Giving someone the finger

Heheh….gotcha if you are reading this! This expression, while construed to mean being expressedly rude to someone to the point of vulgarity; is not the subject of this post. We are talking about communication. And nowhere is this most felt in the areas of commerce and travel.

We don’t meet foreign folks in our midst every now and then if one lives in your home country. But for those who are traipsing around the world or have to work with folks from outside of your country via phone, video or email, then sometimes you may inadvertently give a finger to someone…huh?

You should know about not giving the thumbs up sign just about anywhere (like in a broad swathe of the middle east some say). So it should not surprise you that some of the gestures that you use when traveling about the world could be offensive to someone, somewhere…But of course it wasn’t just the accidental rude gestures that were the concern.

Rather, it is the miscommunication that happens because you ask for one thing and receive another. Even technology has its limits. Remember we wrote about it here? Here’s an example of how some cultures will try to go out of their way in an attemtp to reduce confusion : someone in Japan came up with the following signs for English speakers (read here). Not sure if that will add fat to the fire though…

Mel recalls many years back his father ordered some dishes at a restaurant when visiting him in China. He had expected some chicken dishes to be served. But it turns out all of the dishes were vegetables! LOL. You see, the names that the restaurant gave to the dishes were “flowery”, ie literary and not literal…for those with a little in-depth knowledge of the Chinese language.

We read of folks who tout the benefits of at least learning some local tongues when traveling. Do you attempt to learn some? Or is Google translate your friend when in need?


Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

14 thoughts on “Giving someone the finger”

  1. I try to learn but usually only get as far as hello, thank you and goodbye. But I think that even these few words makes a different because the locals look happy whenever they hear us speak the local language.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always try to learn a few words to be polite. I like it . I really think it is nice to greet someone and say thank you or please in the language of the country. Not everyone speak English although it is the most universal language. I guess it is the reason I decided it was important to learn it ( first in school then while living in a city where the majority of people speak English).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always try to learn! I love languages and luckily it’s the one thing that comes fairly easy to me. Romance languages especially. Once you have one down the rest are easy to start learning. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

Tell us your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s