Are you saying hello on the bus, let people get off the train before you, or chatting to perfect strangers? Check out what scientists believe is Norwegian civility in the world’s happiest country.
Americans say “How are you” to all and sundry, English are gallant and pulls out chairs and open doors for you, but what is typical Norwegian courtesy?
– Norwegians will not interrupt or talk futility to people we do not know. We do not ask for help unless we really need it, says Kristin Rygg, language researcher at the Norwegian School of Economics to NRK.
Not disturbing others
She has written several research papers in the field of “politeness theory.” On forskning.no debate has raged about Norwegian courtesy, and about Norwegians’ civility is of a type that is easily understandable for foreigners.
– There are many opinions whether we are polite or not, but we have no awareness of it. When we are criticized for being rude, we have no way to defend ourselves, because there are no clear standards on what is Norwegian courtesy, Rygg explains.
– Are Norwegians polite?
– Yes, Norwegians are polite but we do not disturb people more than necessary.
We who live in the world’s happiest country, may soon be viewed as being arrogant and get stamped as someone that does not care. We can change, says Back.
– If we become aware of how we behave, we can also change ourselves. We should probably talk about what should characterize Norwegian courtesy. There is no universal courtesy that Norwegians can copy.
Polite is to be noted
– Norwegians tend to be both polite and rude. To say that Norwegians are polite or rude is a consideration, not something you can say yes or no to, says Pawel Urbanik, PhD student, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies (University of Oslo).
He believes it is important to distinguish between how Norwegians are perceived by foreigners and how we are perceived by other Norwegians.
– That’s the way that people behave collectively. For example, when we see that most passengers waiting for others to leave the subway before entering, we believe that this is the right way to behave. So when we see some people who enter without waiting for people coming out, we perceive it as a rude behavior.
He believes it to be polite is primarily to pay attention.
– One thing that maybe makes you perceived as being polite, is when you see that there are other people around you. To show respect to other people can of course be understood very differently, depending on culture and place.
Source: nrk.no / Norway Today