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It has amazed me that the same word can have different meanings to different people. Some of this must be due to cultural differences but within the same language? I saw this in south Florida. The bulk of the population speaks Spanish. However, the Mexicans used a word that meant good things yet the same word meant the opposite to the Cubans. If you are not from that country you don’t know you may have insulted someone especially when the language is different than what you know.

This happens with gestures also. I have found that the middle finger raised in the air is universal, but how about a hug or shaking hands? Some cultures do not believe in touching each other in greeting and others hug and kiss even strangers. Some cultures have issues with shoes on or off and some people can’t stand to not wear shoes.

As an author, how do I transcend these cultural differences in words and gestures to keep my work interesting to everyone who reads it. Any ideas?