I am finding my manner of speaking changing to using more local terms and mannerisms. I have always secretly judged people who change their accent or mimic others’ accents/mannerisms depending on who they speak to or where they are. It always struck me as insecure and awkward.

I find myself talking more local to those who are local, especially at my job, where I am trying to relate to people and help them at a stressful point in their lives. The shift has been unintentional, but I have been aware of it. I think I have figured out why.

Subconsciously we try to put others at ease, especially in situations of helping or comforting. People who are in need have to do a lot of things on others’ terms, this has always bothered me. I have given thought to how to affirm someones personal importance and dignity, of finding ways within the required parameters of the different programs I have worked for over the years to let the client lead their goal setting and my meetings with them. I find myself, out of empathy and a desire to communicate and empower, mirroring the speech of others. I don’t do this to my coworkers, or anyone who is not local.

I’m not sure how I feel about this, long held secret judginess is hard to let go of. Also, I am not good at it, pronunciation of some of these Hawaiian words and names is challenging.  But I have found before, trying and failing to relate to someones culture gets you further in relating with someone than not trying at all, it often becomes a bonding and learning moment. The world is too wide to not try to immerse yourself in local culture and custom wherever you go.

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