Interpreting American Small Talk

Interpreting American Small Talk

Length: 792 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Interpreting American Small Talk

I believe that every international student will experience different kinds of culture shock as soon as he sets foot on the soil of the United States. One problem is interpreting American small talk. As I come from an Oriental country, China, I often find it confusing.

When I first came to the United States. I was amazed to hear and felt that it was a task for me to use the words, "Thank you!" or "Thanks a lot!" In the grocery store, the clerks would say these words to me after I finished paying for what I had bought. At the loan desk of a library, the librarians would say them to me, as soon as they passed me the books. On these occasions, I sometimes would be a little embarrassed, for I did not know that people used these words more to show their politeness than really to thank you. Even when I understood these words, I still felt uncomfortable when I tried to use them. When I was ready to get off a bus, I would say to the driver,"Thank you!" Whenever I uttered these words, I would have such an uncomfortable feeling. In China, we do not use these words very often. We usually give a smile to the people who have offered us some favor. Normally we say, "Thank you!" only when we really and sincerely appreciate the people who help us a lot. Otherwise, a smile is enough.

In the first few weeks after I arrived here, I could not fully get the meaning of "How are you?" and "I am fine." These words may be the most frequently used words by Americans as a conversational greeting. When you run into an acquaintance somewhere, he would greet you by saying, "How are you?" In response you would say, "I am fine." But actually you might not be fine. You probably wanted to say something else from the heart. Even if you were possibly afflicted with some illness, or you were going to die, you still said, "I am fine." You would not tell people about your sadness or your trouble. Why? I guess that people do not want to know about you. These are just greeting words. In this way, these are quite similar to our greeting words in China. In the morning, on the street or in the hallway, we say, "Have you had breakfast?

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Interpreting American Small Talk." 123HelpMe.com. 07 Apr 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=39862>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Small Businesses Are The Cornerstone Of The American Economy Essay examples

- 1) Small businesses are the cornerstone of the American economy, having comprised 46% of the country’s private nonfarm GDP in 2008 (Kobe, 2). We underestimate the importance of even the smallest of businesses, from the local grocery stores we buy our milk and eggs at, to the mom and pop shops that litter the avenues and boulevards of our small towns, catering to the communities that support them. Small businesses are all around us, they encapsulate our everyday lives. We all have personal experiences with them; perhaps we are related to the owner, worked at one, or just frequent a specific one often enough to be considered a regular....   [tags: Small business, Business, Entrepreneurship]

Research Papers
1354 words (3.9 pages)

Small Talk by by James Hunter Essays

- ... For all that, Hunter proposes "small talk" as a methodology which develops language fluency and accuracy language allowing the teacher to give corrective feedbacks.  KEY CONCEPTS Accuracy, complexity, fluency, speaking, corrective feedback (CF), recasts, and syllabus.  DISCUSSION Let’s begin about knowing what small talk is; we can say that it is a conversation for its own sake. To put this in an educational perspective means a comprehensive approach which develops accuracy, fluency and complexity in oral production....   [tags: article analysis, learners, feedback]

Research Papers
1065 words (3 pages)

Benefits Of Small Talk Essay example

- Small talk can be a big help. Did you read that, think to yourself "I hate making small talk?" Most people do. The fact is small talk can be described by any number of words, but few are good. It can be annoying, inconvenient and downright awkward at times. However, it can also provide a huge range of benefits that you kick yourself for not making use of sooner. In your day to day life utilizing the benefits of small talk is a blessing; you can do it anywhere, with anyone, and you don't have the pressure of carrying on with a long and possibly serious conversation you would probably prefer to avoid....   [tags: Debut albums, Intimidation, The Other Person]

Research Papers
704 words (2 pages)

Native Americans Talk Back And Looking Towards The Future Essay

- Native Americans Talk Back and Looking Towards the Future The interpretation and appropriation of culture within museums came under attack starting in the 1960s. Native American groups raised questions about the biases and agendas of museums and demanded that their voices be heard in the political arena. Many groups such as the Committee on Indian Affairs, the Cultural Heritage and Education Institute, and the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management argued that if Whites are the ones interpreting and appropriating other cultures, then it is actually White culture on display....   [tags: Native Americans in the United States]

Research Papers
732 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Art of Interpreting

- Interpreting It is extremely important to be able to communicate with people from every branch of our society, so that we can remain in a peaceful manner. It is becoming more and more frequent that people run into a language barrier. The people that overcome this language barrier are known as either bilinguals or poly-linguists. These linguists can do multiple things with their ability. One example is interpreting, the oral conversion of information from one language to another. There are different types of interpreters, which creates different careers....   [tags: types: simultaneous, consecutive, whispered]

Research Papers
2069 words (5.9 pages)

Interpreting American Progressivism Essay

- Interpreting American Progressivism The period referred to as the Progressive Era in American history is one which historians often disagree over, and as in all areas of history, there are many theories surrounding the era which sometimes contradict each other. Historians are always aware of prominent theories within the field, and they often participate in an ongoing dialogue concerning their research. One of the first historians to make a major mark regarding the Progressive Era was Richard Hofstadter in his book The Age of Reform, published in 1955....   [tags: American History Essays]

Research Papers
2968 words (8.5 pages)

A Small Business Owner Essay

- As a small business owner you 're likely the one that makes all major decisions about your organization. You 've carefully vetted employees to make sure they share your company vision and invested your financial resources wisely to make sure you have an awesome website with engaging content that resonates with your target audience. Perhaps you 've even studied the new Google search ranking algorithm to make sure your business is always near the top spot on first page results with local-specific and organic search queries....   [tags: Management, Small business, Risk, Business]

Research Papers
761 words (2.2 pages)

The Power of Small Businesses in America Essay

- It is a little known fact that small businesses make up a major factor of the American workforce. Since the word small is in the title most people think nothing of them, but when one takes the time to think that there are millions of small businesses, most with at least two to ten workers, the amount of people begins to add up. There are many factors that could contribute to a business failing, and it happens all the time in America. Small businesses must have solid business plans, a good use of technology, appealing merchandise, and appropriate financing to survive and prosper in the economy....   [tags: major factors in the American workforce]

Research Papers
1594 words (4.6 pages)

Small Business Administration ( Sba ) Essay

- In the United States, small businesses play a vital role in building the economy. Today, there are over 28 million small businesses in America. What exactly is considered to be a small business. Initially, the Small Business Administration (SBA) deemed any manufacturer with 250 employees or less to be a small business, but today it considers companies with fewer than 500 employees to be small. Today’s marketplace is an excellent opportunity for the budding entrepreneur. Today’s small business owner has a wealth of opportunities to help him/her gain economic success in today’s marketplace....   [tags: Business, Small business, Management]

Research Papers
1516 words (4.3 pages)

Michele Bachmann Essay

- Michele Bachmann is a presidential candidate and a Minnesota congresswoman. She is known for her success as a small business owner, a U.S. tax attorney, federal lawmaker, a wife, and mother. She has made her appearance known to the public due to her outspoken negativity towards the President of the United States, and her famous quote "Barack Obama is a one term President". Although the election is far away, Bachmann has managed to cause individuals to have a "change of heart" towards her vote, due to her controversial statements....   [tags: American Politics]

Research Papers
1621 words (4.6 pages)

Related Searches

" At noon, we say, "Have you had lunch?" During the evening, " . . . dinner?" Whether we have or not, we will say, "Yes." But actually it has little relation with your having or not having the meals. It is simply a greeting. In China, when anyone inquires, "How are you?" it means he really shows a concern for you, he wants to get some information about you, and he is ready to help you if he can. After I came to the United States, I had a hard time adjusting myself in this strange country. I was so homesick and depressed that I was sick. But, when people asked me, "How are you?" still I had to reply, "I am fine."

American people use the words "Excuse me!" on many occasions. When an American wants to pass by somebody who is close, the American will say, "Excuse me!" But in China we seldom say so on this occasion. When this happens, we just keep going without saying anything. We only use these words when we have offended somebody and want to make a strong apology to the person for the offense. For instance, when we bump into someone's body or someone accidentally knocks us down, we will say "Excuse me!" Sometimes as we are squeezing our way through a crowd and people there have to make room for us, we probably say these words. But most of the time, we say, "Let me go," with a smiling face, or we just go without saying anything. As for sneezing or yawning in public, we never say, "Excuse me!" But in America, people have to say "Excuse me!" Since I come from a rather warm place, the cold weather here always makes me sneeze. When I to do so, I have a hard time deciding whether to say "Excuse me!" or not. If I say "Excuse me!" I will feel rather ill at ease. If I do not, I will be afraid of being impolite to others who are near to me.

Since these small words are used very frequently in everyday life here, Chinese students who are in the United States should understand and try to use small talk such as "Thank you!" "Excuse me" and "How are you!" Then we will feel comfortable when we are in these situations.
Return to 123HelpMe.com