Replying to : Re: Responsibility vs accountability LO3213
I am not a linguistic expert, so this is only my humble opninion: Yes -
accountability - exsists in Dutch. We have a Dutch word - rekenschap - and
use the English - accountability - but with slightly different overtones.
We have some problems in translating.
In Dutch we have a notion called - qoute rekenschap geven unquote - or -
quote rekening en verantwoording geven unquote -. (I suddenly notice that
we make a distinction between telling things about numbers (- rekening -
or account) and giving answers to questions on our conduct). - Rekenschap
- is considered to be old-fashioned. You give - rekenschap -
(accountability) to God or some high autority. The Dutch kind of
accountability, as I see it, would also mean answering on questions
regarding your conduct in general. The strange thing being that you cannot
be held accountable (English version) for things that were not explicitely
stated. While in our present notion of - rekenschap - you can: it has
become a pars-pro-toto. For example: Shell was not held accountable for
damage to the environment done in the fifties because it had not been made
explicit at the time (hmmmm). However, managers from Shell are expected to
answer some tough questions when they have to give - rekenschap - to their
So we had to start useing the word - accountability - to limit the
responsibility (Dutch: verantwoordelijkheid) to the explicit part. Peter
Block spoke of - accountability with control - and - accountability with
service -. The first notion would be just - accountability - in Dutch the
second notion would be - rekenschap -. The latter ties in with stewardship
(Dutch: rentmeesterschap, rather old fashioned at the moment), the first
would be connected to manager. Leadership (Dutch: leiderschap) would be in
between: used in connection with responsibility, wich is more than
accountability, but some what less than - rekenschap -.
I can give a number of examples in which the use of an english/american
word, even when used in an English conversation/dialogue, has a different
meaning to a native and to a non-native speaker. Out of this confusion
comes insight. The greate advantage of speaking two or more languages is
the ability to hear these different meanings and to experience the
subtilities of language in our thinking. Perhaps a mental model can
surface just by translating concepts into another language. Somehow the
ability to speak a language is connected to learning is connected to
organizing and feeds back into language. I have the feeling it should be
rather straight forward. But how?
-- Jan Lelie 100730.1213@COMPUSERVE Who would give a penny for these thoughts?