Will include Information on listening methods and audio files and other resources.
As with language, society is constantly changing. Also, it goes without saying, no country’s people are all identical in personality and behaviour. So, please note, the outline here is just a brief snapshot of Australian society.
Australian society used to be much more egalitarian, easy-going and casual. Traditionally, Australian society had probably 60% of people in the same class (working/ middle class). Increasing economic inequality over the past 50 years has shown itself by people more concerned about such things as high-earning occupations; large houses; fashionable clothes and fancy cars. However, most Australians still cling to “the idea” that we are all equal.
Business clothes (dress)
in general, although some people wear suits, many Australian people dress more casually for work than Japanese. Denim jeans is not so common, but other casual (but neat) pants and shirt (or skirt and blouse for women) is OK. At interviews, suits are most common.
Business meetings (visits)
We don`t have quite as many meetings and out of work dinners and parties as Japan. At a business lunch or dinner, business comes before the meal or drinking and socialising. Business cards are not normally exchanged upon first meeting. If you need a colleague’s contact information, it is ok to ask them for their card. It is also ok to offer someone your card. But there is not an elaborate ritual of exchanging cards
Australians (in general) are more assertive than English people and less assertive than Americans. Australians are certainly a bit more assertive and quicker to speak their opinions and disagree than Japanese. We also touch much more than Japanese and make eye contact more.
BYO (bring your own) alcohol and often food is still fairly common. At restaurants bill splitting (friends, couples, bigger groups)is also common.
Forms of Address
We don´t often call people Mr Smith, but rather Robert. We almost never call another adult “Sir” except in business letters. Some service people may address customers as “Sir or Madam”.
Gestures and body language
Australians use typical Western gestures for things such as “Come here, go away, stop, pointing, shaking hands”. Many of these are quite different to Japanese versions.
We only usually give presents on Xmas, weddings and birthdays. Most people try to give fairly modest, inexpensive gifts. We seldom give gifts to people we have just met.
Most workers get 4 weeks paid holiday. There is also a few days leave for sickness or special events. School teachers get 8 weeks holiday. (but they deserve it!)
Australians will accept much more noise from neighbours than do Japanese.
Personal Space See Demeanour
In the past, Australian society has been very secular (like Japan) and certainly not as fundamental as many American religious people. For example, although most Australians say they are Christians, not so many go to church regularly. Recent conservative Australian governments show more leanings towards religious fundamentalism. For example, although the majority of Australian people are tolerant towards gay persons, the government refuses to consider legalizing same-sex marriages.
This has become very socially unacceptable in the past 10 years. There are very few public places where you can smoke now.
Much more than Japanese, we meet our friends at each others houses. In Japan, I got very few invitations to visit Japanese people at their home. Japanese seem to meet more at restaurants and Izakaya.
Australians are friendly, easy going and not very formal. We regard workers as equal in status to bosses and address them equally.
similar to Japan I think.
It´s not common practice to tip (taxis, waiters, etc.) in Australia.
We say toilets, rather than bathrooms or rest-rooms.
We “have” a shower (or bath), we don`t “take” a shower. (unlike Americans)
Songs can be a fun way to learn English. Different songs show different language features, but most pop songs are fairly simple. Class groups can enjoy learning together.
The use of repetition and the catchy tunes also make pop songs a good way to learn English.
Many years ago, an Emperor lived in a faraway country. This Emperor liked new clothes very much. He spent all his time and money buying clothes.
In fact, the Emperor always wanted to show all his people new clothes.
He had a different suit for every day in the year.
One day two men arrived in the Emperor’s city. These men were swindlers – dishonest people. The swindlers said they could make the finest clothes in the world.
They told everybody in the town, “Our colours and patterns are truly beautiful.” The swindlers also said the clothes they made were very special. “If you wear these clothes”, they said, “You will have perfect judgement”.
The Emperor really wanted such clothes very much.He said, “If I wear these clothes, I’ll be able to judge my officers.”He said , “Which officers are honest and clever?” And he said, “Which people are unfit for their jobs?”The Emperor gave a large sum of money to the swindlers.
The Emperor ordered them to make a suit of clothes for him.
The Emperor gave them the finest silk and the most precious gold cloth.
The swindlers hid the silk and gold cloth away, instead of making suits with them.
For many days, the swindlers pretended to be very hard at work.
But they did not make any clothes at all.
Meantime, everybody in the whole town talked about the precious clothes.
Eventually the Emperor went with all his officers and attendants to see the swindlers. The swindlers pretended to work as hard as they could.
However, they were not using any material or any thread.
All the Emperor’s officers said. “Isn’t it magnificent? ” “Isn’t it beautiful?”
And the Attendants said “Your Majesty must admire the colors and the pattern.”
And then they pointed to the empty sewing machines.
They thought all the other officers and attendants could see the clothes.
The Emperor accepted what his officers said.
He thought, if I can’t see the clothes, I must be unfit to be Emperor.
So he looked at the empty machines.
And he told the swindlers their clothes were wonderful.
All the Emperor’s attendants agreed. They said the same things as the Emperor.
They advised him to wear the new magnificent clothes at a grand procession.
On the day of the procession, The Emperor first showed his new clothes to all his courtiers. Then he turned once more to the mirror, admiring his new clothes. he loved his new clothes. He said,“Doesn’t my suit fit me marvellously?”He thought he looked very very good.All the courtiers said “Indeed, your clothes are magnificent!” But they could not see anything, of course. That’s because there was nothing to be seen.
The Grand Procession took place soon after that.
Now everybody was ready for the procession. “I am ready!” said the Emperor.
Everybody praised the Emperor’s new clothes.
Nobody wished to admit that he saw nothing.
A little boy said at last “But the Emperor is not wearing any clothes.”
The boy’s father said “Good heavens! Listen to the voice of an innocent child.”
Now people whispered to each other what the child had said.
“But he has nothing on at all,” people cried at last.
That made a deep impression upon the Emperor.
The Emperor was so embarrassed!