Example of Multicultural Confusion: English-French Toast

Intercultural Pedagogy

This image is of “English-French toast,” also identified as American and German, marked with the Spanish flag and an image of (Italian) pizza, marketed to the Japanese, and made in China.

This astonishing photo showed up on my Twitter feed, and I was sure others would find it fascinating as well.

English-French toast
Intercultural incompetence and/or misappropriation (?)

The person who posted it, Dr. Duane Watson, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, used it as illustration of what a manuscript can look like after multiple rounds of reviews. But to me, this is a great example of the role of food in intercultural communication, as well as multiculturalism gone wild.  Dr. Byron Ahn, a professor of linguistics at Princeton, mentioned in a comment that, in addition to the English words “English,” “French,” and “American” that show up, the Japanese script translates to “German style.”  And there’s a Spanish flag, and an image of a pizza (presumably Italian), with the word “pizza” next to it. (Is the suggestion perhaps that   buyers might use French toast as the bread layer for a pizza?) So it’s American-Spanish-Italian-English-French-toast made in the German style, marketed to the Japanese, and made in China.

The image is posted here with thanks to both Watson and Ahn, and for anyone who needs a smile today, or who needs an example guaranteed to spark some class discussion.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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