Random Culture Thread

This forum is to learn about foreign cultures and habits, because language skills are not everything you need as a world citizen...

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vijayjohn
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2022-01-14, 19:20

Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:I've been on UL the same amount of time as you more or less

I didn't realize Naava had been here so long. :shock:
I don't argue so much with my IRL friends

:lol:

FWIW, I personally have a bunch of both friends and enemies here. Some of the users are among the closest friends I have ever had in my life. I'm not sure this has much to do with American culture, and I'm very sure it has nothing at all to do with Indian culture (well, unless you consider it a rebellion against traditional Indian cultural norms :lol:). It has everything to do with how hard it has been for me to find acceptance IRL because I live in the US, my skin looks like this, and my heritage culture is very different from mainstream American culture in many ways.

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Naava
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Naava » 2022-01-15, 16:12

Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:I see you invited azhong to reply to you in the Random Culture Thread, I hope I'm not being nosey, rude or creepy by replying to you myself as I found this interesting and wanted to ask a follow-up question about this.

Not at all! I think it's interesting to hear how relationships form and work in different countries. :)

It's hard to compare how different Irish and Finnish cultures are since I've never been to Ireland. What I can say is that I've heard foreigners and even Finns themselves complain that Finns are distant and "impossible" to befriend because you'd need a reason to start talking to people you don't know, and your chat can die out pretty much immediately after you've got your answer to whatever you asked. Even when you manage to start a proper conversation, it's easy to get stuck at the "tuttu" or distant "kaveri" level where people talk to you but never invite you to anything or want to see you outside the context where you met. It takes effort and time to reach even that stage, and then getting over it and become real friends... It can be hard. IMO I don't think it's because people wouldn't want to have friends, but because they already have their own group so they don't feel like they'd have the energy or time to maintain even more friendships than what they already have. I've heard both foreigners and Finns claim that friendships in Finland are a life-long business that is taken quite seriously in a tone that seems to suggest that it's not necessarily the case in other countires. Now, I cannot really say how much stronger our regular friendships are compared to other countries or how easy it is to make friends elsewhere*, but I did find a thread were someone from South Europe was frustrated because nobody wanted to be like "a temporary friend" - hang out with them for the few months they're in Finland, and that's it. I don't think we really do that? It's hard to say what everyone else in Finland thinks, but at least I personally don't like to spend my freetime with people I won't stay in contact with. I mean, it feels odd to me that I'd see you regularly for five weeks and then just... stop? If I feel comfortable enough to spend my time with you, I'm not letting you go anytime soon! :mrgreen:

*I certainly do not mean to say that nobody has real friends anywhere outside Finland! :lol: That'd be silly.


In any case, we'd need people who've lived here and in Ireland (or in some other country) before we could really say anything about this for real. :hmm: It's such a subjective topic, and I don't think we can really trust the experiences and opinions of one or two people. That's hardly representative of the entire population... :D Also, how would you even measure something like the strength of a friendship or how easy it is to make friends? That was a rhetorical question, please don't tell me you have a scale ready at hand!

Lastly, I understand that what you said had a more specific context in that you were commenting on an interaction between azhong and woods - my comments above are taking your words in a more general sense, so if what I'm saying doesn't apply outside of the context of that discussion I stand open to correction of course.

It was definitely meant to be read in that specific context: how I myself see Unilang and people here. I suspected Woods had similar attitude because he had said somewhere something along the lines of "we're here to speak about languages, not feelings". I don't doubt others have made friends here, and I didn't mean to say I'd think it would be impossible that some of you could become friends to me in future (I already have made a friend, like I said! :D) My point was more like "I don't expect anyone to have a friend here because this is a language forum". I've joined here to talk about languages, not to find a friend. (I want to make clear that I'm not against befriending any of you. It's just not something I'm actively seeking here.) And because I'm here mostly to talk about linguistics and languages*, I haven't really thought I'd need to have any opinion about you guys or try to get to know you better than what you happen to reveal on your own. (As in, if you were my IRL friend and said you live in Ireland, I would ask you where you live there, how long you've lived there, do you like it there, who do you live with, and so on. I haven't felt like I'd need to know any of this to talk about languages though, so I haven't asked. And well... Finns are generally really good at thinking "none of my business" when you're not a friend yet.)

* which I'm really passionate about, but for some reason my IRL friends find it boring when I try to give them an hour-long monologue on the etymology of some Finnish words. I can't understand what's wrong with them!

Again, I know that's not necessarily how others see this place - it's just my perspective, which I thought Woods might share with me.

Also, I think it's both easier and harder to make friends online. The rules are different, you can be more open and friend-like (but also meaner) with people you don't know than IRL because you're anonymous and faceless here unless you're like vijayjohn. If you decide to open up like that, it's easier to find people who've had similar experiences or otherwise feel like they'd enjoy being your friend. But it's also easier to leave out lots of information. You could share very intimate things about your sex life for example without ever telling your name, where you're from, your age, what your family is like, where you've studied, what your job is etc etc - stuff you usually get to know IRL before the sex facts. That's why I don't think that talking about personal stuff would necessarily lead to friendships, although I can see how it could happen. I'm not entirely sure what makes me think of someone as a friend though, like what do we have to do first before I'd feel were close enough to be friends. :hmm: I don't think it's as simple as how much I know about you, but idk. It's kind of a subconscious decision, in a way.

Anyway, I feel like one difference that we have (not sure if this is just personal or cultural) is how comfortable we are calling people strangers. I think that even to me, "stranger" in English sounds more like what you described: a person you've seen on the street but who you haven't interacted with. In Finnish, IMO "vieras" is the same as "a person I don't know [well]". There's also more "levels" than what I listed in that first post, like hyvänpäiväntuttu, literally 'a tuttu of a good day'. This is a person who's even more distant to you than regular tuttu, but closer than stranger. I think it's also good to know here that "tuttu" comes from the same source as "to know [someone]", because for some reason acquintance feels to me more distant than tuttu. :hmm: It could be that I just haven't seen people use the word in English as much as we do in Finnish.

As for not sharing your feelings - the post you made from which I took the above quote was quite emotional and personal, and is exactly the kind of thing that makes it seem odd to me to categorise you and other people here as "strangers". I reserve the word "stranger" for some person on the street I don't know and have never interacted with. I have many acquaintances (a term usually used for people you'd probably refer to as tuttu) IRL who I know far less about, have far less in common with, have "talked" to less (if you consider text communication "talking") than people on UL and have known for far less time.

It was much more personal than what I usually write here. I felt it had to be, although I don't think it was that emotional? :) It was just my impression of the texts azhong and Woods have written. I didn't really comment on what kind of people I think they are, how close we are, whether I personally like them or not, or anything like that. (I mean, I did say azhong seems like a kind person, but IMO it's a rather vague description. If I was asked what my personality is like and I said I was kind and didn't want to insult anyone, it wouldn't tell you much else than that I'm a decent human being. Not that I could've given a more detailed description even if I had wanted to because, going back to the start, azhong is pretty much a stranger to me. I know close to nothing about him.)

EDIT:
Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:I found this interesting and wanted to ask a follow-up question about this.

Rereading my post, I realise I didn't actually ask any questions :P I suppose I just wanted to know what your thoughts are on what I said.

:lol:

vijayjohn wrote:
Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:I've been on UL the same amount of time as you more or less

I didn't realize Naava had been here so long. :shock:

Me neither. My just-recently-got-here vibe is so strong it convinced even me that I haven't been here for very long.

vijayjohn
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2022-01-15, 18:22

Naava wrote:The rules are different, you can be more open and friend-like (but also meaner) with people you don't know than IRL because you're anonymous and faceless here unless you're like vijayjohn.

Well, I can, too, because I don't even get to interact with many people IRL, especially these days! :lol:

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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby azhong » 2022-01-16, 2:45

Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:
Naava wrote:For me, from my Finnish perspective, we're all strangers...

I see you invited azhong to reply to you in the Random Culture Thread, I hope I'm not being nosey, rude or creepy ...

Oh, I must be very arrogant, too; I thought you will wait for me to start this discussion here. How can you run in advance while I was still busy PMing with Naava? :D :D
► Show Spoiler

EDIT after reading related posts above:
1.
I have a rough feeling that Rí.na.dTeangacha, an Irish, said UniLangers are more close than "strangers" because we share more than just languages, while Naava, a Finn, somewhat keeps the term "stranger" because she thought we were here just for language-learning. (And Vijay said, sad to hear that, it was hard for him to make friends in his real life in the USAmerican because he is an Indian-American.)
A cultural message: in general, the distances between Chinese people might be closer than Irish. (But I am not saying my reactions to Woods are typical for Chinese people.)

I personally do expect to have some possible sincere friendship here, which I don't know if it reflects my Taiwanese/Chinese culture or just my personal loneliness. (Maybe you can ask Oldboring's comments, too.) That said, I consider difficult for me to make friends here as an Easterner with poor English. However, I just keep myself being as sincere and nice as I can.

2.
Now, after reading Naava's post above, I understand even better how she (and perhaps Woods, too) got shocked by my questions asking about "how do you see me" etc. She had a misunderstanding that I was being angry when i writing down those questions because they all sounded so unusual for her. I was not angry at all. And I guess Rí.na.dTeangacha will agree with Naava in some way; I still remember he told me it's impolite to step into a personal thread and throw questions like that because it's a personal thread when I also had a similar reaction earlier in May, 2021. I've roughly recalled now what he said.

I won't say such close questions are of Chinese culture. I think it's of psychology, of the courage of inner power; it's cross-cultural. Or you can just say it's Azhong's personality and I'll agree.

Actually, I also received another comment which I think you'll agree with and which I also think reasonable. Because it's a PM so I just summarize it in my own words , so as to state here that some other UniLanger said my reactions were improper: "It takes time and place and preparation to do such work. Also, it's not everybody who can help you with it. It needs to be someone you trust. And this is a subforum, for language learning but not for exchanging feelings or something."

3.
Somehow I still feel the style of Naava's texts is far distant from Woods's. If they do share the same culture, I will conclude their personalities are very, very different.

4.
Rí.na.dTeangacha said
As for "needing" each other for language learning, I really think this forum is more about sharing a passion for language learning than it is about actually helping each other in some sort of practical way.

That's definitely not my case! I want to say thank you to not a few helpers here, you included since you named Ciarán12.

5.
I want to answer a question from Naava:
But now I'm curious - would it be possible to ask if someone had a bad childhood without sounding rude in Taiwan? I know nothing about the culture there, but I'd like to learn more. :)

I don't think you will receive such a question in Taiwan even you are Taiwanese and are talking to your Taiwanese colleagues or classmates. Let me quote Woods's impression about Taiwanese he has met, assuming he was not saying so just intending to attacking me or winning an quarrel:

So, according to his impression, the way Taiwanese express opinions are "a lot softer" compared to his culture. This was obviously not my style in Woods's thread. I try exptrssing my opinions very clearly and directly even I was using a foreign language. Maybe they're a bit too direct and clear that made Naava think I was being angry.

I want to share a concept, not from my Taiwanese culture but from my religion Buddhism:
If situations can be improved, why should I get angry? And if situations can't be improved any more, what would it be helpful to get angry?
and this one:
If it's not my fault, why should I get angry, regarding that the emotion will hurt only myself? And if it's my fault, what right do I have to get angry?
Last edited by azhong on 2022-01-16, 12:56, edited 5 times in total.

vijayjohn
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2022-01-16, 7:16

azhong wrote:Somehow I still feel the style of Naava's texts is far distant from Woods's.

To be fair, unlike Naava, Woods is not Finnish. He's Bulgarian but just happens to live in Finland. That being said, I'm not sure I've ever met anyone quite like Woods before.


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