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Thread: U.S.A. Culture and Language Help

  1. #41
    cmwinters
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by CCCC
    I being pedantic, but it's worth noting that there is no definite 'Europe' it's entirely arbitrary where you draw the line.
    Ah, I was talking specifically about the continent of Europe as defined geographically (tectonically, perhaps?)

    Certainly, I wouldn't normally have considered Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan part of Europe left to my own devices. But then, the Caucasus mountains are pretty far east, and to a lot of people, European/white/Caucasian are fairly interchangable. *shrug*

  2. #42
    R_Ravenclaw
    Guest
    Something I've always been a little skeptical of. I've travelled somewhat in the US and met a fair few Americans, but while most claim heritage of a good half dozen places unless the immigration was within the last generation or two then I've never seen any real cultural differences, although this is purely anecdotal.
    It's true that the heritage of an American doesn't really matter after a space of time. I myself am German, Austian, and Italian, but I'm no different from my friend who's purely British and Irish. I think the point is that the culture as a whole has been influenced by more than just the Brits. Most Christmas traditions are German, and Americans celebrate a lot of other holidays. I know the people who take Spanish at my school always make a huge thing out of The Day of the Dead (or whatever it's called). Crèvecoeur was the one who first called America a "melting pot", and even though the politically correct term is apparently now "salad bowl", it's obvious that Crèvecoeur was the one who was right all along. America isn't just an extension of Britain; it's a mixture of all the cultures that have come to America, and we've formed an entirely new culture of our own. Yet, for some reason, we're all still proud of our heritage. It's pretty rare that you'll see a difference unless someone is very VERY proud of their nationality… like me.

    I hope that made sense!

  3. #43
    SiriuslyMental
    Guest
    For example, traveling to Little Italy changes the entire face of New York city. People speak Italian here, have their own Roman Catholic churches, paint the lampposts and fire hydrants in the Italian national colours - they look Italian, cook Italian food, speak with different accents, etc.

    Travel a few streets down to Chinatown and you've suddenly entered the bustling centre of New York Chinese life. The language and culture of China thrive here - it's like entering another country entirely within the span of several blocks.

    As someone who lives in America, I would say that there is a lot of cultural difference between the people. What you find on the East coast is entirely different from, say, Colorado or California.

    Just as Liverpool and Manchester, who are very close to one another geographically speaking, are two very different cultures of people, America has many of its own cultures greatly influenced by the immigrants who came there.

  4. #44
    A.H.
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by SiriuslyMental
    As someone who lives in America, I would say that there is a lot of cultural difference between the people. What you find on the East coast is entirely different from, say, Colorado or California.
    There is definatley a difference between the cultures, especialy geographically speaking. You might find a few different people in the same area, but travel a few hundred miles and you've entered a different culture of people completely.

    When I lived in Panama City, Florida (a small little town right outside of the east coast, actually) the streets screamed poverty, and so did the people. My family and I weren't doing much better than the friends that I met, but you couldn't meet someone who had more than a few bucks to their name. Today, (and thank Godric I moved away from those people) atleast three of my old friends who haven't even reached nineteen yet are pregnant by abusive, crack-head, junkie boyfriends, and no doubt they're living on the streets by now. Drugs (and I'm not a drugs-are-horrible, all-who-do-drugs-deserve-the-death-penalty kind of person at all) are in every home; babies are being born disfuntional because of all of the crack-cocain in their system. Hell, two of my old friends had a baby, smoked whatever it was they were smoking and fell asleep with the baby in their bed. They didn't hear the baby choking in the middle of the night and at two months old, she passed away. And these happenings were normal there; every other person you met had a story similar and were smoking something or other. And either I never met one person in the radius of about 60 miles that wasn't like this, or it was the whole town.

    Now, go about 20 minutes west, across the bridge and into the tourist-filled west coast (where I moved after about a year) and the worst you'll find are pot-heads and drunks. It's not much better, but it's definatley different.

    And now I'm about 300 miles away from the beach (west Florida... well, atleast west of Panama City, I'm not good with geography) and the culture is different yet. I won't go into the details (which are far less troublesome that the details above ) but I think I've made meh point. People are different everywhere, and the differences are greater when you go further away from a location, like SiriuslyMental said (in less words).

    -Arianna

  5. #45
    cmwinters
    Guest
    I agree there are some differences, but I think what CCCCs original point was, for the most part, *CULTURALLY* we all celebrate the same holidays, and more or less the same way. There are national bank holidays, when government offices are closed. Almost everybody celebrates their birthday on the anniversary of their birth (or thereabouts), with presents and cake and candles, even people who aren't Christians can be found to decorate their houses with lights and give gifts at Christmas, everybody more or less has picnics and outside time on Memorial Day and Labor Day, and also Independence Day, where we watch fireworks. We trick or treat on Hallowe'en, go out Easter Egg hunting on Easter (even again a lot of non-Christians do this), trade expressions of love and candy on Valentine's Day, make ridiculously large meals featuring stuffed turkey the fourth week of November, and have massive parties on New Year's Eve.

    Contrast this to something like, say, Catholic Croatia. Which celebrates Christmas on 25th December. But in the adjacent Orthodox Serbia, Christmas is celebrated on 6th January. In contrast to the neighboring Muslim Bosnia, where Christmas isn't celebrated at all. Yet all of these countries used to be part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    Yes, of course, there are some differences, primarily culinary and some dialectal, in America. Certainly there are people in the country who don't celebrate any of those holidays, enforced day off or otherwise, or they celebrate different holidays that aren't mentioned (and no insult to them).

    But in the main, we all generally tend to do more or less the same thing the same way and at the same time.

    However, there are completely different customs in, say, Mexico, which has a huge celebration for the Day of the Dead, or Puerto Rico (a sort of territory of the United States) which has massive Quinceañera parties, or Brazil which throws a huge party for Carnival (largely uncelebrated in the US).

    This is not to be confused with the profound differences in economic station, (which have alarmingly large similarities throughout the world.)

  6. #46
    CCCC
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by cmwinters
    I agree there are some differences, but I think what CCCCs original point was, for the most part, *CULTURALLY* we all celebrate the same holidays, and more or less the same way. There are national bank holidays, when government offices are closed. Almost everybody celebrates their birthday on the anniversary of their birth (or thereabouts), with presents and cake and candles, even people who aren't Christians can be found to decorate their houses with lights and give gifts at Christmas, everybody more or less has picnics and outside time on Memorial Day and Labor Day, and also Independence Day, where we watch fireworks. We trick or treat on Hallowe'en, go out Easter Egg hunting on Easter (even again a lot of non-Christians do this), trade expressions of love and candy on Valentine's Day, make ridiculously large meals featuring stuffed turkey the fourth week of November, and have massive parties on New Year's Eve.

    Contrast this to something like, say, Catholic Croatia. Which celebrates Christmas on 25th December. But in the adjacent Orthodox Serbia, Christmas is celebrated on 6th January. In contrast to the neighboring Muslim Bosnia, where Christmas isn't celebrated at all. Yet all of these countries used to be part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    Yes, of course, there are some differences, primarily culinary and some dialectal, in America. Certainly there are people in the country who don't celebrate any of those holidays, enforced day off or otherwise, or they celebrate different holidays that aren't mentioned (and no insult to them).

    But in the main, we all generally tend to do more or less the same thing the same way and at the same time.

    However, there are completely different customs in, say, Mexico, which has a huge celebration for the Day of the Dead, or Puerto Rico (a sort of territory of the United States) which has massive Quinceañera parties, or Brazil which throws a huge party for Carnival (largely uncelebrated in the US).

    This is not to be confused with the profound differences in economic station, (which have alarmingly large similarities throughout the world.)
    That was mainly my point. Essentially that the US isn't as much of a melting pot as it claims to be, and most other countries are just as diverse. Britain has large 'minority' communities, many of them from former empire countries (Asian Sub-continent, middle-east, far east, among others) not to mention with the EU freedom of movement you have large numbers of French, Poles and so on. There is a London China town (I accidentally wondered into it once) but it's less well-known. Wales has a little known but long historical Italian community. France differs immensely from the rural midi to the Parisienne (whom many French view as a different nationality).

  7. #47
    A.H.
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by cmwinters
    I agree there are some differences, but I think what CCCCs original point was, for the most part, *CULTURALLY* we all celebrate the same holidays, and more or less the same way.
    Wow, I really missed that point and rambled about a borderline innapropriate topic... Sorry

    About the Hollidays though, I could go on and on about Christmas. I found out only last year that it wasn't even originaly celebrated for Jesus' birth! And all these years I've been celebrating it because of that... But don't let me get into origins... You've seen what happens when I ramble.

    For the sake of not posting something totally irrelevent, I'd like to ask what the difference between Halloween and The Day of the Dead is? I've always been told that its the same thing, the only difference being in the name.

    Well, I just posted to apologize for that earlier post. Maybe it helped someone... Carry on with teh sane discussion and I'll just go busy me'self.

    -Arianna

  8. #48
    Snape's Talon
    Guest
    El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) traces back to Mexico and the days of the Aztecs. It is celebrated November 1st or 2nd - I can't recall offhand which.

    Halloween or All Hallows Eve is of Celtic origins and was referred to as Samhain. It was an end of harvest celebration. It is the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year, and falls on October 31st.

    While both are close in timing so far as the calendar is concerned, they are not the same thing. I'm sure there are others here on the board that can give you a more in-depth explanation of both celebrations, their historical meaning and how they are regarded today.

    Note that Harry's parents were murdered on October 31st - quite symbolic since it marked the end of the year. We know that JKR favored Celtic influences in so far as wand selection for characters.


  9. #49
    tbsbooboo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by beccleroo
    I am a Texan and use lots of Texasisms when I talk, and since most of my story takes place in Texas, I have used several in my writing.

    In your opinion, do you believe that using "Howdy" and "y'all" and "fixin-to"(one word, verb) and "jeet?"(did you eat?) and "Bubba"(I do know kids named that) and "supper" (dinner), are corny and overused by Texans? What about cowboy hats and boots? What about constant Mexican food and Whataburger(Best fast food ever)? Rodeos? Would they make my characters too stereotypical Texan, or more realistic?

    Thank you.
    I think that if your writing about Characters in TX they should seem Texan. So use of the word you described would be great and would make your story seem more realistic, unless ever character is constantly saying ya'll or something to that effect. I would use moderation of course!

  10. #50
    Evester
    Guest
    Going back to the discussion about the social structure of an American school:

    I have heard that, for one example, Notre Dame requires, or at least strongly encourages students to stay in the same dormitory for all their years at the college. And that those students develop a strong sense of dormitory pride and loyalty. When I heard this I instantly thought of Hogwarts. So the Houses are not completely out of the question.

    Also, at my university, first-years (yes we call them first years, not freshman) live in basically three seperate groups of dormitories, and while we are not required to live in the same area, certain stereotypes and area-loyalty develop (i.e. Dorm Area A are the Greek-oriented party-ers, while Dorm Area B are more studious and quite). Aside from first year dorms, there are residential colleges that upperclassmen can choose to live in, and each attract a certain type of person- the artsy people/ international students/ academic oriented/ etc. I know this is definitely not limited to my university.

    So I think that it would be a neat and entirely plausible idea to have students assigned to a dorm their first year of school, and then choose to live in the same dorm the following years. It might not be required, and some small amount of switching could take place between dorms/Houses/etc.

    Just my (very long) two cents on dorms and houses.

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