What Canadians Talk aboutadmin2019-04-04T20:47:45+00:00
WHAT CANADIANS TALK ABOUT QUIZ
Check your answers below
1. Easy Question:
In a casual conversation with a new person, the question “How old are you?” is
a) appropriate b) not appropriate c) only appropriate with young people and children
2. Easy Question:
Sports, pets, food and shopping are
a) all good topics for a casual conversation b) only appropriate with some people c) not appropriate in a conversation
3. More Difficult:
When it comes to politics, Canadians
a) don’t discuss it b) discuss it rarely c) discuss it with close friends only d) discuss it with everybody
4. More Difficult:
Co-workers in Canada
a) usually discuss salaries b) don’t discuss salaries c) only discuss salaries after work
Question ‘Are you married?’ can show
a) sexual interest b) friendliness c) interest in the other person
Which of these topics are appropriate to make jokes about: women, race, religions, other cultures?
a) all of these b) none of these c) women d) religion e) women and other cultures
You can either check your answers by watching the video or reading below.
TABOO TOPICS: WHAT NOT TO TALK ABOUT
As a new immigrant, you may be VERY surprised to learn that there are a lot of topics that in Canadian culture are considered inappropriate (not good) or even taboo! When you are talking to your close friends, your family members or your doctor, all the topics are good. But be careful with your new friends or any new people (that includes people you work with in the same company).
DO NOT DISCUSS:
Never ask a person ‘How is your health?’ This is very personal and this information is reserved for a discussion with a person’s doctor. If a person had complained to you about a headache or a sore throat, it’s appropriate to ask how they feel, but anything more serious (for example a surgery) is usually only discussed with close friends.
Never tell a person: ‘You look tired.’ or ‘You look sick.’ It will only make them feel worse. If you want to show that you care, ask ‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you okay?’
Never ask a co-worker or a new friend ‘How much did you pay for your house/car/any expensive item?’ or ‘What’s your salary?’ Again, this information is for close friends only. If you want to know how much somebody is earning, you will need to google that information to know their approximate salary. Co-workers in Canada do not compare salaries.
The only way you can ask about an expensive item is if you are trying to buy the same/similar one. In that case, you should say: “I’m looking for a jacket just like this. Would you mind if I ask you how much you got it for?”
Canada is a multicultural country with people of many religions living together as neighbours. We focus on things that we share and have in common, and not the things that divide us. It is not appropriate to ask ‘What is your religion?’ or ‘Are you a Christian/Muslim?’ You can tell people about your religion but do not ask them about theirs. If they want, they will share this information with you, but many people consider this a very personal topic.
Never ask a person ‘How old are you?’ This question is only appropriate for children. Do not comment on how a person looks ( Don’t say ‘Oh, you look so young!’) People’s age doesn’t matter – we respect both young and old. What matters is your personality and your skills.
It is not polite to call a person ‘old’ (don’t say ‘He is old.’ Say: ‘He is a senior.’) Also, never say ‘old woman’. We say ‘elderly lady’.
Do not ask a person ‘How many children do you have?’ or ‘Why do you only have one child?’ or ‘Are you going to have more children?’
Wait and listen. If a person tells you ‘I have a daughter’, it is okay to ask them how old their daughter is. But be careful: do not ask them if they have other children. Remember: it is possible that a woman wants to have children or more children but she cannot and the doctors can’t help her. Infertility is a big problem in the Western world. Also, remember that many people in Canada choose not to have children.
Many couples in Canada choose to have a common law relationship. This means that people live together as a family but they do not sign any papers. Do not ask a person ‘Are you married?’ unless you want to date them (it could be interpreted as sexual interest). Listen to what they say – if they say ‘my husband/wife’ you know they are married. If they always say ‘John/Mary/my partner’ it means they are not.
It is acceptable to discuss political news with everybody. However, do not ask a person any question about how they voted in the election or which political party they support – this is personal. Again, the person may choose to tell you about their political views but do not directly ask them ‘Who did you vote for?’
Do not make jokes about women, religion, race or other cultures. These jokes may really upset some people and you will make enemies instead of friends.
We use conversation to make friends and build relationships. A carefully chosen topic(s) will help you build GOOD RELATIONSHIPS. People will appreciate and respect you because you will have a reputation of being tactful, diplomatic and considerate.
WHAT CANADIANS TALK ABOUT
Acceptable topics for casual conversations with your new friends and co-workers include:
current news (but not all news)
movies, TV shows
shared hobbies or interests
art and other entertainment
family and children (but only if you already know that the other person has family and children!)
plans for the weekend
Whatever you’re discussing, the key is to stay positive and not to force the other person into a conversation that is not interesting to them. Watch the person’s body language and listen to their answers. If their answers are monosyllabic or really short, it means they don’t want to talk about it.