About this PresentaDon Understanding
other cultures goes beyond speaking foreign languages. Building more cross-‐cultural awareness is likely to make a diﬀerence in a world where many things imply people from more than one naDonality. I hope you will enjoy the ideas & quirks shared here. I am interested in any comment! Reach me at email@example.com
Cultural DNA of @benjaminjoﬀe I
spent most of my working life (11 years) overseas, especially in Japan, China, South Korea and USA. My cultural DNA has become rather complex.
Who has lived in
more than 1 country? I lived (= main home for 1+ months) in 7 countries on 3 conDnents. How about you?
2. RESISTANCE 3. EXHAUSTION
4. RESTORATION 4. RESTORATION OF OF HOMEOSTASIS HOMEOSTASIS 1. ALARM HOMEOSTASIS HOMEOSTASIS DEATH …it is actually comparable to the model of reacDon to a stress situaDon.
2. RESISTANCE 3. EXHAUSTION
4. RESTORATION 4. RESTORATION OF OF HOMEOSTASIS HOMEOSTASIS 1. ALARM HOMEOSTASIS HOMEOSTASIS DEATH Hopefully, culture shock would not lead to death ^_^;
Symptoms of Culture Shock •
Utopian ideas on other culture • Refusal to learn the language • Concerns about water & food • Concerns about being robbed/cheated • Irritability & complaints • Staying indoors • Fear of touching local people Those are symptoms of someone suﬀering from culture shock.
Source: Samuel P. HunDngton, The
Clash of CivilizaDons and the Remaking of the World Order, 1996 The world as seen by the West in 1920. SDll a view shared by many.
Source: Carroll Quigley, The EvoluDon
of CivilizaDons: An IntroducDon to Historical Analysis, 1979 Some other civilizaDons disappeared over the centuries. Even today, the “Western” civilizaDon is one out of several.
Source: Samuel P. HunDngton, The
Clash of CivilizaDons and the Remaking of the World Order, 1996 Another way to look at the world is through the lens of civilizaDons. How many do you understand besides your own?
Chaulafan de Pollo (Ecuador)?
This is the name of a dish I encountered in Ecuador. I knew “pollo” means chicken, but I could not ﬁgure out “chaulafan”.
…unDl I saw a picture
and realized it was the Spanish for “Chaofan” (Chinese fried rice). The avocado is a local variaDon.
Contract? What do you envision
when you hear “contract”? In the US it might mean “my lawyer will talk to your lawyer”; in China it could be a handshake!
• USA “It
works” • Japan “It’s perfect” • Korea “It’s new” • China “It gives me status” • Singapore “ There is a queue for it” h/t Jean K. Min “Quality” is another word that has diﬀerent meanings according to the country. Send me the meaning of “Quality” in your country at firstname.lastname@example.org !
Other Important Cases Appointment
Friendship Marriage DaDng Fun Imagine the implicaDons of the diﬀerences of meaning of those words! You’d beter ﬁgure it out before geung engaged!
For instance, in Japan…
“It is a bit diﬃcult…” …means no The meaning is 100% clear for a Japanese person, but if you take it literally you might end up frustrated. What are the things in your culture that no one should take literally?
PROBLEMS 1. Learning languages
takes ages 2. We can’t trust words! You can’t assume the words used by someone from another culture have the same meaning you give them. And learning languages is not a quick ﬁx.
Luckily… WARNING: ONLY FOR
FEELINGS & ATTITUDE Source: Albert Mehrabian, "Decoding of Inconsistent CommunicaDons”, 1967 You might have heard before “communicaDon is only 7% words” (or another low number). This idea is valid ONLY for feelings & autudes!
Visual Cues? TRUST
DON’T TRUST Source: htp://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/graphics/080817_face/ A recent research tried to ﬁnd out the features that made a face more or less trusted. It would be really sad if it was true!
My Interests Touch
Silence Humor Along the years, I developed an interest in cultural elements that generally go unnoDced.
The most common form of
touch is when greeDng people. From handshake to high ﬁve, to bowing (no touch!) to the occasional ﬁst bump (yo!).
Which Angle? But even bowing
is not so simple: angle, eye contact, speed and Dming depend on the relaDonship, age, rank and distance. Good luck!
Beneﬁt of Being French
The ﬁrst kiss is free! French people can escalate physical contact on the ﬁrst encounter! It is not only accepted, but refusing it is almost awkward.
For Everyone Else …and if
you’re not French and you try to pull that oﬀ, you are at risk! Add “I got into the habit while living in the France”. Now that is fancy!
Unfortunately… FRANCE JAPAN
KOREA CHINA My greeDngs got all messed up ajer living abroad: I learned to bow in Japan, hold my right arm with my lej hand during handshake in Korea, and say “nihao” in China, and ended up doing all at once. My Western friends found me odd and my French friends found me distant (no kissing in Asia!). I had to relearn how to shake hands and kiss for greeDng!
High Touch vs. Low Touch
(Sidney Jourard, 1966) Many cool sociology studies were done in the 60’s. This one looked into comparing cultures based on touch.
High Touch vs. Low
Touch • USA 2x / 30 min. • France 110x / 30 min. Source: Touch Study by Sidney Jourard, 1966 As part of this study, they looked at couples in cafes and counted the number of Dmes they touched each other in 30 minutes. France won.
Beneﬁts(?) • High-‐touch >
Low violence? • Low-‐touch > More violence? • (Birthrate?) Are ﬁst bumps enough? Low touch ojen means lower empathy. Apparently a recent study found some correlaDon, though it’s hard to prove! Maybe we need more hugs…
Touch Zones (Mark Tomita,
2008) Another study on touch, more recent, looked into “touch zones”: what areas can you touch other male or female on, and what do you allow others?
Touch Zones Females with
Males Males among Males Source: Touch Study by Mark Tomita, 2008 Males generally don’t touch males outside hands or back. Females allow themselves to touch males almost anywhere!
In Japan Silence Can
Express… 1. Surprise 2. Agreement & Disagreement 3. Embarrassment 4. Deﬁance 5. Femininity 6. Deference 7. EﬀecDve wordless communicaDon Analysis of silence in a tutoring lesson: htp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyjenhfSnFU In Japan, it can mean many things, and can be very hard to interpret and deal with for outsiders. Ojen, you’d beter wait or ask for clariﬁcaDon.
“A-‐Un” RelaDonship (阿吽の仲) Some couples
who know each other all too well are called “A-‐Un”: one just opens his/her mouth to say something (“A”) and the other understands instantly, without words (“Un”).
Mapping Cultural Values 1.
Money (Career, cash, possessions) 2. Family (parents, children, grandparents, etc. are close to each other) 3. Society (social link maters more than individual) 4. “Culture” (arts, travels, literature, etc.) 5. Spirituality (religious or not) As I was exposed to diﬀerent cultures, I idenDﬁed 5 elements that could help diﬀerenDate them. There might be others but those worked prety well for me.
TentaDve Mapping (France) MONEY
0: not important 3 1: maters a litle 2: maters quite a bit 2 3: maters a lot SPIRITUALITY 1 FAMILY 0 CULTURE SOCIAL LINK Note: This is a personal view – I am as biased as the next guy! Being French, I gave a shot at French values. Send me your view on your country at email@example.com !
CompaDbility & Culture Clashes
• France / USA • Korea / Japan • USA / China • Score your country! Due to those values, there are frequent “culture clashes” and cultural compaDbiliDes. I just indicated some of them. Can you guess what are the cultural values involved?
Other (potenDally) InteresDng Mapping
Cultures’s comfort with, or importance of: 1. Silence 2. Touch 3. Eye Contact 4. Smile 5. Group 6. Nudity I did not dive into all of those, but I am also interested in the levels of acceptance and frequency or the 4 other elements listed above.
Most Diﬃcult Humor I
try to collect jokes or understand the humor of countries in live in. I consider I got a good basis when I can invent a joke. If you know Japanese, I’ll tell you one.
Rakugo (Japan) As an example:
Rakugo in Japan is “sit-‐down comedy” by a storyteller. He/she summons imaginary characters and the ending is generally surprising and hilarious (as well as the build-‐up).
Humor can lead to culture
shock: I met a BriDsh guy who could not stand the US-‐style humor in the Philippines and decided to move out! I am not sure what he meant. Can you explain?