How to be polite in English
On a scale of 1-10, how rude are you in English? Do you know?
Do you think Americans could see you as rude, and you don’t even know it?
Cathy, your American colleague is visiting your company headquarters in Paris.
She learned a few words in the local language before the visit, because she wanted to impress you.
You’re at the coffee machine together and she says (in a strong American accent): Je voudrais une café avec de la sucre, s’il vous plaît.
You understood, and give Cathy her coffee as you correct her: “OK sure, and it’s UNNN café, avec DUUUU sucre.”
Cathy looks hurt. She takes her coffee, but doesn’t say much after that.
You meant to be helpful, but for Cathy, you were being very rude.
And your business relationship is off to a bad start….
Being culturally sensitive, with Leandra King
Leandra loves researching intercultural communication and has lots of insights that can help you start sounding more polite immediately.
(Watch at 3:51 to learn what to say when you don’t understand someone. Hint: It’s NOT “What?”)
(Activate the subtitles on YouTube if you need them 😉
Like I said in the video, if you work with native speakers of English (not just Americans), I highly recommend Leandra’s book The Culture Sensitive Phrasebook and Workbook.
(I only recommend resources that I’ve verified personally, and that I think will truly help you improve your English. This book is definitely one of those resources. But to be transparent, I do get a small commission if you purchase the book).
Now, what about you?
Have you ever experienced a situation where you were accidentally rude? Don’t worry, it’s normal when you’re learning English to make mistakes like this!
So ask your questions or share your stories in the comments!
Have a good week,
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