[Am.English] American culture

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Mar 8 Avr - 22:38

they don't want to keep up with the Joneses (I like this expression)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeping_up_with_the_Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses" is an idiom in many parts of the English-speaking world referring to the comparison to one's neighbor as a benchmark for social caste or the accumulation of material goods. To fail to "keep up with the Joneses" is perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority.

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Ven 11 Avr - 11:49

Hi Muriel, hi everyone,

Imagine that it's at least the 10th time I think of something I want to post here (because it surprised me) but when I think of it I'm not in front of my screen and when I'm in front of a screen, I don't think of it  affraid 

Here we're.

I just want to say that individual letter boxes are exactly like in Donald's (no, not Mc  C\'est vrai!! , the ducky) with that big red box on top of a pole.
The letter box is not at your door but by the street even tho' there's no fence nor gate. At my friend's the box is even on the other side of the road ie at 30 meters from their house and they usually pick up mail when they drive back home.
That letter box doesn't have a lock; everyone could take your mail... but it's not a problem (we're not in France).
Under the red box, there often is a tube to host magzines.

What's more is that if you want to send a letter, just put it inside your mailbox and the mailman will collect it.


(I didn't inquire but just lived in 2 different homes in the US; were they specific or is it similar everywhere in the country? I guess it's not the same in big cities and condos - tell me)

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Ven 11 Avr - 13:52

That letter box doesn't have a lock
Gérard, I didn't know about that. Is it safe ?

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Ven 11 Avr - 14:01

gerardM a écrit:>  I do hope all  our French soldiers, police, firemen don't receive stones when they help people.   Sad
Unfortunately, our soldiers recently got abuse somewhere in Africa...
Unfortunately, there're several examples of stones received by both the police and firemen in the great Paris... when there are not caught in an ambush, being called just to be attacked.
... similar situation for doctors who ask for police protection or refuse to visit.

Gérard, everyone
I am very pleased to see that the French younger generation is better than the older one
http://www.francebleu.fr/infos/agression/sofiane-je-ne-l-ai-pas-laisse-mourir-j-etais-avec-lui-1438473

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Ven 11 Avr - 14:11

MurielB a écrit:
gerardM a écrit:>  I do hope all  our French soldiers, police, firemen don't receive stones when they help people.   Sad
Unfortunately, our soldiers recently got abuse somewhere in Africa...
Unfortunately, there're several examples of stones received by both the police and firemen in the great Paris... when there are not caught in an ambush, being called just to be attacked.
... similar situation for doctors who ask for police protection or refuse to visit.

Gérard, everyone
I am very pleased to see that the French younger generation is better than the older one
http://www.francebleu.fr/infos/agression/sofiane-je-ne-l-ai-pas-laisse-mourir-j-etais-avec-lui-1438473
Yes ONE.


There are probably more but media prefer to publish violent events.
When I was a kid, we often had such stories and pictures of people rescueing other people.
Nowadays, instead of sending a life preserver to someone drowning, it appears fashion is to push people (I'm thinking of a series of students somewhere in the region of Toulouse).

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Ven 11 Avr - 14:31

MurielB a écrit:
That letter box doesn't have a lock
Gérard, I didn't know about that. Is it safe ?
It is!
My friends Janine and Wayne, live in Sonoma, Cal, about 30 minutes north east of San Francisco: no problem.
They have a large domain with lots of horses; there's a fence around the horses to prevent them from going, there's a barrier around the swimming pool (mandatory in California) but wild animals often approach the house (I'm thinking of does).
The house itself is protected by an electronical system.
There's no other fence, cars and vans are in the side yard with just a roof (against the rain).
Horses may stay alone all day long.

A former girlfriend, Carole, was living in the outskirts of Atlanta. She didn't even lock her car (a BMW) on public parking lots.
I asked Wayne about this and he told me that he wasn't surprised but he also said: "No longer now!" meaning insecurity was increasing.
Her house doesn't have any fence (traditional front and back yards).
Carole was practicing fast walk, everyday, by herself, at night, for about an hour (always the same route).


Would you do this in France? I guess not even the unlocked mailbox!!

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Ven 11 Avr - 23:41

Hi everyone,

A topic I've never spoken about (at least so I guess) tho' it's very important in the US is the "Credit score".

As you know, Credit Rating is largely used to note countries, companies, banks, etc. (know Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch? Smile ) Credit Score is similar but to individuals.

-> Wikipedia -Credit score in the United States
This can be found in any English speaking country (USA, England, Australia, Canada, etcà.
In the States, it's everywhere and you won't do much without a good score: rent an apartment, buy a car, get a debit card, etc.

A credit score in the United States is a number representing the creditworthiness of a person, the likelihood that person will pay his or her debts.

Lenders, such as banks and credit card companies, use credit scores to evaluate the potential risk posed by lending money to consumers. Widespread use of credit scores has made credit more widely available and less expensive for many consumers.
Wikipédia speaks about banks, lenders... but even an apartment owner will access the database.
When a foreigner wants to live in teh US, they have to wait for days to months to manage to get what they need: apart, car, banl account, etc before they get the needed score (depending on the provider) they'll live in a hotel, they'll pay in cash, they'll travel by cab...

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Sam 12 Avr - 22:13

Hi everyone,

I had 3 things to say but I presently cannot remember all the 3 Laughing


A typical point of the American "culture" is that in a supermarket, after the cash register, you will find someone placing your goods into a bag for you.
As far as I remember, the bag will always be in brown paper.
These bag-guys (it's my own word) at the cash register are usually immigrants (latinos)... it would be easy for the store to get rid of them but -1-Americans want to keep the custom, -2-Americans want to give imigrants a job!
As you can see, Americans take care to help immigrants... I knoww about countries which don't do!!

Can anyone confirm?

An anecdote - Norma, my American teacher in Paris invited her mother for a trip to Paris. The mother expected someone to fill her bags at the cash register and was very upset the French were not as kind as Americans ;)The mother didn't know how to do (she didn't have her own bags) LOL

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Sam 12 Avr - 22:44

Hi everyone,

I got the point that I forgot  cheers


In American sinks, there's a device to grind and cut some of the garbage in small pieces.
For example, wanting to peel a pear, you won't throw the skin to the trash can, you will simply put the skin into the sink.
The same for other foodstuffs: banana skin, potatoe skin, rest of the meal, etc.
When peeling is over, they push a button to activate the unit which will grind everything (they open the faucet at the same time) and the sink will be clean and empty within a couple of seconds.

This device is named "garbage disposer".
This way, there won't be much in the garbage.
As you can see, Americans think of garbage, and better than we do!
This exists in Australia as well; I guess the name of the unit down under is "insinkorator" (prolly a brand name).
I don't think it exists in the UK.

An anecdote - Carole, my American girlfriend had peeled pears and activated the garbage disposer: what did I do? Wink  of course, I picked the peelings out and put them into the trash can thinking she was going to block the sink!! I'm lucky the device was correctly designed as I put my fingers down into the plughole... fortunately the cutting part of the device was not accessible otherwise I was have been severely wounded). The poor French I am didn't know.
I could see this device at another friend's home as well but this time I knew and I even activated the disposer myself Smile

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Sam 12 Avr - 23:08

Hi everyone,

Third thing of the American culture I wanted to share with you...
(there are oodles of such little things that are common in the States but ignored by Europeans)


To facilitate traffic on highways in California (at least in north San Francisco), the left lane is kept for cars with at least two people in it. My friend explained this to me, I hope I understood well.
Don't even try to go there if you don't meet the prerequisites (remember Am. films with the police chasing you?).
This measure exists for decades.

In France, we just discovered it. As far as I know, it needs 3 people in the car (and not 2); in France we also invented a system depending on the number of the licence plate; we don't have a dedcated lane...

I'm sorry but I don't remember the name of the thing   Sad  does anyone know?

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Sam 12 Avr - 23:18

Additional words...

The system exists in Texas as well.


(this sign is used in Norway)

The name of the system is HOV-High Occupance Vehicle (lane).

A few links:

-> (Wikipedia) High-occupancy vehicle lane
-> (Canadian government) High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes - Frequently Asked Questions

Now, I'm going to read to have confirmation and know if I made many mistakes.

~~ edit
My friend Wayne who gave me explanations long ago, called this "carpool".

~~~~ edit
Example of a HOV lane b/w Virginia and Washington: "Average travel time in the HOV facility is 29 min while 64 min in the general traffic lanes."

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Sam 12 Avr - 23:33

Hi everyone,

The 2 links I gave lead to web pages that are full of interesting words relating the history, the different tries, the different cases: bus lanes, reversible HOV lanes, HOT lanes, etc.

Very interesting!!

Here's a sign used in the States

A diamond (losange) is painted all along the dedicated lane.

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Dim 13 Avr - 11:04

Hi everyone,

I recently wrote several articles regarding things I had somewhere in my memory: packing man in stores. garbage disposal, HOV, etc.
In the past, several times, I wrote that when I was in the States, my eyes were wide open to try to catch and remember the numerous things that surprise me.


I would like to add 2 comments:

- as we all know, American are pragmatics; they don't like theories and don't adopt anything useless (on the opposite, the French like theories and like to generalize).
In the example of HOV, reading the web pages I linked to, we have the proof that even if they started this in the sixties somewhere between Virginia and Washington, they didn't generalize the measure neither in a state nor in the country: they just use it when helpful; we can also realize they experimented several things around HOV such bus lanes, taxi lanes, 2+ passengers, 3+ passengers, HOT, hours according to the traffic, movable lanes, etc. Americans are pragmatic, before all; they don't think they have THE solution to the situation.
On the other hand, in France, what do we see these days? We are going to a generalized decrease of car speed, everywhere in the country, whatever the state of the road... the French had one idea, given by a specialist and they don't even consider other possibilities such as maintaining the roads in good shapes, etc.

- there are lots of little points in daily lives that are diferent between the US and France.
There's no commerce or industry behind them so that Americans won't try to spread (I'm thinking of McDo's, of Coke, etc.). If noone points out, we won't notice them.
I asked my friend Carole what she thought about the gap b/w France and the US. I suggested her that conveniences come to France about 10 years later (that's whaat I'd heard several times in France regarding technology), Carole answered it was way more than 10, probably 30... I was a bit ashamed Wink
Carole didn't intend to upset me. She had the experience of differences between England and US due to many Brits she welcomed and who were ignorant of many things of the American way of life, obvious in her country.
Again, there are oodles of other little conveniences in the US that are difficult to notice: double door fridge, on demand pedestrian traffic lights, numbered Streets and right angle intersections, clear signs at crossings (name of streets), car licence plates...

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Dim 13 Avr - 12:34

> double door fridge, on demand pedestrian traffic lights, numbered Streets and right angle intersections,
> clear signs at crossings (name of streets), car licence plates...

Does anyone have other daily diferences we could comment on?

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Dim 13 Avr - 15:54

Hi Gérard
as I have to change my winter tyres into summer ones I had a look on Google and found that in US Most people use regular or “all-weather” tyres. Changing to winter tyres is only common in regions with harsh winter weather.
You said that American don't like to generalize

as we all know, American are pragmatics.

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Dim 13 Avr - 15:59

A I inquired  on their driving habits I found that
Most people learn to drive from their parents; license must be renewed periodically

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Dim 13 Avr - 16:09

Hi everyone
Another difference comes into my mind. When my daughter was 13, she spent some Holiday with an American family (It was through an organization junior diplomat http://www.juniordiplomat.org/ The family doesn't receive any money and we only pay the travel expenses and the association) She was welcome with an enormous cake with her name on it and fireworks. I thought it was a lot of fuss but very nice.
This fuss is there on a lot of celebrations : St Valentine's day (My American pen friend was an elderly lady and decorated her house with a lot of hearts on that day), Halloween (My daughter showed  the New York Halloween photos and I verified their need to excessively express their feelings. In France we are more shy and unassertive !

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Dim 13 Avr - 16:59

Hi Muriel,

Thanks for posting!

To begin with, 1-1: both made a mistake! Smile
- the American spelling is license (the British one is licence) -> shame on me!
- the American spelling is tire (the British one is tyre) -> your mistake.
Smile

MurielB a écrit:A I inquired  on their driving habits I found that
Most people learn to drive from their parents; license must be renewed periodically
Yes.
As far as I know, Americans may drive from the age of 16 (they are not authorized to drink alcohol till the age of 21).

On a car, only one license plate is required: the one at the back.
Car owners may put what they like in front so they usually choose a funny text for it, did you know?

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Dim 13 Avr - 17:14

Hi Muriel,

Thanks for your story re celebrations in the US.
Yes I confirm!

> I verified their need to excessively express their feelings. In France we are more shy and unassertive !
I sometimes write that the French are the most miserable people on Earth...
That's right that Americans are often disturbing. They are trained et school to speak and easily take the power of speech. Thus in international meetings, they are very convincing while the French are reserved.
Canadians, Aussies, New Zealanders are similar to Americans.

In his show "How to become Parisian in one hour" (in this text, on my opinion, there are 2 "mistakes"), Olivier easily finds people to come onto the stage... Americans (difficult to get them to stop then), Chinese (surprising hey?)... no French! When Olivier asks, the French look at their shoes LOL

~~ edit
I didn't emphasized the importance of American teaching students to be themselves, original, creative, natural, dynamic, cool, imaginative, not to care about convention.

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Dim 13 Avr - 22:48

the American spelling is license (the British one is licence) -> shame on me!
- the American spelling is tire (the British one is tyre) -> your mistake
Thanks for teaching me the different spellings. I will try to remember.

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Mer 16 Avr - 9:05

'So sue me' is a very challenging phrase. It is a response to situations where someone is criticized for some antisocial or illegal activity.  It means  I know it's wrong but you'll get no apology from me - if you want to take it further go to law'. All that shows the importance of suing in American culture and also now in a lot of countries, France included.
I have found the example of a 16 year old boy suing the United states o America and I found it very interesting.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/may/05/sueing-us-government-climate


I am 16 years old. This morning I filed a lawsuit against the United States of America, for allowing money to be more powerful than the survival of my generation, and for making decisions that threaten our right to a safe and healthy planet.

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Mer 16 Avr - 18:10

Hi Muriel, hi everyone,

> also now in a lot of countries, France included.
There are big differences between France and the States:
- class actions
- an American lawyer can advertise and prospect: the lawyer contacts individuals to sue someone else and the lawyer is paid with a percentage of what the client wins ie it is absolutely free for the client, which is not the case in our country.

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Mer 16 Avr - 18:53

Breaking News from the US.


(click pic to access article)

... and Susan's posting:
A local store employee tried to sell me on this brand as being really good. I know better but the shelves were stocked to confuse IMO, the so called "natural" mixed in with the organic. All by the same company, processed by Perdue for Kroger.

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PS: Pls note that I chose American English for my vocabulary, grammar, spelling, culture, etc.  :-)
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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  MurielB le Mer 16 Avr - 21:58

the lawyer is paid with a percentage of what the client wins ie it is absolutely free for the client, which is not the case in our country.
Very interesting to know !

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Re: [Am.English] American culture

Message  gerardM le Sam 19 Avr - 22:40

Hi everyone,

Do you know that for Easter, in English speaking countries, Friday is holiday and Monday is worked?
(in France, Monday is holiday)

I knew that but I had forgotten on last Friday Smile

I'm very fond of stock exchange... on last Friday, I took a look at the rate and said to myself; "weird, +0,59%, exactly the same rate as yesterday!"
At the end of the day (Friday), I found things really weird as the displayed rate was again +0,59% for the CAC40.
Anyway!
In the night, as usual, I got a connection to my favorite stock exchange web site to save the rate of every share I'm following and I was stunned then annoyed because the rate were again the same as the day before... I concluded that for some reason, the web site was not working as they probably forgot to update... I connected to another web site: strangely the rate were close to the ones I had but not exactly!

Silly me!! Laughing

Of course, the French stock Exchange is now a subsidiary of the American Stock Exchange and we don't work Sad

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Please feel free to point out big mistakes in my messages in a foreign language. Thanks to your remarks, I'll be able to improve my level.
PS: Pls note that I chose American English for my vocabulary, grammar, spelling, culture, etc.  :-)
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gerardM

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