Compliments and Praise 中美文化差异之五
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2008-05-17 17:55:38  【打印
Compliments and Praise 中美文化差异之五

听到别人祝贺和赞扬时,美国人和中国人的回答有些不同:

美国人一般表示接受赞扬,中国人则一般表示受之有愧。 

  There are some differences in replying to compliments between Chinese and American: Americans tend to accept the compliment while Chinese generally murmur some reply about

not being worthy of the praise. Here a few more words might be said about this difference. Consider the following examples:

  A young Chinese woman in the U.S. was complimented for the lovely dress that she was wearing. "It's exquisite. The colors are so beautiful!" She was pleased but somewhat embarrassed. In typical Chinese fashion, she replied, "Oh, it’s just an ordinary dress that I bought in China."

  At a reception in an American college, a newly arrived Chinese scholar was chatting with the hostess, who was an old friend. As an acquaintance of hers came up she said, "Ron, let me introduce Mr. Chen, an outstanding physicist and one of the nicest people I know." Mr. Chen offered his hand to the newcomer but looked at his hostess and said with a smile, "Should I blush, or should I tell him you don' t really mean it?"

  In both cases, the words of the Chinese conveyed a message quite different from what was intended. In the case of the Chinese woman, the reply could have meant that the one paying the compliment did not know what a really good dress is; otherwise, how could she get so excited about an ordinary dress? The implication was that the American woman’s taste in clothing was questionable. In the second case, if Chen had not been smiling, his words could have been interpreted as meaning "You’re just saying that to be polite; you don’t really mean that." So in one case, the person had poor judgment. In the other, the latter case, the hostess was not sincere. Quite a gap between intention and message!

祝贺和赞扬

  听到别人赞扬,美国人和中国人的回答有些不同:美国人一般表示接受赞扬,中国人则一般表示受之有愧。关于这种差别,可以再多谈几句。请看下面几个例子:

  一位中国青年妇女在美国,身上穿着一件漂亮的服装。当别人对她说“你这件衣服真雅致,颜色美极了”。这位中国青年妇女很高兴,但有些不好意思,就按中国习惯回答说:“这是件普通的衣服,我在中国国内买的”。

  一位中国学者刚到美国,到一所大学去参加招待会。女主人是他的老朋友。两个人正在谈话,女主人的一个熟人走过来。她对那个人说:“罗恩,我来介绍一下,这位是陈先生,他是杰出的物理学家,是一位很了不起的人。”陈先生同刚走过来的人握手,看看女主人,笑着说:叫我脸红呢,还是跟他说您只是开个玩笑呢?”

  在这两个例子里,两位中国人的回答都可能被人误解。别人也许以为青年妇女的回答是说对方不识货,对一件普通衣服如此大惊小怪,可见美国妇女鉴赏能力有问题。那位姓陈的物理学家的回答,如果不是带着笑,别人可以认为他的意思是:“你这么说,不过是表示客气,不是真心话。”第一例中说对方鉴别能力差,第二例中说女主人言不由衷。二者都有责备赞扬者的意味,说话人的意图和所传达的信息之间有很大差距。                     

      

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