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文化和语言不分家(上)Culture and Language CANNOT be Separated (Part One)

estella  11-08-10 10:04

Language:中文 pin yin English

Days ago I met two great students who give me new insight into both language and culture. One of them is Chinese, and the other is Korean. Both of them are born and nurtured in Asia, but their ability of learning American culture has impressed me much. Most people (including my friends, my classmates and me) can not be so adaptable to another culture like them. As a matter of fact, to learn a language in school is one thing, and to understand the cultural differences is another. For me, it is necessary to live with the native speakers for many years in order to know their culture. However, for many Chinese people who came to live or study in America, they would feel comfortable with their fellow countrymen. And quite a number of Americans who come to China intend to learn the language or something about its culture. Similarly, when my American friends came to China, they always choose to stay with Americans. In my opinion, the true value of learning a foreign language is to know the different aspects of the culture and society where the language evolves.
Culture is hard to understand, and sometimes it makes people frustrated and confused. To understand why people from the other side of the globe prefer to do things this way or that way may be very difficult. I remember once when I was in China, my roommate used my computer without my permission. I got mad at him and said: “What do you think you are doing? In America, no one can touch my private stuff.” Later I found that it is very common to share things with friends in China. In America I have never allow anyone to use my computer, but it’s an ordinary thing to use others’ personal computer in China. Of course this is only a fragment of cultural difference. I’ve come to realize what Chinese and Americans are complaining is actually a kind of misunderstanding of cultural differences. For example, yesterday a Chinese lady stood in front of me in the line when I was going to check out in the supermarket. She paid for her stuff and left without a word. The cashier said to me: “I don’t like Asians. They usually look at you without saying anything.” In American South, we would greet each other, especially when we first meet. However, in China, people would not initiate a conversation if they don’t know each other.


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Edit on11-08-23 14:55