Can the meaning of words be lost between cultural differences in people?

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  1. sangre profile image92
    sangreposted 11 years ago

    Can the meaning of words be lost between cultural differences in people?

  2. Good Guy profile image83
    Good Guyposted 11 years ago

    Oh yes.  I am Chinese. I live in a multi-cultural country.  And I have an Englishman as my son-in law.

  3. profile image0
    Garifaliaposted 11 years ago

    The meaning of words I believe, aren't actually lost they just change. For instance, a joke in Greek has no meaning in English and vise versa. For example, in Greek panda [πάντα] means everything. See if you get this joke:

    What's the difference between a pig and panda?
    A pig eats panda, but Panda don't eat the pig.

    See what I mean. Body language also changes. For instance, in some Asian countries it is rude to look people in the eyes, whereas in the Western world it means you have nothing to hide.

  4. Russell-D profile image76
    Russell-Dposted 11 years ago

    This might be how a youngster might answer your question.

    I have a cousin who lives far, far away.
    Who has diff’rent words for the things that we say.
    Though they are diff’rent, both mean the very same
    So we always play this diff’rent name fun game.
    He rides on his bike, while I ride on my trike
    What he calls a walk,  I would call it a hike.
    He calls a carriage, what we here call a pram.
    Jelly’s what he likes, while I like eating jam.
    His elevator, is what I call a lift
    What’s a blouse to him, is what we call a shift.
    When he says, “Hello!”, I answer, “There you are.”.
    He says a “Goodbye”. While I close with “Ta-Ta.”.
    His spends a dollar. What I spend is a pound.
    He rides a subway, my ride is underground.
    When he says, “Oh Darn!”. His darn becomes my “Bosh!”.
    And his old raincoat, to me’s a Macintosh..
    He likes reading poems, I embrace a sonnet.
    While he wears a hat, I put on a bonnet.
    But something we’d both would absolutely like,
    He riding his bike, while I ride on my trike
    The day he comes here, from his home, far away.
    we’ll play together, on that wonderful day.

    David Russell

    1. profile image0
      Garifaliaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Love the poem,
      The way it rhymes,
      It shows the beauty of language,
      Almost sounding like chimes,
      It was a pleasure to read it-Russel D,
      Continue creating-creativity is key.

    2. sangre profile image92
      sangreposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      That's a really great reply. Love it. smile

  5. algarveview profile image73
    algarveviewposted 11 years ago

    For sure, take Portugal and Brazil, for instance, I've often found myself talking to Brazilians and I knew for sure they weren't understanding me, although we were both speaking in Portuguese... Same or similar words meant completely different things for them... Not to the same degree, but that happens even within the same country, because of cultural and historical backgrounds being different between regions...

  6. profile image0
    savvydatingposted 11 years ago

    Of course...on the other hand, I had a love who often said, "My art is appy." No "H" sounds. I knew just what he meant.

  7. edhan profile image37
    edhanposted 11 years ago

    Yes. Sometimes people tend to add additional meaning thus it is being lost.

  8. lone77star profile image72
    lone77starposted 11 years ago

    Even people within the same culture can experience a loss of meaning because of differences in experience.

    We have words and concepts being perverted by the Corporate Party media and by movies and other entertainment. We have the government attempting to influence us with nice names for tyranny, like "Patriot Act." Hitler would be proud.

    Meaning can be lost even between people who speak the same language.

    One story I remember involved American and British diplomats discussing several issues. The Brits said that they wanted to table one very important issue, but the Americans were against tabling it. The Yanks, in fact, became quite irate about the Brits' suggestion. After a long and tiring string of arguments, they suddenly discovered that each side had a completely different and opposite definition for "table." To the Americans, "table" meant to place an issue on the side table for later discussion. To the Brits, "table" meant to place an issue on the main table for immediate discussion. Different "table."

    When disagreements arise, it's important to step back and to define terms so that both sides know what is actually being argued. All too often, both sides find out that they're arguing the same position.


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