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Common language problem - at work place!

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Wind In My Hair
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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 2:46 pm

this may be improbable but consider this... it has happened to me before that when i'm with my singaporean friends and an expat is with us, i've found it sometimes the case that he understood only a fraction of what was going on even though we were speaking english throughout! later when he asked what language we were speaking and i said english he couldn't believe it. i have also often been an english-english translator for my parents or friends and caucasian expats :-k

you have to understand that for many people singlish IS english and not everybody speaks Queen's english. if i were to speak REAL singlish with many of you, with its contorted grammar, shortening of words, and at the speed which is normal for us, you would not understand much of it too. for say office girls to try to consciously remove the local accents and slow down, is almost as artificial for them as speaking a different language.

so perhaps they are not leaving you out at all? they were speaking english but the local version of it which many expats find hard to follow?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 3:10 pm

Nah, WIMH, I worked in a family owned chinese company for 7 over years and was the only non-chinese in the company and an angmo to boot. I can easily tell the difference between rapid fire singlish and dialect or mandarin (don't understand mandarin or dialect at all). Singlish may be all but incompehensible to Standard English or should I say Native English speakers. But is can still be recognized as english and given the nouns and other words interspersed throughout and tone of voice and you can almost identify what is being said (this is especially true if you are actually being included in the conversation and not just an idle bystander.

sms

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Vaucluse
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Postby Vaucluse » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 3:17 pm

Wham:
What i do when i get really frustrated is to just leave the room if a side conversation gets going in another language. It usually makes the point.



Hmm, I can see how that would hurt them immensely, as in 'I will cut off my nose to spite YOUR face.
What's the big problem here? People have the right to talk in their native language . . .
Having said that, however, even if there are 20+ of us and one person that speaks a common language, everyone switches to accomodate.

Diff'rent rules for diff'rent folks
......................................................

'nuff said Image

dot dot dot
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Postby dot dot dot » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 3:22 pm

just to remind people here: The chinese singaporeans started talking in their own laguage when having lunch. Now that I'd consider not too much of a problem, it is 'free time' or not? Whether it is polite or not, tha't another question.

If during 'official' business time like in a meeting, I would call that not too professional, but depending on the 'rules' for the company agreed upon.

Eric

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banana
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Postby banana » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 11:31 pm

Why not reply them in French/Dutch/German/Malay/Japanese/Korean/whatever the next time they speak to you? Of course if you're American/Australian/English then you're screwed. Perhaps random quotes from Pink Floyd songs.
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riversandlakes
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Postby riversandlakes » Fri, 02 Sep 2005 11:49 am

ok, you're under custody :twisted:

banana wrote:That's easy for you to say!
Goatboy will always cherish his former goatgirl.
But the world is full of fluffier ones.

Wham
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Postby Wham » Fri, 02 Sep 2005 3:02 pm

Vaucluse - re leaving the room. The point is, IF i am with several poeple that can speak English, AND they are speaking a foreign tongue, AND i have made it clear that i cannot understand more than once (lets say two or three times and now more likely social than business) - AND it then happens again - I would NOT ASK AGAIN to speak in English because it would now be irritating TO ALL PARTIES and by now they should have gotten the point. SO rather than ask again and again - i would just "leave the room" or if possible "leave the table" RATHER than sit there like an idiot - or more realistically - walk away from the conversation.

...i don't think this is cutting off ones nose bla bla bla - just making a polite point without having to get TOO irritated.

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banana
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Postby banana » Fri, 02 Sep 2005 8:30 pm

riversandlakes wrote:ok, you're under custody :twisted:

banana wrote:That's easy for you to say!


See? It works. I rock.
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riversandlakes
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Postby riversandlakes » Sun, 04 Sep 2005 7:27 pm

Not only that. Some of us will automagically (it seems) help to translate a particular phrase into English when it has to be said in Cantonese or Mandarin.

I do think it depends on the bunch you go out with...

Wham wrote:My wife's mother tongue is different than my mother tongue of English. When i am with a group of her friends or relatives, sometimes they will speak in English and sometimes in their native tongue.

HOWEVER, what i have noticed (in the home and out on business also) is that some people have an innate ability to quickly switch to English when i am around. I refer to these people as nice, polite, and intelligent people - and some people have a REALLY HARD TIME figuring this out - and i think of these people as rude and insensitive blockheads.

My adivce would be to try to politely make it known that you are having trouble following along - and if nothing changes - find some different people to hang out with - because if they REALLY wanted you around - they would figure this out... Also, (in case this is not yet clear) i personally find it extremely RUDE when people FORCE you to ask them to speak in a language that all can understand more than once or twice.

Good luck!
Goatboy will always cherish his former goatgirl.

But the world is full of fluffier ones.


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