Greetings and Happy Midweek!
And it’s February 1st already…wow. I thought I’d start a new monthly focus and we can explore it together each 1st week of the month. I’m calling it “Words Connect” because each month we’ll pick one word…and because it’s true - right? Words do totally connect us cross-culturally and in so many other ways. This topic will fit right into the HOST dimension of our Global SKILLs 3D Dynamics framework, since the meaning of a word is so totally connected to how the speaker, or Host, uses it and the listener understands its meaning.
Today’s word is ‘lacertilian’...or common usage = lizard.*
Having lived for decades in the subtropics, both in Africa and here in the US, I am very familiar with and comfortable around lizards. They were always residents in our rural and urban homes in Senegal, and occasionally I had one in my Florida condo. The household ones I am describing were usually pretty small - about 4 inches total. We called them “lizard friends” when my sons were little. They ate unwelcome bugs, and entertained us with their antics.
But in some cultures, like for the Jolas among whom we lived in Senegal, lizards can in fact be very frightening. We learned about this when we were doing word studies and learning Jola terms for common wildlife in the village. We found out, for example, that one of the many types of lizard (sorry, I don’t recall the term!) was known to poison people by licking their lips when they slept. Yikes. What was a fun distraction for us was a potentially scary or even deadly threat for our close friends. We were much more careful after learning this, for example understanding why a good friend might not want to sit inside but preferred our porch - less risk of a lizard being seen on our white-washed interior walls or of being threatened with no chance to politely run away!
What does this have to do with cross-cultural communications? Well, how about we try to be more sensitive to word meanings, especially maybe with commonly used, familiar, comfortable words for us which just might have alternate meanings in a different cultural context for someone we are interacting with. Awareness and sensitivity are always helpful cultural allies!
How about you ~ any lizard issues? Share about that with a friend or note it here.
And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on lizards…they really are quite versatile.
Thanks for being part of this Connect community.
Until next week,
Global SKILLs LINKs
~ The Word: https://www.wordgenius.com/words/lacertilian
~ Talk about versatile - they can really travel: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/woman-finds-baby-gecko-lidl-
~ And an Asian type is inspiring robotic research: https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/02/asia/gecko-lizard-flight-robot-scn
* Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:
3 Dimensional Dynamics Model:
1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST (which we explored this week) ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR)
PROACTive Learning Strategies: PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram
ACT = Application, Collaboration and Transformation
~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming: email@example.com
2023 ~ Celebrating 40+ years of working in
intercultural communications and global community building
“It takes a community to build a community”
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