LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||22/JUN/2007 1:16 AM|
|Assunto:||Am I getting old or what?|
Do you find a difference between Americans and Brazilians in saying "thank you"? I certainly did when I lived in RS. Some people simply found it impossible to express any appreciation. One example that comes to mind is a family I met. One son lived in the home, and two sons were married and lived elsewhere. The son at home was the same age as my son and he did not have a father. I thought he was a good kid and I liked him a lot. I had many knives, many more than I needed. I gave him several. I thought it was very odd that he did not say one word in thanks. I know he liked them because he had a case built to display them. His mother said her two other sons were very jealous of the gift. To keep peace in the family, I gave two knives to each of the two sons. Not one word of thanks. When I asked a third party about this, I was told that they were not accostumed to receiving gifts and did not know how to react. I did not give the knives to hear the words "Thank you", but I found it odd. The three sons were nice people and I enjoyed their company. I accepted their silence as a cultural difference.
On the other hand, I made gifts to others and they were very appreciative. One example I remember was a mini-bus driver who gave me a ride. Somehow it came to my attention during the trip that he had broken a knife, lost a knife, wanted to buy a knife, or whatever. When I got out of the bus, I told him that I thought I had a good pocketknife that he would like. I gave him the knife the following day. He was so proud of the knife that he did not want to use it. I had to assure him that the knife was for using, not for looking at.
Many years ago a Chilean friend told me that Americans were constantly thanking people. In her culture, expressing thanks was rare. It bothered her, she said, to have to say "thank you" for things that would no requite a thank you in Chile.
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