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English-Speaking Countries: Culture and Traditions




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The word "culture" has different meanings. It often refers to music, literature, art, and higher education. It also means the customs of a society and the way in which people interact with each other.

Every culture has certain basic ideas which everyone accepts for granted. These are fundamental things that everyone "knows" from his or her childhood, and which are automatic to the people who live in that culture. They include everything from the common courtesies and details of daily life to the deeper issues of a person's place in society, of family, of life and death.

When a person enters a new culture, the basic customs and ideas that he or she automatically accepted may no longer be true. The person faces a new set of customs and attitudes to try to understand. Let us learn some elements of English-speaking countries' culture and traditions.

Introducing yourself there is very simple: you state your name, where you live and your occupation. In a formal situation use your first and last names. At a party or in a social setting, use your first name only. Men are introduced to women, young people to older ones, old friends to newcomers, and young girls to married. Usually women are not presented to a man.

When introducing one says something like: "Mrs. Smith, may I introduce Mr. Brown" and then turning to Mrs. Smith simply says "Mrs. Smith". The usual response to the introduction is "How do you do?" which is a kind of greetings and not a question — very formal. One can say something less formal: "Nice to meet you," "I am glad to meet you, " or "Happy to have


met you." If you do not know a person's name, say "Sir" to a man or "Madam" to a woman. If a lady's marital status is unknown, she should be addressed as Ms [miz]. However, it would be much more civilized to leam a person's name and say: "Nice to meet you, Ms. Brown." People usually shake hands firmly especially when formally introduced, but they do not always shake hands with people they see often.

Certain types of behavior are expected in English-speaking countries. American identity is much bound up with home origins. Conversations between two Americans meeting abroad will commonly include an early focus on the home states or colleges, whereas this is unlikely with two Britons (assuming they talked to each other at all). Nicknames are much more often used in the USA than in Britain.



People in both countries consider time as an expensive object or material. They talk about it in many different ways. They save it, waste it, spend it, kill it. They have free time, leisure time, spare time. They invest in it and carefully budget it. Then never be late. It is not the custom to drop in on acquaintances without calling. Be polite and friendly in public places. Phrases like "Excuse me" and "I am sorry" are used far more frequently than in Russia. People there are also very concerned with grooming. Daily showers and a fresh set of clothes are the norm. Never ask persons their age. Smile and people will smile with you.

II. Ответьте на вопросы.

1. What are the two meanings of the word "culture"?

2. How do you address strangers?

3. Introduce yourself formally.

4. Introduce yourself informally.

5. What can a person do with his/ her time?

6. Is it necessary to make appointments in Russia? When is it necessary? When isn't it necessary?


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