Category Archives: Language & Culture

How to Best Manage Multicultural & Multilingual Meetings

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The importance and difficulties of knowing how to communicate with people with different languages and cultures

It is no secret that communicating with people from other countries has become more and more frequent. First because it’s getting easier but also (or at least one can hope) because it’s being recognized as something necessary. If we focus on business for instance (we could do the same with school, research, etc.) we can easily see that these relationships offer several advantages that also Read more »

How Important is it for a Visitor to Speak French in France?

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You’d rather listen to this post than reading it? No problem:

Introduction

When you travel to France, for work or leisure, it can happen that you encounter limitations and problems that you wouldn’t come across at home. Often, these are based on the local language and culture being different from the sounds and experiences where you live.

We actually do often conclude that this is purely a language phenomenon. And it’s definitely the most obvious conclusion, especially in Europe where so many languages are found over such a small area. The languages are also very different from one another and can hardly be understood without being studied first. In other words, limitations due to lack of skills in the local language become obvious as soon as you arrive.

On the other hand, we perhaps don’t think as much about Read more »

How to teach your mother tongue to your spouse

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Introduction

Expatriation because of work, business trips, exchange programs during higher education or international agreements that facilitate international mobility (the Schengen area for example); it gets easier and easier to travel and build relationships with people from other countries who, more often than not, don’t speak the same language as you. And while 10 or 20 years ago most trips were business trips (meaning quite short) or touristic travels (meaning mostly superficial contacts with the locals), things have changed indeed and it’s now much more common to build your life in a country different from where you were born. Or at least to spend an extended part of your life abroad.

And thus we naturally see the rise of couples whose members come from different countries and have different mother tongues!


Learning & Teaching One’s Mother Tongue – Why?

In general international couples have a common language (otherwise it would be difficult to understand each other!). Sometimes it’s the mother tongue of one of the two if the other one has learned it already, but often they use a third language.

For example I knew a Swedish-Indonesian couple who used Chinese to communicate! They had met Read more »