(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2DHw609)
I quite liked this idea when I first heard it. It’s the same old discussion about ‘saying something world hearing’ but it’s from a different angle.
Respect and honour are such big words and we toss them around when we are talking about our elders or famous people or people we admire, but actually the truth is we should respect and honour everyone. This is nothing new, but it is particularly true when we are trying to speak another language, namely English.
If the person who is listening to you feels that you are respecting and honouring them – trust me they will listen, and not only listen but want to engage with you, they will even seek you out later to discuss things even more with you – this is what a new ESL speaker needs – to generate a situation that attracts people to them – and respect and honour is a fantastic starting point.
The next question is – how can I respect and honour someone who I don’t even know? Who may not be worthy of any respect or honour?
Simple – just come from the point that firstly you are about to speak to a native or fluent English speaker – that alone is a situation and deserves respect – secondly, if the person is clearly a native speaker who appears to be willing to listen to you, you need to give all your attention to them and by honouring them you are responding with the best English you can muster.
Be aware though that respect and honour does not mean that you are groveling or manipulating the situation to put them on a pedestal, in fact all you are doing is giving them the time and appreciating that they are also giving you the time to have a discussion in English.
It will matter also that what you talk about is worth hearing. So don’t just make up a garbage conversation just to practice your English, because they will see right through this as they will see you are only ‘using them’ – this is not respecting and honouring them and their time.
So remember one thing when you are engaging in English – if your intentions are honourable – everyone will listen.