Cultural (In)Sensitivities

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In a career long ago and far, far, away.... When I was working in Silicon Valley and we made a trip to Japan we were urged (told) to read a book about the etiquette of the Japanese salaryman. We were working a deal we couldn't afford to lose and didn't want to offend our Japanese cohorts.

Never point with chopsticks and don't stab with chopsticks like we do with forks. Both are considered bad form. Chopsticks are considered the bones of elders lost. As such treat them with respect.

In Spain they appreciate you attempting to speak the language. (I'm fluent in Spanish so it was always me who spoke with the locals.) But if you can muddle through they appreciate it.

In France it's kind of hit or miss. Some appreciate it and some don't. I was a Chef by then and pretty much stuck to culinary French (which you have to pass in Culinary School) and didn't try to step out of my lane.

And please, when in Tenerife resist the pleadings of your Father-In-Law to drive by the nude beaches just so he can get a look at the women. Nude beaches are NOT filled with supermodels and most look like me in a Speedo.
 
I heard an interview with the guy who accidentally started the “birds aren’t real” cult. He wrote an article ( like an Onion piece) claiming the CIA had secretly replaced all the birds in America with drone birds that had cameras for eyes. That bird in the trees outside your house is actually a spy bot. It went viral and developed a real cult following of morons who actually believed it. Scary thing is they vote, sit on juries, school boards, can buy guns, …..
Every once in a while I hear about this. Ironically, just a few days ago. It is quite amazing that there are people that believe this. Of course, there are also flat earthers, sovereign citizens, and moon landing deniers, so... you know.
 
Every word must have at least one vowel (A, E, i, O, U and often "y").

For a few examples:

Where is the vowel in the words "cry" "why" and "myth"?

Notice every word used here has a vowel unless "Y" isn't. Same with every message ever posted in this forum. At least if it's a true English word.

IOW, I agree with the English teacher. But I have never watched the "Wheel of Fortune " and I do not know a thing about it, in case you meant something else.

-Don- Reno, NV
Vowels and consonants are sounds not letters, that's why "y" can be both in english. The Tetragrammaton, ancient Hebrew, had no vowels, hence YHWH and JHVH ( Yahweh and Jehovah). However even with the vowels many words in Welsh and in Scottish and Irish gaelic, like Klingon, are unpronouncible in english.
 
In France it's kind of hit or miss.
My experience has been mostly miss with native French speakers. They will go to the greatest lengths not to communicate, even when fully fluent in English. Québécois are worse than the actual French. It brings out the worst in me LOL.
 
When the plane touched down in Tokyo, she would immediately switch to a mode of serving Tom and satisfying all my needs. When the plane touched down back at SFO, she reverted to 'in-your-face' mode.

Yeah - this was hard to get used to for Americans. At one smaller airline the top person in the spares department was a woman. She would be accompanied usually by two of her staff. It was always her that served everyone green tea -really weird.

My ex-wife was a paralegal and she managed to get a job at an American firm in Tokyo. At all client meetings they made her serve the coffee and tea and it would drive her nuts. I told her that if she really was that aggravated she should quit. She ended up telling her boss how mad it was making her and that she wasn't going to do it any more and would quit if they kept making her do it. They offered her more money and she stayed... and she kept serving the coffee and tea - Everyone has a price on their dignity I suppose... It didn't stop her from complaining to me about it every night.

Imagine if they simply offered Rosa Parks a free bus pass to stay in teh back - LOL...

Another gender thing that sticks out is one time at a customer meeting there were 2 new staff. A man and woman. I had run out of meishi that day, only had one left and the boss said, "No problem Deutsch-san. Give it to him. She is just a girl" - WOW!

The final gender thing is that we set up a deal to embed an exchange engineer for 2 years. This engineer would actually act completely like a local engineer and report directly to them. This was the 90s and we debated hard about it and we finally landed on putting a young lady engineer in the program.

It was a big swing and I had to do the ground work to smooth the way. At the time there were no lady engineers in the Airline at the "working" level. After we embedded her the Japanese "promoted" 2 Japanese girls (presumably so our girl wouldn't feel totally out of place). Our girl did a smashing job and by the time she left I think that the male/female ratio was up to something like 80/20 which was a big deal.
 
My experience has been mostly miss with native French speakers. They will go to the greatest lengths not to communicate, even when fully fluent in English. Québécois are worse than the actual French. It brings out the worst in me LOL.
What’s amazing is how quickly the French in Europe learned to pronounce help in English.
 
My experience has been mostly miss with native French speakers. They will go to the greatest lengths not to communicate, even when fully fluent in English. Québécois are worse than the actual French. It brings out the worst in me LOL.
Having done business in France for a number of years, I thought I was hardened to the issue (they only spoke French until they wanted to insult me) ... until we visited Quebec province; That was nothing short of ugly. If the first syllable out of my mouth wasn't French, store employees would turn their back on us and not attempt to check us out. While we were in one store, a local came in, stared and yelled across the store (in English) at me, then switched to French. When I went outside, I saw that he'd blocked our car in the large, almost-empty parking lot, and learned that he'd yelled at Chris, who was sitting in the car. Presumably, our California plates set him off.

This stuff got so bad that we left the province much sooner than planned, and went to New Brunswick, where locals in store parking lots saw our plates and approached us to welcome us. When I talked to our RVing neighbors about the Q experience, they explained that they lived near the border between the two provinces, and they were treated the same way every day.

Before we left Quebec, we stopped at a small post office and were 'communicating' with this dear old lady. She couldn't speak a word of English, and I was digging into my grammar school French, supplemented by some Welsh. Many words are almost the same in both languages, and the grammar is very similar. This was a high note of our visit.
 
Not sure why an English teacher would request Y as a vowel :confused:
Because in the US we are (at least we used to be) taught that the vowels in English are A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y. I thought that was kind of a stroke of genius on her part as I never heard anyone do that on that show before. Then they called her on it and I thought that was wrong.
 
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Because in the US we are (at least we used to be) taught that the vowels in English are A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y. I thought that was kind of a stroke of genius on her part as I never heard anyone do that one that show before. Then they called her on it and I thought that was wrong.
I don't recall 'Y' being called a vowel during English language classes at grammar school. Maybe I wasn't paying attention :unsure:
 
You couldn't tell by looking at me, but I am fairly proficient in Spanish. I originally learned it in high school, but I wasn't very good at it. Then, in my 20's, I got my first law enforcement job with a Sheriff's Office. I was basically forced into learning Spanish because 90% of the hispanic arrestees claimed , "No hablo ingles." When I started replying, "No intentes enganarme. Yo se mejor.", all of a sudden they spoke pretty good 'ingles'.

There have been several instances when people were speaking Spanish and I commented on something and they were shocked. A woman shopper in front of me and the cashier were talking and the woman said something funny about her husband, and I laughed. They looked at me and I just said, "Gotta be careful of those tall gringos. Sometimes they intiende mucho."
 
I don't recall 'Y' being called a vowel during English language classes at grammar school. Maybe I wasn't paying attention :unsure:
Maybe they don't do it anymore, but it was a common thing in the 60's when I was a kid in school.
 
Yes, I went to parochial grammar school with the Nuns (the ones in the penguin outfits) and they taught the "A,E,I,O,U, and sometimes Y" rule in English. This was in the 60's also.

PS: Don't get me started on the Nuns. :rolleyes:
 
I don't recall 'Y' being called a vowel during English language classes at grammar school. Maybe I wasn't paying attention :unsure:
When I was in grammar school, "y" was a sometime vowel, such as "why," "myth" etc. as mentioned above. "A,E,I,O,U, and sometimes Y," as Chef Duane indicates, was the rule in the '50s, at least in Abilene, TX, but it seemed to be so later in other parts of the country too. Of course we learned cursive then, too. ;)
 
When I was in grammar school, "y" was a sometime vowel, such as "why," "myth" etc. as mentioned above. "A,E,I,O,U, and sometimes Y," as Chef Duane indicates, was the rule in the '50s, at least in Abilene, TX, but it seemed to be so later in other parts of the country too. Of course we learned cursive then, too. ;)
In my native Welsh language, 'Y' and 'W' are always vowels :);)
 
Perhaps Thamesmead where they speak Cockney?

-Don- Reno, NV
By definition, a Cockney is someone born within earshot of Bow Bells.

You may be thinking about 'cockney rhyming slang', spoken in most parts of London, although it originated in the East End.

Either way, not my part of the UK.
 

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