Understanding dialects, metaphors, and articulation are all parts of learning a language. For communication to be advanced all three must be mastered and will make cross-cultural communication and marketing more efficient. Creating common understanding through shared languages enhances trust, which is crucial for all relationships, including business. Being a communicator can be difficult because you must learn how to construct your thoughts in ways that are unfamiliar to you. Luckily we have broken down the three layers so that they are easier to be mastered.

The word dialect can mean different things. In one way, a dialect is a particular form of language which is unusual to a specific region or social group. But some kinds of people based on their profession can speak in dialects in which people from the same region are unfamiliar. A doctor might call something ‘vital’ which means something needed to keep a person from dying, but if a boss told his employees clocking into work each day is vital, that would just mean it is severely important. Not understanding dialects in either situation will lead to confusion and frustration unless clarification is made at the beginning of planning a project.

Metaphors are used to illustrate arguments and often as a tool for teaching. The use of metaphors gets more complicated as you advance and in a more sophisticated way, it can be used to direct the mind into a new way of thinking. The use of a ‘heuristic metaphor’ can guide our minds in a new direction that a physical rendering could not have accomplished. However, a problem with interpretation is when one uses a simple metaphor, but a child or someone not well-versed in the language doesn’t understand. Mapping can be used as a way to make sure everyone who is hearing your ideas is understanding the metaphors you use. Mapping is the structured description of each process involved. If a metaphor is being used describe what each piece represents and what the words mean. Mapping a metaphor has the same effect as using a metaphor that is subtly implied on a topic.

Articulation and being articulate are similar but different. To articulate well when speaking a language is to pronounce every part of the word clearly and correctly so it is easy to understand. But to be articulate means to express your ideas clearly and easily so that people can understand them almost perfectly. When speaking to people of different languages, you want to do both. To do both at the same time it is important to break down the words before you start building ideas. Pronounce the words clearly and make sure everyone understands what your words mean. If you start from the bottom and build a foundation for yourself then you can start building up to larger ideas.

The key to mastering all three of these layers is to develop an awareness of language differences and allocate time for people of different regions and social groups to come to a common understanding. Developing trust and understanding is the first step to successfully working with people and cultures to whom we are unfamiliar.


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L. J. Bracken (Née Bull), & E. A. Oughton. (2006). “What Do You Mean?” The Importance of Language in Developing Interdisciplinary Research. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 31(3), 371–382.