LESSON 5. AMERICAN CHARACTER
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• I don't think that people speaking the same language are similar.
• Their way and attitude to life make them different from the British, Australians and Canadians.
• I don't think that they great each other the same way.
• They wear comfortable casual clothes.
• They make a plan for the day, week, month.
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Information that surprised me much:
1. Direct eye contact;
2. The informal "Hello".
3. Women's wearing hats in church and restaurants.
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I wouldn't be describing similar things when speaking about my national character because there are no similar characters between the Belarusians and the Americans.
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These two texts are different because they describe different things concerning the Americans as the nation. Стр. 284 упр. 6
A positive stereotype of Americans is that they are very generous. The United States sends aid and supplies to many countries, and Americans may be seen as people who are charitable or volunteer.
Americans are seen as very positive and optimistic people.
Americans are stereotyped as hardworking and accurate people, whether in their jobs or other matters.
De Tocqueville first noted, in 1835, the American attitude towards helping others in need. A 2010 Charities Aid Foundation study found that Americans were the fifth most willing to donate time and money in the world at 55%.
American negative characteristics:
Materialism, overconsumption, and extreme capitalism
Perhaps the most popular stereotype of Americans is that of economic materialism. They may be seen as caring about nothing but money, j udging everything by its economic value, and scorning those of lower socioeconomic status.
Uneducate.dness, ignorance, and gullibility
Americans may be stereotyped as ignorant of all countries and cultures beyond their own. This stereotype shows them as lacking intellectual curiosity, thus making them ignorant of other cultures, places, or anything outside of their own lives or the United States. They are seen as particularly ignorant about scientific facts and geography. Videos about "dumb", "ignorant" or "stupid" Americans are very popular on YouTube.
Among the most popular stereotypes is that Americans eat an excess amount of fast food, and are obese. With 33.8% of the population obese, of all the countries of the developed world, the United States has the highest rate of obesity. This is well reflected by the popular "fat American" stereotype.
Racism and racialism
American people in general may be portrayed as racist or racialist, often discriminating against their minorities. Racism was a significant issue of
American history and is still relevant today. Racialized society, racial classification, and the concept of race is a part of the American culture, where it is frequently used in political contexts. Historical racism continues to be reflected in socioeconomic inequality, and has taken on more modern, indirect forms of expression, most prevalently symbolic racism. Many people in the U.S. maintain some prejudices against other "races.
Gun-loving, violent culture
Americans have a long historical fondness of guns and this is often portrayed by American media. A considerable percentage of Americans own firearms. The United States has one of the highest death rates caused by firearms in the developed world. The international media often reports American mass shootings, making these incidents well known internationally.
Americans may be seen as reckless and imprudent people when it comes to the environment. They may be portrayed as lavish, driving high polluting SUVs and unconcerned about climate change or global warming. The United States has the second-highest carbon dioxide emission after China, and is one of the few countries which did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
Lacking history and tradition
Except for Native Americans, who make 2% of population, Americans may be stereotyped as having little to no history. Their country was founded fewer than 250 years ago.
Arrogance and boastfulness
Many people see Americans as arrogant people. Americans may be seen by people of other countries as arrogant and egomaniacal. American president Barack Obama said that America has shown arrogance, been dismissive and even derisive. American girls may be stereotyped as vain and promiscuous.
Unwarranted military intervention
Another stereotype is that Americans "want to be the world's policemen", believing that the entire world needs their help, even if it means military intervention and civilian casualties. This stereotype was most likely spawned from historical United States military interventions, which many people opposed.
Supernatural and paranormal
Americans may be portrayed as believing in the paranormal or supernatural phenomena, e.g. psychic powers, ghosts, haunted houses, UFOs, and exorcism. This stereotype is an extension of the ignorance stereotype.
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THE BRITISH CHARACTER
The British are said to be conservative. In addition to the well-known fact that they still use their traditional system of weights and measurements (They changed their currency into decimal as late as in 1971), they drive on the left and they still wear traditional uniforms at schools, it is important to know that Britain is the oldest democracy in the world and they consider the monarchy an
inseparable part of their government. The British are renowned for their politeness and good table manners. Unlike the Czechs, they like to converse at the table. The English word "gentleman" means an honest man with good manners.
Everybody knows the English saying "My house is my castle" which demonstrates their right to privacy. They are proud of their isles which have given them a feeling of security. They call the strait between Britain and France the English Channel and the rest of Europe the Continent. The British are fond of pets (dogs, cats, caged birds) and children. Their mania for tea at any time of the day is world famous.
Britain is notorious for rainy weather but on the other hand probably this wet and mild climate makes the English lawns so green and fresh all the year round. People in Britain are allowed to walk on the grass and you can often see them picnicking on it. This changeable weather may be the reason why the British talk about the weather a lot. For example, "Isn't it a beautiful morning?" or "Very cold today, isn't it?" They talk about the weather because it changes so often. Wind, rain, sun, cloud, snow — they can all happen in a British winter — or a British summer.
At British banks, shops, cinemas, theatres or bus stops you can always see people in queues. They stand in a line and wait quietly, often for a long time. Each new person stands at the end of the queue — sometimes in rain, wind or snow. Queuing is a national passion. The British are really an orderly, organised nation.
They do not shake hands as often as we do. Hundreds years ago, soldiers began this custom. They shook hands to show that they didn't have a sword. Now, shaking hands is a custom in most countries. In Britain you don't shake hands with your friends and family. But you do shake hands when you meet a person for the first time. You also say "How do you do?" This is not really a question, it's a tradition. The correct answer is exactly the same, "How do you do?"
The British send birthday cards and often give birthday presents. There are cards for other days, too: Christmas cards, Valentine's Day cards, Mother's Day cards, Father's Day cards, Easter cards, Wedding Anniversary cards, Good Luck cards, "Congratulations On Your New Baby" cards, and "Get Well Soon" cards. In Britain there is a custom to celebrate a person's birthday, a new house, Christmas (at home, and often in offices, too), and engagement, a wedding, New Year's Eve
Although the British seem to be conservative and famous for their dry humour, they are much advanced in science and technology. Many games originated or were perfected in Britain.
THE AMERICAN CHARACTER
It is impossible to draw a complete character sketch of "the typical American." The following is a collection of the overarching impressions of Americans from all regions that were repeatedly observed by the travelers. This rendition of how an American appeared to European travelers in the 1830's is not a completely synthesized picture, but a group of traits some that are related to one another and others that stand curiously alone.
Without exception, travelers to the United States found the most striking feature of the American character to be the obsession with business and wealth. The travellers cite this preoccupation with money as the reason for other "American" traits, such as their hurried manner, serious expression, and even their loose morals. Some writers attribute the quest for riches and commitment to hard work to their puritan roots while others found the business practices of Americans completely sacrilegious. Surprisingly, many travellers also see a dependable, honest kindness running through this severity and downright greed. Another curious observation is that despite their personal stiffness, in regards to decorum in social situations, Americans are very informal. This is a discrepancy none of the travellers recognize or account for. Lastly, in physical appearance, the Europeans find the women ugly and Americans in general of a gray and sallow complexion. They also suffer from bad posture.
The American preoccupation with money cuts across regional and class lines and inevitably leads to dishonesty. Thomas Hamilton goes so far as to contend that Americans chose the dollar sign over the cross. "Whenever his love of money comes in competition with his zeal for religion, the latter is sure to give way... The whole race of Yankee peddlers... are proverbial for dishonesty".
The German teacher Frederick Gustorf denounces Americans as "repulsive" and explains his experience with boarding house keepers in Cincinnati. "They have no character, money is their only objective...They have no friendship, hospitality or respect for anyone". The travellers saw this greed not only as the cause for immorality, but also as the root of the coldness of Americans and their inability to indulge in recreation or relaxation.