16 June 2008

Seeing-as: a conversion chart

From a guidebook for Americans studying in Israel, produced by the U.S.-Israel Educational Foundation and sent to me by the Institute of International Education:
Same Behavior / Different Labels
Americans tend to see themselves as: Israelis often see Americans as:
friendlynaive, superficial, sexually provocative, artificial
respectful of privacy distant, unfriendly, lacking spontaneity, shy, excessively formal
sharing personal concernstastelessly exposing private matters, intrusive, unnecessarily revealing
organized rigid, “square”, inflexible, efficient at the expense of personal relationships, going by the book instead of improvising, focused on procedures instead of task at hand
respectful of authority passive, conforming, excessively formal, excessively mindful of hierarchy, focused on roles rather than goals, freier (Hebrew slang for “sucker” or “pushover”)
professional arbitrarily differentiating between work and social spheres, excessively formal
efficient arbitrarily differentiating between work and social spheres, unfriendly, overly programmed, lacking spontaneity
trusting and trustworthynaive

Israelis tend to see themselves as: Americans often see Israelis as:
Informal rude, familiar, inconsiderate, disrespectful, insubordinate, unprofessional
outspoken, direct, honest tactless, rude, blunt, disrespectful, aggressive, stubborn, insubordinate
spontaneous, open, natural out of control, intrusive, ill-mannered, unprofessional
hospitable, warmsmothering, intrusive, dominating
assertive aggressive, arrogant, ruthless, stubborn
flexible about plans and schedules; casual about rules and regulationsinefficient, sloppy, unprofessional, undisciplined, arrogant, irresponsible, inconsiderate
creative, able to improvise superficial, chaotic, undisciplined, unsystematic
active, taking initiativeinsubordinate, pushy, undisciplined, intrusive, dominating, aggressive
self-confident arrogant
willing to take risks irresponsible, overconfident
wary, alert, realisticcynical, distrustful
I think I'll be fine as long as I print out this table and make all the Israelis read it.

(33 days left.)

E.T.A. Some of these adjectives seem to have been copied-and-pasted right out of this article.
"Some years ago an Israeli journalist wrote about U.S. supermarkets. What struck him was the impersonal way in which store clerks told him to have a nice day. Later, a book by a pair of cross-cultural consultants found that Israelis often see Americans as insincere, naive, superficial, too formal, lacking spontaneity, insistent on going by the book rather than improvising, and easily taken advantage of."
There's also a short discussion of "freierhood" in there. I wonder what book he's referring to....

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