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Bilingualism and building

By Berit Griffin April 8, 2013

Hola, bonjour, guten tag and hello!

Here’s a question: Do you speak more than one language? We’re guessing the majority of our readers are native English speakers, but depending on where you live, being able to speak another language could come in very handy. Because we all have lives and jobs, though, it can be difficult if not impossible to take classes and have an immersion experience for fluency. But if you have staff that speaks another language, you might instead attempt “micro-fluency.”

According to Bradley Hartmann at Housing Zone, “I know several construction managers who are bilingual in very specific situations. They know a handful of words – maybe 50 to 100 – and apply them with confidence only in certain situations. ”

So if you’re a builder, you might not need to know how to carry on a conversation about your favorite foods in Spanish, but you might need to know the words for windows, door, roofing, flooring and joists. Now, even having a wide vocabulary of building terms isn’t enough to explain in detail how to tile a fireplace, but you might be able to punctuate your native language with certain useful words and phrases in another language.

Are you “micro-fluent” or even completely fluent in another language? Do you find language knowledge useful when working with building crews?