Reading 4U: Language Etiquette

  Americans are usually tolerant of non-native speakers who have some trouble understanding English. But they become annoyed when a person pretends to understand but doesn't really and then creates problems because of misunderstanding what was said. No one wants soap when he asked for soup. So if you don't understand what is said to you, admit it and politely ask the person to repeat or explain.

  Second, it is quite rude to converse with a companion in your native language and leave your American friends standing there feeling stupid because they can't understand the conversation. The Americans may also feel that you are talking about them or saying something you don't want them to hear. If you must switch to your native language to explain something to a non-English-speaking companion, at least translate for your American friends so they don't feel left out.
  Learn just a few more polite English expressions, and you'll be ready to face the world of Americans with confidence. The polite response to a compliment about your looks or your work is "Thank you". (A smile and a nod is not enough.)
  The response to "Thank you" is, of course, "You're welcome". If someone asks, "How are you?", don't give your medical history. Just say, "Fine, thanks. How are you?" Finally, what should you say when someone sneezes? It may not seem logical, but the correct response is "God bless you". That's about all there is to it. Now that you've studied this quick overview of manners in the U.S.A., you're ready to be polite in English. Let's hope your American friends will be just as polite.