Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trying to speak someone's language is a sign of respect


"To greet Koreans in Korean as a non-Korean is always a sure fire way to elicit surprise and a bit of cultural cool points. It doesn't matter how much I mangle the pronunciation or use the improper honorific or fail to conjugate the verb, it never fails to please at some level. Trying to speak someone's language is a sign of respect, especially for people whose chief aim is to assimilate as much and as quickly as possible to the dominant culture. It indicates that you value them, or at least care enough to recognize that they are not altogether like you, and that this is a good thing. As a Christian, trying to speak another language is a discipline of humility since it reduces my normally fluid command of language to sounding like a
stammering two year old..."


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