12/31/09

How To Beat The Competition and Get That Job!

How To Beat The Competition and Get That Job!
by: Sam Collyer

Several hundred thousand graduates leave university each year whilst some take the opportunity to travel before entering the world of work the priority, for the vast majority, is to enter their chosen field as quickly as possible.

Bearing in mind the current economic state-high unemployment combined an increasing amount of graduates' competition for jobs, places on graduate schemes and the like, has never been so fierce. As such, to tip the scales of success in their favour, it is imperative that steps are taken to secure a head start over the competition.

Lets look at the three areas that, with the correct approach can give a serious advantage over your rivals.

1. Get the best possible classification of degree that you are able.

2. Gain experience and develop transferable skills that employers are looking for.

3. Prepare properly for the application and assessment process and make sure that you have the ability to deliver what a prospective employer is looking for.

Getting the best possible classification of degree

This is self-explanatory; a candidate with a higher classification will automatically stand out from those with a lesser grade. That said the right interpersonal skills and qualities are also vital to an employer and so selling yourself and your individual qualities during the assessment process can give you the edge over a better qualified candidate.

Gain experience and develop transferable skills that employers are looking for.

Each university will have a careers service staffed with specialist advisers whose role is to offer expert help and guidance, it’s a free service provided for your benefit so use it to your advantage. Unfortunately many students’ make the mistake of not seeking out the services of a counsellor until the final year (sometimes even the final term) of university, clearly this is the incorrect approach, the sooner advice is sought the better.

A careers counsellor can help in two ways, firstly by suggesting suitable career options dependant upon the subject studied, interests and personality type; secondly to help the person successfully secure a position within their chosen field.

Regardless as to whether you have a particular profession in mind, it remains imperative that you seek advice as soon as possible. It may well be that there are things that you could be doing, during the duration of your degree that will have an impact on your search for work later down the line. For example law students’ may find that summer employment in a solicitors office or the undertaking mini pupillages’ may well have a profound impact when it comes to securing a training contract or pupillage proper.

A career’s counsellor can advise accordingly, not only with regards to gaining practical experience but also regarding the development of skills demanded within your chosen vocation. It is crucial for example, that someone with a desire to enter the world of sales and marketing not only has excellent negotiation skills but can demonstrate to a prospective employer during the application process, how they have used the skill in real situations. Thus over the duration of your degree, whether through academia, via work paid or voluntary, you must have involved yourself in an environment that has enabled you, not only to develop the particular skill but also to facilitate examples from which you are able to draw.

Prepare properly for the application and assessment process and make sure that you have the ability to deliver what a prospective employer is looking for.

This third area which demands a prepared and competent approach is the successful completion of the application process-and a science in itself!

Again the careers advisor can point you in the right direction when it comes to finding opportunities some even have links with major or local employers. They can also give sound advice when it comes to the application and assessment procedure, however the greater the preparation and more extensive your knowledge the better.

An organised student will begin in their search for employment well in advance of graduation. Of course the Internet is the ideal research tool where information can be found on most companies along with their current vacancies and any recruitment schemes that maybe available to you once you’ve graduated. You should also keep an eye out for recruitment events such as job fairs and ‘milk rounds’ as they also offer the opportunity to network, build contacts and forge relationships, to hand out CV’s to speak personally with recruiters and to sell yourself.
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Studying English at University - Secrets to Success

Studying English at University - Secrets to Success
by: Sam Pearce

English is a core subject in British schools. All pupils from infant to school leaving age are required to study it in one way or another. The study of English at a higher level continues to be popular but it is not for everyone.

Most traditional English courses were largely literature based. This meant, and still means, that you have lots to read. If you enjoy reading then this is no problem, but much of the reading in fact most of it is likely to be done in your own time. You will be asked to read literature from different ages and of different genre. It is likely you will study prose, poetry and drama. Unlike some other subjects where there is heavy emphasis on absorbing facts, English is often different because it relies more on your personal responses to what you have read.

More recently there has been a growth in the number of English courses which are language based and look at different aspects of English and linguistics. In courses like this for instance, you may be asked to translate a text from one genre to another. There has also been a development in writing courses which enable students to write expertly in both creative and functional language. Subjects often associated with English are Media Studies and Drama.

The downside of studying English particularly in the more traditional courses is the huge emphasis on reading. If you are not an avid reader and get little pleasure from reading then it might be wise for you to think twice about studying English. With the emphasis being on personal response and opinion rather than on fact based outcomes, then this may cause problems for some. The requirement to write long essays is not specific to English. Other subjects require projects, dissertations, and long essays, but it is unlikely you will be expected to write quite as much as you would for English study.

A qualification in English at whatever level is likely to be an important factor in making the search for a job easier. There are many opportunities for people with English at degree level because its value is recognised in business and the professions.

At some point in your course, you will almost certainly be required to do at least one big project. So where do you start? The library of course! In addition, remember that there is a wealth of information available via the internet.

The internet is a fantastic aid to all forms of study and if you need information when researching a project then there is an abundance of it. Information is made available on virtually any subject you can name by search engines and electronic encyclopaedia, and the information is made available in great quantities. It is important therefore, to find out exactly what you need, what is relevant.

A lot of the information will also be opinion or just drivel, peddled as knowledge. You need to be careful and separate the two. Generally speaking, information that is well established will be found in several places or be attributable to a reliable source. It is often worth trying to verify any potentially controversial points independently offline. This can take time and effort, using the internet is seen by many as a quick way of getting information. It is not. Allow sufficient time for your project to allow you to verify your facts and to develop your own opinions. Your tutor’s time is valuable, s/he will not thank you for wasting it with unverified rubbish from unreliable sources.

Be selective; decide what the project requires. Try to be specific and focused. If your project contains irrelevant information and detail it is not likely to be viewed favourably, so make sure you use only what is necessary to improve your project. Do not make the mistake of copying great extracts from the net; this is not a good idea. Even more important than copying great chunks is that you do not try to pass off what you do copy as you own work. This is plagiarism and is viewed very seriously by examiners and moderators at all levels of academic study. It is also completely pointless as it removes all learning opportunities.

When you do find the information that you require, you need to read it, understand it and then attempt to express it in your own words. At first this maybe difficult for you to achieve but the more you do it the easier it will become. You will learn how to process the information to your advantage.

If your project requires you to include photographs, pictures or other images then the internet can be very useful in providing these and incorporating them into your work. But always make sure that you get permission to use the images. It is unlikely that you would ever be prosecuted for stealing someone else’s intellectual property but it is a matter of courtesy.

Finally, remember it is important that your project is presented in the most effective way. It should be cohesive, clearly indexed and easy to read. You can always get a friend to read it through in order to proofread and critique your work.

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Create Wealth on the Internet: Third of Eight reasons why

Create Wealth on the Internet: Third of Eight reasons why
by: Tomlin Rezar

This article will cover the topic to Create Wealth on the Internet-3rd of 8 reasons why

We have been discussing the topic on creating wealth on the Internet. In this article we will continue with the third of eight reasons why it is imperative that anybody with access to the internet should consider to create wealth on the internet with a turn key automated website that makes money online on autopilot. Our first two reasons so far have been:

Firstly, the low cost of this home based business, work at home mom, work at home dad, work at home opportunity to create wealth online. Compare the cost an internet entrepreneur has to lay out to get started with ways to make money immediately with a home based business, an online money making system that really works, with the start up costs of a franchise.

Secondly, the fact that your automated turn key website that makes money online on autopilot is open 24/7. Any time of the day, and any time at night your turn key website is on autopilot, making money online even when you sleep. It doesn't matter which time zone you might be in, because your turn key automated money making website is awake and operating any time of the day on any time zone in the world. Not too many businesses can boast they are open 24/7 and operate at this low cost.

Thirdly, now we will discuss the third of eight reasons why you should consider creating wealth on the internet and make money online on autopilot with this great legitimate online income opportunity. This third reason is because of the World Wide Market. Many of us know that our home town business is pretty much limited to the one or two counties that surround where our office is, where we live or where we work.

But with a legitimate internet business like www.streamlinecashflow.com and www.webwealthcreation.com you have two ironic, almost conflicting principles working for you: Firstly, you don't have to leave your front door, and secondly, your market is the world, not just a county or two around you! To make money online on autopilot, you don't have to go anywhere. All you need to do is create wealth online from the comfort of your own home, on your own computer. Any legitimate internet business can be operated by any internet entrepreneur, even on a low budget. Some of us have never flown to another country, but through the internet, we work at home and make money online on autopilot all around the world.

With this turn key website that is completely, 100% automated and is working on autopilot at 98%, anybody with access to the internet can launch an online cash flow on the internet and enjoy a residual online income for years to come. With no end in sight with this incredible industry, if you can own your own turn key website (professionally made by those who know what they are doing), the world wide phenomena of making money online on autopilot and creating wealth online is at the fingertips of any average internet entrepreneur. Even on a low budget, any beginner can make money on the internet with this system.

Now don't get me wrong, you won't be a My Brother Pablo Escobar with this system. But just think of this: With a world wide market, you will be making money online on autopilot all around the world. You have no inventory that you have to sell to launch your online cash flow. It is all digital. Your turn key, automated, professionally made website will sell digital products to your buyers, and you don't have to talk to a single person on the telephone to do so. You will not even have to send out an email with any attachment of your digital products to a single person. There is no selling, no phone calling, no inventory, no sales pitching. Your automated website does it all for you.

This is truly a legitimate online income opportunity. The advance of the internet globally has created a world wide market that is easy to access and create wealth online. It used to be that people from around the world immigrated to America with financial hopes. Now they can buy a US based business, or a UK based business, and be making dollars and pounds from their own computer in their home country, in addition to making their own rupees, rands and rubels from clients in their own countries.

If ever there is an opportunity to really experience success in life, financial freedom, financial prosperity and financial independence, it is possible with this program to reach it by creating wealth on the internet. WebWeatlhCreation and StreamlineCashFlow (.c.o.m.) are both incredible opportunities to ways to make money immediately. Don't get me wrong: Every business needs time to make money online on autopilot. But of the ways to make money immediately is through the pay per click program on Google, Yahoo, MSN (Bing) etc. But you have to do PPC (Pay Per Click) right, otherwise you could lose money before you make money. To learn how to do this correctly is to go through the training videos and manuals at StreamlineCashFlow or WebWealthCreation and understand it thoroughly before proceeding.

But listen, free traffic to your website will drive more traffic to your website that paid traffic to your turn key automated website that makes money online on autopilot. This is where it takes some time. But if you stick with this program, and keep fine tuning it, you will not be disappointed. Making money online on autopilot and to create wealth online with this legitimate internet business has a magic to it and a thrill that is just incredible. I have made money the hard way, and I have lost money too-a lot of money. But this legitimate online income opportunity, working from home with this online cash flow system that creates a residual online income, is one of the easiest ways to make money.

Imagine a cash flow online that just keeps coming and coming. Imagine building your residual income online week after week, day after day. Imagine no inventory, no selling, no calling, no sales pitching. Your turn key automated website does all this for you. All you do is spend about 10 hours a week on your home based internet business and create wealth online as an internet entrepreneur. You can make money online on autopilot part time or full time. The more time you put into ways to make money immediately, the quicker you will build your online cash flow. The more time you put into your legitimate internet business, the larger you will build your residual income online cash flow.

StreamlineCashFlow's IPC Instant Cash program promised me a $5,000.00 reward if I failed to make real money online. I yet have to claim my $5,000.00 reward check, because I am making real money online! That's the catch: They promise you $5,000.00 reward if you fail, knowing that you won't fail. This is a catch I can live with.

I wish you the best success in life, financial freedom and prosperity. See you at the top and feel free to contact me (email preferred) if you have any questions. Thanks a lot to this article site that so unselfishly allows average people like myself share my story and encourage others like you to attain success in life.

See you at the top!

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Why Study Spanish in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico?

Why Study Spanish in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico?
by: Ray Blakney

You had just arrived at the airport of Tuxla Guttierez, Chiapas, Mexico half an hour ago. Now you are on a highway snaking its way upwards 2500 meters, on your way to San Cristobal de las Casas, the home of the Zapatistas and the central meeting ground for the local indigenous groups like the Chamulas. On your right you can see the world falling away as you get closer to the clouds. It is your first time here. You have read the travel guides, and searched the internet for things to do. Everywhere you looked you ran across the same things, Palenque, Chamula, Lagos de Montebello. But you want something different. You want to see the real Chiapas, and visit places that are not overflowing with tour groups. As you look out at the sky you see two green streaks. As you focus in on them you realize that it is actually a pair of parakeets flying towards some unknown location. "Where did they come from?" you wonder....

Cima de Cottoras

Located 1.5 hours outside of Tuxla Guttierez (take the bus service that leaves from the Plaza de Marimbau), the Cima de Cotorras (Parakeets), is a 180 meter deep sink hole. While the area surrounding area tends to be dry during the summers, at the bottom of this sink hole is a tropical jungle that remains humid all year round. But the main attraction of this location is the thousands of parakeets that call this sinkhole home. For the adventurous, a daily tour is offered at 5:00 a.m. to descend halfway down the sinkhole, and watch as the thousands parakeets wake up and ascend in unison out of there jungle home. Facilities include a hotel, camp grounds and one restaurant overlooking the sinkhole. Proceeds from the site go to maintain the natural habitat of the cotorras.

.. The clouds part, and you find yourself looking at a valley surrounded by green mountain tops. In the middle of this valley you see signs of life. San Cristóbal de las Casas. You can already make out the the Churches of San Cristóbal and Guadalupe on there respective hills, looking over the town. It must have rained recently, because you see puddle of water all over the road. You think to yourself "they almost look like lakes"...

Lagos de Colon

The Lagos de Colon are located 4 hours south of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Take a shuttle from San Cristóbal to Comítan and then transfer to a bus that goes to Lagos de Colon. This string of lakes are known for there smooth mirror-like surfaces. A popular weekend site for local Mexicans, these beautiful lakes are perfect for swimming and relaxing the day away. Follow the path away from the main lake area and you will find beautiful waterfall, and keep going down this path and you will find a small set of newly discovered Mayan ruins. Facilities include a guest house, free camping area, 3 small family restaurants, and during the day there are a few small vendors selling food like fried plantains and fresh fruits.

.. The taxi driver turns from the main road onto Ave. Insurgents. You have just entered the historic downtown of San Crístóbal. Colonial style building surround you. As you are driving you pass an incredible potpourri of humanity. Europeans, American, Asians, Mexican and numerous indigenous groups. As you try to take it all in, your thoughts are interrupted by a grumbling sound. It's your stomach. You realize you haven't eaten since breakfast 10 hours ago. "Where could I get a bite to eat?" you wonder...

Comítan

Just 1 hour south of San Cristóbal is the town of Comítan. Most tourist only pass through the outskirts of this town on their way to the Lagos de Montebellos or Chiflon. They are missing out. From the bus station take a short taxi ride (or walk for 15 minutes) to the beautiful historic center. The central zocalo is pristine, and is littered with art and sculptures from around the world. The plants and flowers are always in bloom and the weather is always perfect. The main attraction of Comítan is that most local Chapanecos (people from Chiapas), acknowledge that it has the best food in the state. Restaurants on the plaza are tasty, but tend to be little more expensive. If you want the best deal simply walk 1-2 blocks away from the Zocalo in any direction and find a local restaurant.

.. You fight down the growing feeling of hunger. First things first. You need to find a hotel. Luckily there seems to be dozens on every block in San Cristóbal. You ask the taxi driver to drop you off in front of one that looks nice and seems to fit your budget. You pay your fare and get your bags out of the trunk, but as you turn around to enter the hotel, you find you have can't pass. You are surrounded by dozens of indigenous women and children saying "comprame". You don't speak Spanish, but it is not hard to figure out that they want you to buy one of there multicolored bracelets, belts or Sub-commandante Marcos dolls. "Where did they all come from?" you ask...

San Juan del Rio

The small village of San Juan del Rio is not on any map. You have to take a collectivo (local public transport) to Cancuc, and then take a local taxi (probably the back of a pickup) to the entrance to this village. From this entrance you have to walk 1.5 hours to get to the village. The village has no roads, or electricity. The town of 500 people survives by growing coffee. It is a perfect place to see how life is for most Chapanecos. Have traditional food, cooked over an open fire. Spend some time relaxing in a Mayan steam room, and then go down to the local river and have a swim. Foreigners are so rare here, that the kids at the river will probably stare and point in wonder at any outsiders who show up. You have to arrange a tour with one of the local villagers to get here. Money from these tours go to the village fund to build a road.

.. You fought your way through the crowd that surrounded you outside. You are now the proud owner of 5 colorful bracelets and a clay figure that looks to you like a turtle. You ask if there are any rooms available. In broken English the girl at the reception says "Yes", and gives you a list of the prices. The prices were fair. As the receptionist prepares the paperwork you scan the tour pamphlets lain out on the front desks. There are hundreds, each selling tours to the same places. Then one catches your eye. This one is not glossy or professional like the others, it is black and white with nothing more than a pyramid on the cover. "Where is Toniná?" you ask the receptionist...

Toniná

Toniná is located 3 hours from San Cristobal. Take a bus to Ocosingo, and then get a taxi, or collective to Toniná. Toniná is located in the middle of an open plain. Standing atop its highest level you can see for miles and miles in all directions. Getting a tour guide is highly recommended. The guide will lead you through the pitch black maze of the Shaman of death, and show you how the ancient Mayans had designed rooms to have natural air conditioning. A little known fact is that Toniná is actually responsible for the fall of Palenque (its famous cousin to the west). The museum outside the ruins is small, but worth a visit. Bring a large bottle of water, since there is very little shade during your tour and you will get thirsty.

You are finally here. Settled into your hotel room. Exhausted but excited. All that is left to decide is "What am I going to see tomorrow?"

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Do We Share the Same Taboos? Cultural Influence on Language Choice

Do We Share the Same Taboos? Cultural Influence on Language Choice
by: Man-Ping Chu

ABSTRACT

Taboos are established in a society to avoid harmful consequences to their people either because the non-verbal or verbal behavior violates a code based on supernatural beliefs or it violates the moral code of the society. According to Adler (1989), taboos are subject to the environment and they are language-specific. This research was held in the United States to examine whether the Chinese and Korean immigrants in a western society share any taboos in (1) non-verbal phonologically-linked taboos, related to death or separation and (2) verbal animal-linked taboos to describe people. The results show that these Chinese and Koreans share only one phonologically-linked taboo – the number “4”, which associates with “death,” and one animal-linked taboo – the “tiger” for a woman, which is used negatively to hot-tempered females.

Introduction

In an intercultural setting, good communication requires not only the linguistic and sociolinguistic knowledge of the host language for interaction but also knowledge of the culture and cultural rules which contribute greatly to the content and the process of meaningful communicative interaction (Saville-Troike, 1989). Most people are motivated to adjust their conversation in expressing attitudes and intentions toward others. Though individual variation may exist, people will basically choose appropriate language as a means of reducing the cultural differences between them. Knowledge of prominent language features of a culture like non-verbal and verbal taboos, seldom discussed in language textbooks or in classrooms as part of cultural instruction, is probably essential to successful communicative interaction (Shen, 1993).

Taboos are subject to the environment. They are language-specific; therefore, they are not universal or timeless (Adler, 1978). In many cases, foreign people realize the existence of the rules associated with taboos only after they have violated them. Those who do not observe these social “rules” might face serious results, such as total embarrassment or, as Saville-Troike (1989) has stated, they may be accused of immorality and face social ostracism or even death.

In this paper, two types of Chinese “possible taboos” are examined in the context of Korean culture and language: (1) Non-verbal phonologically-linked taboos from traditional Chinese society that are associated with the “separation” and “death”. Do Chinese and Koreans share these taboos because similar sounds occur so often in their languages? (2) Verbal zodiac-animal-linked taboos in modern Chinese society. Do Chinese and Koreans share more zodiac-animal-linked taboos than either shares with Americans because of the same customs? Data were collected in two ways: questionnaires and interviews.

What is a Taboo?

The word ‘taboo’ in early contexts was primarily used to evoke a breach of good manners. Today the word evokes either attitudes that are outdated and irrational or topics that were deemed unmentionable in the past but are now being openly discussed (Thody, 1997).

“Taboo” is a borrowed word from Tongan, a Polynesian language. To most people, it refers to “forbidden” or “to be avoided” behaviors, both verbal and non-verbal. A taboo is also an expression of disapproved behaviors in a society. Taboos are established because people believe that such inappropriateness will bring harmful consequences to them either because this non-verbal or verbal behavior violates a code based on supernatural beliefs or it violates the moral code of the society (Wardhaugh, 1992). Once taboos are formed in a country, references to them become taboo, too (Shen, 1993).

We may find that taboos occur in all kinds of environments, from ancient to modern society, and at all levels of civilization. Members of each community are psychologically and physically trained and shaped by the community to observe the “rules” closely. For example, Westerners wear black for a funeral and white for a wedding. But in the ancient Chinese weddings, a white dress was not allowed to be worn because white was for a funeral. Therefore, all individuals involved had to wear black formal costumes. Later, the color changed to red. Now under Western influence, white is the customary formal color for brides and sometimes for bridegrooms, too (Shen, 1993).

Non-Verbal and Verbal Taboos

Non-Verbal Taboos

Some non-verbal taboos may seem funny, but severe punishment might have come to those who failed to observe the rules in an earlier time and today as well. Accidents may also result from taboo non-verbal cues (e.g., an inappropriate gesture). For example, In 1988, in Los Angeles, an entertainer from Thailand was reported to have been convicted of the murder of a young Laotian. The entertainer was singing in an after-hours Thai cabaret when the Laotian, a patron, put his foot on a chair with the sole directed at the entertainer. When the cabaret closed, the entertainer followed the man and shot him. The reason was that among Southeast Asians, showing or directing the sole of the shoe to another person is considered a grievous insult (Axtell, 1991).

An incident also took place in Hong Kong a few years ago because of a hand signal miscommunication. A television station there took an annual picture of all the contracted entertainers before the Chinese New Year. As a joke, famous Kung-fu actor Jackie Chan, who recently played the main actor in the movie “Rush Hour,” held his fist with his middle finger stuck out on top of the head of an actress who stood in front of him. When his photo appeared in the newspapers, the station received dozens of calls from Westerners living in Hong Kong complaining about the indecent gesture. To them, when the middle finger is used, there is only one interpretation – indecency. When Chan applied this gesture, he meant to suggest that his friend had grown horns on her head for fun. Chan refused to apologize because his gesture was not intended to be an insult as the gesture is not considered indecent in Chinese Society

Several times, when my Korean informant talked about classic words or terms used in Korean, I could figure out the exact Chinese counterparts merely from her pronunciation. This is not surprising because the cultural influences of China upon Korea over the centuries have left an indelible mark upon both the written and spoken Korean language. It is possible to trace many aspects of Korean language and culture back to ancient China. But not long ago, when my Korean informant gave me a fan as a gift, I was a little shocked.

To many Chinese people, a fan is a forbidden present because it has the identical sound as “separation.” If a person gives a fan to his or her friend, their friendship will stop or diminish from that time. Therefore, it has become a phonologically linked taboo to give friends a fan in Chinese society. One question is if Korean people also have similar phonologically-linked taboos as the Chinese do. The first part of the questionnaire elicits data to see if there are any similarities between Chinese and Korean people on this point because of the similar sounds.

Verbal taboos

In every language there seem to be certain “unmentionables” – words of such strong affective connotation that they cannot be used in polite discourse. Two verbal taboos are probably universal. The first of these are words that deal with excretion and sex. For example, when a woman needs to go to the toilet because “nature calls,” she will ask people where the “rest room” or “powder room” is, although she has no intention of resting or putting powder on her face. Second, in both Western and Asian cultures the fear of death carries over into fear of the words having to do with death. Many people, therefore, substitute words, such as “died” or “death” with expressions such as “passed away,” “went to his reward” or “departed” (Hayakawa, 1982).

People generally like to hear words that bless one’s good health and long life or metaphors that generate positive descriptions of one’s personality and appearance. However, because of different cultural backgrounds, an expression in one country can cause a quite different effect in another. For example, Chinese people would feel horrified or upset if they were told before a performance to “break a leg,” an English expression used to wish one good luck.

In the study in this paper, Chinese animal-linked taboos are compared with those of Korea because both countries have the same twelve animals (i.e., the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the chicken, the dog, and the pig) as part of the zodiac cycle representing a unit of time. At the same time, these verbal animal-linked taboos are also compared with animal expressions in America to see if there are any significant differences.

Hypotheses

To this day many Chinese people are superstitious to the extent that they will avoid doing anything that they believe can bring bad luck. Chinese non-verbal phonologically linked taboos are products of ancient days. They were generated from an identical sound or group of sounds which represents evil objects, disasters, and other negative occurrences. (Shen, 1993). Since a large portion of Korean vocabulary comes from Chinese culture, especially Confucian classics, my first hypothesis is that Korean people will have most of the phonologically linked taboos that China does.

A special zodiac cycle, consisting of the twelve animals mentioned above, has been shared by Chinese and Korean people for hundreds of years. One animal represents one year, and twelve years is a complete cycle. In ancient Chinese culture, most of these animals were good symbols. They were quite welcomed and respected. Nevertheless, in modern society in China negative connotations are given to some of the animals, which means some of the animals have become verbal taboos in describing a person’s character or appearance.

Koreans, being so historically and geographically related to the Chinese, probably at some time in the past associated the same meanings to the twelve animals as Chinese people did. Furthermore, it seems likely that meanings would have evolved over the years as they have for the Chinese, but not necessarily in the same direction. The second part of the questionnaire is designed to examine if Chinese and Korean people still come to a consensus on which animal-linked vocabulary words are forbidden and which are acceptable to use in reference to a friend. Regarding verbal taboos, my second hypothesis is that Chinese and Koreans will share more animal-linked taboos than either shares with Americans.

Methods

The sample for this study consists of thirty respondents from three countries. Ethnicity was determined through questionnaires in which respondents provided their own label for their background. In all, there were ten Chinese people (seven from Taiwan, one from Mainland China, one from Hong Kong and one from the US), ten Koreans (from South Korea) and ten Americans (three German-Americans, one Italian-American, one African-American, and five Anglo-Americans). Among the ten Chinese people, aged from 25 – 38, are two males and eight females. Among the ten Koreans, aged from 28 - 40, are six males and four females. Among the ten Americans, aged from 27 – 50’s, are four males and six females.

Data collection

Data were collected in two ways: informal interviews and the questionnaire. The questionnaire was culturally determined. To focus on the characteristics of Chinese taboos, questions fell into two categories: (1) non-verbal phonologically linked examples of inappropriate usage, such as homonyms or expressions forbidden to certain groups within Chinese culture; (2) verbal animal-linked metaphors and inappropriate language choices from the Chinese and Korean zodiac.

In the questionnaire, Questions one through six are non-verbal phonologically linked taboos that Chinese people have been aware of for hundreds of years. In Questions 7 through 19 are designed to elicit what animal-linked vocabulary words would be verbal taboos among the Chinese, Korean, and American peoples.

Results and Discussion

Non-verbal phonologically-linked taboos

Because Chinese people yearn to reach or be close to a state of “being blessed” and to stay away from “evil” or “bad luck” as much as possible, they create taboo situations. The phonological parts of taboos mentioned in the first six questions in the Questionnaire are examples of evil-related things: death and separation; thus, they became representative of the Chinese taboo system. Some examples follows:

(1) Chinese: The fan (? shan) and the umbrella (? san) have very similar sounds to the word “? san”, which means “separation”. Korean: The fan (? son) and the umbrella (? san) do not sound similar to the word “? zhok”, which means “separation”. Therefore, the Chinese and Koreans did not share this taboo.

Question 1: It is appropriate to give a female friend a fan as a gift.

Question 2: It is appropriate to give a friend an umbrella as a gift.

The Chinese word ? (shan) is a term meaning “to break up, to dismiss, to dissolve.” It is a “forbidden” word among Chinese performers because their professional survival depends on a continuous succession of contracts; therefore, for them, the very notion of “breaking up” infers the destruction of their career. This tradition is carried to the extent of preventing a performer not only from voicing this particular word, but even from mentioning any term that includes the same sounds, such as “? shan” which means fan, or “? san” which means umbrella. Therefore, 50 or less had no objection to such a gift. The reason was that a beautifully painted fan can decorate the wall and an umbrella is very useful in our daily life. It is also interesting to note that, in ancient China, a fan could be given as a parting present in the hope that the traveler could use it to keep himself cool.

But 90 of the Chinese respondents disagreed or disagreed strongly with giving a friend a clock as a gift. The ones who agreed said they would only give it to a person their age.

One hundred percent of Koreans and Americans all agreed or agreed strongly with giving a clock to a friend. To Korean people, a clock is a traditional and popular gift for a friend when he or she starts a business. The Korean sound for “giving a clock” is “song zhong,” and the sound for “biding farewell to a dying person on his or her deathbed” is “song young.” They sound quite different. To Americans, clocks or watches make lovely gifts and they are long lasting. Certain brands and styles would be more acceptable. One American responded that the fancier, the more appropriate.

(3) Chinese: “Turning over (? fan) a fish ” can be a forbidden action on a boat to avoid the disastrous outcome of a ship being overturned in the ocean. Korean: “Turning over (? zhokban) a fish” is not a forbidden action on a boat to avoid bad luck. Therefore, the Chinese and Koreans did not share this taboo.

Question 4: If eating fish on a boat, it is appropriate to turn the fish over after one finishes eating the meat on the top side.

Fifty percent of the Chinese respondents disagreed or disagreed strongly with doing it. In Southern China, seamen’s families generally avoid voicing “? fan” (a Chinese sound for “turn over”). They associate the disastrous outcome of a ship being overturned in the ocean with the action word for the concept. If fearing what one says might bring the unwanted consequence into reality, the taboo situation is established. To these families, it is also a taboo behavior to turn a fish topside down after one finishes the meat on that side. They envision the fish as the ship that carries their loved ones, so turning the fish over on the dish would symbolize that the ship has capsized in the ocean.

Ninety percent of the Koreans agreed with the action because they thought it would be a way to finish a fish neatly or to see if there is more to eat. They do not associate the sound for “turn over” with the disastrous outcome of a ship being overturned in the ocean through the action word for that concept. Eighty percent of the Americans agreed because they thought it makes sense and would probably be easier that way, especially if the fish has a lot of bones in the middle. The rest who disagreed (20 of the Chinese and 90 of the respondents agreed. Only the number “13” is considered bad luck in American culture. Therefore, a Chinese or Korean patient would react far more strongly to being assigned to a room or a floor in a hospital with the number four than would an American patient assigned to a “Room 13” or “floor 13.” This is the only phonologically-linked taboo that I found shared by these two countries.

(5) Chinese: “Cutting a pear in two halves” (?? feng li) can be another forbidden action among Chinese because it sounds exactly like ?? (feng li), which means “separation”. Korean: “Cutting a pear in two halves” (?? bun yi) does not sound like ?? (bul li), which means “separation”. Therefore, the Chinese and Koreans did not share this taboo.

Question 6: It is appropriate to cut a pear in two halves and share it with a friend.

In one Chinese opera, a fruit merchant claims that his pears will make a marriage happy. But lovers should never cut up or divide pears since the word for “pear” (li) is phonologically identical with the word for “separation” (? li). For the same reasons, relatives or friends will avoid dividing pears among themselves. Therefore, at the end of twentieth century, 50 of the Koreans agreed or agreed strongly. They and the American respondents thought there was no problem with this action and that it would be seen as a gesture of friendship and generosity. Sharing is considered a good thing as it shows that one cares for another. Cutting a pear is the same as cutting any other fruit.

Verbal animal-linked taboos

As mentioned above, Chinese and Koreans have the same twelve animals (i.e., the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the chicken, the dog, and the pig) in the zodiac cycle to represent a unit of time. They are used to convey positive values in both cultures.

Since Asian people have become more and more westernized in the last twenty years, some animal-linked vocabulary words in modern Chinese society have different connotations from what they did in old Chinese culture. These animals were compared among the Chinese, Koreans and American respondents to find if there are significant differences between the East and the West. Which are verbal taboos and which are not? Data were collected in two ways: the questionnaire and interviews.

(1) The rat

The rat is the first creature in the old Chinese zodiac. It was associated with money; when you hear a rat scrabbling around for food at night, it is said to be “counting money”. The term “money-rat” is a disparaging way of referring to a miser. In some old legends, rats can turn into demons, male usually, in contrast with the fox that turns into a female demon.

Question 7: It is appropriate to say to a person’s face that he/she is like a rat.

Fifty percent of the Chinese respondents agreed that it is fine to say to a person’s face that he or she is like a rat, but they claim that it must depend on the tone of voice, the hearer’s age, and the context. The other 50 of them disagreed or disagreed strongly. To them, bulls are stubborn and might mean the person is aggressive. Likewise, cows are fat and sloppy.

(3) The tiger

The tiger is the third sign in the Chinese zodiac. The tiger is a symbol of courage and bravery. Nevertheless, the tiger was so much feared that its very name was taboo, and people referred to it as ?? da chong, meaning “big insect” or “king of the mountains”.

Question 9: It is appropriate to say to a man’s face that he acts like a tiger.

Question 10: It is appropriate to say to a woman’s face that she acts like a tiger.

On Question 9, 80 of the Chinese disagreed with describing a woman as a tiger because it is over exaggerating. Forty percent of them agreed with using it negatively for a woman if she is really hot-tempered.

On Question 9, 50 of them disagreed with using “tiger” to describe a woman even if she were disgraceful or very hot-tempered.

Ninety percent of the Americans agreed or agreed strongly with using it for a man as it implies strong, clever, fast, assertive, initiative, successful, or sexually powerful. It can also be an encouragement to kids as in “Go get’em, tiger.” At the same time, about 80 of the Chinese agreed because the rabbit is a cute animal. They are smart and fast. Twenty percent disagreed because the rabbit is too timid and too dependent.

Fifty percent of the Koreans who agreed also think the rabbit is cute, so it is appropriate to describe a person as a rabbit. The other 50 disagreed as it indicates small, weak, and timid, not very intelligent, or it could be an insult to mean the person has had too many children.

(5) The dragon

The dragon is the fifth creature in the Chinese zodiac. It is one of China’s most complex and multi-tiered symbols. It is said that, like a magic animal, it could fill the space between heaven and earth.

Question 12: It is appropriate to say to a person’s face that he/she is like a dragon.

Sixty percent of the Chinese respondents agreed but they did not know why and 40 who agreed strongly think the snake implies a person’s being double-faced/tongued.

(7) The horse

The horse is the seventh creature in the Chinese zodiac. In Old Chinese, there were many words denoting the different sizes and colors of the horse. The fact that these words have all died out is an indicator of the declining role of the horse in recent history. In old texts, horses stood for success, speed, and loyalty.

Question 14: It is appropriate to say to a person’s face that he/she is like a horse.

Sixty percent of the Chinese agreed if it implies hard work without a rest. Forty percent disagreed because the horse has a very long face. When the Chinese say to a person “the horse does not know its long face,” it means that the person does not know his or her own shortcomings.

One hundred percent of the Korean disagreed or disagreed strongly with describing a person as a horse. They all think it implies that a person’s face is exceedingly long, so it is an insult.

Fifty percent of the Americans agreed if it is a compliment to say that the person works hard as in a “workhorse” or he is “strong as a horse”. It can also mean someone who runs fast. In addition, terms like “stallion” and “stud” used for men are usually considered complimentary. The horse is often used in “You eat like a horse” to imply a healthy or big appetite, or “Stop horsing around” to imply “stop wasting time.” Fifty percent disagreed because a horse might be used to mean a big and ugly woman.

(8) The sheep/lamb

The sheep is the eighth creature in the Chinese zodiac. It is the emblem of filial piety as it kneels when suckling its mother. Sheep were, on the whole, less important than the ox and horse in China.

Question 15: It is appropriate to say to a person’s face that he/she is like a lamb.

Ninety percent of the Chinese agreed because the lamb is a friendly, nice-tempered, soft animal. But it is also used to describe someone being shy and timid because they lack confidence and follow orders completely.

Forty percent of the Koreans who agreed think the lamb is pretty, pure, naïve, and innocent, so it is appropriate to describe a person as a lamb. The other 60 who disagreed think it is not appropriate to use it to an adult. It means he/she is too active.

Only 10 of them agreed with using it in certain contexts. For the other eleven zodiac animals, more than 50 of them disagreed with using the rat, the bull/cow, the snake, the monkey, the chicken, the dog, and the pig to anyone. And other terms like the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the horse, and the lamb can also have bad connotations in certain situations. In order to interact with people of a different culture appropriately, one needs to adjust his/her language to others’ cultural rules for meaningful communication. Most people believe that human beings are above every other living creature in the world because human beings can be educated, cultivated, and have the ability to tell right from wrong and good from evil. To avoid cultural misunderstandings, not to choose any of the animal-linked metaphors for people is highly recommended.
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