Stereotypes of countries around the world

Keep in mind these are tidbits and/or very generalizing and playful stereotypes I’ve come up with by going to these countries and meeting people from them.

– Blunt as a knife.
– Describe distances in driving time.
– Describe time in numbers (5:50 is most times “five fifty”, not “ten to six” or “five after quarter to six”).
– Devout (comparatively to other [especially European] countries).
– Friendly.
– Loud.
– Main exports are obesity and friendliness.
– Mediocre drivers due to medium-priced driver’s tests and licenses.
– Notable music genres include rock and jazz.
– Out of shape.
– Patriotic.
– Slogan: Add sugar to everything!
– Tip most everyone.
– Use big adjectives generously (“Wow!” “That’s great!” “That sounds awesome!”).
– Use the imperial measuring system, often leading to confusion with the metric system.

The British:
– Clever.
– Crazy about gardens, just like the Dutch.
– Cynical.
– Pessimistic.
– Sarcastic.
– Sardonic.
– Tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

The Chinese:
– Arched eyebrows.
– Inconsiderate.
– Love selfie sticks.
– Use long, rectangular, barely tapered chopsticks.

The Dutch:
– Blunt.
– Carve their natural landscape into very sculpted land and waterways.
– Complain a lot about the weather.
– Culturally “hip”.
– Cycle everywhere.
– Dead serious.
– Devoiced consonants in Dutch and English: “I haf two kits and a dok.”
– Don’t care how they dress. Jeans everyday.
– Dry humor.
– Fantastic public transportation.
– Frequently have dirty blond hair and light eyes.
– Gardens are taken seriously, just like with the British, and tons of people have them if they have space, usually in their very square front yards.
– Good drivers because driver’s tests and licenses are expensive.
– Great English.
– Have mini gas stations just off the road.
– Hope you’re good at parallel parking.
– Main exports are tulips and sarcasm.
– Most laws follow the train of thought of “Just don’t be an asshole.”
– National consumables are meat and bread.
– Notable music genres include trance, house, hardcore, and almost any other kind of electronica.
– Open.
– Play largely current American music.
– Postpositions. Postpositions everywhere. (Dutch “halen op” [lit. “fetch up“] = raise, collect)
– Prepositions too. Because why not both? (Dutch “ophalen” [lit. “up fetch”] = raise, collect)
– Rough-sounding language.
– Sausage eaters.
– Slogan: Eat fattening foods and meats, then bike it off.
– Soccer!
– Speed cameras everywhere.
– The more well off brothers of Germany and Belgium.
– Tolerant.
– Tons of roundabouts, which make turn signals very important.

The Japanese:
– Change speech politeness level largely based on achieved status and intimacy (horizontal differentiation, less innately hierarchical than Korean).
– Clear separation between spoken sounds in the language due to vowel placement in syllables, unlike Korean.
– Have small food portions.
– Insincere.
– Like savory food.
– Love postpositions. (Japanese “二時から八時まで” [“niji kara hachiji made“] = from 2 o’clock until 8 o’clock)
– Love selfie sticks.
– Obsessed with plastic wrap.
– Obsessed with sorting trash.
– Polite.
– Prefer to stand out more than Koreans; not as same-y.
– Put food in perfectly-fitted containers, unlike the Koreans or Chinese.
– Read comics from right to left.
– Relish pristine and clean surroundings.
– Repressed.
– Secure about their place in the world.
– Smoke in public and in many restaurants.
– Use short, rounder, tapered, wooden chopsticks.
– Value simplicity, especially simplistic beauty.
– Wear cute clothing.

– Bad drivers.
– Believe red lights are optional.
– Change speech politeness level largely based on age and social status (vertical differentiation, more innately hierarchical than Japanese).
– Conservative.
– Cookie-cutter dress and makeup.
– Crammed into unimaginative high rise apartment buildings.
– Deny LGBTQ exists.
– Dislike their neighboring countries and don’t like the rest of Asia.
– Don’t smoke in restaurants (unlike the Japanese), and the older generation still considers women smoking in Korea as “trashy.”
– End sentences with the same sounds repeatedly.
– Fashionable.
– Great public transportation.
– Great at memorization, mediocre at learning for keeps.
– Have difficulty pronouncing c (“shi”), f (“epu”), h (“ay-chi”), l (“al”), q (“koo”), r (“ar”), v (“vwee”),  and z (“jed”) in English.
– Hierarchical.
– Hiss when thinking of words to say; noticeably, no other culture I’ve encountered seems to do this.
– Insecure about their place in the world.
– Insincere.
– Let the elderly, especially old ladies, take over and push people around.
– Like spicy food.
– Like whitewashed apartments with entirely white appliances, cupboards, furniture, etc.
– Literally addicted to their smartphones.
– Love selfie sticks.
– Main exports are eye strain and mobile technology.
– Mumbled and purposefully incomplete sounds in the language are strung together in favor of ease of speaking; m’s are b’s, n’s are d’s, etc.
– National consumables are kimchi, rice, pepper paste, and Americano coffee.
– Notable music genres include k-pop.
– Obsessed with appearances.
– Okay English; some of the best English in East Asia.
– Overexerted in studying.
– Plastic surgery crazed.
– Powdered white faces for “beauty” purposes.
– Read comics from left to right.
– Repressed.
– Respectful of authority.
– Same-y and overly homogeneous, both in personality and looks.
– Stuck rather ironically in the Internet’s past for all of their modern technology.
– There’s Korean age, and then there’s American age (used by the rest of the world, but they call it American age); Korean age starts counting from the date of conception, not the date of birth, so Koreans are younger than the age they say they are by about a year or so.
– Use adjectives as verbs.
– Use explosive, halfway-in-between consonants: a g regularly sounds like a k and vice-versa.
– Use medium length, flat, slightly tapered, stainless steel chopsticks.
– Use technology for technology’s sake.
– Used to bland-looking, white-washed apartments with little personality.
– Very into MOBA games.
– Well-dressed.
– Whiny.
– Work long hours but don’t actually do much.
– Would rather be confused with the Chinese instead of the Japanese.

– Adhere to janteloven – purposefully not sticking out too much amongst each other – more than the Swedish.
– Athletic.
– Blonde and blue-eyed.
– Born with skis on their feet.
– Community-oriented.
– Drink due to boredom.
– Enjoy game-y food.
– Enjoy the wealth the Norwegian national oil fund (often just “The Fund“) brings.
– Familiar with other western cultures largely due to TV.
– Fruit eaters.
– Functionally fashionable.
– Good drivers because driver’s tests and licenses are expensive.
– Good-looking, especially women.
– Great at winter sports.
– Great English.
– Great public transportation.
– Have fewer celebrities than Sweden, but also half the population.
– Have more spikes in their intonation than the Swedes.
– Healthy.
– Hunters.
– Language is more masculine than Swedish (Norwegian = masculine Swedish).
– Less prone to mumbling than Swedes.
– Less well-traveled than the Swedish.
– Love postpositions. (Norwegian “herfra” = from here)
– Main exports are oil, fish, and the color red.
– Momma’s boys and daddy’s girls.
– More outdoorsy than Sweden, but not as “hip” or techy.
– National consumables are tacos and Pepsi Max.
– New money vs. Sweden’s old money.
– Notable music genres include folk and metal.
– Patriotic, more than Sweden.
– Play American music largely from a few years ago.
– Polite.
– Reserved.
– Socially awkward.
– Think spending $1000 on a quality winter jacket is not that weird.
– Understand tons of dialects.
– Very traditional formalwear.
– Wealthy.
– Wear edgier and more sporty clothing than Swedes.
– Well-dressed.
– Well-educated.

– Adhere to jantelagen – purposefully not sticking out too much amongst each other – less than the Norwegians.
– Blonde and blue-eyed.
– Don’t eat Swedish Fish as much as Americans.
– Draw out their vowels to an almost unnatural-sounding degree.
– Familiar with other cultures largely due to TV and travel.
– Good-looking.
– Great public transportation.
– Have been modern longer than Norway.
– Have more celebrities than Norway, but also twice the population.
– Language is more feminine than Norwegian (Swedish = feminine Norwegian).
– Main exports are IKEA and H&M.
– More “hip” and techy than Norwegians, but not as outdoorsy.
– More prone to mumbling than Norwegians.
– Not as overtly patriotic as Norwegians.
– Old money vs. Norway’s new money.
– Very modern.
– Wear more fashionable clothing than Norwegians.
– Well-dressed.
– Well-educated.
– Well-traveled.

The Taiwanese:
– More overweight than Koreans or the Japanese largely due to cheap and unhealthy food everywhere.
– The younger generation of girls seems to quite like skimpy clothing, probably due to the hot weather.

When I visit more countries and stay in them for at least a few weeks (enough to get a general idea of the people there), I’ll add more to this. Tell me: what are some stereotypes or idiosyncrasies you’ve experienced or heard about people from these countries?

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