Calling Collect; Lack of Respect?



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Calling Collect; Lack of Respect?



 

Dear Ann Landers,

My boyfriend, who is 19 years old, moved to another city. I am 17, work part-time and do baby-sitting, so I have money of my own. (I get no allowance.) Lately I've been having terrific hassles with my parents. When Jed calls me collect, they refuse to accept the call, even though I am sitting right there. They just say, "Marianne isn't at home." I don't mind paying for his calls, and as long as it's my money I don't think they have the right to do this.

My mother says in her day no respectable boy called a girl collect, and no decent girl would accept such a call. Jed has a job but he's just getting by and the only way we can talk is if I pay on my end.

We'd like your opinion on this.

The Sound of His Voice

Factual questions

1. What is the hassle that this girl has with her parents?

2. Why doesn't Jed pay for his telephone calls?

3. How is his girl friend able to pay for them?

4. Why does the mother refuse to accept collect calls from Jed?

Cultural notes

1. A telephone book defines a collect call by explaining: "You may place calls and charge them to the number you are calling, provided the person you are calling agrees to accept the charges." Explain in your own words.

2. Older people often express unhappiness with the current state of the world by comparing the present with the past. They say, "In my day ..." How do you feel when you hear this? Have you ever used this expression?

 

Vocabulary


an allowance

a hassle

to call collect

to refuse

to accept

(not) to mind doing something

in her day

respectable

decent

to just get by


 

Discussion

1. Do you think it is proper for a boy to call his girl friend collect? Would it be proper for her to call him collect?

2. If a teenager earns money, should he or she have the right to decide how to spend it?

3. Could the girl send her boyfriend money so he wouldn't have to call collect? Do you think he would be willing to accept cash as easily as he does free phone calls?

4. What do you think the girl wants Ann Landers to tell her?

 

Writing

Write a letter to The Sound of His Voice, as if you were Ann Landers, and give your opinion about this hassle.

 

Vocabulary


a principle

you have a point

practically

an emergency

to demonstrate

a lack of

integrity ;

a surplus


 

 

From the desk ofAnn Landers

 

 

Discussion

1. In effect, Ann Landers says "In principle you're right, in practice you're wrong." Do you think this response will satisfy the girl? Her parents?

2. Do you agree that a man demonstrates a lack of integrity if he telephones his girl friend collect? Is Ann Landers sexist and old-fashioned?

3. In what situations (from whom) would you accept a collect call?


SUPPLEMENTARY READING

Unit 1.

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT

«Living in a second culture can be like riding on a roller coaster. Sometimes foreign visitors are elated; sometimes they are depressed. First there is the combination of enthusiasm and excitement that is felt while travelling. New foods and aromas, difference faces, foreign languages, and interesting customs all fascinate the traveler. A foreign visitor usually has high expectations and is eager to become familiar with a new culture.»

«Culture shock» occurs as a result of total immersion in a new culture. Newcomers may anxious because they do not speak the language, know the customs, or understand people’s behavior in daily life. The visitor finds that «yes» may not always mean «yes», that friendliness does not necessarily. mean friendship, or that statements that appear to be serious are really intended as jokes. The foreigner may be unsure as to when to shake hands or embrace, when to initiate conversations, or how to approach a stranger. The notion of «culture shock» helps explain feelings of bewilderment and disorientation. ...When an individual enters a strange culture, ...he or she is like fish out of water. Reaction to a new culture vary, but experience and research have shown that there are distinct stages in the adjustment process of foreign visitors. When leaving the comfortably secure environment of home, a person will naturally experience some stress and anxiety. The severity of culture shock depends on visitor’s personalities, language ability, emotional support, and duration of stay. Visitors coming for short periods of time do not always experience the same intense emotions as visitors who live in foreign countries for longer terms. The adjustment stages during prolonged stays may last several months to several years. The following «W» shaped diagram illustrates periods of adjustment in a second culture and might apply to a one-year stay (approximately) in a foreign culture. Although the stages in the cycle do not always occur in the same order and some stages may be skipped, the following pattern is a common one:

 
 


 


Each stage in the process is characterized by «symptoms» or outward signs typifying certain kinds of behavior:

 

(1) Honeymoon period. Initially many people are fascinated and excited by everything new. The visitor is elated to be in a new culture.

(2) Culture shock. The individual is immersed in new problems: housing, transportation, shopping, and language. Mental fatigue results from continuously straining to comprehend the foreign language.

(3)Initial adjustment. Everyday activities such as housing and shopping are no longer major problems. Although the visitor may not yet be fluent in the language spoken, basic ideas and feelings in the second language can be expressed.

(4) Mental isolation. Individuals have been away from their family and good friends for a long period of time and may feel lonely. Many still feel they cannot express themselves as well as they can in their native language. Frustration and sometimes a loss of self-confidence result. Some individuals remain at this stage.

(5) Acceptance and integration. A routine (e.g., work, business, or school) has been established. The visitor has accepted the habits, customs, foods, and characteristics of the people in the new culture. The visitor feels comfortable with friends, associates, and the language of the country.

 

The Re-entry Process

 

A similar process occurs when visitors return to their native countries, although the stages are usually shorter and less intense. The following “W” shaped diagram illustrates reactions and emotions experienced when a person leaves a foreign country and returns to his or her own country.

 
 


 


As in the first diagram, each stage in the «reentry» process is characterized by symptoms and feelings.

 

(1) Acceptance and integration. See description given for the preceding diagram.

(2) Return anxiety. There may be confusion and emotional pain about leaving because friendships will have to be disrupted. Many people realize how much they have changed because of their experiences and may be nervous about going home.

(3) Return honeymoon. Immediately upon arrival in one’s own country, there is generally a great deal of excitement. There are parties to welcome back the visitor and renewed friendships to look forward to.

(4) Re-entry shock. Family and friends may not understand or appreciate what the traveler has experienced. The native country or city may have changed in the eyes of the former traveler.

(5) Re-integration. The former traveler becomes fully involved with friends, family, and activities and feels once again integrated in the society. Many people at this stage realize the positive and negative aspects of both countries and have a more balanced perspective about their experiences.

(5)


Individual reactions

 

Individuals experience the stages of adjustment and re-entry in different ways. When visitors have close relatives in the new culture or speak the foreign language fluently, they may not experience all the effects of culture shock or mental isolation. An exile or refugee would adjust differently from someone who voluntarily traveled to a new country. Certain individuals have difficulties adapting to a new environment and perhaps never do; others seem to adjust well from the very beginning of their stay.

Day-to-day living in another culture is undoubtedly an educational experience. While traveling, and living abroad people learn second languages, observe different customs, and encounter new values. Many people who have lived in other countries feel that exposure to foreign cultures enables them to gain insight into their own society. When facing different values, beliefs, and behavior, they develop a deeper understanding of themselves and of the society that helped to shape their characters. The striking contrasts of a second culture provide a mirror in which one’s own culture is reflected.

 

 

"Comfort Zones"

 

Where we sit, or how close we stand to other people when we talk, can be very different from one culture to another, because people have different "comfort zones".

American business people usually like to sit across from each other. They also have a lot of eye contact when speaking. Many Japanese, on the other hand, prefer to sit next to each other, but with less eye contact than Americans.

Comfortable "talking space" for Latin Americans is about one and a half feet away from the other person. However, for many Northern Europeans, this is too close. They prefer about three feet between speakers.

If you stand too close or too far from someone, you might give the wrong idea. For example, some people might stand back to make more space. They are only moving into their comfort zone. But the other person might think this is unfriendly. What can you do? Watch how the other person moves. It probably won't be very long before you can get an idea about that person's comfort zone.

Business Cultures

In the United States, executives like to be direct in business dealings. The expressions "Time is money" and "Let's get to the point" are part of the business culture. So in the USA, managers like direct discussions, including open disagreement and quick decisions. Having detailed plans and good technical knowledge are also keys to successful business relationships.

In Latin American countries, good plans and technical knowledge are important too, but you should make strong social relationships first. Executives "do business with individuals, not companies". In other words, managers like to do business with people they know and like, so making non-business "small talk" during meetings and going to social events are important from Mexico to Argentina. The person who does the inviting should pay for the meat. If you think your clients will insist on paying, pay the bill in advance. Arrive earlier than your guests. Do not order anything while you are waiting for them, When the guests arrive, stand up and shake hands. If they are late, wait about 1 5 minutes before you telephone their office.

The three-hour power lunch has largely disappeared in North America. Nowadays, the appropriate length for the business lunch is about 1.5 hours: a shorter, more productive meeting that still leaves time for work afterwards.

Eye Contact

 

In many Western societies, including the United States, a person who does not maintain good eye contact regarded as being slightly suspicious, or a "shifty" character. Americans unconsciously associate people who avoid eye contact as unfriendly, insecure, untrustworthy, inattentive, and impersonal.

In the US, it is considered rude to stare – regardless of who is looking at whom.

In contrast, the polite Englishman is taught to pay strict attention to a speaker, to listen carefully, and to blink his eyes to let the speaker know he or she has been understood as well as heard. Americans signal interest and comprehension by bobbing their heads or grunting.

A widening of the eyes can also be interpreted differently, depend circumstances and culture. Take, for instance, the case of an American and a Chinese discussing the terms of a proposed contract. Regardless of the language in which the proposed contract is carried out, the US negotiator may interpret a Chinese person's widened eyes as an expression of astonishment instead of as a danger signal (its true meaning) of politely expressed anger.

 

Shaking Hands

 

In international business shaking hands is the usual greeting. But people shake hands in different ways. In France, hand-shakes are very quick, but in Brazil people take more time to shake hands. People do not shake hands as often in.

 

North America

 

When shaking hands in America, remember: Look at the person's eyes; Shake hands firmly (but not strongly); Shake hands for only 2 or 3 seconds.

Titles and Names

 

In English-speaking countries use Mr. plus the last name for men. There are-two titles for women, Ms/or Mrs. It's best to use Ms. if you aren't sure which title to use.

What name do you use with a title? In most Western countries, the order of names is first (given) name, then last (family) name, for example, Luisa de Sousa. Use the family name when you meet someone. For example, say Ms. Sousa to Luisa de Sousa.

 

Beating Culture Shock

 

You have a chance to live and work overseas, to get to know another culture from the inside. It's a wonderful opportunity, but don't be surprised if you experience at least some culture shock. "When you're put into a new culture, even simple things can throw you. You become like a child again, unable to handle everyday life on your own," says one expert on culture shock.

Taking a course in anthropology or intercultural studies is one effective way to reduce the effects of culture shock.

If you can, talk to an expatriate who has lived in the country for at least a few years. Someone who has been there can alert you to some of the things you'll need to learn.

Finally, prepare yourself by learning about culture shock itself. Someone living in a new culture typically goes through four stages of adjustment. Initial euphoria, or the honeymoon stage, is characterized by high expectations, a focus on similarities in the new culture, and a tendency to attach positive values to any differences that are noticed.

Culture shock, the second stage, begins very suddenly. The symptoms of culture shock include homesickness; feelings of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and inadequacy; and mild paranoia. Some people going through culture shock try to withdraw from the new culture, spending most of their free time reading novels about home, sleeping twelve hours a night, and associating only with others from their own country. Others eat and drink too much, feel irritable, and display hostility or even aggression.

A period of gradual adjustment is the third stage. Once you realize you're adjusting, life gets more hopeful. You've been watching what's been going around you, and you're starting to learn the patterns and underlying values of the culture. It feels more natural, and you feel comfortable. The fourth stage, full adjustment, takes several years, and not everyone achieves it. A lot depends on people's personalities – how rigid or how easygoing they are – and how serious they try to understand the new culture.

Unit 2.

The Japanese Family

Work plays a very important role in Japan. A Japanese says “I belong to my company”, not “I work for my company”: Because work is so important, a child, especially a boy, must work very hard indeed. He begins to study seriously as soon as he starts going to school, because if he doesn’t pass all his exams he can’t go to a good school. If he doesn’t go to a good school he can’t go to a good university — and so he can’t get the good job that he needs! A Japanese mother usually helps her children so that they will pass their school exams. Because of this system Japanese children don’t have as much time to play as children in many other countries.

A lot of Japanese parents “arrange” marriages for their children. This is because they feel that marriage does not only affect the young couple, but that it affects the whole family. They believe that it is important that the young couple have the same interests and that they come from the same social background. Sometimes parents go to a “matchmaker”. A matchmaker’s job is to find two similar young people and arrange for them to meet. If they like each other, a marriage is arranged for them.

American Family Trends

 

The traditional American family consisting of a husband, wife and children is becoming less and less frequent. More people who are not legally married are living together. More and more children are being raised in single-parent families, by both poor women and by women who are professionally employed. Others postpone marriage and childbirth and as a consequence bear fewer children than women who marry earlier. Among the educated more and more couples are deciding to have fewer and fewer children. An exception to this trend occurs among blacks, hispanics and among the very poor. In 1990 the size of the average American family was 3.2 individuals.

Marriages are either civil or performed in the church. Marriage has a legal foundation which means that a Registry Office has a record of it and it carries certain economic rights. When getting married both parties sign the document of marriage, that is, a marriage certificate.

Young people rarely live with their parents. Usually, upon graduation from high school children move out of the family home. To reduce expenses young people frequently rent apartments or a house. Usually two to five young people rent an apartment or a house together and share other expenses.

While young people are getting married later in life, the divorce rate is increasing. Roughly 50% of all marriages in the United States now end in divorce. In cases of divorce the financial support required from the breadwinner will vary from case to case and if agreement is not possible between the two parties the court will decide. The cheapest way of getting a divorce is through the no-fault system, that is, two parties come to an agreement between themselves about the distribution of property. If there is no agreement then each hires a lawyer and the divorce will be very costly, up to $25,000 and more for legal fees alone.

The most ominous trend in American society is the increasingly high number of children being born to unmarried young people in poverty who are being raised without fathers. Two-thirds of black children are now being born in fatherless households. Undoubtedly these children are destined to add to the number of those in poverty and to those involved in delinquency and crime.

 

An Irish Wedding

Have you ever been to an Irish wedding? I have just returned from one. It is a quarter to five in the morning; the sun has already risen; the birds are busy celebrating the new day and have eagerly been in search of food. But some of the guests have not yet left. They are still prolonging the night: dancing, singing, gossiping, postponing the unfortunate necessity of undertaking a day’s work in the fields after a sleepless night.

Throughout most of her life, Bridget Mary, the bride, has lived in the small whitewashed cottage I have just left. Twelve children have been brought up there but only two are still living at home. The eldest son, heir to the small farm, is helping his father with the farm work (they employ no farm laborers); the youngest daughter is still at school. Two years ago Bridget Mary, like many other girls, went to England to take up domestic work in a hospital and it was while she was living there that she met her future husband, Terry. He himself is an Irish man who used to live in Dublin and now has a job in a light engineering works 2 in England. They got engaged and now they are thinking of buying a small house near Terry’s factory.

The wedding ceremony was performed in the church in the nearest town at half past eight yesterday morning. Another couple were being married at the same time. Nobody worried about the cost of celebrations: four luxurious cars brought bride, bridegroom, family and friends home, and forty people were crowded into the tiled kitchen and the tiny living-room, hung with framed school certificates and religious pictures. An enormous meal was eaten; the wedding cake was cut and toasts were drunk in whiskey or sherry. And while the remains of the feast were being cleared away and the rooms swept, the four cars set out again, taking the married couple and relations for a drive round the countryside.

The evening party was to start at ten o’clock, but by nine o’clock many of the guests were already arriving. A few of the nearer male relatives were looking rather awkward in evening suits with smart ties, and the pleasant, unsophisticated country-women appeared a little self-conscious dressed in their Sunday best for the occasion. By the time I arrived at eleven o’clock, the party was in full swing. Two men squeezing accordions provided the music: the old Irish tunes that have been played at weddings for many years. Half the people in the room were dancing the square dances which have been enjoyed even longer. Drinks were being handed round. And when ever the dancing stopped, somebody would start singing one of the sentimental treasured Irish songs. Sometimes we all joined in the chorus, sadly and solemnly, before getting up to dance again.

Irish weddings have been celebrated in this way for generations. The very old and the teen-agers, the middle age couples, all meet together to keep up the old traditions and enjoy themselves as their ancestors did.

Unit 3.

Climate

 

Britain is as far north as Siberia. For example Edinburgh is 56 degrees north of the equator, the same latitude as Moscow, yet its climate is generally mild and temperate because of the Gulf Stream, which brings warm water and air across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico. The climate in the UK is usually described as cool, temperate and humid.

The weather is so changeable that the English often say that they have no climate but only weather. Therefore it is natural for them to use the comparison “as changeable as the weather” of a person who often changes his mood or opinion about something. The weather is the favourite topic of conversation in the UK. As the weather changes with the wind, and Britain is visited by winds from different parts of the world, the most characteristic feature of Britain’s weather is its variability.

The English also say that they have three variants of weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon, or when it rains all day long. Sometimes it rains so heavily that they say “It’s raining cats and dogs”.

Rainfall is more or less even throughout the year. The wind brings rain from the Atlantic to the hills of the west. This means that the western parts of Britain are wetter than the east, which is fairly sheltered. London is drier than continental cities such as Hamburg. Its weather may be unpredictable, but it is not particularly wet. The northern mountains have much more rain and snow. More generally, the southern part of England and Wales are a little warmer, sunnier and less misty than the rest. The driest period is from March to June and the wettest months are from October to January. During a normal summer the temperature sometimes rises above 25 degrees in the south. Winter temperatures below 5 degrees are rare. It seldom snows heavily in winter, snow does not remain for long, except in the Scottish mountains, where skiing is possible; frost is rare. January and August are the warmest. Still the wind may bring wintercold in spring or summer. Sometimes it brings the whirlwinds or hurricanes. Droughts are rare.

So, we may say that the British climate has three main features: it is mild, humid and changeable. That means that it is never too hot or cold, too wet or dry. This humid and mild climate is good for plants. The trees and flowers begin to blossom early in spring.

In the British homes there has been no central heating up till recently. The fireplaces are often used, but the coal is not used as it’s very expensive. Britain has no good coal now and imports it. Many schools and universities have no central heating either, and the floors there are made of stone. The British bedroom is especially cold, sometimes electric blankets or hot-water bottles are used.

 



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