at RandomHouse.ca (via Andrew Sullivan):

...In fact, comparing beer commercials from the Ukraine and the U.S. led Lantolf and Bobrova to an unexpected finding that highlights differences in how Americans and Ukrainians think about people. In the Ukrainian commercials, the study notes, “people do not become friends by sharing beer; rather beer drinking occurs among individuals who are already established as friends, which entails a close and trusting relationship.” The people drinking beer together are described as druh, which Dr. Lantolf translates as being like the English concept of “best friend,” rather than tovarysch, which translates as “comrade” or “acquaintance.”

By contrast, Dr. Lantolf notes that “friend” has become a very loose term in English; we call someone we met on an airplane half an hour ago a friend. “We speculate,” he writes with Bobrova, “that these commercials, most likely unintentionally, display an aspect of the American concept of friendship as superficial and transitory.”

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Articles by Eve Tushnet

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