“Knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom”
—The ten most powerful words to describe our primary mission as students of English.
Language and culture are fundamentally related. Language is the road map of a culture. You can never learn a language well without learning the culture associated with the target language.
As students of English, it is imperative to know about British and American culture. Culture can be pictured as an iceberg. Only a small portion of the iceberg are visible, which includes art, music, architecture, language, just to name a few. While the visible elements of culture are expressions of the invisible elements which comprise the history, norms, values, beliefs, etc.
During interpersonal communication, British people and Americans have different social manners, which can be attributed to the deep structure of their own culture. British culture features formality, whereas American culture features informality.
It is proper to shake hands with everyone to whom you are introduced, both men and women. An appropriate response to an introduction is "Pleased to meet you". If you want to introduce yourself to someone, extend your hand for a handshake and say "Hello, I am....". Hugging is only for friends.
In the United States...
Americans are extremely informal and call most people by their first name or nickname. Americans smile a lot and talk easily to strangers, sharing personal stories. Some Americans hug a lot. It is okay for women and men to hug even if they are not close friends.