A) What comes to mind when you look at this picture?
If you travel abroad you have to consider etiquette (= polite social rules in a country or culture) to avoid making mistakes.
Have you or someone you know ever experienced any problems abroad because of this?
What about when you meet foreigners, do you expect them to behave in a particular way in your country?
Think about the etiquette of your country and what tips you'd give to foreign visitors.
B) Before you read a blog about Russian people giving advice to other Russian people visiting the USA, think about what advice the writers will give about these points.
1. On giving gifts
2. On talking to American women
3. On socializing with Americans
4. On American optimism
e.g. “I think the writers will say you must/should/mustn't... because it means...”
C) So, we now know the blogger is an American who has collected some tips written by Russians for other Russians visiting the USA.
Read the text and answer these questions to check your comprehension of the blog post.
Write your answers in full sentences.
1. In the introduction which examples does the blogger give about etiquette in foreign countries and why?
2. Where does he find the texts on American etiquette and how does he translate them?
3. Tip one advises visitors to America that it's not necessary to give gifts. Why is that?
4. If you do bring a gift, what should you keep in mind?
5. What tips does the blogger mention not to do in the second tip?
6. What should you do in tip two?
7. What advice do we get from the short version in tip three?
8. If invited to a picnic, what should and shouldn't you expect?
9. How does the writer contrast American telephone calls to Russian ones?
10. In short, how do Russians see Americans?
11. Does the Russian writer of the first quote in tip four believe Americans and Russians are different? How?
12. From the last three quotes in tip four, what can we learn about Americans?
Now check your answers.
1. In the introduction which examples does the blogger give about etiquette in foreign countries and why? The American writer mentions hand gestures in Romania and personal space in Japan. He tells us that there are many books to teach Americans about other countries but he's drawing the attention of the reader (Americans) to what foreigners think about their country.
2. Where does he find the texts on American etiquette and how does he translate them? He doesn't tell us where the texts come from. He uses Google Translate to translate them.
3. Tip one advises visitors to America that it's not necessary to give gifts. Why is that? Firstly, the gift may make the receiver of the gift feel guilty (perhaps because they haven't bought the visitor a gift). The tip also states that 'bribery is illegal in America', therefore be careful that your gift isn't misunderstood in that way.
4. If you do bring a gift, what should you keep in mind? Make sure you give something very Russian but not obviously something you could buy at a tourist shop. Preferably a book about Russian history or art.
5. What tips does the blogger mention not to do in the second tip? American women are nervously tense. Don't stare at them, be chivalrous, flirt, or ask personal questions, such as, are you married? Or she might call the police.
6. What should you do in tip two? Treat women equally to men. For example shake their hands when greeting them.
7. What advice do we get from the short version in tip three? You have to be gentle with Americans. You have be careful to arrange a visit to their home and finish telephone calls correctly. Americans do an annoying thing with their legs,and you shouldn't mention magnetic storms (but we're not told why). When they say see you later, they are lying. If you want to take a gift to their home, take a badminton racket.
8. If invited to a picnic, what should and shouldn't you expect? Expect lots of sports activities and not much alcohol (booze).
9. How does the writer contrast American telephone calls to Russian ones? The writer says Americans prefer direct communication without a long introduction, whereas Russians like to chat before discussing important topics. Russians are happy to suddenly end telephone conversations but Americans have an etiquette for longer endings often concluding with 'see you later,' which should not be taken literally.
10. In short, how do Russians see Americans? As happy smiling people who don't want to hear anyone's problems.
11. Does the Russian writer of the first quote in tip four believe Americans and Russians are different? How? Yes, the writer describes Americans as optimistic. When an American is faced with a problem they try to see it positively, but according to the writer Russians see only 'the problem' in a much more direct way. A Russian will see someone as a victim but an American will see them as a hero.
12. From the last three quotes in tip four, what can we learn about Americans? You must smile at everyone, not only friends and acquaintances. However, these smiles are not fake, Americans are genuinely positive people. They can only complain about problems to their closest friends or family and only if the problem is serious.
D) Think really hard about your own country's etiquette.
How could you advise someone from another country about your country's etiquette.
Don't just write simple instructions about things foreigners must, should, or mustn't do but really think deeply about what's acceptable behaviour from foreigners when visiting your country.
Give some really good tips from your own personal knowledge of your country's etiquette.
(etiquette is an uncountable noun)
There are forms of good and bad etiquette in my country.
One example of good/bad etiquette is...
The correct greeting etiquette is really important.