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Thread: What makes Europeans similar between each others, as opposed to Americans

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    Post What makes Europeans similar between each others, as opposed to Americans



    This article has been updated and can now be read here.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 25-07-09 at 12:58.
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    US has so-called " bible belt ",a concentration of southern states where good percentage of local population attend Sunday church religiously.Politically,these red-blooded American folks are Republican leaning.

    I never understood why soccer doesn't thrive in America,as it has popularity following in other 5 continents.
    Last edited by ricecake; 13-09-06 at 02:13.

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    What about the fact that Europeans seem more politically aware than Americans? I know that voter turn out rates are much higher in countries like Germany and France than America?

    From your observations Maciamo, I would say that Europeans and Americans are different.
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    Although,Americans undeniably share Western ancestral and cultural roots with European counterparts but America drifted to a new direction in finding her own destiny.

    Very few white-Americans have emotional feelings for Europe,except for some still living first generation immigrants.

    New Zealanders and Aussies are more European-like ( British ) than their N American kins.
    Last edited by ricecake; 12-09-06 at 22:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricecake View Post
    New Zealanders and Aussies are more European-like ( British ) than their N American kins.
    Well, I have lived half a year in Australia and I found that they do share quite a lot in common with certain type of Americans (more like Texas, on a bigger scale). Even Australian English is becoming increasingly Americanised. Many Australians have a very poor knowledge of world geography and history and speak only English, making them also more like Americans. Politically I think they are also closer to Americans. Relations to time and distance are even more opposite to European ones than in the US (in Australia, 50 years is old, and 500km is near ). However I don't think that religion is much stronger in Australia than in Europe.

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    I find that English speaking countries have a tendancy to be more Americaised than non-English speaking countries. Look at the UK, we are more likely to take up American trends and foods more than France or Germany. I think that because there is no language barrier between countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada that there is less resistance to American market forces or trends. Whilst in non-English countries the trends and certain styles must overcome a langauge as well as culture differences. Again there is the fact that American was influenced heavily by the UK during its founding, independance and freedom, so certain cultural ideas are shared by English speaking countries. You'll probably find a similar type of crossing of culture between Spain and most South and Central American countries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius View Post
    I find that English speaking countries have a tendancy to be more Americaised than non-English speaking countries. Look at the UK, we are more likely to take up American trends and foods more than France or Germany. I think that because there is no language barrier between countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada that there is less resistance to American market forces or trends.
    Let me disagree. I have lived both in England and in Australia, and watching the TV there I found that there were much les American series and movies than on Flemish TV (not Walloon though) and French TV. Some Flemish channels (e.g. VT4) have almost only American series and movies (and the latest), all in O.V.

    Food-wise, Japan has also more McDonald's, KFC's, Starbucks and other American chain per capita than almost any European country, including the UK (e.g. McDonald's restaurant per capita). I don't have the stats for Starbucks, but you can't go anywhere in Tokyo without stumbling on one, which isn't true of London (well, not to the same extent). Yet it cannot be because Japanese people are closer culturally or linguistically to the USA than, say, the Dutch and Germans.

    For clothes chains, it is more Europe (esp. France, Italy and the UK) that influence the US than the other way round. Be it for clothes, food or many other consumer products, the UK trades more and is more influenced by the rest of Europe than the USA.

    I won't deny that Canada is more Americanised than other countries. It may also be true of Australia. But so are Japan, South Korea, Thailand and many other non-Western countries with a strong US presence. Maybe European cultures are just too strong when it comes to food and fashion to be influenced by the US. For TV and cinema, some non-English-speaking countries in Europe are certainly even more Americanised than the UK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post

    Australian English is becoming increasingly Americanised.

    Many Australians have a very poor knowledge of world geography and history and speak only English,making them also more like Americans.

    Politically I think they are also closer to Americans. Relations to time and distance are even more opposite to European ones than in the US
    I see,another case of contagious " Americanitis " in Pacific Oceania region.How about those Kiwis,they're more British leaning culturally ?

    Poor Aussies,they share too much commonalities with Americans.Yeah,average educated Americans generally are clueless in those areas.

    America flexes her big mussles around the globe politically,militarily,culturally,and whatnot.

    Correct me if I am wrong,Winston Churchill once reportedly said America is an extension of English-speaking ( British ) empire.
    Last edited by ricecake; 12-09-06 at 23:01.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricecake View Post
    I see,another case of contagious " Americanitis " in Pacific Oceania region.How about those Kiwis,they're more British leaning culturally ?
    Poor Aussies,they share too much commonalities with Americans.Yeah,average educated Americans generally are clueless in those areas.
    America flexes her big mussles around the globe politically,military,culturally,and whatnot.
    Correct me if I am wrong,Winston Churchill once reportedly said America is an extension of English-speaking ( British ) empire.
    That's bad? Perhaps in some ways having American culture influence can be negative, but is it always? Another thing to keep in mind is that it is easy for some cultures to be very susceptible to other cultures. That has always surprised me, it's shocking to see how American culture has influenced other cultures, and there could have been times when it wasn't forced upon other cultures. But does that mean it's always bad?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post

    That's bad ?

    Perhaps in some ways having American culture influence can be negative, but is it always?

    it's shocking to see how American culture has influenced other cultures, and there could have been times when it wasn't forced upon other cultures. But does that mean it's always bad?
    ........ I am in hotwater for kicking American influences abroad in the groin.

    It can be deem as negative for Aussies becoming more unworldly like average Americans in that regard aforementioned,as they drift farther from their culturally sophisticated European-kins.

    Undoubtfully,America is frontrunner in modern pop-culture.Americans' ability to commercialized resource materials and brands is a great contribution to the world.

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    Let us not drift away from the main subject by discussing America's contributions or influence around the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricecake View Post
    ........ I am in hotwater for kicking American influences abroad in the groin.

    It can be deem as negative for Aussies becoming more unworldly like average Americans in that regard aforementioned,as they drift farther from their culturally sophisticated European-kins.

    Undoubtfully,America is frontrunner in modern pop-culture.Americans' ability to commercialized resource materials and brands is a great contribution to the world.
    Well, I should have pointed out that it doesn't have to be American culture that influence other cultures. What I was trying to get at is that when cultures influence each other, it's not always bad. I should have been more clear about that.

    At any rate, European culture has influence on American culture. I think a good example of that is art and architecture which is very obvious. And I have noticed that European fashion has alot of influence on American fashion, and that's not a bad thing.

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    I've only been to America once but it felt very culturally different from Europe (I went to Washington DC). I honestly felt "at home" much more quickly in other European cities than in DC, even including places where I don't speak the language at all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao View Post
    I've only been to America once but it felt very culturally different from Europe (I went to Washington DC). I honestly felt "at home" much more quickly in other European cities than in DC, even including places where I don't speak the language at all!
    I have the same feeling. I would also felt much more at home in, say Norway or Hungary or Greece, where I do not speak the language at all, than in the US.

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    If we have a look at my list of differences above, we realise that Japan stands somewhere between Europe and the US, although a closer to the US. They are only like Europeans about food, religion and the measure system (and to some extent cars and patriotism, but not completely).

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    Measure System

    Not really even if UK and EIRE have the double system in UK few British can relate in meters...

    Government system

    As for the police, I wont put my hand on the fire for the Italian police force alvays ready to smash your head

    Patriotism

    What about the French?


    And finally Religion

    Well, Americans are seconds to Spanish..

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    Quote Originally Posted by cursore View Post
    Measure System
    Not really even if UK and EIRE have the double system in UK few British can relate in meters...
    Yes, but the metric system has been the one officially taught and used in the UK since 1995. It's just a matter of time now.

    Patriotism
    What about the French?
    The French are not patriotic, but chauvinistic. The difference is that a patriotic person is ready to die for his/her country and tends to trust too much his/her won government, and attacks anybody (esp. foreigners) who criticise their country of government. In patriotic country, people cannot be, for instance communist or capitalist or Muslim or Christian, but must follow the officially supported ideology.

    French people are all the opposite. The cannot stop criticising their own politicians and system (never happy about it), easily stage demonstrations against government policies, and readily accept criticism from abroad. They are proud of their culture, history, food, or way of thinking (great philosophers, mathematicians, writers, etc.).

    In short, patriotic people love their government, system and laws, and are ready to fight to defend their country. Chauvinistic people love their culture and boast about it. It is two very different things. The Italians, Japanese and Chinese are also chauvinistic, but none (except maybe the Chinese) are patriotic.

    And finally Religion
    Well, Americans are seconds to Spanish..
    In Europe, the Irish and the Poles are the most religious, then the Spaniards (there have been many surveys about church attendance, belief in god, etc.). But none have the same kind of Christian fundamentalism and extremism as exist in the USA (esp. in the Bible Belt). Spain has even legalised gay marriages without any complaint from the population. Not ready to happen in the States !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao View Post

    I've only been to America once but it felt very culturally different from Europe (I went to Washington DC).


    I as an Oriental can see and feel there is near-ZERO European-ness among general white-American population regardless of regions,they've only retained " Western values " and don't have traditional values.I've had a brief discussion with a female American,she agreed with my assessment.

    Me and one Japanese foreign exchange student I've befriended some years ago had a small chat,we could clearly tell some continental European faces have look of " purity " distinctive from typical " Heinz 57 " Americans.We both have met a few Western Europeans ( Norwegian,German,and Dane ) in person.
    Last edited by ricecake; 01-10-06 at 16:20.

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    I have added 2 more paragraphs : social customs and military politics.

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    This new article from The Economist illustrates well the differences about religion, values and politics on ether side of the Atlantic.

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    Interesting read!

    I guess... European culture and its laws and stuff used to be very dominated by church/organised religion... but recently, much less so... but people still feel the need to debate round issues to do with morality and ethics... because they are not the same thing as religion... neither is "values"... so it doesn't seem to me at all strange that this is entering into political debates in Europe....

    I suppose you could say America with its "religious right" is kind of at a stage that Europe used to be at in the past when religious feelings ran high? Which might kind of make sense because they are a "younger" culture? ... or perhaps I'm just talking rubbish here, since I don't know anything about history.

    A minor point of accuracy in the first para of the article... "the destruction of human embryos" and "stem cell research" aren't the same thing in fact... there is also research using adult stem cells, which doesn't involve any embryos at all... (sorry to split hairs but I dislike inaccuracies especially around something where feelings tend to run high )

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    Kinsao posted
    I guess... European culture and its laws and stuff used to be very dominated by church/organised religion... but recently, much less so... but people still feel the need to debate round issues to do with morality and ethics... because they are not the same thing as religion... neither is "values"... so it doesn't seem to me at all strange that this is entering into political debates in Europe....

    I suppose you could say America with its "religious right" is kind of at a stage that Europe used to be at in the past when religious feelings ran high?
    Seems like it. Remember, the America we think of now was settled by Europeans seeking to leave Europe and practice their own versions of religion (which over time became more narrowly focused than the ones they escaped from in Europe).

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    Windows

    There are major differences between European countries when it comes to the way windows open.

    In France, Belgium and Germany, most windows are the "tilt and turn" type (some only turn, without tilting). They almost always open towards the inside.

    In the Netherlands and Britain, turn windows typically open both towards the inside and outside, or sometimes just outwards.

    In the UK and in most English-speaking countries, sash windows are the most common.This can be single-hung or double-hung sash windows, or even horizontal sliding sash windows.

    Privacy

    I noticed a few stuff in American movies and series that are clearly different from what I know in Europe. However, this may not be typically American. It may also be used on TV for reasons of convenience regarding the plot rather than because it is extremely common.

    Example 1 : answering machines

    In American movies, most people seem to have an answering machine at home, and you can always hear the person's message loud in the room. I have never seen that here. Answering machines are usually silent, like on mobile phones. A light, ring or text message indicates that there is a message left, but you can't actually hear the person speaking if you are next to the phone when he/she leaves the message. I think it would be annoying if you are busy or resting while you get a message. It's also not good for privacy if you have guests at home and don't bother to answer the phone, then everyone can listen to the message being left.

    Example 2 : neighours and front doors

    In American movies/series, neighours tend to know each other well, chat with each others, and even spy on each others. It seems common to enter in a neighbour's house to ask to borrow something, ask a favour, or just pop in for a chat. What is more, doors seem to be left unlocked most of the time, and front doors often have windows.

    All this is completely different from what I have seen in all the European countries where I have lived or travelled. People greet their neighbours, and may occasionally chat with them, but most people tend to mind their own business and value a lot their privacy. That is why most Europeans never leave their outside door open when they are not inside the house (or at any time in cities). That is also why people do not try entering without knocking or ringing the bell, even if they have seen somebody inside. Only close family members could do that. In general, in countries like Belgium or France, it is rude to drop by unannounced or unexpectedly at someone's house.

    Front doors very rarely have windows (except in Britain and the Netherlands), because this allows anybody to peep inside, which is a total intrusion of privacy. In many countries (notably Belgium, France, Italy...), the ground floor of townhouses tend to be elevated from the street in order to prevent passerby's from looking through the windows.

    Overall, the cultural difference between Europe an the USA here is that Europeans are not big on neighbours' watch, almpst never have a gun at home, but almost always lock their doors and tend to have good security systems, stone/brick rather than wooden walls, thick (anti-theft) glazing on windows, and heavy and secure outside doors. Reasonably well-off people often have good alarm systems and surveillance cameras. In Spain, bars on windows are common. In France and Italy, it is shutters. In other words, burglary prevention is based on house equipment and "fortification" rather than relying on the human factor, such as neighbours' vigilance or self-protection with guns.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 01-03-08 at 23:03.

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    In American movies, most people seem to have an answering machine at home, and you can always hear the person's message loud in the room
    There is a volume setting on the answering machine, so if you don't wish to hear it it can be turned down while you're sleeping, though usually the answering machine is not in the bedroom.

    One reason people want to hear iy sometimes is that they screen calls, because they may not wish to talk to everyone, i.e. chatty relatives (at that time), salespeople, etc.

    In American movies/series, neighours tend to know each other well, chat with each others, and even spy on each others. It seems common to enter in a neighbour's house to ask to borrow something, ask a favour, or just pop in for a chat. What is more, doors seem to be left unlocked most of the time, and front doors often have windows.
    Depends on the area. My parents don't usually lock their front door, nor do they own a gun (it's just not that type of neighborhood). people don't pop in so much, but my parents are older, so that may be them. Some people are very European and just keep to themselves, but they sometimes are labeled unfriendly (unfair, I know).

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    There is a volume setting on the answering machine, so if you don't wish to hear it it can be turned down while you're sleeping, though usually the answering machine is not in the bedroom.
    One reason people want to hear iy sometimes is that they screen calls, because they may not wish to talk to everyone, i.e. chatty relatives (at that time), salespeople, etc.
    It seems that telemarketing is also much more common in the States than in most EU countries. In Belgium, I am hardly ever disturbed by salespeople.

    To screen calls here most new telephones show the incoming call's number (and name if it is registered in your phonebook), just like on mobile phones.

    Another thing I noticed a lot in American series is the second call option. I think that very few phones have this here, not even mobile phones. I personally wouldn't use it if I had it. I find it rude to cut short a conversation or ask people to wait because someone else is calling. If it's important, they will leave a message or call back a few minutes later. Maybe it's also a cultural difference.

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