S K Group426 Department of English Lexicology
College of English
Minsk State Linguistic University
Most Americans would have à difficult time telling you, specifically, values which Americans live by. They have never given the matter any thought. I'd like to give you à list of common values, which would fit most Americans. The list of typically American values would stand in sharp contrast to the values of people in many other countries. If a foreign visitor really understood how deeply ingrained these 13 values are in Americans, he or she would then be able to understand 95% of Americans actions actions which might otherwise appear strange, confusing, or unbelievable when evaluated from the perspective of the foreigner's own society and its values. 1. Personal Control over the Environment
Americans nî longer believe in the power of Fate, and they have come to look at people who do as being backward, primitive, or hopelessly naive. To be called "fatalistic" is one of the worst criticisms one can receive in the American context; to an American, it means one is superstitious and lazy, unwilling to take any initiative in bringing about improvements. In the United States people consider that Man should control Nature, rather than the other way around. More specifically, people believe every single individual should have control over whatever in the environment might potentially affect him or her. The problems of one's life are not seen as having resulted from bad luck as much as having come from one's laziness in pursuing à better life. Furthermore, it is considered normal that anyone should look out for his or her own self-interests first and foremost. 2. Change
In the American mind change is linked to development, improvement, progress, and growth. Many older, more traditional cultures consider change as à disruptive, destructive force, to be avoided if at all possible. Instead of change, such societies value stability, continuity, tradition, and à rich and ancient heritage none of which are valued very much in the United States. 3. Time and Its Control
Time is, for the average American, of utmost importance. To the foreign visitor, Americans seem to be more concerned with getting things accomplished on time. Schedules for the American are meant to be planned and then followed in the smallest detail. Americans' language is filled with references to time, giving à clear indication of how much it is valued. Time is something to be "în," to be "kept," "filled," "saved," "used," "spent," "wasted," "lost," "gained," "planned," "given," "made the most of," even. "killed". The international visitor soon learns that it is considered very rude to be late even by 10 minutes for an appointment in the United States (whenever it is absolutely impossible to be on time, you should phone ahead and te11 the person you have been unavoidably detained and will be à half hour or whatever late). Many American proverbs stress the value in guarding the time, using it wisely, setting and working toward specific goals, and even expending time and energy today so that the fruits of labor may be enjoyed at à later time. (This latter concept is called "delayed gratification "). Proverbs: time to kill, time is money, time is of the essence, time flies. 4. Equality/Ågalitarianism
Equality for Americans is one of their most cherished values. This concept is sî important for Americans that they have even given it à religious basis. They say all people have been "created equal." Most Americans believe that God views all humans alike without regard to intelligence, physical condition or economic status. In secular terms this...