Seth Godin’s post on Double, Double reminded me of a common practice of people I’ve observed – mainly ignorant americans – traveling in a foreign country:
Sometimes, we get hung up on catch phrases and jargon that work great when everyone understands what we mean, but fail to bring understanding to outsiders. Yelling louder isn’t always the answer. Changing your words might work better.
Some think that speaking louder will make someone who doesn’t speak your language somehow understand. It’s rarely that someone can’t hear you. It’s usually because he or she can’t understand you. Whether you’re in Canada buying a double, double coffee or in Chengdu ordering dumplings (jiao zi), you may need to use more than your loud voice to get your need or request met.