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Is Western culture bad for the world?

Andrew McKean

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What does Western culture have that isn't available locally?

Are we creating a "McWorld"?

English, for instance, is supposedly the global tongue. In reality, English is fragmenting into distinct new dialects with hundreds of millions of speakers: Hinglish (Hindi English), Nigerian English, Filipino English and Singapore's Chinese-English hybrid, Singlish.

What do you think?

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Half-n-Half

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English, for instance, is supposedly the global tongue. In reality, English is fragmenting into distinct new dialects with hundreds of millions of speakers: Hinglish (Hindi English), Nigerian English, Filipino English and Singapore's Chinese-English hybrid, Singlish.

It's still a global tongue, though, and people from those regions can understand each other more or less. For example, you don't see Nigerian Japanese, Hindi Japanese, etc. By Western culture, do you mean those outside of Asia? Hell, even countries within Asia have vastly different cultures.
 

Andrew McKean

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By "Western Culture" I mean those outside of Asia. Western Culture to me means "USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia".
 

Hezam

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Culture or lifestyle ?
Language doesn't effect region culture.
 

Andrew McKean

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Culture and language are intertwined and inseparable. Culture is the driving force behind a language and the reason for the language's existence, make up, and grammatical rules, but language is equally important to culture. Culture is expressed through language. It is the way people of a culture communicate. Lifestyle is a particular way of living : the way a person lives or a group of people live.
 

Hezam

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i don't see how language could change other cultures! If an Arab or Japanese person speaks english fluently i don't think it changes that person's culture !
 

nahadef

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Western culture has an attempt at social equality that non-Western countries have yet to embrace. It's not to say the West is socially equal, but that the system theoretically doesn't have second-class citizens. Japan is starting to embrace that notion slowly.

You can argue that these countries are happy the way they are, but it's not really the case. Men are usually happy the way things are, and the women have a lot of difficulty going against that.

Other than that, it is not turning into a McWorld because of the West, but because of capitalism. Japanese corporations branch out to every country in the world, South Korea is on its way, and China will be next. African countries would do the same if they could.

The only reason English is the international second language is because of history. China rightfully should replace English, since it will be the dominant economy as we go to the next century, but it would require the rest of the world to learn Chinese characters, which is unlikely.

This was a much bigger question in the 20th century. The rest of the world closes the gap every day.
 

nahadef

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i don't see how language could change other cultures! If an Arab or Japanese person speaks english fluently i don't think it changes that person's culture !

I think it does. To speak a language is to learn the culture. It's hard not open your mind in the process.
 

nekojita

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Singlish is perfectly understandable to an English speaker, though, and I don't see how it's existence is a problem for Singapore or for English. The Singaporean government is trying to stamp it out but their ideal country is one populated by government-loving robots.

Arguably the way that the government there has tried to standardise the local languages - e.g. banning the use of Chinese dialects on local TV and Radio - is more of an issue.

You also seem to be using a very broad brush for "western" (are we to ignore things like Maori culture when discussing NZ? Welsh language? The mummers we get around here for New Years?)
 

Andrew McKean

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Yes, I have probably ruffled a few Kiwi feathers across the Tasman Sea, it is indeed a broad subject and needs to be treated as such. Not only cultures, languages and dialects, but accents as well. Not to mention the negative effect of LOL speak, fractured grammar and twitter gibberish. Coming back to the original post, I am curious as to whether other cultures really need or welcome 'Western culture".
 
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Glenski

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Western culture has an attempt at social equality that non-Western countries have yet to embrace. It's not to say the West is socially equal, but that the system theoretically doesn't have second-class citizens.
Slaves and immigrants would beg to differ with that.
 

nahadef

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Slaves and immigrants would beg to differ with that.

Really? Slavery is legal in the West today? I had no clue. Please give links showing which Western country has legal slavery.

Immigrants are legally second-class citizens? Again, links please.

Of course society doesn't run as smoothly as it should, but, legally, immigrants who become citizens have a relatively quick path to integration that they don't in many non-Western countries.
 
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Glenski

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Slavery was legal. I meant that the slaves in the west back then would have differed with your opinion. If you want to keep things in the present, then ok.

As for immigrants, nobody said anything about the legality of them being second-class citizens. You just wrote, "the system theoretically doesn't have second-class citizens". Immigrants are often treated as such, though. No links needed other than to pick up a newspaper.

Maybe things would be clearer if you could give your definition of second-class citizens.
 
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nahadef

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Slavery was legal. I meant that the slaves in the west back then would have differed with your opinion. If you want to keep things in the present, then ok.
I'm not some cheerleader for Western countries. Really, I'm not. But I respect what is respectable about them. I wrote in the present tense for a reason. I wasn't using the present perfect tense. You teach language, right? Did you think the present tense applies to the past?
As for immigrants, nobody said anything about the legality of them being second-class citizens. You just wrote, "the system theoretically doesn't have second-class citizens". Immigrants are often treated as such, though. No links needed other than to pick up a newspaper.
I was talking about the legality of things. When I talk about the Western system, did you think I was talking about the Metric system? C'mon.
Maybe things would be clearer if you could give your definition of second-class citizens.
Legally, which is in theory, and not in practice. In terms of giving free language classes to the children of immigrants in order to help integration, Western countries can be pretty great. I think specifically of the problem of Brazilian immigrants to Japan, whose children flounder around in the school system, because there is no JSL in schools, regardless of the population.
 
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Glenski

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I'm not some cheerleader for Western countries. Really, I'm not. But I respect what is respectable about them. I wrote in the present tense for a reason. I wasn't using the present perfect tense. You teach language, right? Did you think the present tense applies to the past?
I already conceded this point. Get off it and stop being so insulting and childish, ok?

I was talking about the legality of things. When I talk about the Western system, did you think I was talking about the Metric system? C'mon.
You should be clearer, then, because legality never entered your explanations. Again, as for your jibes about metric system (no capital letters, just so you know), please stop being so rude here.

Legally, which is in theory, and not in practice.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand.

I would hate to think that's your natural state. Maybe things would be better if you didn't go out of your way to lay blame on the person who engages in conversation, rather than the person who just can't wrap their head around the main meaning.
You know me well enough by now to understand how I post, so there's no reason to take this stance of "I would hate to think". I suggest getting off this topic, and especially because I didn't do any "blaming" here at all. In fact, it's you who are doing that.

Want to tell me I post improperly? Send me a PM instead of cluttering up the thread.

Rain man would seem to have better reading comprehension.
Are you comparing me to an autistic savant?
 
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thomas

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I have cleaned up this thread, gentlemen. I cannot understand why disagreement has to lead to disrespect.

Keep it factual, polite and on topic please, and save the rest for PMs.
 

Haruspex

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Why English has become the lingua franca is inconsequential - what matters is that it is the bleeding edge of language in more respects than not. We need a language that we can all, more or less, understand. The idea that we should protect and promote otherwise disadvantaged languages for cultural/ethical reasons is quaint, but that's about it's only positive quality. Current western values are some of the most progressive, tolerant and likely to achieve a reasonable level of global happiness given the resources available to us.

Sure, you might play the cultural relativist and try to defend atavistic social practices and dated mores, but the fact is that this idea that you should be allowed to do whatever so long as you harm no other party in the process, that has taken root in the west is like parsecs ahead of most other positions.

i don't see how language could change other cultures! If an Arab or Japanese person speaks english fluently i don't think it changes that person's culture !

I disagree. Attaining fluency can change your life. Knowledge of the English language can, in many countries, increase your earning capacity, your access to vital information, your access to high quality education, it can confer reproductive advantages indirectly and the list goes on. Sure, you can resist the influence of Anglo-American culture if you want to, if you're really stubborn or whatever... but why? There are some manifestly nice things that it offers. I mean, I didn't start out with the curious concoction that we call western culture, but I looked at my own culture and I had to admit that it's a bit **** in comparison, so I scrapped much of it and replaced it with western ways and practices. Knowledge of a language changed me and caused me to develop in a completely different way than I would have otherwise.
 

Glenski

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Andrew wrote:
Coming back to the original post, I am curious as to whether other cultures really need or welcome 'Western culture".
I would voice the same question. Cultures do change over time, but why would a culture need to change to be like another?

Why would it welcome another is different. This POV suggests to me things like a music culture or clothing fashion culture adopting certain idiosyncracies of another. It could also mean business cultures adopting some cultural practices of another for a more practical, instead of stylish, reason. Different can of worms to say "welcome".

Derfel wrote:
Attaining fluency can change your life. Knowledge of the English language can, in many countries, increase your earning capacity, your access to vital information, your access to high quality education, it can confer reproductive advantages indirectly and the list goes on. Sure, you can resist the influence of Anglo-American culture if you want to, if you're really stubborn or whatever... but why?
This is beginning to mix language and aspects of culture (such as the 3 I just mentioned). I agree that the knowledge of another language (such as English) can do those things Derfel wrote, but the language itself doesn't. Perhaps that's semantics.

But why are we nearly equating adopting English with adopting western culture? Moreover, the "west" includes more than anglophone countries and their respective cultures.
 

Andrew McKean

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I had to look this one up ... A parsec is equivalent to 3.26 light years and since a light year is the distance light travels in 1 year 9.4 trillion km, 1 parsec equals 30.8 trillion km. Parsec is a combination of 2 words, parallax (par) and arc second (sec).

Parallax means something looks like it changed its location because you changed yours. For example, if you stand on your porch and look across the street, you will see a house on your left and a house on your right. If you go across the street and look at the same houses from your neighbor’s backyard, they will be on the opposite sides. Did the houses move? Of course not. You changed your location. Since you are in a different place, facing a different direction, they appear to be in different places. Likewise, two different people, in two different parts of the world, might see the exact same event in the sky or outer space; yet, it might appear entirely different due to their locations.

Maybe the term "Western culture" is a parallax depending on your view of the world.
 

Glenski

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By "Western Culture" I mean those outside of Asia. Western Culture to me means "USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia".
you still have not answered my question about why choosing a language seems to equate to an entire culture.

Moreover, outside of Asia is far more than the anglophone countries. Why don't you include Scandinavia, Slavic countries, Latin American countries, Middle East, etc.?

BTW, you aren't using parallax correctly, so give that up.
 

Glenski

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I think it does. To speak a language is to learn the culture. It's hard not open your mind in the process.
I pretty much disagree with both points here. Teach English in Japan and you'll know what I mean.
 

Hezam

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I couldn't understand why some posters mix language with culture !
Maybe it depends on culture, Derfel said his culture was not as good as western so he switched to Western culture, As for my culture and language Western culture effect was slightly effective not like other cultures/languages.
Arabic language is the richest language so English Vocabulary doesn't need to be import to Arabic because Arabic also has same Vocabulary originally in Arabic.
Western culture did not effect Arabic culture either so i think this topic doesn't go on all cultures/languages.
 
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