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CHAT: culture clash (was Re: Phonemic status of English interdentals

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 9, 2002, 22:38
Tristan wrote:
>My aunt, now retired but formerly a Christian missionary/nurse in >Thailand, told me a story of trying to teach some Muslim girls how to >make the sound when teaching them English. Apparently it was very >difficult to convince them to stick their tongues out for religious
Possibly not religious, but also cultural. My teacher, who had experience in Burma, Thailand and Indonesia, claimed that Asians in general consider it rude to point directly at someone-- and sticking your tongue out counts as pointing. He even went so far as to claim that was the reason Japanese "rounded" vowels feature very little lip-rounding (another form of pointing). (I take that with a grain of salt, however) The Javanese, so status-conscious, go to great lengths to avoid pointing. If absolutely necessary, they make a fist with the knuckle of the thumb protruding slightly. Non-Javanese Indonesians have great fun ridiculing this, and many other Javanese practices. Sitting with one leg crossed over the other, foot dangling in air (and pointing), is also rude-- it's my preferred way of sitting, and on more than one occasion I could tell that people opposite me were uncomfortable with it.


Tristan <kesuari@...>
Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>