Communication in the USA

Angle touPa gen anglè

Communication is how we share information and ideas with other people. We do it by speaking, by writing, and even with our hands, face, and body. In a new country, we need to learn new ways of communicating. Here are some tips to help you communicate in the USA.

Communication is how we share information and ideas with other people. We do it by speaking, by writing, and even with our hands, face, and body. In a new country, we need to learn new ways of communicating. Here are some tips to help you communicate in the USA.

communication between cultures

communication between cultures

During your first months in the USA, there will be many times when you do not understand people and situations. This is very difficult, but it is also normal. Try not to be discouraged! Communication will get better with time. You will get used to the new culture and start to understand the language.

During your first months in the USA, there will be many times when you do not understand people and situations. This is very difficult, but it is also normal. Try not to be discouraged! Communication will get better with time. You will get used to the new culture and start to understand the language.

Lang

Language

When you arrive in a new country, not knowing the language makes everything difficult. Here are some useful things to know about communicating with Americans.

When you arrive in a new country, not knowing the language makes everything difficult. Here are some useful things to know about communicating with Americans.

Malentendus

Misunderstandings

Pandan plizyè mwa anvan ou se nan Etazini, nou pwal pwobableman mal anpil bagay. Sa se nòmal yo ak fòt nou. Eseye ou pi bon pou pozitif-si yon moun parèt bourik, ni mechan, remind yourself that it may be because of a cultural difference. Do not assume they are a bad or rude person.

During the first several months you are in the United States, you will probably misunderstand lots of things. This is normal and not your fault. Try your best to be positive – if someone appears rude or mean, remind yourself that it may be because of a cultural difference. Do not assume they are a bad or rude person.

Si ou pa konprann yon bagay sa li te di pou ou, mande moun pou repete sa yo di. Mande yo pou yo di l' ankò pi plis, ni tou senpleman. Ou pa bezwen pè pou kenbe mande.

If you don’t understand something that is said to you, ask the person to repeat what they said. Or ask them to say it again more simply. Do not be afraid to keep asking.

Sijè sansib

Sensitive topics

Anpil Ameriken yo yon sansib sou sijè sèten. Pa ekzanp:

Many Americans are sensitive about certain subjects. For example:

They may be “politique kòrèk.” Being politically correct means trying not to say things that will offend a particular group of people. Pa ekzanp, many Americans do not tolerate racist or sexist jokes. Exactitude sa a ka ede kreye yon sosyete enklizif. But it will cause problems if others are disrespectful.

They may be “politically correct.” Being politically correct means trying not to say things that will offend a particular group of people. For example, many Americans do not tolerate racist or sexist jokes. This correctness helps to create an inclusive society. But it will cause problems if others are disrespectful.

Pifò Ameriken pa renmen pale sou chay yo, laj yo, ki kantite lajan yo fè. Si ou di yon bagay osijè de pwa yon moun a, ki laj yo se, oubyen Kisa moun rich osinon pòv yo ye, yo te ka gen machwè gonfle.

Most Americans do not like to talk about their weight, their age, or how much money they make. If you say something about someone’s weight, how old they are, or how rich or poor they are, they might be upset.

Moun tou pou pa vle di ou kote yo prale, ni kote y ap viv. Si ou te mande yon moun, “kote ou prale?” yo kapab panse ke ou gen yon move entansyon.

People also may not want to tell you where they are going or where they live. If you ask someone, “Where are you going?” they may think you have a bad intention.

There are some topics that are easier to talk about without having a communication problem. Zòn komen atravè reyinifikasyon yo timoun yo ak espò yo. Si w èske gen yon lè ap pale ak yon moun, talk about these topics!

There are some topics that are easier to talk about without having a communication problem. Common areas across cultures are children and sports. If you are having a hard time talking to someone, talk about these topics!

Ti pale

Small talk

Most Americans will talk “ti pale” avè ou. Yo ap mande ki jan ou ki pale sou tan an. This is considered polite. Si yon moun di, “Komon ou ye?” lòt moun souvan menm ki di sa,”Nou ap boule,” “Byen,” ni ni “Oke,” menm si li lapenn, ni a byen/ansante.

Most Americans will talk “small talk” with you. They will ask how you are or talk about the weather. This is considered polite. If someone says, “How are you?” the other person almost always says,”Good,” “Fine,” or “OK,” even if he or she is sad or unwell.

Souple ak mesi

Please and thank you

Nan Etazini, moun di “Souple” Lè yo mande pou yon bagay ak “Mesi” Lè yo resevwa yon bagay oswa yon moun ka ede yo. Ameriken yo gen tandans pou di mèsi lòt moun menm pou ti bagay. Si yon moun kenbe yon pòt louvri pou ou, se pou di mèsi byennelve. Si yon moun ban nou yon kado, ou ta dwe tou di ou menm?.

In the USA, people say “please” when they ask for something and “thank you” when they receive something or someone helps them. Americans tend to thank others even for little things. If someone holds a door open for you, it is polite to say thank you. If someone gives you a gift, you should also say thank you.

Angle tankou yon dezyèm lang

English as a second language

Learning English is one of the most important things you can do to help you adjust to life in the USA. If you do not speak much English, ou ka jwenn klas gratis sou liy yo ak nan kominote w lan. You can find ways to learn English online or in your local community.

Learning English is one of the most important things you can do to help you adjust to life in the USA. If you do not speak much English, you can find free classes online and in your community. You can find ways to learn English online or in your local community.

One of the best ways to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it and to listen to it a lot. Eseye pou tande ak swiv Angle mezi ou kapab. Pqononsiyasyon, oubyen li te di sa kòrèkteman, se yonn nan tout pati ki pi difisil nan apwann yon lang nouvo. Son telefòn ou an epi ki di ou mete aksan tou pwoblèm. Ou te ka santi fwistre paske w'ap di yon bagay kòrèkteman, Men Ameriken yo pa ka konprann ou. Pa tout Ameriken yo yon jan detay yo itilize pou etranje.

One of the best ways to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it and to listen to it a lot. Try to listen and practice English as much as you can. Pronunciation, or saying things correctly, is one of the most difficult parts of learning a new language. Your tone and which words you emphasize also matter. You might feel frustrated because you are saying something correctly, but Americans cannot understand you. Not all Americans are used to foreign accents.

Kominikasyon nonverbal

Nonverbal communication

Lè nou yo nan yon chita pale ak lòt moun, nou kominike nan de jan enpòtan: verbally (using words) and nonverbally. Nonverbal communication means the way we use our body to communicate. It includes:

When we are in a conversation with other people, we communicate in two important ways: verbally (using words) and nonverbally. Nonverbal communication means the way we use our body to communicate. It includes:

  • facial expressions
  • hand gestures
  • je kontak
  • posture (how we stand or sit)
  • tone of voice
  • facial expressions
  • hand gestures
  • eye contact
  • posture (how we stand or sit)
  • tone of voice

Gen kèk moun panse ke nonverbal kominikasyon ki pi enpòtan pase aktyèl sa n' a di. Li te ede moun deside si yo renmen ak konfyans lòt moun.

Some people think nonverbal communication is more important than the actual words we say. It helps people decide if they like and trust others.

Diferan reyinifikasyon itilize diferan kalite kominikasyon nonverbal. Isit la nan se kèk nan pye pou pye dèyè Ameriken yo sèvi ak kominikasyon nonverbal:

Different cultures use different types of nonverbal communication. Here are some of the ways Americans use nonverbal communication:

Je kontak

Eye contact

Pifò Ameriken fè kontak je pandan konvèsasyon enpòtan. Si ou pa fè je kontak, people may think you are lying or something is wrong. Moun ki gade tou dwat nan je ou ki konn wè li kòm plis erye, entelijan, kè sansib. Si ou soti yon kilti kote moun pa gade nan je ak lòt nan, sa dwe bagay ki difisil anpil pou nou fè.

Most Americans make eye contact during important conversations. If you do not make eye contact, people may think you are lying or something is wrong. People who look directly into your eyes are often viewed as more trustworthy, intelligent, and kind. If you come from a culture where people do not look into each other’s eyes, this may be very hard for you to do.

Smiling

Smiling

Americans smile a lot to show to be polite and to who that everything is okay. Ki lè ou rankontre yon moun nouvo, yo vle pou souri nan yo.

Americans smile a lot to show to be polite and to who that everything is okay. When you meet someone new, they expect you to smile at them.

Osti

Posture

Si ou mete debou / kanpe dwat, moun gen tandans pou yo fè ou plis respè.

If you stand up straight, people tend to give you more respect.

Touche

Touch

Pifò Ameriken souke men lè yo rankontre. Pafwa moun ap anbrase ak lòt si yo deja konnen ak lòt. Si ou santi men tranble anlè anlè, ou pa gen lanmen.

Most Americans shake hands when they meet. Sometimes people will hug each other if they already know each other. If you feel uncomfortable shaking hands, you do not have to shake hands.

Espas

Space

Nan Etazini, moun ki gen plis “espas pèsonèl.” Sa vle di si ou ap pale pou yon moun, yo pwal pwobableman kanpe / atè omwen yon pye ou.

In the USA, people have more “personal space.” This means if you are talking to someone, they will probably stand at least a foot away from you.

Diskite

Arguments

Moun nan eta Zini ap apwann pou “mete debou / kanpe” pou pi yo. Sa vle di si yon moun pas avè ou, yo ka diskite avè ou pou yo bay prèv pwen yo. Sa a se kapab trè enkonfòtab si ou soti nan kilti yon valè sa “ekonomize figi.” Nan kèk peyi yo, Lè yon kont pete nan ka vle di nou te pèdi figi.

People in the United States are taught to “stand up” for their beliefs. This means if someone disagrees with you, they may argue with you to try to prove their point. This can be very uncomfortable if you come from a culture that values “saving face.” In some countries, getting into an argument may mean you have lost face.

Ameriken yo diskite pa soti nan move san ni pou batay, Men, Kanta pou montre ou Poukisa yo kwè yo gen pase men sou. Arguing is generally accepted as part of the conversation, amwen ke ou ka pale anpil pa rele byen fò (apènn) yo oubyen itilize move grosoulye lang. Elèv ki te pèmèt e menm ankouraje pou yo pa dakò ak pwofesè yo. Timoun ka diskite ak paran yo. Travayè yo ka pa dakò ak milyè yo, Men avec. Youn le kon sa, especially in American politics, moun diskite pou pi sa pa ka janm fini!

Americans argue not out of anger or to fight, but to show you why they believe they are correct. Arguing is generally accepted as part of the conversation, unless you are speaking very loudly (screaming) or using bad or rude language. Students are allowed and even encouraged to disagree with their teachers. Children may argue with their parents. Workers can disagree with their bosses, but politely. Sometimes, especially in American politics, people argue so much that nothing can get done!

Si ou santi ou anlè anlè nan yon chire pit, m pa pi mal pou kapab eksplike pou ou fè pa santi konfòtab diskite sa se. Sepandan, ou ka bezwen pou aprann pou di moun sa ou pa dakò ak yo oubyen anko se yo te ka panse ou dakò avèk sa yo konn di.

If you feel uncomfortable in an argument, it is okay to explain that you do not feel comfortable arguing. However, you may need to learn to tell people that you disagree with them or else they might think you agree with what they say.

Imè

Humor

Yon sèl pati nan kominikasyon ki kapab trè di lè ou réglage pou yon nouvo kilti se Imè an. Ou te mande blag moun pa konprann. Oubyen yon moun te ka blag ou pa konprann. Depi Imè an kiltirèl, pafwa menm si ou konprann a bay blag, ou pa t ' kwè li komik se.

One part of communication that can be very hard when you are adjusting to a new culture is humor. You might make a joke that people around do not understand. Or someone might make a joke that you do not understand. Since humor is cultural, sometimes even if you understand the joke, you might not think it is funny.

Blag

Jokes

Ameriken yo anpil tankou pou di blag. Youn le kon sa, blag kapab komik ak tout moun ap ri. Youn le kon sa, blag kapab ofansif. Pa ekzanp, yon moun te ka ba blag baze sou ras, ni idantite senksyèl. Moun sa yo, ni blag yo pa politique kòrèk! Si yon moun di blag porte ou, ou kapab avec di nou jwenn li ofansif oubyen disrespectful, mande yo pou yo pa di ou nenpòt blag plis de sa.

Many Americans like to tell jokes. Sometimes, jokes can be funny and everyone laughs. Sometimes, jokes can be offensive. For example, someone might tell a joke based on race or gender. These people and jokes are not politically correct! If someone tells a joke that offends you, you can politely say you find it offensive or disrespectful and ask them not to tell you any more jokes of that kind.

Satire

Satire

Freedom of speech is protected by the United States Constitution. Poutèt sa, the American media can make jokes about things that people in other countries may not joke about. Pa ekzanp, there are some US newspapers that are “bay blag” jounal-yo ekri nouvèl ki se satirique oubyen komik, Men, pa vre. Pa ekzanp, yon papye satirique jounal Etazini te rele a Zonyon te pale a tou yon istwa sou a pwezidan an nan Kore di Nò. Yo te di li te vote a moun ki pi bèl nan mond lan. Gen kèk moun nan Kore di Nò ak Lachin te panse istwa a, se te vre. Men istwa a li te genyen sèlman yon bay blag.

Freedom of speech is protected by the United States Constitution. Because of this, the American media can make jokes about things that people in other countries may not joke about. For example, there are some US newspapers that are “joke” newspapers – they write news that is satirical or funny, but not true. For example, a US satirical newspaper paper called the Onion wrote a story about the President of North Korea. They said he was voted the most handsome man in the world. Some people in North Korea and China thought the story was true. But the story was just a joke.

Hollywood

Comedies

Nan Etazini, some people like to watch comedies on television. They might also like to watch professional comedians on TV or in theaters and clubs. Youn le kon sa, American comedies and comedians can be offensive.

In the USA, some people like to watch comedies on television. They might also like to watch professional comedians on TV or in theaters and clubs. Sometimes, American comedies and comedians can be offensive.

Pranks

Pranks

Ameriken ki renmen passe ak lòt. Nan Amerik lan, se yon jou fèt te rele Fous avril’ Jou. Se premye jou nan avril. Jou sa a, anpil moun renmen pou eseye jwe pare yon pèlen. Pa ekzanp, gen yon moun nan travay ap fè kwè ke gen yon bagay tout bon lè se pa. Moun ki rele kat sa yo blag “pranks” ni ni “kraze janm ou.”

Some Americans like to trick each other. In America, there is a holiday called April Fools’ Day. It is on the first day of April. On this day, many people like to try to play tricks. For example, someone at work might make you believe something is true when it is not. People call these jokes “pranks” or “pulling your leg.”

Kontra yo ak akò yo

Contracts and agreements

Nan Etazini, written contracts and verbal agreements are important.

In the US, written contracts and verbal agreements are important.

Akò yo ki nòmalman vèbal. Pa ekzanp, yon moun kapab mande nou fè lòt bagay, nou di wi oubyen non. Sa se yon akò. Nan Amerik lan, vèbal akò yo konn pran trè seryezman. Youn le kon sa, Lè ou siyen yon kontra vèbal, ou ka tou souke men. L' a men se yon senbòl sa nou tou de pral akonpli akò a.

Agreements are typically verbal. For example, someone may ask you to do something and you say yes or no. This is an agreement. In America, verbal agreements are generally taken very seriously. Sometimes, when you make a verbal agreement, you may also shake hands. Shaking hands is a symbol that you are both going to fulfill the agreement.

One problem with verbal agreements is that sometimes people can misunderstand. Pa ekzanp, you may make a verbal agreement with someone that you will meet them at 5 pm that day. Men, gen dwa yo fèt, yo te panse ou siyifi jou kap vini an.

One problem with verbal agreements is that sometimes people can misunderstand. For example, you may make a verbal agreement with someone that you will meet them at 5 pm that day. But, maybe they misunderstood and thought you meant the next day.

Si ou dakò pou yon bagay, li enpòtan pou Ameriken yo pou ou ka swa akonpli akò sa a oubyen pou ou kite yo konnen ou pa ka mete nou dakò a. This is true even for something small. Pa ekzanp, Si yon moun mande nou pou nou pran dine n ou di wi, ou ta dwe tou ale manje midi oubyen ou ta dwe rele yo e di yo sa, nou pa ka vin anvan li lè pou ou manje midi a.

If you agree to something, it is important to Americans that you either fulfill that agreement or that you let them know you can’t complete the agreement. This is true even for something small. For example, if someone asks you to have lunch and you say yes, you should either go to lunch or you should call them and tell them you can’t come before it is time for the lunch.

Kontra yo ap ekri akò ki leta ki de (ou plis) moun dakò pou yo. Lè ou jwe nan yon apatman ou siyen yon afèmaj. Ki lè ou konmanse yon travay, ou ka resevwa yon kontra travay. Si ou achte machin sou kredi, ou te ka siyen yon akò kredi. Tout moun sa yo se kontra yo.

Contracts are written agreements that state what two (or more) people agree to. When you move into an apartment you sign a lease. When you start a job, you may receive an employment contract. If you buy a car on credit, you might sign a loan agreement. All of these are contracts.

Si ou siyen yon kontra, ou siman gen yon obligasyon legal pou kontra sa. Se poutèt sa li enpòtan anpil pou ou li sa k anpil swen. Si kontra a nan lang anglè, ou ka vle mande pou yo ede traduction li. Pou yon kontra senp, you can ask a friend or you can email us and we will try to help you understand the contract. If it concerns money, travay, or legal services, you may want to use a professional translator or ask your caseworker for advice.

If you sign a contract, you probably have a legal obligation to fulfill that contract. So it is very important that you read it carefully. If the contract is in English, you may want to ask for help translating it. For a simple contract, you can ask a friend or you can email us and we will try to help you understand the contract. If it concerns money, work, or legal services, you may want to use a professional translator or ask your caseworker for advice.

Se sa yo rele jeneralizasyon sou Ameriken kilti-pa fè, just ideas to help you better understand why an American may be acting a way that is different to what you are used to. American ways and culture are not better or worse than other ways – just different.

These are generalizations about American culture – not facts, just ideas to help you better understand why an American may be acting a way that is different to what you are used to. American ways and culture are not better or worse than other ways – just different.

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