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Poll: I would describe greetings in my culture as:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Jan 28, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "I would describe greetings in my culture as:".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Eleni Makantani
Greece
Local time: 16:53
Member
English to Greek
+ ...
Other Jan 28, 2008

Greetings in my culture are quite casual, but very important.

Actually, Greek people are very expressive and the way we greet can reveal a great deal of things about who we are. It's not just what we say or if we give a handshake, but also the tone of the voice, the facial expression, the intensity of the handshake that can predispose us to the person standing right before us.

When you greet in Greece, you should be warm and friendly (but make sure you don't overdo it), smile and look relaxed, even on business occasions. Be prepared to talk about various things (i.e. the weather, football, the latest news) and to answer more personal questions (are you married?). It is generally considered snob (if not rude) to start talking business straight away, without showing the least interest in the person you are talking to.


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Denise DeVries  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
Spanish to English
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Greeting? What's that? Jan 28, 2008

The greeting has become a lost art in the U.S. I miss it.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
My point of view Jan 28, 2008

After 22 years here, I consider Spain (Cataluña) my culture. If I compare Spanish greetings (hellos, goodbyes, introductions) with American (New England) greetings, there’s a world of difference.

Here it’s normal to greet people constantly with “hola” and even an “adios” if you pass them on the street and don’t have time to talk.

It took me awhile to get used to saying hello when I walked into a room full of people, or to start saying goodbye to people 45 minutes before I actually leave a gathering. Greetings or even farewells are much shorter and to the point where I come from.

There’s also the physical element that was mentioned in another poll. It’s important to know who you should kiss on the cheek and when, when meeting them or attending a gathering.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:53
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Casual but very important! Jan 28, 2008

In Denmark - and the British circles I move around in - greetings tend to be casual, but don't be fooled. They are very important indeed.

A shake of the hand or a hug, your tone of voice, whether you say 'Hej' (Hi), Goddag! (= Good day and is in fact quite formal in some tones of voice) or the informal Dav! (The usual short form of goddag...) says far more between the lines than the greeting itself in whatever form.

Almost any kind of greeting is better than none, but doing it correctly for the person and the ocasion is quite an art.

Have a nice day! (I hope you don't you don't hate that expression - happy translating anyway!)



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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:53
Italian to English
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Which culture, adopted or native? Jan 28, 2008

I voted "important, formal" thinking of Italy, and I'd probably say the same for the UK too, although the forms of greeting are completely different. In both cases it also depends on the context too - especially so in the UK, where formal business greetings are highly ritualised but informal greetings are very casual indeed, even in a business context. Just think of the casual "hi" used to greet everyone in earshot in a British open plan office.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
Member (2006)
French to English
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How many kisses ?? Jan 28, 2008

John Cutler wrote:

After 22 years here, I consider Spain (Cataluña) my culture. If I compare Spanish greetings (hellos, goodbyes, introductions) with American (New England) greetings, there’s a world of difference.

Here it’s normal to greet people constantly with “hola” and even an “adios” if you pass them on the street and don’t have time to talk.

It took me awhile to get used to saying hello when I walked into a room full of people, or to start saying goodbye to people 45 minutes before I actually leave a gathering. Greetings or even farewells are much shorter and to the point where I come from.

There’s also the physical element that was mentioned in another poll. It’s important to know who you should kiss on the cheek and when, when meeting them or attending a gathering.


The "mwah mwah" kiss has now become established in the UK (probably in the hope of looking continental and sophisticated), even to people one has never met before (for women, at least - don't know about men. I have noted that in France women kiss on each cheek (i.e. twice) but in the Netherlands, it seems, you kiss THREE times (mwah mwah mwah) - you wonder when it's going to stop ...
Regards and greetings to all, both formal and informal, hullo, hi and goodbye, and "Tará" in Lancashire.
Mwah mwah
Jenny.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
Three times, yes Jan 28, 2008

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I have noted that in France women kiss on each cheek (i.e. twice) but in the Netherlands, it seems, you kiss THREE times (mwah mwah mwah) - you wonder when it's going to stop ...
Jenny.


Yep, three times. Not sure why, but that's the way it is. Woman-woman; man-woman; usually not two men, they just shake hands and maybe touch one another's shoulder with the left hand.

Some people master the art of 'air-kissing'. I think I've seen Jennifer Saunders (that's her name, isn't it?) demonstrate that art in some episodes of 'Absolutely Fabulous'. Just so you have an idea of what I mean, don't know if there's an offical word for it...:-)


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:53
Spanish to English
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Casual (usually) but important Jan 28, 2008

As several people have noted, this option was needed.

It can be as simple as "Hey, how are ya?" but it's rude to omit it.


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:53
Member
French to English
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I live on the kissing border Jan 28, 2008

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I have noted that in France women kiss on each cheek (i.e. twice) but in the Netherlands, it seems, you kiss THREE times (mwah mwah mwah) - you wonder when it's going to stop ...


Here in France, there are actually (at least) three different types of greeting kiss: two, three, or four kisses!

I am lucky enough to live on a kissing border, which often results in awkward moments when I stop at two, but my neighbour in the next village over goes on with a third. It's fine when it's a neighbour; it's a bit more embarassing when meeting someone for the first time.

Around here, greetings are definitely important (although kissing is generally passed up for a handshake in the business context).

Best,
Jocelyne


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Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 10:53
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Lots of kisses :D Jan 28, 2008

Here in Uruguay (and in Argentina as well) everybody kisses once for hello and once for goodbye.
We also kiss when we're introduced to someone, even if it is a work related acquaintance.
Sometimes I've found myself in embarrassing situations when meeting foreigners (here or abroad)
Also I've found that some Americans can even take offense at this custom, but usually smile about it when I explain


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It certainly varies Jan 28, 2008

I run a workshop for French jobseekers wanting to work in the UK, and I have to explain to them that greetings may be very different. Often, those that have already been there were shocked to find that people often just said 'Hello', rarely touched each other, apart from a firm handshake, and normally ignored strangers altogether (eg in a waiting room). They thought they were being cold-shouldered until they realised it's just 'très British'.

Now, however, I see on TV (and it's been mentioned in this thread) that the Brits are starting to kiss, just when it's starting to go out of fashion here. It's a weird world, full of traps for the innocent foreigner to fall into.

Vive la différence!


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Kissing Jan 28, 2008

Laureana Pavon wrote:
Also I've found that some Americans can even take offense at this custom, but usually smile about it when I explain


I can imagine. I doubt there's a common Spanish equivalent for the English expression "You're invading my personal space."


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 09:53
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I pity my children Jan 28, 2008

who are being raised in an Israeli-Argentinian atmosphere, but in Canada (English Canada I should emphasize), where personal space is a religion. My girls are used to kissing everyone who walks in the door, because it is the polite thing to do, and are expected to greet and say goodbye to all of their parents friends at parties, dinners, coffee, etc. Luckily for them, most of our friends' families are similarly "mixed up", and so they kiss their playmates as well. The trouble arises when what we call "Anglo" friends come over, and there is a lot of confusion and people saying in embarrased Canadian tones 'oh, that's very friendly of them'.
And of course there is my husband (Argentinian) who shocked a lot of Canadian female colleagues the first year we lived here. I'm surprised no one sued him for harrassment.


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Diana Arbiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
More on kisses Jan 28, 2008

Laureana Pavon wrote:

Here in Uruguay (and in Argentina as well) everybody kisses once for hello and once for goodbye.
We also kiss when we're introduced to someone, even if it is a work related acquaintance.



In several provinces of Argentina, it's two kisses also. And, in Buenos Aires, men exchange kisses as well. I thought this was worth mentioning, for all our Anglo colleagues!

I live in the US now (Idaho, to be more precise), but I still greet my Argentinian friends (both male and female) with a kiss, to the horror of some locals.

Personally speaking, I think the problem with the kissing in some places might be the misconception of the alleged germ exchange. And this is a germophobic nation. But I believe it's been proved that we exchange more germs with a handshake than with a kiss.

Kisses to all


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