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Dec 3, 2017

A dictionary of euphemisms

In my native culture, sincerity and directness are often valued above politeness. Like other East Europeans including Ashkenazi, we tend to take direct talk as a sign of trust. We argue with people we respect, and agree politely with people we do not. Well, it works well for people you know well already, and for people who share your cultural assumptions; not so much for people who are more distant, or whose cultural assumptions differ. I have built a little dictionary of more diplomatic expressions, to counter my more natural instincts. I will never be as sophisticated an average Brit, who made an art out of polite questions that often mean the opposite of what they sound like. I am sure others have their own, so please share. It is fun. Like with regular translations, I will use Source and Target languages.

S: You are doing a bad job at this
T: Is there anything we can do to help you perform you work better?

S: Where the hell are you with the project?
T: Can you give me an update on the progress?

S: This is a terrible idea
T: This is an interesting idea, but I am not sure how it fits with our priorities

S: You should spend more time in your office
T: Hey, could not find you yesterday

S: You cannot give me assignments
T: Wonderful idea; would you take a lead on it?

S: No one cares about this
T: Who do you think would be your support group?

S: What you are saying is nonsense
T: Could you give me some examples of what you mean by this?

S: You are a terrible teacher
T: How would you use student comments to grow as an instructor?

S: Stop badmouthing your colleagues
T: What do you suggest I do?

S: You are either exaggerating or outright lying
T: How would other side describe the situation?

S: No
T: Let me discuss with our leadership. I can see a number of objections, but it does not hurt to try

S: No
T: Great idea, but we should really think where the funding would come from

S: No
T: Good point, but let me (or other people) worry about this

S: No
T: Yes

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! i just attended a PD that was aimed at the same purpose. This is a helpful list of examples!
    Best, Lana