Monday, July 18, 2016

Fanny Mail: A Communication Question

Hi, Kiddies! In Saturday's mail I received a letter from Benjamin Wilcox of Akron, Ohio. Benjamin writes: "Dear Grandmother Winsome, I firmly believe that 'No' means no. However, in the case where a woman speaks no English, how am I expected to know what anything she says means? The woman I allegedly raped spoke not a single word of English. So how was I to know what she was saying? She might have been urging me on, or perhaps even talking about something completely unrelated. Certainly, she was repeating something. But in all the excitement she never once uttered the word 'No,' at least not in any language I understand. Yet this case is actually going to trial. What do you advise?"

Well, Benjamin, as I understand from your letter, you certainly would have stopped had the woman only asked you to in a language you understood. There are more than six thousand languages currently spoken in the world, and I don't think a person can be held accountable for not knowing them all. It's just not reasonable. Perhaps if you convey to the judge your willingness to take some foreign language classes in order to avoid this sort of confusion in the future, he will dismiss the case. After all, a willingness to learn demonstrates that your heart is in the right place.

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