Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TN and VW illustrate how foreign language can be a gesture of hospitality, respect

Yesterday, the State of Tennessee welcomed Volkswagen to the growing list of major automobile manufacturers located here (Saturn and Nissan also have major operations in the state), as the German automaker announced that it will locate one of its manufacturing operations in Chattanooga (story here).

To communicate the cementing of the bond between Tennessee and the German company, a backdrop offering a welcome in the German language appeared behind Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee and Stefan Jacoby of Volkswagen Group of America.

As said here by Nashvillian elderj in 2006:
To greet Koreans in Korean as a non-Korean is always a sure fire way to elicit surprise and a bit of cultural cool points. It doesn’t matter how much I mangle the pronunciation or use the improper honorific or fail to conjugate the verb, it never fails to please at some level.

Trying to speak someone’s language is a sign of respect... It indicates that you value them, or at least care enough to recognize that they are not altogether like you, and that this is a good thing.
Photo by Chattanooga Times Free Press

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