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Old 09-05-2012, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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Different cultures accord different relationships the status of "friendship", and "friend" means different things according to different cultures.

For example, many people say that what we would typically call a "friend" in the United States is much less restrictive than the cognate word in Germany, "freund". On the other hand, Mexicans, among other peoples, seem to be much more liberal in their use of the word "amigo", using it right off the bat and often seeming to act in a very amiable manner with new acquaintances almost immediately. I've also experienced this in Morocco (and from those who weren't trying to sell me anything!), where I believe the word for "friend" is "habibi" or "sahbi".

What's the case in your culture? What have your experiences been here?
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Østenfor sol og vestenfor måne
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Regarding the difference between the English, 'friend' and German 'Freund', I have observed in American usage that in youth, the (Am-)English definition reigns, and then as we age, we tend to gravitate towards the German definition :-)
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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In American English, if you ask a person "How many friends do you have", the immediate response will be to ask you what do you mean by "friends"? Everybody in our culture recognizes that the word "friend" can have a lot of different connotations. The person you introduce as "This is my friend" can range from "the guy down the street that I wave to when driving to work" to "the guy I'm sleeping with but not married to, so don't hit on me".

One Chinese sage once defined a friend as "someone you would travel for days to sit on a log and toss pebbles in a stream with", but as you say, something might have gotten lost in the translation there, especially from a language in which you can end sentences with a preposition.

If a complete stranger addressed me as "Friend" in English, I would be immediately suspicious that he wants our friendship to somehow turn out in his favor.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-08-2012 at 09:02 AM..
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:43 AM
 
Location: State Fire and Ice
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In Russia if a stranger is converted as-a friend, or a brother. It will simply be polite, good circulation to a man. But the word of a friend (what it means, in Russia is of great importance, the more profound than any where. If a passer-by or you know him a little time, then it is a familiar or a colleague is more than that. Friend, may be the best or the most. But the friendship in Russia means (especially if this is the best friend) someone very close to him, almost as a brother or sister, sometimes it is. You can rely on him completely, he never you will not refuse to help if it is you need any help. And at any time, day or night. From the best friends almost no secrets or any of their no.

Last edited by GreyKarast; 09-08-2012 at 09:52 AM..
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:20 PM
 
2,802 posts, read 6,431,135 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
If a complete stranger addressed me as "Friend" in English, I would be immediately suspicious that he wants our friendship to somehow turn out in his favor.
Yet I'm sure you get addressed as "buddy" and "pal" on a daily basis.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Østenfor sol og vestenfor måne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post

One Chinese sage once defined a friend as "someone you would travel for days to sit on a log and toss pebbles in a stream with", but as you say, something might have gotten lost in the translation there, especially from a language in which you can end sentences with a preposition.
I love that expression.

Oh, and you can certainly end an English sentence with a preposition. English has been around for 1,500 years. That rule has been a part of grammar books for only a little over 100 years, and English is a living language, not a set of artificial rules decided by English grammarians with a Latin fetish and insecurity over their mother tongue :-)

As Churchill has been quoted and misquoted ad nauseum in reference to the 'preposition rule', "This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put!"
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