There are moments in which our tendency to succumb to stereotypical thinking is very high: for example, intercultural communication. With the word “typical Englishman,” we first of all represent the prudish man with the top hat and the habit of drinking tea at exactly five in the evening; when it comes to Americans, our imagination is drawn to us by a McDonald's frequenter (and certainly with an iPhone in his hand), and most Germans think of him as an overly punctual pedant with a penchant for order. So we collected a colorful bouquet of the most interesting stereotypes, fed by the British and Americans about the rest of the world, in particular, about the Russians, and also made a selection of prejudices towards foreigners, often flourishing among Russians.
Stereotypes about the British
It is a mistake to suppose that all British people do not care for the royal family and are literally obsessed with it: despite the fact that the royal dynasty has played and still plays an important role in the national self-consciousness and the history of England as a whole, there are always approves the policy pursued by it, or simply treats rather indifferently to political issues.
English teachers at school often cite the very British accent (about which we have already written here
) as an example to their students as an example of perfect pronunciation, and cult TV shows and popular literature tell us about it. However, this does not mean that every Briton can boast: on the contrary, every region is famous and proud of its accent, so be careful - a compliment to someone from Scotland, Wales or Western Ireland about his “English” accent will not please the addressee .
But truthfully another stereotype - about British politeness. The British are in fact quite polite people, and even expressing disagreement with your point of view or refusing something, they will find a way to do it extremely politely.
Cylinders and hats, so often appearing before our eyes when we imagine the British, are safely in the past. "We stopped wearing them on a daily basis from about the 1960s, like everyone else in the world," said the Briton, who once was asked to comment on this stereotype. Now the hat is nothing more than a regular accessory in a wardrobe that the British wear no more than the residents of any other country.
About "foggy Albion" and rainy weather in England as a whole has been legendary for a long time. Therefore, foreign tourists are often genuinely surprised when they find there sunny weather. Of course, the British can not boast of the sun 365 days a year, but this “weather” stereotype in relation to England echoes the same, but already about St. Petersburg: despite the frequent overcast, sometimes Russian North Venice, contrary to popular opinion, is bathed in sunny rays.
Stereotypes about Americans
When a teacher asked students in one of the Moscow universities on a pair of US country studies to name a few things that they associate with the American people, almost all fourteen students mentioned burgers, a flag and the so-called “American dream” (“American dream”).
Of course, America’s total love for burgers (and impressive excess weight as its consequence) is really headed by most of the hit parades of stereotypes about this country. However, this is not quite true: although in 2012 approximately 68% of the American population was obese due to too frequent fast food, since then the number of diets with low or zero fat has increased significantly, and a lot of Americans now regularly goes to the gym or does some other kind of physical activity.
The stereotype about the excessive love of Americans to their flag at the same time is both true and not so. Americans are really proud of their flag and, for the most part, have a deep sense of patriotism, painting faces for some national holidays (for example, on Independence Day) in the colors of the American flag or wearing accessories with its logo like baseball caps. But, in principle, for the most part it still happens on some significant dates, although Americans really love their flag and try to hang it or place it in all places where it can be done.
The love of arms is another stereotype about the American people, which is still true: for example, in 2006, more than ten thousand Americans died with deaths in one way or another connected with weapons (for example, in street skirmishes). In America, the use of weapons does indeed often occur, which entails victims: it can be a conflict between rival groups in disadvantaged areas, and armed robberies, and even sometimes shooting at schools.
Many people think that Americans are very superstitious. Strangely enough, this stereotype is also true in many respects: according to the American Ethan Levy, about 34% of the American population believes in ghosts. Many Americans really believe in signs and paranormal phenomena - for example, at home with ghosts, some supernatural abilities or exorcism.
British stereotypes about other nations
However, each nation has its own stereotypes regarding other countries. For example, the British believe that lazy Americans move everywhere exclusively on cars, there is no life outside of New York and Los Angeles, and the entire US population, despite their friendliness, is very loud. According to the British (and not only them), the French constantly drink too much coffee and wine, eat snails and frogs every time, take berets every day, and only a bohemian gathers in Montmartre. The Germans, as it seems to the British population, are too organized and punctual, constantly feed on Bavarian sausages and listen only to hard rock like Rammstein.
Stereotypes of Americans about other nations
The British themselves, according to the Americans, have disgusting and boring food, speak Cockney and almost everyone is familiar with members of the royal family. The Chinese, as it seems Americans, can eat almost everything, look almost identical, and everyone is a master of martial arts. It also seems to most Americans that in Italy the entire population eats only pasta and pizza, exclaiming “mamma mia!”, And the Sicilian mafia still makes each other offers that cannot be refused.
Despite the fact that stereotypes about a particular people or entire countries have lived, live and always will live, you should not trust them unconditionally, taking it as the ultimate truth - even if sometimes they turn out to be true. Learn the mentality and culture of the country you are interested in from within, communicate with its inhabitants - and you will be surprised how many myths about the inhabitants of a particular point on the globe will be debunked.
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