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From your experiences, when can English touch hearts rather than minds only?|
I'd love to hear your stories of how choice of language, from your experience, can touch hearts, be it in a positive or negative manner, or not at all.
I'll start with my own experiences and examples I've heard form friends.
Whenever I see a Hui or a Uighur, if I address him with 'Al-salam'u'Alaikum! I'lll get a warm and friendly 'Wa 'Alaikum'u'l-Salam! almost instantaneously along with a desire on his part to make friends immediately. Something Han fail to do no matter how well they speak English or Chinese.
A couple years ago a Chinese friend was observing another Chinese at the Polish embassy applying for a vesa, using English. The staff treated him with the usual formal courtessy one gives a stranger. The man was asked for all kinds of documents, questioned ad nauseum, and the decision had not yet been made by the time the man was asked to sit and wait.
When it was my friend's turn, he started with one of the few words he knew in Polish (Hello) and the staf was touched. He then proceded in Chinese to chat a little about a few points of Polish culture. The staff asked him fewer questions, asked for fewer documents and and had already made her decision to grant the visa by the end of the conversation.
Afterwords, the other man, who was still sitting, then asked him how he'd managed to do it. His anser: You need to speak the language of the heart, not of the mind.
On a bus, a Belgian was on a bus with a chinese friend of mine, and a stranger on the bus immediately addressed him in English to start conversation. The Belgian immediately responded in Chinese 'Do I look English?'
The stranger responded 'I don't know'
So the Belgian went on: I'm belgian and so speak French. You're Chinese and so speak Chinese. Which would you prefer?
The Chinese answered: Chinese then.
Do you have any other similar experiences of how you've been able to communicate to hearts more effectively in one language than another despite sharing more than one common language?