Overcoming Cultural and Linguistic Barriers through ...
Benjamin Clarke 5 1967
Overcoming Cultural and Linguistic Barriers through Understanding:
Three Sayings and How They Reveal Western Customers Culture and Expectations. By Benjamin Clarke English Language Fellow When you think of Western Culture what do you think of ? What countries represent Western
Culture in your mind? For you, what country most represents Western Culture? Why? Western Culture is very complex and difficult to define. Examples of Western Culture
In North America Afro-American Culture Anglo-American Culture Latin-American
Culture Western Culture comes from the connection of many world cultures! !
Scandinavia Germany England Persia Greece Israel Rome France
Western Culture Arabia Africa America Asia
How do we know where to begin our search for understanding about Western customers cultural expectations?
? We will first narrow our search by focusing on some sayings that are popular in North America. We will use these popular American sayings like an archeologist uses ancient artifacts. They will help connect us to the
history of Western Culture. The Importance of Popular Sayings and Proverbs:
Sayings are born out of the history of a culture and they can tell us something about that history. Popular sayings are a part of a typical persons thinking process. By knowing the popular sayings of a culture we might be able to guess something about the thoughts of a person from that culture.
The customer is king. Elitism, Populism and Democracy
What if we all were king? Do we all deserve royal treatment? What is a business without customers?
How can we connect this saying to the history of Western Culture?
Part One: The customer is king. (Elitism, Populism and Democracy in the Western Mind) ( ) What if we all were king? (Athenian Direct Democracy 500 B.C., New
England Town Meetings, The Protestant Reformation beginning in 1517 with Martin Luthers 95 Theses, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789.) ? ( 500 1517 95 1776 1789 ) Do we all deserve royal treatment? (The Protestant Work Ethic, The Meritocracy of Works, Wealth as a Symbol of Divine Favor, Property and
Political Participation, The Bill of Rights, Libert, Egalit, Fraternit. ? ( Optional Language Learning and Practice: Addressing the Customer in a noble manner. e.g. Sir Maam Monsieur Madame etc. and
some important phrases in English and French to help your customers feel at home. What is a business without customers? (The other Golden Rule, Pragmatism and the Rule of Reason, The French Enlightenment, The Goddess of
Reason in Notre Dame Cathedral) ? ( , , , ) The customer is always right. Subjectivism and Individualism
If we are different, why should we do things the same way? What if things look different from where youre sitting? Can you take a walk in my shoes?
? How can we connect this saying to the history of Western Culture? ? Part Two: The customer is always right. (Subjectivism and Individualism in the Western Mind.) :
( ) If we are different, why should we do things the same way? (History of diversity in close proximity, Analysis and differentiation in the history of Western science, The Second Principle of Justice: Dissimilar cases are treated dissimilarly.) ? ( , : )
Interactive Learning Exercise: Work with a partner in English or Chinese to brainstorm of list of 3 specific ways that you are different. Then based on your list of differences come up with 3 ways you might wish to be treated differently. Prepare to discuss these with the group afterwards. 3 3 What if things look different from where
youre sitting? (Subjective perspective in art and literature: Romanticism and Impressionism, Cultural Relativism, Questioning Nave Realism, Thinking in terms of perception rather than how things are in themselves.) ? ( ) Interactive Learning Exercise:
In English or Chinese describe to your partner what you can see from your point of view. Your partner should draw a sketch of what you describe without turning around! Now change roles and repeat. Be prepared to share your sketches and if possible to speak in English about your experience with the class.
Can you take a walk in my shoes? (The Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule. Empathy and understanding without surrender to unreasonable demands. The power of language and imagination to change people and, through them, the material world.) ? ( )
A deal is a deal. Idealism and the Power of Words How important is keeping our word?
Are we changing the deal? Is this a fair and square deal? ? ? ? How can we connect this saying to the history of Western Culture? ?
Part Three: A deal is a deal. (Idealism, the Power of the Word and Contracts in Anglo-American Law.) : ( ) How important is keeping our word? (Plato and the divinity of ideas/words, Covenants in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, Oaths and Pledges of Loyalty in Pagan Europe, Swearing on the Bible and the fear of Heavens wrath.)
? ( / - ) Are we changing the deal? (Not just about lying: Omissions in traditional Anglo-American Law, Basics of American Contract Law: offer, acceptance, fulfillment and the role of the apparent agent.) ? (
) Is this a fair and square deal? (Keeping things fair (balancing the interests of both parties) and square (as advertised or promised). Over-communication and the importance of written documentation of major policies and contracts. Making it bold. Who reads the fine print?) ( ) ( )
Interactive Learning Exercise: Work with a partner in English or Chinese to brainstorm a list of three things that you might want to communicate more clearly to your customers. Reflect on your past experiences and see if there have been misunderstandings that could be avoided.
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