Everyday English

My first language is English.

But I live in Montreal, where the first language is French.

As a result, I’m used to translating French into English.

I’m not very good at it. But translating into English is something I do every day.

Now for the weirdness.

Sometimes, when I’m reading marketing copy or even business writing – in English – I have a moment of recognition in my mind.

I think, “Hang on, this feels like translating from a foreign language. I’m having to translate marketing language or business language into everyday English.”

Interesting notion… having to translate English into everyday English.

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A bad conversation

You think you’re having an open conversation with someone.

There’s some back and forth.

You have your say, and then he has his.

And then – dangit – you suddenly realize it’s one of THOSE conversations.

The other person isn’t really listening to you at all. He’s just waiting for the right moment to jump back in to push his own opinion.

While you’re talking, he’s essentially tuned out, marking time, and waiting for you to stop talking. He’s completely deaf to your side of the “conversation”.

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Group of freinds

You can’t hold a good conversation without speaking the same language.

And I’m not talking about trying to have a conversation with someone who speaks a foreign language.

I’m talking about striking up a conversation with someone – or a group of people – without knowing the vocabulary of that particular audience.

Imagine you’re a doctor attending a conference, but walk into the wrong meeting room and find yourself sitting down with a group of aeronautical engineers. Well, you might as well be listening to people speaking a foreign language.

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