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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 18th, 2007, 09:10 pm
eslHQ Member
Join Date: Oct 18th, 2007
Location: Hartlepool, UK
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yiannaCH is on a distinguished road
Default Western Social Manners

Can anyone help..... please,
I have a class that wants to learn about social dos & don'ts (western).... I teach in China.... I have spent hours trawling the net for info and can find NOTHING.... or at least not anything that's of much use.... Does anyone have any word docs I could use????? Please??????
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 18th, 2007, 09:25 pm
eslHQ Member
Join Date: Oct 18th, 2007
Location: Hartlepool, UK
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yiannaCH is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Western Social Manners

Hi Koots,

Thank you.... just one problem Wikipedia is banned in China.... we cannot get onto the site...... Wish I could as I know it's a great site......
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 18th, 2007, 09:41 pm
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Join Date: Oct 15th, 2007
Posts: 6
koots is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Western Social Manners

You should be able to get on with a proxy site.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 19th, 2007, 01:26 am
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Clive Hawkins
Join Date: Aug 1st, 2006
Location: Italy
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Default Re: Western Social Manners

Here's something taken from
I've pasted the text here just in case you can't access it from China

European countries are used to American tourists, and Europeans are generally welcoming and helpful. Even so, it's a good idea to learn a little about the etiquette of the places you're visiting, and to understand that some things are done differently.

When visiting churches or other places of worship, even though they may be significant tourist destinations and even have such trappings as souvenir penny machines, be respectful of the building's role as a place of worship. Wear long pants or a modest skirt and a shirt that covers your shoulders and midriff, and try to keep the kids from running wild.

Anywhere that English is not the official language, try to learn at least a few words in the local language. Even if you stumble, the locals will appreciate that you tried. Likewise, it's a kind gesture to let people try out their English on you, listening carefully, speaking slowly and correcting them gently.

If there is a sign that says "no pictures," don't take pictures. Even if no one catches you or kicks you out, the noise of your camera can distract fellow travelers from enjoying the experience of appreciating a church, museum or other cultural site. If you must take pictures, use a camera that has a "museum" setting, which is quiet and involves no flash.

Europeans are somewhat more formal than Americans in their business dealings. When you walk into a shop or office, it is polite to greet the clerk or owner on entering, and bid that person thanks and farewell upon leaving.

Many European restaurants do not serve ice in drinks, and you may find you need to drink your cola warm or with just one or two cubes. Consider trying a local drink or ordering sparkling water, which is available almost everywhere.

Many European grocery stores require you to have your produce weighed and priced before you check out. Watch what others do so you don't get delayed.

Soccer ("football") is almost a universal language in Europe. Most Europeans will be happy to tell you what the best team is. Of course, the answers won't be the same!

In many European restaurants it is customary for the server to wait for a request before bringing the check, to allow you time to enjoy the end of your meal. When you're ready to pay, just ask.

Many Europeans will take you at your word if you say "We must get together sometime" or will expect a call if you take their telephone numbers.

Europeans who hold executive or business positions often expect to be addressed by their titles - Director This or Vice President That. In Italy, anyone with a college degree is properly addressed as "Dottore" or "Dottoressa." If you aren't sure of someone's title or how they should be addressed, ask - they'll usually be pleased that you cared enough to get it right.

And here are some faux pas from Wiki.

* African regions: A left-handed handshake. Offering and accepting things with the left hand.
* Arab countries; Indian Subcontinent; Japan; Middle East; East Africa: South-East Asia: Displaying the soles of the feet or touching somebody with shoes. A left-handed handshake or passing food at the table with the left hand (because it's the hand you use to clean your anus when going to the bathroom).
* Arabic-speaking countries: Setting the Koran or religious literature on the floor. Using the intimate word for "wife" or "sister" when speaking to the woman's husband or brother. Euphemisms are to be used instead.
* Scandinavia; Central and Eastern Europe; Japan; China; Hawaii; Turkey; India: It is considered unacceptable to enter someone's household and leave your shoes on your feet. It is also considered impolite in many Canadian households, though this is by no means universal.
* Canada; Iceland: Describing women based on physical attractiveness, especially in writing.
* Caribbean: Waving at strangers. This can mean several things, one of which is that the gesturer may be trying to sell something.
* China: Giving someone a timepiece as a gift. The phrase for "giving a timepiece" is a homonym for burying the dead. It is also considered rude to eat first before the elders. Another faux pas at the dining table would be to eat a side dish without coming back to eating rice. This is also viewed as a faux pas in Japan as well.
* China: Giving a man a green hat. In Chinese culture, the gift of a green hat is a way of discreetly informing a husband that his wife is being unfaithful.
* Central and Eastern Europe: Shaking hands while wearing gloves (this does not apply to women).
* Egypt: Giving someone onions. The onion signifies contempt, and leaving one on someone's doorstep is a gesture meaning "Damn you."
* France; Francophone Canada: Using adieu as a common farewell, instead of au revoir. The former means "to God" and is used whn you believe you may never see the other person alive again; the latter means "until return" or "until we meet again". Using adieu can sometimes be interpreted as an insult, meaning that you wish for someone to die ("go to meet God"), or that you hope never to see the person alive again.
* France; Romania; Italy: Asking an individual their job or name directly. Offering someone a gift of chrysanthemums on an occasion other than a funeral (as chrysanthemums are generally associated with death in France, Italy and Romania).
* Greece: Showing the number five by displaying a hand with fingers spread and palm facing the recipient of the gesture is offensive. The same gesture with the palm facing the gesturer is not.
* India; Pakistan; Bangladesh; Burma: Eating or shaking hands with the left hand, not greeting family elders at a gathering, addressing elders without salutations.
* Italy: Placing one's hat on a bed, because it is reminiscent of the way a Roman Catholic priest sets his hat on a person's deathbed while performing last rites.
* Japan: When greeting or thanking another person, not bowing lower than an elder or a person of higher social status. Passing food from one pair of chopsticks to another is also considered rude. This is also viewed as a faux pas in other Asian countries such as China.
* Korea: Not bowing when greeting or thanking an elder or person higher in social status. Writing someone's name in red (which normally symbolizes death). Pouring a drink with one hand when serving a drink to an elder. Handing over objects to or receiving objects from an elder with one hand. Smoking in presence of an elder. Drinking alcoholic beverages in presence of an elder at the same table. (Upon the elder's permission, the person can have his or her drink facing the other way.) Eating before an elder at the same table starts to eat.
* Middle East: Addressing an elder or person higher in social status with his/her bare name. Words like uncle/aunt, (elder) brother/sister or formally Mr./Mrs. are expected to be used.
* India;Pakistan: Using the pronoun "tum" or "too" (you), instead of "aap" (formal you) when talking to an elder or a stranger. Walking with shoes on the carpet inside a house. Calling an elder or a stranger of the opposite sex with just their name.
* Romania; Republic of Moldova; Russia; Slovakia; Czech Republic; Croatia; Hungary; Serbia;Republic of Macedonia; Poland; Bulgaria; Ukraine; Estonia; Lithuania; Latvia: Giving somebody an even number of flowers, which should only be done in funerals.
* Philippines, Central America: A man offering to carry a woman's personal belongings, as at an airport or train station. This is considered a form of flirting.
* Latin America, Arabic-speaking countries, Somalia: Beckoning with the index finger. This is considered patronizing because the gesture is used to beckon small dogs. Instead other gestures are used. In Mexico and Central America, for example, the entire hand is held at face level, pointed down, and used to beckon a person to come toward the gesturer.
* South America, Spain, and other Spanish-speaking countries: Neglecting to greet someone at a social / family gathering. Any kind of large gathering of friends or family should be started by greeting every person present, and making sure to say goodbye upon leaving. This rule is more relaxed in a group of young people. Generally these formalities are far more relaxed in Latin America than in Spain.
* Thailand: Stepping over or standing on bills or coins; they all have the face of the King, who is highly revered. Also, touching a Thai person on their head, as the head is considered a sacred part of the body. Food must be kept above the ground level. Pointing feet at someone, or touching someone with a foot is considered disrespectful and insulting.
* United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa: The "V sign", made by holding the middle and index fingers up so as to form a V-shape (such as when indicating "two" of something), is considered offensive when made with the back of the hand pointed towards the listener, particularly when done so with an upward thrust. It is seen as having similar meaning to "the finger". With the hand held the other way, so the palm points towards the listener, the otherwise identical gesture is perfectly acceptable.
* United States: Blowing one's nose into anything but a tissue or handkerchief, nose and ear picking, and burping or sneezing without covering one's mouth are all considered disgusting and very rude.
* Various countries: In countries with a language that contains a T-V distinction, it is a faux pas to use the informal second person pronoun instead of the formal second person pronoun when addressing an elder or stranger.
* Bangladesh;India; Pakistan: Stepping/sitting on paper, books, money, religious items is considered inappropriate in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
* Indonesia: Using the personal second person pronoun "kamu" or the shortened form "mu" (meaning "you"), instead of the impersonal "anda" when addressing someone you do not know.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 1st, 2007, 09:12 pm
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Default Re: Western Social Manners

When you are searching online for information on social manners, search for a particular country, not for the "West."
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 1st, 2007, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Western Social Manners

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for the help and advise...... Will be doing the class next week......
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 12th, 2010, 03:10 am
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Wink Re: Western Social Manners

Yes yes yes. I have a Chinese bf and many of the things I thought he did just showed he had bad manner but they were just cultural differences.

Do no slurp your soup or any liquid.

Americans consider the food at their house to be private and intended for their use. We do not expect many guests in our house. If you go to an American's house, usually do not ask for any food except the food provided for you or you will seem greedy. Any food not served, is not intended for guests and do not ask about it. Unless you are close friends, generally do not ask an American to share their food.

When an American makes you food, do not tell them what is wrong with it even if it is really bad or they will think you are ungrateful. Accept it and pretend you like it. Appreciate the fact that they even cooked food for you, Americans don't normally cook food for each other.

When at a restaurant the waiter will ask "Is everything ok?" frequently. This is done out of courtesy and a literal answer is not expected. Americans normally say "yes" even if they don't like the food just to be polite. Again do not tell the waiter all these things that are wrong with the food or they will be offended. Leave a tip. Usually 10-20% of the bill.

Though in China trying to put as much food in your mouth at once maybe good manners, in the West, especially Europe, that is very offensive. Use the knife to cut things up into small pieces, the smaller the better. Never try to put too much food in your mouth at once. Americans may talk with their mouth full, but not when its extremely full, but Europeans will consider this offensive.

Westerners do not like other people's hands, and germs coming in contact with their food. Always wash hands before making an American food and don't try it and put your hands or silverware back in or they will be very freaked out. Make sure no silverware that has touched your mouth or has touched any food you have bitten goes into a communal dish.

If you work in America, be very nice and friendly to customers no matter what ridiculous things they may want or how rude they are to you. This is just considered customer service.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 12th, 2010, 04:44 pm
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Default Re: Western Social Manners

As a native-born American, I think that no one should try to talk with food in his or her mouth.
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