122 Faux Pas 1


Kathy: Hey Mark...do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?

Mark: No problem, I've got time.

K: Great! Well, I'm going to Seattle for half a year. I'm attending a course at a university and I'll be doing some research as well.

Mark: Sounds like fun!

K: Yes. But I'm really worried that I don't understand American culture well enough. You know how here in China we have lots of little things that are considered impolite...what if I do something wrong in America? I'd be so embarrassed if that happened!


Mark: Ah, I see! Actually, we have a great word in English that describes making a cultural mistake...it's called a "faux pas" and it's actually originally a French term.

K: So I should say I want to avoid any cultural "faux pas?"

Mark: That's correct. You know, actually you shouldn't worry too much. America is a pretty relaxed country, but there are a couple things you should be aware of.

K: Oh? Such as?

Mark说,这种文化上的失误叫faux pas。 Faux pas是从法语来的。前面可以用动词avoid避免或是commit犯下。Mark安慰Cathy说,美国是一个很随便的国家,American is a pretty relaxed country. 不过还是有些地方需要注意。Such as? 比如说呢?

Mark: Americans - and western people in general - can be very sensitive about smells.

K: Oh...so I should be careful after eating spicy foods, right?

Mark: Yep. Things like garlic or various Chinese dishes can have a strong smell. It's best to chew gum or use a breath freshener.

K: That's a good thing to remember. How about when I visit a friend's home? What should I bring?

Mark说,西方人对气味非常敏感,中国人喜欢吃的大蒜等食物,都会留下十分浓重的味道,It's best to chew gum or use a breath freshener. 所以最好嚼嚼口香糖,设法去去嘴里的味儿。去朋友家作客,带点儿什么呢?

Mark: If you and your guest drink alcohol, it's always nice to bring a bottle of wine. If wine is a problem, you could try fruit or some kind of desert.

K: But should it be an expensive gift?

Mark: No, the price is not so important. Just bring something to show you care about your hosts and are grateful for their invitation.