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by Mary Soderstrom

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Monday, 20 January 2014

Cultural Misunderstanding: From "How are You?" to Body Language

What do you expect to hear when you say "How are you?" Most of the time in North Amreica's it's "Fine." But in Russia, apparently, what you'll get is a litany of what is wrong.  Alina Simone reports on this cultural clash:

"It feels as if I’ve spent half my life trying to smooth over the bafflement of my American friends and the hurt feelings of my Russian expat family as a result of this innocuous inquiry. “ ‘Fine’ makes Russians think that Americans have no soul,” I explained recently to an American-born friend. “That they just want to go home, eat a frozen dinner in front of the TV, and wait out the hours before going to work to make money again.”

He laughed, then quickly sobered. “You know, there’s something to that.” 

But there are other things that vary between cultures which can be either funny or disconcerting.  Here's a great montageof three HSBC commercials that outline some of them.  (This is not an endorsement of the bank, by the way, just in case your culture thinks that a mention is tantamount ot that.)

 

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