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Midweek Connect: 12/1/21 ~ Definitions across cultures

Greetings and Happy Midweek and Happy December! To start off this new month, the last one of 2021, I thought we would focus in on “definitions”. Seeking to define things (be they words or concepts or relationships or whatever) is really important in any type of communication, and even more so, I think, when it is done in language learning and in cross-cultural interactions. During our Global SKILLs training, defining things clearly is one vital skill we ask learners to master and then always be on the lookout for applications with what has been defined which will help inform their cross-cultural experiences.*

As I was reading tributes this week to Virgil Abloh, renowned African-American designer who passed away recently, a phrase describing one of his creations caught my eye with an English word I had never seen. It said, “this is a desaturated pleated outfit”. I had no clue, in this context, what desaturated meant! So...I googled and found that in art, desaturated colors are muted using more or less white color or light. Check out the outfit in question here: it’s the 5th photo.

I started thinking a bit more globally and culturally about this particular word and seeking further understanding through definition not just of the word but the creator and the outfit it described. Abloh, with deep roots in Africa through his Ghanaian parents, was a Chicago native who lived, worked and traveled internationally creating some of the world’s most renowned fashion designs and trends. I wondered if he intended anything he created, including this jacket, to be ‘desaturated/muted” and if so, what purpose that served? The jacket’s theme was noted to be a tribute to Paris. Perhaps using less color and more shape and dimension, he felt the impact would be stronger, more memorable - to reflect his feelings about this city which he loved and clearly honored.

Finally, knowing now the definition of the word and having explored the context it was used in, I just enjoyed reflecting on some of the cross cultural dynamics involved in taking the time and making the effort to define something clearly. It was totally worth it - I recommend the process to you all!

How about you ~ what is a cross-cultural definition you wonder about or explored recently?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for a few more suggestions for this kind of cross-cultural definitions.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,


* PROACTive Learning Strategies: PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Application (which we looked at today), Collaboration and Transformation

~ contact me for more information on these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming


2) My first exposure to the word “cross-over”, used in a cross-cultural context:

3) This site is fun, and if you like a new word every day - they’ll email you one! This word interested me because of its connection with one way to communicate:

2021 ~ Celebrating 40 years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

Connecting, Collaborating, Cultivating Community

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