It is at the point of greeting a person in their own language, with their body language, and in respect that we honour their humanness.
Our nine-year-old, and 14-year-old sons, greet in many languages. As do their mother and father. I have seen the delight on people’s faces. And I have felt it myself.
Many years ago, I was in Spain, and felt very overwhelmed because I did not understand Spanish. I’d already got to the point of greeting in Spanish, but did not know much more than that.
At a leather sales place, I spoke to the Spanish salesman, in English. He immediately recognised my South African accent and greeted me in Afrikaans.
That was a recognition, of my South Africanness. Even though Afrikaans was not my home language, he honoured me and I felt valued. He was a funny man, and and we soon became friends. The greeting that he used, was not the best Afrikaans, but it sounded like home!
Now, if a Spaniard, can learn a language from another continent, what about us who actually live here?
So I ask you, today to go out there and find out more about the people whom you meet, and those with whom you work with.
Establish what their home language is, and ask them “How should I greet you, in your language?” Write it down, record it on your smart phone and practice.
The next time you meet, greet. Once you have the greeting right, ask how you say the next words, in building a respectful relationship. For example the words for; How are you? I am well. Thank you and goodbye.
You will then have laid, the foundations of respect with one person, from a certain language background. The next step is to practice that with as many people from that language group, as you can.
Your language ability will grow, as will respect in our nation.
And then move on to the next, and the next.
Brian V Moore
+27 79 643 4457
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