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由“喝茶”说起   

2009-08-23 23:55:05|  分类: 一葉知秋 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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        客人一到,中国主人即奉茶一杯。客人可能会拒绝。然而,真心推辞常被理解为客气谦让,不予理会。客人经不住劝,出于礼貌而接受,一饮而尽,因为他依照本国风俗,既然接受,当喝干为敬。中国主人约略感到怠慢了客人,因为没能及时添茶以至客人杯干见底。不好意思,再来一杯,喝多少没关系,总不能让杯子空着吧。客人一看,既然又斟满,就坚持一下吧,总不能剩下吧。这样一来二去,可就好玩了。客人一再表示不能再喝了,可奇怪的是中国主人总是听无不闻。不用客气,这点茶水我还是管得起的。十几杯下肚,享受耶?难受耶?感受miserable,却不见得能给主人留下多好印象。不消说,这么实在而出息的客人不多见,肚量也让人开眼了。
        同样,中国人去西方人家中作客,也有一番好瞧呢。面对主人的询问"Would you like a cup of tea?"中国人常推辞而期望主人再三相让,却不料,只一让而没了下文,也太不够热情了。这"言不由衷"的礼仪西方人如何理解得了,不喝是你亲口说的,何以抱怨别人礼不周呢?接受饮料而不喝干,也让主人惊讶地跌破眼镜。
        跨文化交流中,语言错误较容易获得谅解,而文化错误却不。这时,人们为何就忘了对方来自不同的文化背景了呢?为什么要看作是对自己的冒犯而耿耿于怀呢?
        读拉封丹的寓言:“老鼠认为世界上最可怕的动物是猫”,忍不住笑。是的,从人的角度,我们看到了老鼠视野的局限。可是,转念一想,我们真的有资格嘲笑老鼠吗?
附:In the West, after taking off his coat, the visitor will be asked to sit down. They will chat for a while, and then the host may offer something to drink like tea or coffee. This is normally phrased as a question, such as "Would you like a cup of tea?" The guest is expected to answer honestly, and if he turns down the offer, the host will not give him any. If he accepts, he will be given a cup and will be expected to drink it all. After he has finished it, the host will offer him a second one.
    In China, though, the situation is somewhat different. Almost immediately after his arrival, he is given a cup of tea. He need not drink it all, and in fact to do so may be inappropriate. The host continually fills up his cup so that it is never empty.
    These differences in tea-drinking can lead to misunderstandings. When I first went to Hong Kong, I had no idea about such matters and found myself caught in a very awkward situation. I visited a Chinese family and was immediately given a cup of tea. I was not thirsty and I did not particularly like that type of tea, but out of politeness I finished the cup. But the more I drank, the more I was given. I kept insisting that I did not want any more, but the host took no notice. I drank about 12 cups of tea that afternoon! The host must have thought me very greedy, and yet I did not know how to avoid getting more tea poured.
     When Chinese visit foreigners, other misunderstanding may occur. When the Westerner offers a cup of tea, the Chinese may refuse out of politeness and want the host to offer several times before accepting. If she does not, the Chinese may think she is inhospitable. On the other hand, if they accept the drink, they may not drink it all and this may offend the Westerner.
(from Chinese and Western Interpersonal Relationships by Helen Oatey)
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