Have you ever tried to look at someone else’s life? Walked a day in their shoes, perhaps? Well, its not as easy as many people believe. Many people from various cultures would rather stick to what they’ve been taught than to try to understand someone elses situation or culture. Today, I’m going to be looking at my own culture as if I were someone who is studying American anthropology to further change my perception of the world I grew up in. Many things we do as American people confuse others from different civilizations; some of these things includes: how we speak in differing situations, going to school, taking a shower, going to the doctors office, taking illegal drugs, how we view our bodies, or even the kinds of foods we eat. All of these subjects can be analyzed by a variety of people and they can have a multitude of different meanings tied to them.
One activity we do as Americans that can be taken as odd is the way we use language in certain situations. For example, when I talk to my boss or I make a speech, I try to keep out anything that would potentially cause embarrassment for me by using the most long and eloquent words I can. But, when I’m with my family, I talk and joke without really having to think to much of what words to say because my family doesn’t care if I know lengthy words, as long as I can get my point across. Another example of this can be found in Amy Tan’s essay called the Mother Tongue where she has to use two different types of English with her family than with other people in her life.
Recently, I was made keenly aware of the different Englishes I do use. I was giving a talk to a large group of people, the same talk I had already given to half a dozen other groups. The nature of the nature of the talk was about my writing, my life, and my book, The Joy Luck Club. The talk was going along well enough, until I remembered one major difference that made...