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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"I beg your pardon..."

"What did you just say?"
"Please repeat what you just said."
"I didn't get that." and so on...

These are all very useful phrases - however more than once I have been reluctant to use any of them. It finally occurred to me that it may be a sign of pride. Keep reading as I explain...

Though some people may think differently, whether you agree with me or not, everyone has an accent. Yes, we all do...we go around the world with our accent only to find that the people at the other end of the world have their own accents too. So it amuses me when someone says, "where is your accent from?" I usually hold myself back from saying "from the same place as I am from" - knowing that my accent cannot go anywhere without me.

Ok, back to the topic.

We all have our accents and so there are times when someone says something which we either do not hear or cannot decipher or even understand what has just been said. Sometimes it's their accent, style of speaking (e.g. under their breath) or the use of slangs or words that are not part of our usual vocabulary. Sound familiar? Well, it does to me...

When people use slangs or big words (which they may not even know the meaning of), I am sometimes reluctant to ask them to "break it down" so I don't look like the less-educated/ less-exposed person. Now you see why I said the lack of use of those phrases is related to pride. One day it struck me that when I nod in agreement and say "yes-yes," with a smile, I do not know what I have just "accepted" or agreed with - that's not what educated people do.

Now, I'm not saying that you should carry a dictionary around with you and flip through it whenever a big word comes your way - that will look ridiculous. I'm just saying be courageous enough to ask the person to kindly repeat what he/she said. When you hear and understand what the person said, you are in a better position to know what to do/say or not to do/say.

Imagine someone says something that is not particularly flattering about you and you respond with a nod, smile and "yes-yes" - how do you think the person will perceive you? I can tell you right now that the person will not think very highly of you and may even treat you likewise...Knowing what people have said to you is so important so you can reject anything that doesn't line up with God's promises to you. "Being polite" and accepting negative words won't cut it - that's the first reason to use those phrases.

Another reason why it is good to reconfirm your understanding especially of big words is so you know what you have committed to. You definitely don't want to be in a situation where someone above you is using big words to give you an assignment and you go away and do it all wrong or not at all because you didn't understand a word of what was said. Or even worse, you took on more than you know or could actually do. I won't like that either.

The third reason is possibly to help that other person too. Sometimes people say things or use words they don't understand themselves. Hearing them out will put you in a position to help them better understand the implication of things said and possibly the meaning and/or appropriate use of words - now that's what educated people to.
Did you just say :"I beg your pardon"?

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