Language and Choice of Words

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by tony, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. tony

    tony Gold Member Volunteer Mentor

    I know English is not the first language for many of us here but it is nonetheless the language many of us use to communicate. Since, we are from different cultures and backgrounds I think it is important we start learning some things from each other regarding communication. I read a thread that a member in this forum highlighted how some borrowers were using symbols that were considered offensive in their country or culture. I also noted that sometimes when some borrowers or VMs are highlighting their issues, their choice of words may be misinterpreted as accusations. I wouldn't wont to write something that annoys a lender, Zidisha staff, and volunteers because I feel they have sacrificed a lot to provide great opportunities to us borrowers. So therefore, lets talk ... learn from each other and maybe will develop to be more courteous and wise when communicating:
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  2. Hope2012

    Hope2012 Gold Member

    I was thinking the same thing, and that's why I posted about the rude hand sign.

    I've also noticed a few words that are different in Kenya to England/UK

    Hustle or Hussle is much more of a positive word it seems, in Kenya, I could be wrong about this but I read one borrower talking about how he had a "side-hustle" he meant a second business, but to me it implied something dishonest (I realise he didn't really mean that)
    Hustle in UK is almost always something slightly dodgy, slightly dishonest. In fact there used to be a TV programme called "The Hustle" about fraudsters who cleverly conned people. It's quite a good TV programme if anyone wants to watch it.
    In USA I think it can have quite vulgar connotations too (would have to ask an American to check that, but that's what I understood)

    tout is bad too. The noun is worse than the verb.
    "Touting for business" implies being a bit aggressive but isn't too bad as a phrase but calling someone a tout (noun) is really bad, you can look on Wikipedia about this. In England if you say tout you are implying that the person is a bully and maybe dishonest. In some areas it is illegal or very looked down on to be a ticket tout.
    In Kenya I'm told it's a just what they call bus conductors assistant.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
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  3. tony

    tony Gold Member Volunteer Mentor

    Yes. You are right about our choice of words. We normally refer to bus conductors as touts. The meaning of hustle as you highlighted is obviously unconventional but the term is commonly used in the Hiphop world (especially in America) to mean something that brings money; it's a slang popularly used among the African-American. A number of Kenyans have borrowed those meaning.
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  4. Hope2012

    Hope2012 Gold Member

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  5. enigmatic

    enigmatic Gold Member

    To be fair, lots of Americans starting businesses use "hustle" as a good thing, to mean the ability to work hard and get things done . Then again, some of them refer to themselves as "hackers" as a positive description of their skills with computers too...

    English is a very complicated language!
  6. Nicholas Corbett

    Nicholas Corbett Community Manager

    In the business world, the term "hustle" has positive meanings here in Canada. I sat in a job interview recently, and had a CEO asking me if I'm "prepared for the hustle" in that I'd do whatever it takes, and persevere to ensure the company takes off.

    I think it just comes down to using your head and understanding context. If you're in a dark alley and overhear a pair of cloaked individuals talking about "hustling" it might mean something different than it would here on Zidisha, where hard-working entrepreneurs are bringing their businesses and ideas to light and inquiring about loans.

    Just my 2 cents.
  7. tony

    tony Gold Member Volunteer Mentor

    I should also have mentioned that the use of the word 'tout' to mean bus conductors here in Kenya is somewhat justified. in the past and to some extent even now, bus conductors were generally very indisciplined and the manner in which they handled passengers (especially in regards to paying fare) is what earned them the name. At some point, the public transport sector was in a mess and criminal gangs controlled bus stops. acts or issues such as raising fare unfairly, harassing passengers, refusing to give change to passengers, and forcing all passengers to alight before reaching their destination were often associated with 'touts'. Today, the problem has reduced and the sector is a bit more organized than before.
  8. SusanF

    SusanF Silver Member

    If we are attempting to bridge cultural and linguistic hurdles we are all going to have to tolerate some unusual language and assume the best about the other person. I read the language about the "side-hustle" and smiled. (I'm an American.) It's slang, but not offensive, and I sort of liked the (possibly unintentional) implication of energy! I hope this borrower "hustles" (hurries, uses energy) in the most positive sense.
  9. opiektidung

    opiektidung Forum Member

    I agreed, in using the language and be more polite and discreet, so that people do not merasah tersingung about what we're talking about
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  10. K M

    K M Gold Member

    I now live in a part of Canada that is very close to the United States, both geographically and in many ways also culturally. The other day I was at a shop looking to get advice on how to improve some of my old sports equipment (I wasn't there to buy anything that day, but to see what the possibilities were.) One thing that happened that I noticed as unusual to me, was that the older male salesperson I was talking to, called me "dear" a couple of times during our conversation, particularly when I was trying out some of the equipment he was showing me. I associate the use of terms of affection in a casual setting (I'd never met this man before) mostly with working class Americans, and I find it a bit rude, especially in context such as the other day, when I felt that the man was treating me as though I was somewhat child like and not too competent, although I know that many people would instead consider that he was just being friendly.

    My question is - in your country, is it common for people you meet in a shop, or otherwise don't know, to use terms that are affectionate?
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  11. Hope2012

    Hope2012 Gold Member

    It's pretty common where I grew up , especially working class folk say "love" and I say love to people too. To me it's fine as long as someone isn't in a position of authority or in a business suit, then it would sound patronising.
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  12. Boniface

    Boniface Afrikan

    This discussion reminds me how i referred to a kenyan lady once as a babe (a common middle class reference to young women regardless of looks or whatever) and the Australian pals with me seemed to think i was flirting,while others saw a super male chauvinist! It helps to think twice before judging a different person from another culture.
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  13. Hope2012

    Hope2012 Gold Member

    Yeah I would NOT be happy to be called "a babe" !
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  14. Boniface

    Boniface Afrikan

    I guess cultural sensitivity is a must in any forum in order to avoid stepping on peoples toes.
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  15. KirstenShute

    KirstenShute Gold Member

    To use an American expression, y'all have good points! ;)

    In high school I had a teacher from the UK (sadly, she's dead now) who called us students "love" sometimes, especially at the end of sentences. To my teenage North American ears it seemed goofy but endearing, though she also could be quite strict. (I'm sorry for making her sound like such a British stereotype, @Hope2012 !)

    I don't remember the last time I was called "dear" by someone I don't know. Then again, Montreal is mostly French, so usually I get a polite but formal "Bonjour, madame" when I'm talking to store workers.
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  16. tony

    tony Gold Member Volunteer Mentor

    Perhaps someone has through a letter or email ;)
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  17. K M

    K M Gold Member

    That's a good point Tony :D I get letters all the time that start with "Dear"- and don't think that's offensive at all when it's in writing. In school, we're taught it's the correct way to address casual letters.
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  18. Hope2012

    Hope2012 Gold Member

    In the north of England they call you "hen" or "duck" sometimes, ha
    If you do something daft they call you "goose"

    Always made me laugh, we southerners don't say that at all
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  19. Hope2012

    Hope2012 Gold Member

    In my part of England the older folk say "dear" that's pretty normal, and the Anglo- Indians say "my dear"
    One of my bosses was of Indian origin and everything was "my dear do this, my dear, do that" I didn't mind, he was the boss and you could tell it was just a cultural difference. Cockney / London and estuary folk say "mate" a lot, which is quite working class. South Africans say "boss"
  20. Hope2012

    Hope2012 Gold Member

    Oh yes I realise it's pretty legit here, but it does sound quite amusing to me

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