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You say po-tay-to, I say batata

You say po-tay-to, I say batata

There really is more to intercultural communication than being able to understand each other’s accented English.


April 4, 2011 9:39 by

The UAE’s total population is now at an estimated 8.26 million as of mid-2010, with expatriates accounting for 88.5 percent of that figure. This is a dip from the peak of 88.8 percent in 2008 but still higher than the 83 percent recorded in 2006, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

It’s worth noting that the population of UAE nationals rose 11.4 percent — in excess of 3% annually — to about 948,000 in the four-and-a-half years, according to the Bureau.

So what does this all mean? Kipp hopes this means there will be more opportunities in place for cultural integration and understanding. There really is more to intercultural communication than being able to understand each other’s accented English.

“Are we more concerned about national identity and social stability than economic growth, or double-digit economic growth?” Khalid Al Yahya, director of governance and public administration at the Dubai School of Government, told The Media Line. “We need to make tough choices.”

Whose responsibility is it to drive cultural integration and push multicultural education on a national level? While national leaders are sure to have this on their agenda, Kipp doesn’t think it’s a bad idea for individuals to become more aware of cultural nuances with neighbours at home and at the office.

Kipp once had a colleague who was upset for being told they added ‘sweet weight’ by another office mate. Insulting isn’t it? But maybe this is a stab at trying to compliment someone looking much better filled in?

In any case, one thing is for sure, intercultural miscommunication is a two-way street. A whole lot of understanding and patience is needed to decipher messages clearly lost in translate.


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1 Comment

  1. Andrew on April 5, 2011 11:46 am

    “Lost in translate” eh? Is Kipp being ironical?


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