Question Sheet for A World of Differences

Foundation Seminar  How we do things with words

“A World of Differences” Video

The basic premise of this video is that in order for cross-cultural communication to be successful we all need to recognize and understand the powerful cultural differences that separate peoples around the globe. When we meet people from other cultures, and when they meet us, we may fail to understand each other because of the way we differently interpret language, values, gestures, emotional expressions, norms, rituals, rules expectations, etc.

Here are some of the main areas that can cause miscommunication:



Expression of emotion



As you watch the video note down which areas are problematic in the encounters that are described.

Section One: The Rules are Different 1’52”

What rules did the speakers carry over from their old society to their new society?

Section Two: Culture is 10,000 Different Things 5′ 18″

 What kinds of “cultural baggage” do the speakers carry with them that they discover is either useful or problematic?

 Section Three: Food 8′ 01″

Do different cultures have different definitions of what is edible? Give two examples.

Do different cultures define “delicious” the same way? “Disgusting”? Give two examples.

What are your cultural expectations of “delicious” and “disgusting”? Where did you learn these distinctions?

Section Four: Gestures 12′ 27″

 Is the language of gesture universal? Give examples of why (not).

Would you use the “thumbs up” gesture globally? Why (not)?

Section Five: Lost in Translation 14’02

Lack of sensitivity to language in translation has led to some terrible mistakes on a presidential level. For example, Jimmy Carter visited Poland and meant to say he supported the people in their struggle. Instead he said, “I desire you carnally.” Hmmm… Give two other examples from the video.   And English-English translation is also needed!!!!

Section Six—Idioms 15 58″

Next week we will be discussing metaphors in culture. Idioms are notoriously difficult to either translate between languages or to learn as a foreigner. Give two examples from the video. Do you have personal experience of idioms that you know that others don’t?

16’58 examples….

Section Seven–Ritual and Courtesy 17’58”

After how many times must you accept a Japanese invitation?

If you are a waiter in the US, would you expect a tip from Japanese customers?

 Touch and Personal Space 20′

How close are you to your neighbor in the US? in China? in Vietnam? in Kenya?

Emotion 21’58”

 Do Japanese men scream and jump up and down

Parents and Children 23’15”

 Behavioral expectations? kissing and hugging?

Courtship and marriage 24′

Kissing in China?

 Inter cultural couples 26′

 Should you always hug someone from the Phillipines? Should you show public affection to your spouse?

 Sometimes Cultures Clash 29″



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