Diary 2: Cultural Fallacy

It’s been interesting to see how my hubby worked out in practicing his English. His everyday struggle to speak English is directed to his choice to speak more with American people. The border-crossing language and cultures for him did not make him eschew the possibility to be in contact with native speakers. The way he used hand gestures to express his meaning for some difficult words that he cannot access.

He learned to not essentializing American people based on their accent but in other time he romanticizes the idea that “This is American” to point out that this country has cultural-specific that we need to cope with. Kubota (….) the understanding of cultures as prescriptive will lead to the fallacy of essentialism e.g. stereotype for one culture. Cultures should be seen as descriptive where it can be interpreted differently from the outsider lens.

It is very astonishing to see how my Hubby adapts with American cultures. Many things that he transferred from our own cultures to American cultures sometimes leaves me speechless. He likes to call an older woman (a woman with the age above forty as “ibu” or “mama”). This is the way he politely addresses them an as mature woman. There is a time when he called American adult woman as “mom” and the woman was a bit surprised but politely told him that she is like a very old sister. The other time he asked Comcast guy (repairman from Internet Server) whether he had his lunch or not. Another list of things that I need to tell him that he must be careful to use his culture to interpret American cultures directly. The idea by some scholars (See Higgins & Ponte, 2016) that through native linguistic and semiotic resources, language learners can cope with new language somehow doesn’t necessarily apply in every single learning of my hubby. On one hand, he can adapt averagely with the sermon in the church since he used to read or listen the preach in English. Some vocabularies did not sound new from him. On the other hand, some daily cultures such as politeness cannot go well here.


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