Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hmm. Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo. Hi. James from engVid. I've often said that learning language, a foreign language is great. In this case, you're learning English, so congratulations. But a lot of students, they learn the language, and they kind of forget about the culture, like it doesn't really matter. Being an English speaker, I was born in England, and the culture from England is very different from the culture from Canada, even though they are closely related. So if you can imagine the cultural difference between someone from, say, China and Canada, that would be fantastically different. Well, as they say, as much as we're different, we're the same. But in this case, I want to do a lesson on eight differences in culture that if you're learning the language, which would be important. Now, what I've done is shown the difference between the East and the West, because frankly, you may be from the Middle East or Asia, and you want to do business with Canadians or Americans or British people, and you should see what we think are important. And as well, this helps out English-speaking people about how we should communicate with you when we're trying to teach you English. You like that? Let's go to the board. We have Mr. E, here. He wants to eat his... Let's see. What should he eat? I'm going to suggest that he has a pizza, because that's easy to draw, and anybody who knows me knows I'm a terrible drawer. There you go. Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo. He's having a piz-... Pepperoni pizza. What would you suggest he eat with? A knife or a fork, or chopsticks? Well, it seems obvious: Use your hands. See, when you understand, you can manipulate or use things to your advantage. Let's go to the board. We'll start out with the West, which is where we are. All right? In the West, we say "respect is earned". That means I cannot give you respect or look up to you until you have done something to show me that you deserve my respect or I should give it to you. Just because you say: "Hello, my name is" doesn't mean anything. You have to say: "Hello, my name is, and I have done these things." Because of that and if you do something that helps me, I will give you my respect. Okay? In the East, it's a little different. In the East, what we say is: "respect is due to hierarchy". Hierarchy? Well, just like the word says, think "high", okay? The higher you are-okay?-the higher position you have. So if I come in and say: "I am Generalissimo Kareer." You go: "Oh, I must give you great respect", in the East, just because I am the General. I don't have to be a good General; I just have to be a General. You must give me respect. Well, in the West, you'd have to be a good General that's done a lot of good things. Okay, number two: open debate is encouraged. If you're going: "What is open debate?" Open debate is conversation, but it's more conversation where two ideas are conflicting or they don't go together. You think A, they think B. So you don't both agree necessarily. Maybe you think: "I don't agree with this person, or I don't like everything they say", so you have a debate, which is a conversation to try and change each other's mind. Okay? Open debate in the West is encouraged. If you don't like my idea, I'll say: "Why? What's wrong with it? Why don't you come up with something? Tell me what you think, or tell me what's wrong with my ideas." The challenge, we think, brings a greater result. In other words, if you talk to me and we have a really good open debate, things should be better at the end of the debate. Let's look at the East. In the East, open debate and confrontation is avoided. Partly, this is because in the East... Remember we talked about hierarchy? There's a level or layers? Well, if you question someone and they are on a higher level, you are not showing them the respect they deserve, so it is almost better to do your debate... Or, not even debate, but questions in a less public area. So it is not open debate; more of a private thing with you and that person, and even then, you shouldn't really question them, but ask questions of them. Okay? That's number two. Number three, let's look at individual success and material success. In the West, they matter, it's important. Yes, who I am is important, but it's who I am, just myself. Have I done well in school? Have I made a lot of money? Have I bought a lot of things? If so, I am good and I'm very successful, and this is great. Okay? It sounds normal, until we consider in the East, success is group success. That means: Yes, I've done well, but: How is my brother? How are my parents? How is my sister? Is my family doing well? If your family is not doing well, you cannot claim to be successful in the East. So they look at not even just the family, but your society. Is your country doing well? Is your city doing well? If your whole country is doing well, you are successful. If they are not, things are not good. While in the West, it doesn't matter. Look at Donald Trump. Okay. [Laughs]. If you don't know who he is, please watch The Apprentice and My Failure to be President, if you watch those two movies or programs, you'll see what I'm talking about. Anyway. Where are we? Next, let's go back here. Vocal leadership. In the West, we like our leaders to talk, talk, talk, and tell you: "I'm the leader, listen to me because I'm the one who knows what's going on. I am the important one. You should know this. I'm the leader. I make the most, I talk the most. And look at me." In the East, leadership is silent. It's not that the leaders won't speak, they speak, but remember it's about group success? They will talk more about: "We have done this, we are doing this. We, as a society or a group, are coming forward. I am proud of my people." Versus: "I did it, and I'm the one." Okay? So the leadership is a little bit more silent. They say: "We lead from behind", which is we lead, but we let the people take the credit or get the... Get praised. While in the West, I stand in the front and I should get the praise, because I've done it. Okay? Where are we now? Let's go down to five, which is strange: law more important than the relations. In the West, we have what's called "the letter of the law". If the law says do this, you must do this. It doesn't matter if you're my mother, my father, my brother, a good uncle or a good friend. What does the law say I have to do? That is more important, that comes first. In business relationships, let's say. Not necessarily family, but especially in business relationships, we love contracts. We love to have the piece of paper, we like to have the writing, because that tells us what I'm supposed to do and what you're supposed to do, and everything's organized so there's no questions. In the East, we notice relationships are more important than the letter of the law. This is true and not true. In the West, we used to be more like this, but in the East it's still so, which is: When we shake hands, that is the bond. The contract shouldn't be necessary. We... They do it because it is the modern world, but they look at you as a person. If they don't trust you, they don't care about the paper. What is the relationship like? Is it a good relationship? Then they will sign the paper because they trust you, and they know that what you say they believe will happen, not what the paper says. While in the West, we point to the paper and say: "You have to do it because the paper said it. I don't need a relationship with you." So in the East, they will try and actually make relationships, go out for dinner, meet you in maybe your home just to get to know you so that they know when you say something, they can believe it or trust it. In the West, recent accomplishments matter. An "accomplishment" is a deed or a goal. You have done this, and you can show people: "Look what I have done. I have made a million dollars. I have built a house. I have finished school and graduated." They care or we care about recent. What have you done today? Or Janet would say: "What have you done for my lately?" We want to know what you've done today. We don't care about 20 years ago, that was 20 years ago. Maybe you were a great movie star 20 years ago. Tom Cruise, what have you done recently? Mission Impossible, what? Okay. You know what I'm saying. Right? When you look at that, we're looking at today. What matters is today. And it's true. The sun comes up today. If you died 10 years ago, you don't matter anymore. But today, what are you doing? Talk to me about that. In the East, it's a little different. They like to look at you might say character. Remember we talked about relationships? They look at what you've done in the past because they believe what you did before-okay?-is what you're going to do in the future. They think: "Okay, if you've always been a good person, even if you make a mistake today, you've been a good person, you'll probably be a good person again in the future." Or if you're a bad person, you've always been bad: Just because you're good today doesn't mean you're going to be good forever. And between those two differences, you might say: "Wow, that's a really big world difference", because one seems to be based on just the here and now with no thought to the future and no caring about the past. But in some ways, in the West, we're more apt to... We're more able to say: "Hey, look, if you change and want to be a better person, we'll support that because we look at what you're doing now. Maybe you were bad before, but you're good now. We give you a chance." Well, in the West... The Eastern way of looking at it, if you were bad before, you're probably still bad and shouldn't be trusted. Which is better? I don't know. Okay. Now let's go to number 7: results matter. In the West, it's not what you were thinking about. I wanted to help my friend who was on drugs, and he was really, really, really, really needing them, so I bought the drugs so he would feel better. That's my intention. In the West, if that person dies, you can go to jail because: "Hey, he died." But you would say: "I was trying to help them." And we would say: "We don't care. What you did, what happened, the result was, that's what matters." Okay? If you look at the East, it's difference. They talk about: "What were you trying to do? What was in your head at the time? We know the person maybe died because they took too many drugs, but you were trying to kill them? No. You were trying to make them feel better, to relax them, to make their life easier. Oh, okay, well, that makes everything different." And this goes back to the relationship thing. If you have a relationship, there's a trust built in, so they look for your intention and they go on that. Well, in the West because we're looking at what's happening now, the result matters. What happened in the end? That's all that matters. One last, one way to look at is here: exact time. What does that mean? In the West, 12 o'clock means 12 o'clock. In the East, 12 o'clock means 12 o'clock or 12:10, around that. Okay? It's approximate. That's an important one, because if you have to meet somebody from the West, especially if they're from Germany, meet at 12 o'clock. If they're from maybe China or maybe, I don't know, Laos, 12:05, you'll be okay. All right? Now, I want to do a test to see if you understand the cultural differences. Actually, just before that, let's just go over really quickly. What I want you to understand is there is really no better one. I'm not saying West is better than East, it's just something to keep in mind because we have a lot of relations, and our big world is becoming smaller, and in order to understand each other, we have to understand how we think. And then we use our language, we can use the right language at the right time with the right people. Does that make sense? Good. I'm going to help you, because we're going to go do a test now to test how well you understand the difference between here, which is relationship-based, and here, where we base things on facts and exact matters. Or you could say: the individual versus the society or the collective. All right. Are you ready? Let's go to the board. [Snaps]. Okay, test time. Now, just once again, I mentioned it, remember this is a generalization. Countries such as Japan and Korea are, when I talked about the time thing, they're very much on exact time, but in general... General thought, when we're saying that East has more of a, we say, circular dynamic, they approach things a little bit holistically, while we are more direct. Is one better than the other? Do you remember about the pizza? Is it better to eat pizza with a knife and fork, or chopsticks? It's better with your hands. So I would say a synthesis or bringing them together would be best, but let's do our test and take a look. Here we go. Cowboy mentality. Cowboy mentality is the Western mentality. Right? We are like... We are strong, we are individuals, we do everything by ourselves, even though the roads, and the ships, and the airplanes are built by lots of other people, that doesn't matter. If I'm a pilot, I fly the plane. I didn't make it, I didn't design it, I didn't invent it. But that is our Western mentality, but it's kind of cool, because we think we can do anything if we put our minds to it as an individual. Samurai mentality is this...You go: "Samurais are individual soldiers." Not really. The Samurai, which is the Eastern mentality, they serve, they serve a master, and they serve the greater good. So even though they are powerful like a cowboy, they say: "I use my power for my master", and in that way, we serve everybody; everybody is served. As the individual, you would say: "By my great accomplishments, I bring up society." And in the East, they say: "By working together, we bring up society." Yin and Yang. [Laughs]. Anyway. Moving on. Quiz time. All right? Are you ready? We have top four questions on the board. I'm going to ask the first one, and I want you to try to think carefully about all the information I gave you: What would be the appropriate way to interact? Because that's what this lesson is about. Yes, you speak English, but what kind of English should you be using? A more direct line, talking to a Westerner, or coming at it from a side or a little softer, on an angle for an Easterner? Let's go to the board. When having an interview with an Asian manager, would he or she care more about your past history, your performance over time, or your recent accomplishments, what have you done lately? Remember Janet Jackson? Miss Jackson if you're nasty. Okay. Think about it. Take a second. That's right. They would care more about your past history. They're going to... Even in the West, don't get me wrong, we do look back at your history to see what you've done, but we're more looking at, you know, accomplishment, accomplishment, and then we want to know: What are you doing now? What's important now? In the East, they're more looking back at your character: What decisions have you made and what kind of character have you developed? Similar but different. Right? Keep that in mind. So they're going to be looking more for your past history, because they say that will show us what you'll do in the future. Well, in the West, we'd be looking at: "Hey, what you're doing now is important, because then we'll see what you're going." Right? So, answer to this one is: past history of performance. Let's do number two. If you are having a conversation with a Western friend and you disagree with them, which is your best approach? Have an open debate, or say nothing and let them figure it out? That's right. I was too quiet. As a Western person, I would have said: You need to have an open debate.