No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
Started by uranrising on Nov 30, 2018 9:47:24 AM
Do national traits exist?

Or are all of them possessed by other nations to one degree or another? To the extent that the concept is rendered meaningless?

widenation - 30 Nov 2018 10:00:38 (#1 of 113)

The Sentinelese are generally pretty inhospitable.

HerrWalrus - 30 Nov 2018 10:01:14 (#2 of 113)

The English are generally pretty unwelcoming.

bossab2 - 30 Nov 2018 10:25:52 (#3 of 113)


Try driving in Italy.

Bonusy - 30 Nov 2018 10:25:59 (#4 of 113)

Do national traits exist?

No. Cultural traits do though. In small areas this can be indistinguishable from national traits

Peacock - 30 Nov 2018 10:27:18 (#5 of 113)

all english are polite and queue at bus stops

germans leave their towels on sun beds before breakfast

africans have gap teeth

the french know their wine as they all drank some with their parents when growing up

browserbutton - 30 Nov 2018 10:36:22 (#6 of 113)

Try driving in Italy.

It changes as you go south. In Piedmont, motorists are courteous.

Naples, boisterous and hooty.

Palermo, creative.

Peacock - 30 Nov 2018 10:37:46 (#7 of 113)

southern italian driving is a thing of wonder, as is driving in Mumbai, its amazing there aren't as many accidents as one would expect

Stellata - 30 Nov 2018 11:28:25 (#8 of 113)

It’s more unusual for a car not to be dented in Naples.

Anchorman - 30 Nov 2018 11:34:02 (#9 of 113)

Not sure about national traits but local area traits certainly do.

One small example.

In parts of west Yorkshire that I know well strangers virtually all say hello/goodmorning etc to you if you're walking in a park.

In Kings Lynn park in Norfolk almost 100% don't do that and if you say hello you get looked at as though you've suggested you were going to kill them!

FleurDuMal - 30 Nov 2018 11:34:48 (#10 of 113)

Try driving in Italy.

I did, once. Never again ...

FleurDuMal - 30 Nov 2018 11:35:51 (#11 of 113)

On a more serious note, I would say it's more cultural traditions than national traits. If you're surrounded by people who tend to do/say the same thing, you're more likely to pick it up and do it yourself.

rearranged - 30 Nov 2018 11:38:52 (#12 of 113)

I saw a car speed along a street in Verona, slam on the brakes as it went past a space, and reverse in at high speed.

The space wasn't big enough, and the car hit the car already there. The driver leapt out his car, hurled abuse at the now dented empty parked car, then got back in his car and drove off.

Rendered - 30 Nov 2018 11:40:50 (#13 of 113)

We are literally the worst!

Oh no, we're not.

browserbutton - 30 Nov 2018 11:53:13 (#14 of 113)


Are you a person who says 'trait' or do you say 'tray'?

Shadrack22 - 30 Nov 2018 11:57:11 (#15 of 113)

Anchorman - what about people saying “Thank you” to the driver when they get off the bus? Ubiquitous in West Yorkshire. Does it happen in East Anglia?

widenation - 30 Nov 2018 11:58:20 (#16 of 113)

Happens in the South East.

popstar7 - 30 Nov 2018 12:00:12 (#17 of 113)

Yep. My German ex commented on it with some incredulity.

hailesaladdie - 30 Nov 2018 12:00:20 (#18 of 113)

#15 - yup, happens in Luton, even.

HerrWalrus - 30 Nov 2018 12:02:47 (#19 of 113)

Here's something that has a national trait. You see someone in England get on a sparsely occupied bus, or enter a fairly empty restaurant. Other things being equal they will sit a good distance away from anyone else. However in Iberia, people will sit close to anyone else who is already there.

hailesaladdie - 30 Nov 2018 12:04:50 (#20 of 113)

There are all sorts of traits you can observe. As always, they're a blunt tool, as people vary significantly.

Nordic, consensus-driven culture (see also Netherlands), backed up by individual humility but collective pride. See the "Janteloven" for how ingrained so much of this is. Never single a Dutch person out for praise, they hate it.

Latin, dialectic mindset. No, they're not being awkward, people are actually taught "these - antithese - synthese" in French schools.

The Subcontinental refusal to refuse. You have to read the signs.

Process-driven, near-binary Germanic, vs goal-oriented, muddling through Anglo-Saxon.

Check Subscriptions
Home » Issues