As we celebrate Black History Month, Image Gal shares her advice on communicating with people from all cultures.
Here we are in the United States, the melting pot of the universe. Walk down the street, hop the train, attend a function at the UN and count the number of languages you hear.
As the world becomes smaller and communication tools like SKYPE make things we once only watched on The Jetsons a reality, just to be able to have a chance to compete and function on an international level, we must speak at least three languages. This is a new concept for most Americans as we have always imposed that everyone else learn to speak English for our benefit. Today, most decent schools around the world do their best to produce generations of people that can compete in the global market place by speaking three or more languages. The Swiss, for example, are known for this benefit to their educational system.
Luckily, as our world becomes more tech-savvy, so becomes the chance for us to master other languages using these very devices. Here are three ways you tap into technology to master other dialects.
Babbel. This free iPhone app come in several languages including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, Swedish and English. Designed to boost your vocabulary, it gives you access to 3000 words which are used in sample sentences and enunciated by a native speaker. You can also visit their website, www.Babbel.com.
Mobile Reference Language Phrase Book. Got a Kindle? Master a new language by downloading this free Kindle Edition that offers up customary words, greetings and phrases in 25 languages, including Arabic, Croatian and Thai. “Merci” and “Gracias” to you, Mobile Reference!
YouTube. You use it for everything else, why not to learn a language? Just go to the site, type in “learn” and the language you want to master and viola, hundreds of video tutorials pop up for your review. Buona fortuna!
Some basic etiquette rules about linguistics. Protocol dictates that at gatherings, the chosen language be the one understood by the majority. On the other hand, if one person is left out, the polite thing to do is to translate from time to time, so everyone is included in the conversation.(It makes one appreciate the language of pets, where depending on the intonation, a woof, growl, meow or purr is universal!) Try to make sure everyone is included so nobody feels ignored, especially if you are the host. When you ignore someone’s presence you minimize their existence, and that is unacceptable, no matter what the dialect.
We are now 9 billion people that share this finite space called earth. We had better start communicating … in every language!