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    Welcome to Authentic Journeys - ഓതെന്റിക് ജെർനീയ്സ് - US-India Cross-Cultural Training

November 8, 2014

"Read Between the Lines" Meaning of Idioms

"Read Between the Lines" Meaning of Idioms
Though Americans are known for being direct and getting to the point, there are times when Americans talk vaguely or answer indirectly. In such cases, it's important for you to 'read between the lines' to make educated guesses on what they are actually talking about. Remember, though if you do make an assumption in such cases, do ask questions to assure your ideas are in line with theirs. 

If you are unsure what it exactly means to "read between the lines", watch this really cool video where they act out the meaning! 

So, from the video, you would have understood the meaning of "read between the lines" to be "to understand a suggested meaning that is not directly stated." Reading between the lines is a skill in any language and culture, and if you are good at it, you are probably also a person with a high EQ (emotional intelligence). 

As an important side note, this idiom has another unsavory meaning that should never happen in the corporate environment. Be wary if someone holds up their first three fingers and tells you to 'read between the lines.' Here, they are giving you 'the finger,' which is vulgar and offensive. I hope this never happens to you. 

In addition to exposing watchers to the idiom, 'reading between the lines,' the video also has an important cross-cultural lesson. If you are a foreign student in the US, it's important that you do not copy work from other sources or get others to do your work for you. If you do this, you could get expelled from college. It's important to learn to take initiative, speak up in your own words, and not copy other's work. This is not only true in college, but in the corporate environment as well. 

I have used this idiom in two other blogs. Can you find the idiom in this post or this post and understand the meaning from the context of the other text or content surrounding it?

Jennifer Kumar, author of this post helps Indians to read between the lines of American corporate culture, get familiar with the ways of the Americans and take initiative in daily communication with Americans offshore or onsite. Contact her for more details. 

Networked blogs link: http://nblo.gs/11dNj3

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.