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Favourite words – A multicultural conversation starter

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Multicultural conversation is an essential when working in an office like Cultural Infusion where the staff speak a combined 39 languages (and frequently do), words are a constant source of joy, an occasional source of confusion, and a frequent source of hilarity.  So we decided to ask people what their favourite word is, and why.  Repugnant and money both made the list (but not side-by-side).

Hope is the type of person who brings energy and positivity into our lives. She chose amity for its meaning and the way it sounds. It reflects peaceful harmony.

Anna, an Italian-Australian woman, loves the word armor. She likes how it sounds. It sounds like amore, but the meaning is different. Amore means love in Italian.

Shareef is not against a good laugh. He took a word as disgusting as it sounds: repugnant.

David is probably the nicest person you will ever meet. He picked a word that sound good to say and as what it is: malleable.

Valerie, the animal lover, chose maw. It is a different way of describing a mouth and it sounds very cavernous when you say it.

Clementine, a Frenchwoman from the region famous for its vine industry, Bordeaux, likes words that feel soft. Words that are not aggressive. Unloose is the winner for her.

Natasha believes in fate. Everything happens for a reason. Serendipity means a “pleasant surprise” that happens for a reason. For her, it is the best word for describing that feeling.

Fiona likes when things are fascinating. Ambiguous is the right word if you want a sentence to mean something different than it should. She thinks it is riveting how one word can do this.

Jessie is a fairly discrete and kind person. She does not know why she enjoys awesome. It seems we do not always know why we love or hate something.

When I asked Kseniia’s favourite word, she wanted to be “mean” and choose something that would make people uncomfortable. Do you like “moist”?

Cameron was surprised by my questions. He picked the first word that came into his head, nomenclature.

Jasmine is from Hong Kong and is doing her internship here.  For her, change means that something inspiring and new is coming. We should not be afraid of it.

Himesh is the kind of person who is passionate about what he loves. Design is what he likes and is also his favourite word. Design is not just about making something beautiful, but also about the language – coding- and the development.

Angelina is a great artist. Her drawings entertain children. She picked the word money. She thinks it brings happiness.

Alex is a funny Australian who is a fountain of general knowledge.  His pick is a word that sounds incredibly rude and is an infallible way to make the English laugh: buttocks.

Cristina, a Romanian working in Australia, loves this word of French origin: mirific. It can refer to both a beautiful view and extraordinary paintings. It can also be used sarcastically.

Emilie, a French intern who loves to upset the English, selected whom. Its misuse upsets people and brings interesting and funny conversation about why it is a word from the past.

Amy prefers the meaning of words rather than how they sound. She likes happiness because everyone has to remember that we should be happy no matter what happens in our life.

Chris is a caring person and loves design development. He wants everybody to remember that we should show to the people we love that we care about them. He picked take care.

Sometimes we do not know why we love or hate one words. What matters is our ability to let someone else expresses itself. Next time you meet someone, ask them what his or her favourite word is and why. Let the conversation begin!