Proper Manners, Customs, and Culture in the United States 美国的文化、习惯和礼貌


有些事情(大家在公共场所的行为)在全美国都很相像。有的事情就随着地区的不同而改变了。因为我是在美国的南部出生、成长的,而且至今还是住在南方,所以在这里所介绍的情况,就是习惯与礼貌,都是说在美国南部的情况。

 

含酒精的饮料

在美国有人不喜欢喝酒,也有人喜欢喝酒。很多美国人滴酒不沾。这里有很多南方的城镇规定买卖含有酒精的饮料是非法的,特别是在一些小城镇里。虽然这样的城镇逐年在减少,但是至今还是存在不少不可买卖含有酒精的饮料的地方。我们不允许有人在任何公共场所喝酒,除非是在特殊的运动集会上。如果你在公共场所喝酒,你是会被逮捕并处于罚金的。当然,在过节的时候,警察可能会开一只眼闭一只眼的,但你也切不可醉汹汹地在街上走。美国人的合法喝酒年龄是21足岁;未满21足岁连买酒也是非法的。为未满21足岁者提供含酒精的饮料也是非法的,除非是给你自己的孩子。在你开的车里,如果有开了封的酒瓶,这可是大忌,因为警察一定认为你是一边喝酒一边开车。警察对酒后驾车抓的很厉害。人们一旦发觉路上有酒后驾车的现象,也会立即报警。

抽烟

在美国的绝大部分城市里是不准许在餐厅、办公大楼、政府建筑物和有多人聚集的公共场所里抽烟的。如果要抽烟的话,可以在你自己的家里抽,大部分的酒吧里也是可以抽烟的,另外就是专门为抽烟者设立的吸烟室了。如果在宽阔的室外,周围没有很多人,在这样的情况下,也是可以抽烟的。在美国,只有年龄超过18足岁了,才能买烟;如果不满18足岁的青少年抽烟的话,被警察逮住了是要罚款的。当然,警察常常是忙不来管青少年抽烟的事,但是警察却让化妆了的青少年去买烟、买酒,看哪个商家会把烟酒卖给不满法定年龄的青少年。一旦发觉非法销售给不满法定年龄的情况,这个商店轻者吊销卖烟酒的执照,还要被处罚可观的罚金,重者则被勒令关闭商店,并处以高额罚金。

对话

当你与一个美国人交谈的时候,最好离他的身体有两英尺的距离,也就0.6公尺。美国人喜欢有他自己的活动空间。当你在谈话时太靠近对方的时候,如果对方慢慢地王后退,与你保持一定的距离的时候,你不要感到奇怪。如果你与对方不太熟悉的话,他甚至会要求你往后退一些。

当你想对一个陌生人说话,或者询问一些问题的时候,最好以“先生”或者“女士”、“小姐”这样的尊称来称呼。当你遇见一位女士,但不清楚她是否已经成家,就以“小姐”来称呼比较适合。如果她已经成家了,有可能她会说,“称我夫人(或者‘太太’)好了。”(注意在英文中小姐、女士和夫人的发音,不要搞错了。)

如果你是与一位有地位的人,或者与一位长者说话,你就要很有礼貌地回答问题,“是的,先生”或者“不是的,先生”;对女士就要说,“是的,女士”或者“不是的,女士”。这样的称呼在美国南部比较通行,特别是南方的一些小城镇里,人们总是很正式、很有礼貌地交谈。对于年长的,都不直呼其名,而只是称他的姓。如果一个人姓约翰逊,在谈到他的时候,就称他为“约翰逊先生”,对他的妻子,就成为“约翰逊夫人”。


讨论问题:

1.     在你所在的城市里,人们是如何处理含有酒精的饮料的?

2.     在你所在的城市里,法律上是如何处理年轻人与烟酒的关系的?

3.     与目生人交谈的时候应该保持多少距离为宜?你们那里的习惯是怎么样的?

4.     对于长者,人们是怎么称呼他们的?

Some manners (proper social behavior) are the same across the United States. Other manners may be more common in certain areas of the nation than in other parts. Because I was born and raised in the Southern part of the United States, and I still live in the south, this article will be more specific about manners and customs in the South.

Alcohol

America has a love-hate relationship with alcohol. There are many Americans that do not drink alcohol of any kind. In fact, there are many cities and areas in the South where it is illegal to buy alcohol. Most of these areas are small cities and towns. The number of these places grows smaller each year, but they do still exist. Drinking in public is usually frowned upon, unless at a sporting event, and being drunk in public will get you arrested and fined by the police. The police are more relaxed on this law during holidays, but it is never good to walk around the city streets in a drunken state. Americans must be at least 21 years of age to purchase alcohol and it is illegal to give minors (18 and under) alcohol unless done so by their parents. It is very illegal to have open containers of alcohol in your car while driving. The police actively enforce drinking and driving laws; and citizens will typically report drinking and driving to the police if they see it on the road.

Smoking

Most cities in America have made it illegal to smoke inside restaurants, office buildings, government buildings, or public spaces where crowds are gathered. A person may smoke in their home, in most bars or smoking lounges, or outdoors, if it is a wide open space not crowded with people. Americans must be at least 18 to purchase tobacco and if a minor is caught smoking under age they could be fined by the police. This does not happen very often because the police are too busy to enforce such laws. However, the police will do undercover operations once in a while to make sure businesses are not selling alcohol or tobacco to teenagers. If a business is caught they could lose their license to operate and be forced to be closed, as well as pay a large fine.

Conversation

When talking to an American it is good to stand about 2 feet away (0.6 meters) while having a conversation. Americans like their personal space. Do not be surprised if you step too close to a person for them to slowly move back away from you. If you are a stranger to them they might even ask you to back up.

If you are approaching a complete stranger and need help or information, call to a man by saying, “Sir” and to a woman by saying, “Miss” or “Ma’am.” If you meet a woman, and you do not know if she is married or not, it is polite to say, “Miss.” If she is married she might reply, “It is Misses.” (Ms or Miss is pronounced like miss. Mrs. is pronounced as miss-iz.)

If you are speaking to someone in authority or someone older than you it is polite to say, “Yes, Sir” or “No, Sir.” Or “Yes, Ma’am” or “No, Ma’am” in reply to a question. This is more common in the South and in the smaller towns and cities of the South. It is more formal and is polite. It is also common to refer to an older person by their family name. If talking to an older man named Johnson you would speak to him or refer to him as Mister (Mr.) Johnson. If talking to his wife you would refer to her as Misses (Mrs.) Johnson.


QUESTIONS:

1.      What are views about alcohol in your city?

2.      What are the laws about teenagers and alcohol and tobacco in your city?

3.      What is the appropriate amount of space between strangers when talking? What is it in your city or country?

4.      How do you refer to an older man or older woman?

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