I feel it … it’s on the tip of my tongue … my brain is churning words … a seed is being planted … a thought is forming … a curious ponder is watered … until finally something cracks open:

 

“How can we ask better questions?”

 

∇∇∇

When an English speaking person wants to know something, how do they usually formulate their request? 

 

In my house, my kids say, “Can I ask you a question?”

 

The English word ‘ask’ comes from the Middle English ‘asken’ and from the Old English ‘ascian’, ‘ahsian’, ‘axian’, which means to inquire, demand, call, summon.

 

How do we question in English? Apparently, we inquire, we demand, we call, we summon … an answer!

 

Sounds kind of bossy, don’t you think? Having said that, now I am thinking of all the times I have asked my children: “Where have you been?” “What are you doing?” or “What’s up with that?” Who would have guessed I was acting like some kind of drill sergeant demanding answers from young reserves? No wonder my kids were often angry with me, growing up.

.

∇∇∇

When a Chinese speaking person wants to know something, how do they usually formulate their request?

 

In my house, my kids say, “我有个问题想问你.” (wo you ge wenti xiang wen ni.)

The Chinese word for ‘ask’ is 问 (wen). “口” represents an open mouth and 门 represents an open door and a question mark. 问 (wen) means to ask, inquire, interrogate, hold responsible.

 

How do we question in Chinese? Never mind just asking, we shall hold another responsible for their answers and interrogate further if need be!

 

Without their knowing, my kids up might have been subjected to military style parenting, because I kept drilling them for answers.

.

∇∇∇

When a French speaking person wants to know something, how do they formulate their request?

 

In my house, my kids say, “Puis-je te poser une question?”

 

As a native French speaker, I might be doomed because way back in the 4th century, the French confused two latin verbs: ‘pausare’ (to cease) and ‘ponere’ (to put). The confusion got so bad that both verbs were amalgamated to form a new verb, ‘pondre’ which literally means ‘to lay an egg’. Besides that, the word also means: to put something onto something/someone or to abandon something; placing in a spot/situation or affixing a physical structure; to establish a foundation or to address; putting in its rightful place or laying on something/someone; to study gestures/looks/language or to take on a role/appearance; etc.

 

How do we question in French? Apparently, we first build some kind of elaborate wordy structure to establish on it a nest where we lay an egg to crack open the shell of our understanding.

.

.

At this point, I am kindly ASKing  each one of us to SUMMON buckets of compassion while doing further  INVESTIGATION into this laying egg query:

 

“How can we ask better questions?”

 

And during this ongoing process,

∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇∇

May we all crack open the shell of our understanding.

 

My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who loves languages and the insights they provide for all of us to understand how to ask better questions. I can be reached at https://walkinginside.com/contact-us

Your EQ coach,

Anne

https://walkinginside.com/products

Photo by Miguel Andrade on Unsplash