I am not a native English guy, and the usage of some words may confuse me. For example, in my last question, I asked about a word "cistern", which located in a house. Although I looked up the dictionary and it said cistern is a kind of water tank, I found it hard to understand why there is a water tank inside a house. It is the cultural difference. For I've never lived in a single house but a skyscraper of 35 floors.

While we ask the meaning of such word, should we add a "culture" tag?


A few problems with a potential culture tag:

  • If you approach the issue that all words are defined by culture, then all questions would get the culture tag
  • Questions relating to a particular act or behavior in culture are off-topic
  • Words that are specific to a culture are probably covered by
  • Words that change meaning from culture to culture are also probably covered by
  • We have tags for things like ; ; and so on which could cover specific cultural questions relating to English that are not handled by
  • Cultural differences such as the example provided in your question are hard to spot until after you notice that it is a cultural thing. The tag would have to be applied post-answer... which isn't bad, but could be a sign that the tag isn't likely to help in any practical manner

To summarize the issue, would either be too broad to be useful or is already handled by a more specific tag. If I browsed through the questions on the front page and saw , would I have a better idea what the question is about?

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    I disagree with the last point: just because a tag is applied post-answer does not make the tag less useful. Firstly, this occurs with many useful tags already. Second, for the case in point I think it is clear that a culture tag would host examples where the issues are similar to those raised by the OP. This would definitely be of interest to foreign learners of the English language, and add more searchability to the site. I don't understand why people would be against it at all. – Glen Wheeler Jun 24 '11 at 6:21

I think having a culture tag is very relevant in English.SE tag. No language is independent of culture, especially English which is spoken around the world. It is the first language in countries in at least three continents and is the most popular second language in many other countries. So, yes, usage of English in different countries will be greatly affected by the culture of that country.

I am not sure if this is a good example, but anyways...

She was a shy girl.

If a reader finds this quote in a book by an American author, most times it would be in a slightly negative sense. However, if found in a book by an Indian author, it will be more often than not, projected as a positive quality. And this is due to the cultural differences between US and India.

So someone who is familiar with one sense of the word, and wanting to to know how that word is used in other cultures can use this tag.

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    There is a subtle difference between "relevant to the English language" and "useful tag". – MrHen Jun 23 '11 at 20:39

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