Cross-border offers of ‘words’

 Offer to your ‘distant’ counterpart in the other country just 2 words of ‘your’ language!


Is what we  asked in one of our recent cross-national comparative survey. Just to conclude our participants’s responses with a kind gesture! For example, we have asked employees of a large Telecommunication company in the Netherlands to offer two Dutch words to their ‘distant’ colleagues working for the partnering company in Greece. The reversed was asked to the Greek, mostly IT specialists who were experiencing daily  interactions  with their counterparts in the Netherlands in  ‘virtual’ mode.

You are what you offer!

The following Radar chart shows the semantic clustering of these words I concluded in consultancy with Dutch colleagues. Few categories are shared. Those categories comprise words related to having pleasure and Enjoying life, or being kind towards the other like Thank you  (Dank je, Eyxaristo) and words around Co-operation and Communication. It’s worth noticing that people of both sides share universal kind, positive, engaging and will for better understanding attitude (See in the chart the shared categories).

Other categories however, express culture-bound orientations, soft-skills orientations or values attachments. (See in the chart the less or non-shared categories). When a person offers, for example, the ‘word’ family or respect or transparency or planning or on-time, may be subconsciously, but they do transfer what they consider as worth-being  or worth-doing in life.

Dutch people come to representations and offer words related to time-management, transparency, trust See the following table. They emphasize  the importance of specific individual skills in a working context, like planning, being flexible, direct, pro-active (typically reproducing a specific-minded, self-focused and personal-development type) while Greeks mirror rather more holistic representations of life,  are respect- and pride-minded  (features of Collectivistic societies: holistic, relationship-oriented and honor-based society).

Semantic categories of the words-offer

Semantic Categories

Dutch offered words (examples)

Greek offered words (examples)

Time management skills Op tijd, planning, proactief, besluiteloos
Transparent-Capable-Flexible Direct, duidelijk, capabel, Openheid, flexibiliteit
Trust Vertrouwen
Co-operation-Communication, Understanding Samenwerken, communicatie, meedenken Ομαδικότητα, συνεργασία, επικοινωνία, κατανόηση,
Enjoy-life Lachen, plezier, geluk, gezellig (the most frequently offered Dutch word) Xαμόγελο, κέφι, αυθορμητισμος, χαρά, διασκέδαση, υγεια, ευχαρίστηση, Μην αγχώνεσαι, Ηλιος, Θάλασσα, Φραπε
Thanks, greetings Bedankt, Hallo, Goedemorgen
Tot morgen. Asjeblieft
Dank u wel
Ευχαριστώ, παρακαλώ, καλημέρα, καλησπέρα, γειά σου
Dutch-style funny Τjongejongejonge, Toppie joppie, Scheveningen, Groningen, gratis
Filotimo Φιλότιμο Philotimo (the most frequently offered Greek word!)
Respect-pride Σεβασμός, αξιοπρέπια, περηφάνεια, αφοσοιωση,
Γενεραλ soft-skills Τόλμη, ειλκρίνεια, θέληση, δουλια, γνώση, επιτυχια, εγρηγορση, υπομονή, ικανότητα, ανοργανωσια, νεύρο, κουράγιο, μεράκι
Friendship Φιλος, φιλία, φιλοξενία, ευγένεια,
Democracy-Peace Δημοκρατία, λόγος, ελευθερία,  ειρήνη, πολιτισμός
Family Οικογένεια

Revealed trends are in agreement with one of our previous works published as ‘networks of meanings..’ . We are also go to discuss significant findings of our comparative investigations in SIETAR EUROPA Congress 2017

Would you wish to better understand  your counterparts in other countries or becoming insider in a new culture? Just,

 Mind their words!