“Fling yourself at life and let yourself feel what you do feel upon the very tick of the second; snatch the images of life that fly through the brain. If you are very frank with yourself and don’t mind how ridiculous anything that comes to you may seem, you will have a chance of capturing the symbols of your direct reactions. Thus, you will, perhaps, find yourself reaching a heightened sense of awareness completely outside the realm of mundane experience.”
Sometimes Getting Along Comes Down To How You Say ‘Gravy’
In the hectic days before we went live one year ago (hooray!), we somehow missed the news of the passing, at age 91, of John Gumperz — a hugely influential linguist who contributed reams of research on the ways people from different cultures communicate. Had we been paying attention, we could have highlighted a story from Gumperz’s studies that serves as a useful demonstration of why code-switching can be both a potent metaphor and a necessary skill.
It’s a story about workplace discrimination. It’s a story about missed cultural signals. It’s a story about gravy.