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Is the word "foreigner" unpolite??

 
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Shu-Yu, Jhang



Joined: 31 Mar 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:20 pm    Post subject: Is the word "foreigner" unpolite?? Reply with quote

Dear teacher:
When I talk to foreigners, I use the word "foreigner" sometimes.
But they feel that I am not polite.
Why is the word "foreigner" unpolite for foreigners??

thank you.
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Bob S.



Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:23 am    Post subject: Re: Is the word "foreigner" unpolite?? Reply with quote

Shu-Yu, Jhang wrote:
When I talk to foreigners, I use the word "foreigner" sometimes.
But they feel that I am not polite.
Why is the word "foreigner" unpolite for foreigners??

It depends on how it is used.
When you say "foreigner", you are basically saying that this person is an outsider, not one of us. And not many people like their sense of personal identity reduced to being merely "the outsider". They may self-identify with other various factors, but simply "the outsider" is a very alienating feeling. It should not be used unless it is pertinent to the discussion, and is an important part of the person's description. For example, it would be rude to say:
I saw a foreigner in the bookstore today.
So what? What kind of foreigner? Foreigners come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders.
Better to say,
I was surprised to see a white guy in the bookstore today. The store is well off the usual tourist routes and doesn't get many foreign tourists.
or
I saw an Indian woman in the tea shop today. She had on a beautiful sari.
Don't say:
I talked with a foreigner at the park.
Say, I talked with an (American, Australian, Russian, etc.) at the park.

Use "foreigner" only when it is relevant to the discussion. For example, it is generally not so rude to say,
Bill likes natto? That's surprising. Most foreigners don't like natto.
or
Janet cannot vote in the local elections. Even though her mother is from around here, Janet was born overseas and is still a foreigner.
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ClarissaMach



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 642
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In some circunstances, you can use "foreign internationals" (in formal texts).

By the way, I think it was Bob who taught me that when correcting one of the compositions I posted here a long time ago.

In my native language (Portuguese), it's not rude to say "estrangeiro" (foreigner). But there's another word - "forasteiro" that is a little bit rude (it's the same as "outsider").
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AnaMilena



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 25
Location: 404 - Not Found

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In any context and language, I think the word foreigner generates a kind of distance, which is not the intention in many occasions. Very Happy Yet, it does depend on the context. I don't mind being called a foreigner, but I don't know I don't like calling the foreigners or outsiders. Instead, I call them visitors, which also implies we, as hosts, must welcome them as much as we can. Wink
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sodia



Joined: 02 Mar 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not think that this term is inpoilte many ethnic groups use the term and it is just to diffrentiate between who is from theh Country and who is from overseas.
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