to different cultures, not only foreign languages taught in a textbook, that can be obviously limiting, but the culture itself along with the foreign language.

She was saying that there really is no need for Americans to learn another language. Which I totally understood. 

I'm glad you're one who understands that people live differently, and is accepting of said differences.

To compare your living conditions to those whose wealth exceeds yours in the same country is not a fair comparison and is not what I am speaking of. To truly compare, you'd have to compare the living differently to a third world country without the first world resources. Which is what I was referring to. 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Islandgal said:

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

I agree exposure to a foreign language has the potential to do those things, but it isn't the only one.  It's a very high investment of time and effort with very little payoff.  Most people, like my husband who eagerly studied French for all of high school and into college, still aren't fluent at the end either in the language or the culture. If y really want to learn them, you have to do immersion.

Reading widely, both fiction, and non-fiction can accomplish broadening minds and teaching empathy too and I would argue if done intentionally toward those goals, it can do it so much more effectively.  You can spend years learning one language spoken in a few parts of the world, or you can invest equal time in reading from perspectives from all over the world, with much more depth and with the added benefit of comparing and contrasting more.  Studying a foreign language you aren't actually going to use is probably the least effective approach toward those goals.  We can do far better with a different approach.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

We've established that anyone who notices and talks about patterns of behaviour in a particular nationality (when visible) has committed the Grand Sin of Guacheness, Impoliteness, Stereotyping and Anti-Americanism, and that American posters do not suffer these sins, so with respect, I've got the message, and while appreciating your clarification, and being relieved it doesn't come with a side helping of personal nastiness, it's not required.

I think, perhaps, that you've had less exposure to the stereotypical Aussie traveller (who tend to go to the UK and Europe) than I (and others) have to the stereotypical American traveller. Because trust me, if you lived in London, you'd have plenty of data points to add to the observed pattern.

I don't understand the defensiveness? I don't even know what you're talking about wrt to anti-Americanism and sin and personal nastiness. I normally like discussing things with you. Genuinely puzzled by your first paragraph. I'm just discussing stuff on the board as per usual, I thought.

In any case, my observed data points are based on knowing and interacting with a fair number of Aussie servicemembers, as well as a handful of longtime online friends. Incidentally, I knew a fair number from the UK as well. I'd say that the Brits could just about drink any of us under the table, if we're going to be competitive based on nationalities. I feel like, ironically maybe, it's the fact that I've had exposure to a lot of different travelers and expats in various contexts that makes me less likely to pin a certain behaviour on a certain country of origin.

I have not lived in London though. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

 

How far/broadly have you traveled? The worst behaved people we saw in Mauritius were, ironically, Australians. They were drunken louts and extremely rude with the wait staff. Which means nothing except that THOSE Australians were jackasses. There also just so happened to be a cruise ship in town when we were visiting.

Not nearly as broadly as my husband has! He's always on the go. Personally, I've been to Great Britain a few times and also to France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Mexico, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Canada. I've been to several large cities around the US - east coast, mid-west and west coast. I've been to a lot of mid-size and small towns and even one town that I would consider tiny. I'm not the most well-traveled person, but I have traveled a bit.

2 hours ago, MEmama said:

I wonder this too, and if your community is pretty isolated. Totally not a dig—as you said, we all have our own experiences and I’m totally not discounting yours. But I am surprised that you’ve never encountered a rude tourist, even?
 

 I’m fairly well traveled and have lived in many different states and types of communities and this does represent what I’ve experienced * at all*, whether in North America or overseas. I mean, it’s just never been true anywhere I’ve lived or traveled that only Americans are rude.

Fascinating.

Nope, not isolated at all. I live in a fast growing, urban area with countless "transplants" from within the US and many immigrants from around the world. We have three major universities, several smaller colleges and numerous international companies. We personally know & are friends with people from around the world. I grew up near a large city, my husband grew up in a tiny town. He is now a world traveler due to his profession.

I have seen tourists from other countries visiting here in the US that are rude according to US standards, but in other countries (including major cities), they don't stand out to me. Perhaps they are overwhelmed by the Americans and don't stand out as much, or perhaps what is rude in the US isn't rude in other countries, who knows. Maybe I'm more attuned to the Americans in other countries because people from other countries blend in more in those particular cities/countries.

We all do have different experiences, don't we? It is fascinating.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I agree exposure to a foreign language has the potential to do those things, but it isn't the only one.  It's a very high investment of time and effort with very little payoff.  Most people, like my husband who eagerly studied French for all of high school and into college, still aren't fluent at the end either in the language or the culture. If y really want to learn them, you have to do immersion.

Reading widely, both fiction, and non-fiction can accomplish broadening minds and teaching empathy too and I would argue if done intentionally toward those goals, it can do it so much more effectively.  You can spend years learning one language spoken in a few parts of the world, or you can invest equal time in reading from perspectives from all over the world, with much more depth and with the added benefit of comparing and contrasting more.  Studying a foreign language you aren't actually going to use is probably the least effective approach toward those goals.  We can do far better with a different approach.

I agree. 

I said exposure to foreign language and culture, but everyone seems to only be picking up on the foreign language part .😞

Edited by Islandgal
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/17/2020 at 9:46 PM, Melissa in Australia said:

A bit confused here, are you saying the non US citizens are bigots because we have a different view or are you saying the US citizens ripping us to shreds for having views are bigots?

or are you saying that the rest of the non US world are all bigots? 

I have never had a conversation where that word has been used. I have only read it In literature. I am not sure if you are trying to be insulting or not. I have checked the dictionary def and are still  confused.

I am saying if someone has an opinion of an entire country of people based on..just being from that country...then that is being a bigot. So, anytime someone says an entire large group of people are a certain way (that has nothing to do with the qualifier for the group, so, a group of women being labeled as women, is fine. But saying something like all boys who take ballet are gay, is bigotry. All Americans are <fill in the blank> is bigotry. If a person thought all people from Australia are like Crocodile Dundee, that person would be a bigot).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

It was not meant as a dig. I was replying to Homeschool Mom on what I feel the benefits are of being exposed to different cultures, not only foreign languages taught in a textbook, that can be obviously limiting, but the culture itself along with the foreign language.

She was saying that there really is no need for Americans to learn another language. Which I totally understood. 

I'm glad you're one who understands that people live differently, and is accepting of said differences.

To compare your living conditions to those whose wealth exceeds yours in the same country is not a fair comparison and is not what I am speaking of. To truly compare, you'd have to compare the living differently to a third world country without the first world resources. Which is what I was referring to.

The original comment that US folks don't "need" a foreign language appears to have been misunderstood.  The person was not saying US folks don't study foreign languages or that we don't care about it or that we don't care to know what happens in other countries.  She was simply stating we don't "need" to know a foreign language in order to get by.  The USA is geographically big, English is almost universally spoken in business and government, and even if we travel, most destinations have people whose English is better than our [insert their local language].  So we are not likely to starve or get lost unless we are on a really unusual adventure.

That said, most people do study a second language as youths, but the use-it-or-lose it kicks in for many.  Some of us keep a fascination for languages throughout life, but mostly it is a hobby, and like music or needlework, it's not going to interest everyone.  And learning languages is a talent that it not evenly distributed.  Some will remember much more than others even given the same exposure.

As for the different cultures, a US education does teach that we are not all the same, either within the USA or around the world.  We have learned that since KG if not earlier.  I don't think anyone said anything in this thread to imply otherwise.  True, actually being there is a whole different level of awareness, but that is true for folks in every country.  Lots of people worldwide haven't ever walked the non-tourist-ready streets in a developing country.  That's not a sign of a poor public education.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

I agree. 

I said exposure to foreign language and culture, but everyone seems to just be picking up on the foreign language part .😞

Probably because you're overestimating the amount of culture in a typical foreign language class in the US.  I took Spanish in Phoenix, AZ.  What little was in the textbook didn't really apply to the Chicano and immigrant culture I was surrounded by, and some of the language taught in the textbook didn't even apply. And don't get me started on the thick Alabama accent of the teacher.  She was kind of rigid in her thinking, so she couldn't handle the teasing some of the kids gave for it.  If she had just joked along it would've been fine, but the Mexican kids who took the class for the credits made it clear to us we weren't getting pronunciation we could really use.

Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I guess the disconnect I'm having in this discussion is that I wouldn't associate loud, drunken behaviour with Australians as a group or as negative aspects of particulary Australian culture. I would think that those particular people were being obnoxiously drunk. Not saying I wouldn't notice their accents as Aussies, but it wouldn't register on my radar as specific to their country of origin since I've seen that sort of stuff from a lot of different groups.

believe me as an Aussie. it is a very negative aspect of Australian culture. it isn't just a loud  few either.  

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Janeway said:

I am saying if someone has an opinion of an entire country of people based on..just being from that country...then that is being a bigot. So, anytime someone says an entire large group of people are a certain way (that has nothing to do with the qualifier for the group, so, a group of women being labeled as women, is fine. But saying something like all boys who take ballet are gay, is bigotry. All Americans are <fill in the blank> is bigotry. If a person thought all people from Australia are like Crocodile Dundee, that person would be a bigot).

That isn't what people are talking about.  Everyone saying this is changing the subject.  This topic and the original post were very clearly specific about American tourists abroad and the resulting views of the locals.  Not Americans in general. There's nuance here. And that's why we're focusing on Americans in this thread.  It's off topic when people bring up badly behaved tourists from other countries.  Feel free to start a spin off topic to discuss that there. I can contribute to that conversation with another nationality.

And not every culture abroad is careful to avoid generalizations.  It's not as ingrained in their culture as it is in ours. That's what people mean when they say you need to know other people live differently-not just lifestyle and material goods, but values and thought patterns.  What's different about many other cultures is more tribalistic (in the sociological sense of the word) in nature.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Melissa in Australia said:

believe me as an Aussie. it is a very negative aspect of Australian culture. it isn't just a loud  few either.  

OK I will take your and Stella's word for it.

But that still doesn't mean I'm going to see an Aussie and think "that must be one of those Aussie drunks" or if I see one acting the fool while traveling, I'm not going to say "well see, Aussie tourists are obnoxious drunks, I've seen it with my own eyes."  I mean what would be the benefit of that, even if every Aussie traveler was a drunk?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

To compare your living conditions to those whose wealth exceeds yours in the same country is not a fair comparison and is not what I am speaking of. To truly compare, you'd have to compare the living differently to a third world country without the first world resources. Which is what I was referring to. 

 

I think this is another misconception about the U.S.. Poverty is just as real and deep here as it is in many third world countries. People in the U.S. also have long walks to clean water and no access to sanitation https://www.al.com/news/2017/12/un_poverty_official_touring_al.html and https://www.topic.com/the-last-days-of-the-appalachian-poverty-tour. The shanties may look a bit little more sturdy and the homes may have electricity (if the occupants can keep the bills paid, many can't), thanks to a rural electrification initiative that's 100 years old, but the reliance on charitable donations and assistance is no different...and then you layer on the drugs. There is no national health care provided. The safety net is weak and frayed. Whatever resources exist, they are not evenly distributed. These towns could be in Tanzania, Cambodia, or any other number of 'third world countries'.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually hung out at the Hard Rock Cafe in Sydney for an hour or so, and I don't recall anyone acting like a drunk fool.  Maybe I'm just not observant enough.

Edited by SKL
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

believe me as an Aussie. it is a very negative aspect of Australian culture. it isn't just a loud  few either.  

I totally believe you. I am saying it is not a singularly Aussie thing that would make me associate drunks with Aussies (or Aussies as drunks) in particular. I'm probably not explaining myself well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

That isn't what people are talking about.  Everyone saying this is changing the subject.  This topic and the original post were very clearly specific about American tourists abroad and the resulting views of the locals.  Not Americans in general. There's nuance here. 

 

There is nuance in your post. There was no nuance in many of the sweeping generalizations about Americans (not just tourists) that were made.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, SKL said:

I actually hung out at the Hard Rock Cafe in Sydney for an hour or so, and I don't recall anyone acting like a drunk fool.  Maybe I'm just not observant enough. 

I'm trying to remember where we were on New Year's Eve (do more people get drunk then?) ... I think it was New Zealand by then ... we were in a small restaurant waiting for freaking ever for our food ... finally went back to our hotel and ordered room service.  Sigh.

 

We went to a couple of out of the way places, an amazing Greek restaurant, an Indian one, and a sports bar kind of place. We even did a wine tour where you'd expect a few shenanigans. Nada. Oh yeah, and the fleet was in town b/c I was dropping DH off to ride an Australian ship as part of joint exercises.

Edited by Sneezyone
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, StellaM said:

I'm curious.

Given this thread is apparently allowed to continue to infinity even though posters are calling other international posters bigots (the new discourse?), I may as well ask the question.

What do the 'polite' American posters on this thread, who would never dream of acknowledging any form of national stereotyping, because it's dreadful and rude, make of the 'rude' American posters on this thread who disagree ? Are they also bigoted ? Or are they just wrong, but in a polite American way ? Or do they have inconvenient opinions, because they co-incide with that of the international bigots and so are ignored ? Or are they allowed to criticise other Americans because they're family ?

I mean, the convo is pretty evenly split between Americans and internationals who acknowledge there is a sterotype, and some tourists fit it, and the rest of you..so for the rest of you, what do you think motivates those Americans who seem to take no issue with any of the international answers in this thread ?

As has been discussed, US folks are all individuals, and we have all had different experiences.

Personally yes, I disagree with the stereotyping of US folks by US folks.  I do understand joking and all that, but in a serious way I feel it is unfortunate. 

I especially find it unfortunate that some nice US individuals intend to act differently overseas lest anyone guess they are Americans and brand them as ugly.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

That said, I have no problem with the information that doing xyz is not appreciated in country A (preferably received prior to traveling, LOL).  A nice person can make mistakes such as handing over a gift with the wrong hand etc etc.  To people in other countries who are not familiar with the diversity of the world, that can really give a wrong and lasting impression.  But that does not mean said wrong impression is the truth.

Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

believe me as an Aussie. it is a very negative aspect of Australian culture. it isn't just a loud  few either.  

So much so that one of the Australian Open players had to ask his own fans to tone it down, because it was football field manners not tennis manners

https://wwos.nine.com.au/tennis/tsitsipas-eases-into-aussie-open-2nd-round/3b7712bc-fd4f-4666-b603-b142db1cfb3e

well... I’m assuming they were Australians 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...