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大学体验英语第四册Unit2-Passage B

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Cultural Differences
In 1993, I had my first opportunity to visit Russia as a representative of the University of California. I was there to provide some technical assistance in the area of agricultural labor1 management. "Russians are a very polite people," I had been tutored before my arrival. One of my interpreters, once I was there, explained that a gentleman should pour the limonad (a type of juice) for the ladies and show other courtesies to them.

 Toward the end of my three-week trip I was invited by my young Russian host and friend Dmitri Ivanovich and his lovely wife Yielena out to dinner. At the end of a wonderful meal Yielena asked if I would like a banana. I politely declined and thanked her, and explained I was most satisfied with the meal. But the whole while my mind was racing2: "What do I do? Do I offer her a banana even though they are as close to her as they are to me? What is the polite thing to do?"  

 "Would you like a banana?" I asked Yielena.
"Yes," she smiled, but made no attempt to take any of the three bananas in the fruit basket. "What now?" I thought.
"Which one would you like?" I fumbled3.

?"That one," she pointed4 at one of the bananas. So all the while thinking about Russian politeness I picked the banana Yielena had pointed at and peeled it half way and handed it to her. Smiles in Yielena and Dmitri's faces told me I had done the right thing. After this experience I spent much time letting the world know that in Russia, the polite thing is to peel the bananas for the ladies. Sometime during my third trip I was politely disabused5 of my notion.  

 "Oh no, Grigorii Davidovich," a Russian graciously corrected me. "In Russia, when a man peels a banana for a lady it means he has a romantic interest in her." How embarrassed I felt. And here I had been proudly telling everyone about this tidbit of cultural understanding. 

?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 amusing. They present, like my bananas, too many generalizations7 or quite a distorted view. 

?Some often-heard generalizations about the Hispanic culture include: Hispanics1 need less personal space, make less eye contact, touch each other more in normal conversation, and are less likely to participate in a meeting. Generalizations are often dangerous, and especially when accompanied by recommendations such as: move closer when talking to Hispanics, make more physical contact, don't expect participation8, and so on.  

?Differences between people within any given nation or culture are much greater than differences between groups. Education, social standing6, religion, personality, belief structure, past experience, affection shown in the home, and a myriad9 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" more than "I agree." Length of pleasantries and greetings before getting down to business, level of tolerance10 for being around someone speaking a foreign (not-understood) language, politeness measured in terms of gallantry or etiquette11 (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 people 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 these can get an unsuspecting person into trouble.  
 There are cultural and ideological12 differences and it is good to have an understanding about a culture's customs and ways. Aaron Pun, a Canadian ODCnet correspondent, wrote: "In studying cross-cultural2 differences, we are not looking at individuals but a comparison of one ethnic13 group against others. Hence, we are comparing two bell curves3 and generalizations cannot be avoided." Another correspondent explained the human need to categorize. True, but the danger comes when we act on some of these generalizations, especially when they are based on faulty observations. Acting14 on generalizations about such matters as eye contact, personal space, touch, and interest in participation can have serious negative consequences. 


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 labor P9Tzs     
n.劳动,努力,工作,劳工;分娩;vi.劳动,努力,苦干;vt.详细分析;麻烦
参考例句:
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
2 racing 1ksz3w     
n.竞赛,赛马;adj.竞赛用的,赛马用的
参考例句:
  • I was watching the racing on television last night.昨晚我在电视上看赛马。
  • The two racing drivers fenced for a chance to gain the lead.两个赛车手伺机竞相领先。
3 fumbled 78441379bedbe3ea49c53fb90c34475f     
(笨拙地)摸索或处理(某事物)( fumble的过去式和过去分词 ); 乱摸,笨拙地弄; 使落下
参考例句:
  • She fumbled in her pocket for a handkerchief. 她在她口袋里胡乱摸找手帕。
  • He fumbled about in his pockets for the ticket. 他(瞎)摸着衣兜找票。
4 pointed Il8zB4     
adj.尖的,直截了当的
参考例句:
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
5 disabused 83218e2be48c170cd5f17175119cd1ae     
v.去除…的错误想法( disabuse的过去式和过去分词 );使醒悟
参考例句:
6 standing 2hCzgo     
n.持续,地位;adj.永久的,不动的,直立的,不流动的
参考例句:
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
7 generalizations 6a32b82d344d5f1487aee703a39bb639     
一般化( generalization的名词复数 ); 普通化; 归纳; 概论
参考例句:
  • But Pearlson cautions that the findings are simply generalizations. 但是波尔森提醒人们,这些发现是简单的综合资料。 来自英汉非文学 - 生命科学 - 大脑与疾病
  • They were of great service in correcting my jejune generalizations. 他们纠正了我不成熟的泛泛之论,帮了我大忙。
8 participation KS9zu     
n.参与,参加,分享
参考例句:
  • Some of the magic tricks called for audience participation.有些魔术要求有观众的参与。
  • The scheme aims to encourage increased participation in sporting activities.这个方案旨在鼓励大众更多地参与体育活动。
9 myriad M67zU     
adj.无数的;n.无数,极大数量
参考例句:
  • They offered no solution for all our myriad problems.对于我们数不清的问题他们束手无策。
  • I had three weeks to make a myriad of arrangements.我花了三个星期做大量准备工作。
10 tolerance Lnswz     
n.宽容;容忍,忍受;耐药力;公差
参考例句:
  • Tolerance is one of his strengths.宽容是他的一个优点。
  • Human beings have limited tolerance of noise.人类对噪音的忍耐力有限。
11 etiquette Xiyz0     
n.礼仪,礼节;规矩
参考例句:
  • The rules of etiquette are not so strict nowadays.如今的礼仪规则已不那么严格了。
  • According to etiquette,you should stand up to meet a guest.按照礼节你应该站起来接待客人。
12 ideological bq3zi8     
a.意识形态的
参考例句:
  • He always tries to link his study with his ideological problems. 他总是把学习和自己的思想问题联系起来。
  • He helped me enormously with advice on how to do ideological work. 他告诉我怎样做思想工作,对我有很大帮助。
13 ethnic jiAz3     
adj.人种的,种族的,异教徒的
参考例句:
  • This music would sound more ethnic if you played it in steel drums.如果你用钢鼓演奏,这首乐曲将更具民族特色。
  • The plan is likely only to aggravate ethnic frictions.这一方案很有可能只会加剧种族冲突。
14 acting czRzoc     
n.演戏,行为,假装;adj.代理的,临时的,演出用的
参考例句:
  • Ignore her,she's just acting.别理她,她只是假装的。
  • During the seventies,her acting career was in eclipse.在七十年代,她的表演生涯黯然失色。
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TAG标签:   体验英语  综合教程  passage
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