Adjusting to Multiculturalism among Native English Speakers

Sharing a native language can lead to the assumption that there is a shared culture, even when there is not. There are many English speaking countries in both hemispheres, and the people who come from these countries are just a varied as the regions they hail from. Speaking the same native tongue does not guaranty solidarity. It can, in fact, create greater rifts than if communication were conducted in a second language. Native English speakers often find each other’s English unpleasant to listen to due to accents and idiosyncratic phrases.

Along with language differences, there are many cultural differences, and these can be seen in something as simple as greetings and as complex as when and how expletives are ok to use. A rule of thumb for getting along is to never assume that any one way of doing things is the “right” or “proper” way for anyone. It is also helpful to remember that culture extends beyond language to such things as views on drinking and what should (or shouldn’t) be discussed in public spaces. Keeping this in mind helps to prevent offense. By giving other native English speakers the same slack as non-native speakers, you will avoid cutting people out of your life based on cultural misunderstandings.

Posted on 07 Jun 2015 04:34

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