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Carroll Essay

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Submitted By hollinshutto
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Anthropologists believe that the language a person grows up with teaches him/her how to think. Carroll’s essay, “Conversation,” reflects this thought through the analysis of American and French interactions. Her theory that culture is a language developed from her concept of the “unconscious screen”. The culture and language of a person creates a screen, like a foggy window, which makes it impossible for people of different nationalities to see eye to eye. Neither side realizes that there is a misunderstanding; they both think they are being clear. A person’s language gives them a vocabulary, which applies to both one’s thoughts and words. Carroll highlights the cultural misunderstandings concerning the French and Americans. Through instances of daily life like activity like passing someone on the street and the subject matter of an everyday conversation, the misunderstanding that the French are rude and cold to Americans, as well as inclined to make interruptions is revealed. Additionally, the misunderstanding in France that Americans are boring in conversation and are flirtatious is expressed by the day-to-day interactions and different beliefs of the two cultures. Carroll supports her theory with reasons why the French and Americans have these misunderstandings. For example, French believe Americans are flirtatious by their behavior and body language when they are walking down the street. The unconscious screen is portrayed through the American belief that French are cold, when in reality the French consider it rude to go up to stranger and start asking personal questions. This offends the American when actually it is just part of French culture, but they do not realize this. This is also connected to the French thinking that Americans are superficial and talk to anybody. Carroll concludes her essay by distinguishing the word conversation as a false cognate…...

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