Recommended Reading

For Those of You Experiencing Post-Olympic Russian Withdrawl

Here’s a fun article from Mental Floss discussing a Russian view of what it’s like to visit America. I love finding articles written from a different viewpoint looking in on my own culture, because it often reveals differences that I never would have realized were important.

And here are my added two cents, both linguistic and personal:

On Number 2: “On Talking to American Women

I find it interesting that the word “gallant” is used, since it generally has a positive connotation (synonyms include chivalrous, gentlemanly, honorable, attentive, and respectful). The suggestion is to not be “excessively gallant” because it can be negatively interpreted by American women (I’m assuming that interpretation is condescension). I think it’s fascinating when a positive word is used to describe a negative context, because it requires further explanation; the word itself isn’t enough.

On Number 3: “ On Socializing with Americans”

I love the differences in conversational styles discussed here, where Americans are described as getting to the point of a phone call more quickly, and prefer drawn out closings, where Russians are the opposite. It also makes me curious to know how face-to-face exchanges are different in Russia.

(And on a completely personal note: it always bugs me when people in movies are talking on the phone, and then they hang up without so much as a “bye.” I always wonder how they don’t know they haven’t been disconnected!?!? Apparently, they’re just doing ending the phone call the Russian way).

Under this section is a fun paragraph about how “Russian conversational patterns often sound harsh to Americans.” Why is it fun? Because it points out how cultural norms can affect interpretation without being aware of any difference or problem. Even paralinguistic cues like facial expressions can add to misinterpretations (see Number 4: “On American Optimism”).

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