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Unit 3 Culture

In-Class Reading

Bridging Cultural Gaps Gracefully

I. Word List
Directions: Memorize the words and phrases before class. You will benefit from your effort when you get the passage from your teacher and read it in class.

Proper Names



New Words

abrupt *
adj. seeming rude and unfriendly 唐突的,鲁莽的
e.g. He was abrupt to the point of being rude.

accompany *
v. go a long way with or exist at the same time or place as something else 伴随
e.g. This volume of essays was designed to accompany an exhibition in London.

accomplish *
v. succeed in doing something 完成
e.g. If we'd all work together, I think we could accomplish our goal.

accomplishment *
n. something successful or impressive that is achieved after a lot of effort and hard work 成就
e.g. For a novelist, that's quite an accomplishment.

assure *
v. tell somebody that something will definitely happen so that they are less worried 向......保证
e.g. Mother assured us that everything would be all right.

avoid *
v. 避免

bow *
v. 点头;鞠躬
e.g. He bowed before the king.

caution *
n. a warning to be careful 提醒
e.g. A sign with "DANGER" on it is a caution.

compliment *
v. say something nice to someone in order to praise him/her 赞扬
e.g. Bob complimented me on my new hairstyle.

confusion *
n. 混乱
e.g. There has been some confusion of names.

constantly *
adv. continuously; frequently 老是,总是
e.g. She worries constantly.

corporation *
n. 公司

culture *
n. the ideas, beliefs, and customs that are shared and accepted by people in a society 文化
e.g. Chinese culture, British culture, Western culture

cultural *
adj. 文化的

definitely *
adv. with no chance of being wrong; certainly 无疑地,确实地
e.g. It is definitely going to rain this afternoon.

n. a group of people who have been sent somewhere to have talks with other people on behalf of a larger group of people 代表团

discomfort *
n. a feeling of slight pain or of being physically uncomfortable 不舒服
e.g. Steve had some discomfort, but not real pain.

edible *
adj. that can be eaten 可食的
e.g. All the leaves of the plant are edible.

fancy *
adj. special, elaborate 特殊的,精心制成的
e.g. It was packaged in a fancy plastic case.

farewell *
n. goodbye
e.g. They said their farewells at the airport.

flee *
v. (fled, fled) leave somewhere very quickly in order to escape from danger 逃,跑
e.g. He killed the enemy and fled the country.

n. a state of nervous confusion 紧张,慌乱

foreigner *
n. 外国人

n. 外国 (人) 的特性

forth *
adv. so on so forth 等等

gap *
n. 缺口,间隔,隔阂
e.g. The gap between rich and poor is still widening.

n. a term used in order to wish someone success and safety 祝幸运,祝万事如意
e.g. We wished him Godspeed as he set off on his quest for happiness. 当他出发寻找幸福时,我们祝愿他好运。

gracefully *
adv. behaving in a polite and pleasant way 得体地
e.g. When I'm no longer needed, I'll retire gracefully.

graciousness *
n. being polite, kind, and generous 亲切,殷勤

haste *
n. (too much) speed 匆忙
e.g. Unfortunately the report was prepared in haste and contained several inaccuracies.

hostess *
n. a woman who greets, serves, or entertains guests 女主人

inadequate *
adj. not big enough, good enough, skilled enough, etc. for a particular purpose 不够,不充分
e.g. Supplies of food and medicine are inadequate in the flooded areas.

inevitable *
adj. certain to happen and impossible to avoid 不可避免的
e.g. If the case succeeds, it is inevitable that other trials will follow.

involve *
v. include something as a necessary part 使(某事)成为必要条件或结果
e.g. His job as a public relations director involves spending quite a lot of time with other people.

n. 楼梯过渡的平台

literally *
adv. word for word, strictly 字面上地
e.g. Idioms usually cannot be translated literally into another language.

mission *
n. an important task that people are given to do 使命
e.g. He was sent on over 200 missions before being killed in action.

modest *
adj. unwilling to talk proudly about your abilities and achievements 谦虚的

n. 谦逊,客气
e.g. He plays the character with tremendous concentration combined with a pleasing modesty.

modify *
v. make small changes to something, often in order to improve it 修改,变更
e.g. The industrial revolution modified the whole structure of English society.

adj. disobedient, causing trouble 顽皮的,淘气的

negotiation *
n. a formal discussion between people who have different aims or intentions, during which they try to reach an agreement 商议,谈判

n. the skill of making yourself seem better than other people 胜人一筹的本领

n. the act of leaving a particular person or place 分别,离别

phrase *
n. 词组
e.g. a set phrase 固定词组

polar *
adj. completely opposite in character, quality, or shape 截然不同的

politeness *
n. 礼貌
e.g. He was noted for his politeness. 大家都知道他很有礼貌。

proposal *
n. a plan or suggestion which is made formally to an official person or group 建议,提议
e.g. The President is to put forward new proposals for increasing trade between the two countries.

protest *
n. a strong complaint that shows you disagree with, or are angry about something that you think is wrong or unfair 反对,抗议
e.g. Loud protests were heard when the decision was announced. 决定一经宣布,抗议之声不绝于耳。

refusal *
n. an act of saying or showing that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do 拒绝
e.g. His letter in response to her request had contained a firm refusal.

respond *
v. 反应,回应
e.g. I patted the dog, which responded by growling.

signal *
n. an event or action that shows what someone feels or what is likely to happen 信号
e.g. His speech was a signal that major changes were on the way.

slip *
v. go or move quickly and quietly 滑
e.g. The climber slipped, and she fell.

straightforwardness *
n. being honest about your feelings or opinions and not hiding anything 坦白,率直

surpass *
v. be even better or greater than; exceed 超越,胜过
e.g. It would be hard to surpass this very high score.

textbook *
n. 教科书,教材

Bridging Cultural Gaps Gracefully

1 Why is it that when you study a foreign language, you never learn the little phrases that let you slip into a culture without all your foreignness exposed? Every Chinese-language textbook starts out with the standard phrase for greeting people; but as an American, I constantly found myself tongue-tied when it came to seeing guests off at the door. An abrupt goodbye would not do, yet that was all I had ever learned from these books. So I would smile and nod, bowing like a Japanese and trying to find words that would smooth over the visitors' leaving and make them feel they would be welcome to come again. In my fluster, I often hid behind my Chinese husband's graciousness.
2 Then finally, listening to others, I began to pick up the phrases that eased relations and sent people off with a feeling of mission not only accomplished but surpassed.
3 Partings for the Chinese involve a certain amount of ritual and a great deal of one-upmanship. Although I'm not expected to observe or even know all the rules, as a foreigner, I've had to learn the expressions of politeness and protest that accompany a leave-taking.
4 The Chinese feel they must see a guest off to the farthest feasible point-down a flight of stairs to the street below or perhaps all the way to the nearest bus stop. I've sometimes waited half an hour or more for my husband to return from seeing a guest off, since he's gone to the bus stop and waited for the next bus to arrive.
5 For a less important or perhaps a younger guest, he may simply say, "I won't see you off, all right?" And of course the guest assures him that he would never think of putting him to the trouble of seeing him off. "Don't see me off! Don't see me off!"
6 That's all very well, but when I'm the guest being seen off, my protests are always useless, and my hostess or host, or both, insists on seeing me down the stairs and well on my way, with our going through the "Don't bother to see me off" ritual at every landing. If I try to go fast to discourage them from following, they are simply put to the discomfort of having to flee after me. Better to accept the inevitable.
7 Besides, that's going against Chinese custom, because haste is to be avoided. What do you say when you part from someone? Not "farewell" or "Godspeed", but "Go slowly." To the Chinese it means "Take care" or "Watch your step" or some other such caution, but translated literally it means "Go slowly."
8 That same "slowly" is used in another polite expression used by the host at the end of a particularly large and delicious meal to assure his guests what a poor and inadequate host he has been.
9 American and Chinese cultures are at polar opposites. An American hostess, complimented for her cooking skills, is likely to say, "Oh, I'm so glad that you liked it. I cooked it especially for you." Not so a Chinese host or hostess (often the husband does the fancy cooking), who will instead apologize for giving you "nothing" even slightly edible and for not showing you enough honor by providing proper dishes.
10 The same rules hold true with regard to children. American parents speak proudly of their children's accomplishments, telling how Johnny made the school team or Jane made the honor roll. Not so Chinese parents, whose children, even if at the top of their class in school, are always so "naughty", never studying, never listening to their elders, and so forth.
11 The Chinese take pride in "modesty"; the Americans in "straightforwardness". That modesty has left many a Chinese hungry at an American table, for Chinese politeness calls for three refusals before one accepts an offer, and the American hosts take a "no" to mean "no", whether it's the first, second, or third time.
12 Recently, a member of a delegation sent to China by a large American corporation complained to me about how the Chinese had asked them three times if they would be willing to modify some proposal, and each time the Americans had said "no" clearly and definitely. My friend was angry because the Chinese had not taken their word the first time. I recognized the problem immediately and wondered why the Americans had not studied up on cultural differences before coming to China. It would have saved them a lot of confusion and frustration in their negotiations.
13 Once you've learned the signals and how to respond, life becomes much easier. When guests come, I know I should immediately ask if they'd like a cup of tea. They will respond, "Please don't bother," which is my signal to fetch tea. (797 words)

Time taken: _____ minutes

Phrases and Expressions

call for
make a particular action or quality necessary 需要
e.g. Your plan will call for a lot of money.

go against 违背
e.g. Don't go against your parents' wishes.

hold true
be still true in several different situations 适用,有效
e.g. The advice will hold true throughout your life.

insist on 坚持或坚决要求
e.g. I insist on your taking/insist that you take immediate action to put this right.

many a
a lot of (followed by singular forms) 许多
e.g. Many a strong man has weakened before such a challenge.

pick up
acquire something such as a foreign language or a skill by hearing or seeing it often, rather than making a deliberate effort (尤指容易地,不经意地)学会
e.g. Where did you pick up English?

put someone to (a lot of) trouble
make someone use (a lot of) time and energy 给某人添麻烦
e.g. Don't bother carrying all those things, I didn't mean to put you to a lot of trouble.

see somebody off
go to an airport, train station etc. to say goodbye to someone 为某人送行
e.g. I think they have gone to the airport to see their daughter off.

send somebody off
say goodbye to someone
e.g. All the people in the buildings came to send me off.

slip into
pass gradually into a state or situation, in a way that is hardly noticed 渐渐进入
e.g. It amazed him how easily one could slip into a routine.

smooth over
make a problem or difficulty less serious and easier to deal with 缓和,减轻
e.g. She managed to smooth over the bad feelings between them.

study up 钻研,研读
e.g. I know it very well because I have studied up on it.

take pride in
be proud of 以......为荣
e.g. We take pride in offering you the highest standards.

with regard to
with respect to, concerning 关于,至于
e.g. With regard to future oil supplies, the situation is uncertain.
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