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3. American Pictures

  I . Communicating in English

1.Greetings andLeave-Takings :

  Customs related to beginning and ending conversations vary among different cultures. If you are communicating in English with people of English speaking cultures, it is important to know how they begin and end their conversations.

  Greetings like "Hi" and "Hello" are very well known. In addition to these, other commonly used greetings have to do with time of day. For example, English speakers say, "Good morning" until noon, "Good afternoon" from noon until about five o'clock, and "Good evening" after that. ("Good day" [mostly British] and "Good night" are used to say good-bye, not as greetings.)

  In some cultures, people also use questions as greetings.These questions are not necessarily asked to get accurate or honest answers.Speakers just expect standard answers. In fact, the questions may sound odd if you are not familiar with the culture. For example,businesspeople in Osaka use a question about whether the hearer is making money as a greeting. The questions used in many English speaking cultures as greetings are questions like, "How are you?" or "How are you doing?"

  Some standard answers for these questions include "Fine" and "Pretty good." You are not necessarily expected to answer such questionstruthfully if they occur at the beginning of a conversation as a greeting. (If questions about how you are occur in the middle of a conversation, the speaker probably is expecting an accurate answer.) In addition, you should usually ask the same question in return by asking something like, "How about you?"

  In Japanese there is an expression that has a similar function."Dochirae [Where are you going]?" is used as a greeting. When you use it as part of a greeting (as an English speaker uses, "How are you?"), you do not really expect an answer about where the other person is going. Sometimes Japanese ask "Where are you going?" when greeting an English speaker in English. This is not normally used as a greeting in English, so English speakers assume that the question is intended literally, that is, as a question for which an answer is expected.They do not like being asked this, because it seems "nosy" in many English-speaking cultures.

  Certain standard expressions are also used when you say good-bye.One type of leave-taking expression is a statement of pleasure at seeing or talking to the other person. Such expressions as, "It was nice talking to you," or "I enjoyed seeing you," indicate that the speaker is ready to end the conversation.You should not continue the conversation long beyond this.

  Another type of leave-taking expression often used by English speakers gives at least a general reason for ending the conversation.A general reason might be something like, "I have to get going;" a more specific one might be, "I have to get to the library before it closes."

  A third type of leave-taking expression mentions the expectation of seeing or talking with the hearer again. Such expressions include "See you" or "I'll talk to you later." These expressions are a formula for saying goodbye and do not indicate specific plans to see or talk to the hearer again. (However, they are not generally used unless there is some expectation of seeing the hearer again).A standard reply would be an expression like, "OK, see you later," or just, "'Bye."

  Greetings and leave-takings are important, especially in a new relationship. The first impression you make on the people you are speaking to when you greet them and the last impression they have of you when you say good-bye may have an influence on their image of you. (601 words)

  Vocabulary :
  1. leave-takings :
    saying good-bye
  2. truthfully :
    with accurate information; with the truth
  3. nosy :
    interested in things that are not one's concern

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  Skimming Exercise :
  1. What greetings are very well known?
  2. What do Japanese sometimes ask when greeting an English speaker in English?
  3. What does an expression like, "I enjoyed seeing you," indicate?

  True/False Questions : 
1. People in different cultures have different ways of greeting each other. T or F?
2. "Good morning" is a greeting; "Good night" is a way of saying good-bye. T or F?
3. You should give an accurate answer to a question asked as a greeting. T or F?
4. The question "Have you eaten?" is used as a greeting in Malaysia. T or F?
5. Questions asked as greetings and questions asked in the middle of a conversation are answered the same way. T or F?
6. When someone asks how you are, you should follow up by asking how they are. T or F?
7. The question "Where are you going?" has a use in Japanese that is similar to the use of "How are you?" in English. T or F?
8. There is no problem with asking an English speaker, "Where are you going?" as a greeting. T or F?
9. Expressions like "It was nice talking to you," are part of leave-taking. T or F?
10. English speakers often give a reason why they are ending the conversation. T or F?
11. The reason must be specific. T or F?
12. You only use an expression like "I'll see you later," if you are making specific plans to see the other person again. T or F?
13. Making a good first impression with the greeting you use can influence a relationship. T or F?

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  Chart Exercise :
  The following chart organizes the types of expressions used in greetings and leave-takings according to their types.Fill in the blank spaces in the chart.

Function Type of Expression Example
Greeting very well known expressions  
expressions involving time of day  
  fine; pretty good 
Leave-Taking expression of pleasure   
  I have to get going (general); I have to get to the library before it closes. 
expectation of seeing hearer again   

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  Discussion Exercise :
  What expressions do you use in Japanese when you greet someone? What questions do you ask as part of a greeting? What expressions do you use when you say good-bye to someone? Do you give a reason? Give some examples of reasons you might use. Do you mention seeing them again? What expressions do you use?

  Note: This material is copyrighted and exclusively distributed by Asahi Press in Japan. It can be copied and used outside of Japan only.

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Copyright (2004) by Kenji Kitao