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Understanding Arabs, Fifth Edition: A Contemporary Guide to Arab Society by Margaret Nydell

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CHAPTER 4GETTING PERSONAL

The concept of what constitutes personal behavior or a personal question is culturally determined, and there are marked differences between Westerners and Arabs. This is a subject that is rarely discussed openly, since how one defines what is personal or private seems so natural to each group. On the whole, Westerners feel that Arabs become too personal, too soon.*

image PERSONAL QUESTIONS

Arabs like to discuss money and may ask what you paid for things or what your salary is; this is more common among Arabs with less experience around Westerners. If you don’t wish to give out the information, consider responding without answering. ...

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