CHAT: culture clash (was Re: Phonemic status of English interdentals
|From:||Roger Mills <romilly@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, October 9, 2002, 22:38|
>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 religiousreasons.
>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