Univesal Studios should employ people who speak English

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QRM
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Post by QRM » Sun, 25 Apr 2010 6:40 pm

Maybe I should have just said "a local that I could not understand" the accent is fine if its clear, take Billy Colleny for example strong Scottish accent but very clear and very funny. I paid to be amused and his show was brilliant. Equally I paid to be entertained at the Shrek show and I could not understand half of what was being said.

The megaphone type PA system was doing the poor girl no favours, I would guess prior to joining the show she had no formal training in public speaking/debating or acting, these skills are not exactly a priority on the educational curriculum. It doesn't help when public speaking is actively discouraged around here.

An SQ flight attendant can make an announcement with a Singaporean accent and the message comes over clearly.

It does make me wonder what would happen in an emergency at these shows, would the instructions to evacuate and in which direction etc be clear?

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Post by Splatted » Sun, 25 Apr 2010 9:11 pm

QRM wrote: The megaphone type PA system was doing the poor girl no favours,
Well there's the source of the problem then.

She was obviously holding the mike too close to her mouth. If the speakers were directed towards the general public, she would have also been oblivious to how she sounded.

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Post by EADG » Sun, 25 Apr 2010 9:35 pm

Exactly.

And the way I deal with this is, to say something like "sorry, I can't understand you, can you please speak English?" That usually gets the point across.

I'm sure there's legions of people at StarHub, MOM and the like who hate me for this, regardless of their nationality.

But I do it anyway.
nakatago wrote: I think most of us are ok with the accent (the dead horse)...it's when we don't understand them that's troublesome.
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Post by raden888 » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 12:06 am

Well in this case it looks like a faulty PA system or just bad acoustic.I've been to footy matches in England and half of the time you can't understand a word that is being said and that's probably more due to acoustics although sometimes its heavy accents + bad acoustics or just speaking too close to the mike.

Well , the whole sorry, I can't understand you , can you speak English might not always work. It all depends on the tone it was said and if it was the first thing that was uttered.I sometimes switch off when it is the first thing said and do the whole sollly me speaking no Engrish routine :P but then again I'm not a front-line employee.

It happens elsewhere too. I was in Italy and in a store..An English couple was ahead of me and the first thing they said was, do you speak any English in a very abrupt way...They didn't get much luck with the guy at the counter. I tried a different approach and started with Ciao , Como Estai? I got a totally different response from the dude. He was warm, friendly , heck spoke fluent English .His spoken English even had an North London accent. I got a lot of helpful tips from the dude as it was my first venture into that part of Italy :)

I do not think Billy Connolly has a strong Glaswegian accent.

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Post by road.not.taken » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 6:03 am

Plavt wrote:The issue at hand is not whether Singporeans speak with accents, or expats 'nit-picking' about such but a person employed in a public venue where clear and concise speaking is a necessity or at least should be irrespective of what language it is or was spoken in accent or not.
Totally agree.

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Post by Global Citizen » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 9:48 am

Strong Eagle wrote: Filipinos are in strong demand for call centers throughout the region because many of them speak accentless "American", and it is also for this reason that there are call centers out the wazzoo in the Philippines.
I've heard employees in call centres in India have to undergo training to sound like Americans to service the N. American market. Actually, there was even a Bollywood/English movie made about that very premise as it's plot.
nakatago wrote:
Also, Filipinos with bad diction wouldn't be able to pronounce "mum". :roll:
Not sure I understand what you're saying here with the roll eye emoticon. Are you frustrated with their inability to pronounce the word "mum" or is this something you expect that I should already know?
So am I to deduce by this that the Filipinos I've encountered who were able to pronounce it had good diction? Actually I find your whole statement puzzling as aren't there lots of words starting with the letter ''M" in Tagalog or it just "mum" in particular? I really would like to know.

raden888 wrote:
Well , the whole sorry, I can't understand you , can you speak English might not always work. It all depends on the tone it was said and if it was the first thing that was uttered.

It happens elsewhere too. I was in Italy and in a store..An English couple was ahead of me and the first thing they said was, do you speak any English in a very abrupt way...They didn't get much luck with the guy at the counter. I tried a different approach and started with Ciao , Como Estai? I got a totally different response from the dude. He was warm, friendly , heck spoke fluent English .His spoken English even had an North London accent. I got a lot of helpful tips from the dude as it was my first venture into that part of Italy :)
I'm in total agreement here. So much of what is said, the manner, tone, inflection and in the written word, the choice of words, the emoticons or lack of can either alienate your audience or draw you to them. My mother always used the proverbial cliche, "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" and drummed this into us when I was growing up.

A little graciousness, cultural sensitivity, tact and diplomacy go a long way and could be used a lot more on this board if your objective is to engage in a meaningful debate/discussion. If you're always seen as belittling, critical and coming off as you're a superior species whilst living as a guest than you deserve what you get. Using words like grating, chopping vegetables to describe someone's accent on a local expat forum is hardly endearing and counter productive to the message.
One man's meat is another's poison.

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Post by nakatago » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 10:29 am

Global Citizen wrote:
nakatago wrote:
Also, Filipinos with bad diction wouldn't be able to pronounce "mum". :roll:
Not sure I understand what you're saying here with the roll eye emoticon. Are you frustrated with their inability to pronounce the word "mum" or is this something you expect that I should already know?
So am I to deduce by this that the Filipinos I've encountered who were able to pronounce it had good diction? Actually I find your whole statement puzzling as aren't there lots of words starting with the letter ''M" in Tagalog or it just "mum" in particular? I really would like to know.
Whoa there. Chill.

A lot of Filipinos wouldn't admit to having bad diction--hence the rolleyes. A 'u' is used in a word where an 'a' or 'o' in the same place to produce different words end up being pronounced the same way.
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Post by BigSis » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 11:59 am

I'm not sure my accent would be much better if I got a job at Uni Studios - people here have trouble understanding me when I say things like 'bus, cup and rush' because I've got a northern English accent and the U is very ............what's the word, I can't even describe it really - is it deep? But southerners in the UK and people in Singapore say the U with a lighter tone, almost like an 'a'

We were in Swensons the other week and I was trying to ask the waitress if the ice cream had nuts on it and she just looked confused - my kids had to translate (after they'd stopped laughing :? ) - they were born in the south of the UK so they haven't got the same accent as me and people here can understand them better because of that.

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Post by morenangpinay » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 7:34 am

road.not.taken wrote:
Plavt wrote:The issue at hand is not whether Singporeans speak with accents, or expats 'nit-picking' about such but a person employed in a public venue where clear and concise speaking is a necessity or at least should be irrespective of what language it is or was spoken in accent or not.
Totally agree.
well now reading comprehension is the issue. :lol:

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Post by Plavt » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 1:50 pm

morenangpinay wrote: well now reading comprehension is the issue. :lol:
:?

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Post by Global Citizen » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 9:11 pm

Plavt wrote:The issue at hand is not whether Singporeans speak with accents, or expats 'nit-picking' about such but a person employed in a public venue where clear and concise speaking is a necessity or at least should be irrespective of what language it is or was spoken in accent or not.

Plavt, I've been meaning to address your post but have been bogged down with various things on my plate but anyway here goes.

First off, OP specifically entitled his thread, "Universal Studios should employ people who speak English", then he went on to describe her accent as grating and difficult to understand but admitted that perhaps the PA/ acoustics may have been a factor.
So we've ascertained that she was indeed speaking English (unlike the original implication) and the probable reason for his difficulty were the 2 factors above and not English and quite frankly I would have been hard pressed to believe otherwise anyway because it's Universal Studios, a major tourist attraction and a big player in the worldwide market and she would have been given a script to follow in relating the story of Shrek.

Several other posters followed suit with various remarks on accents including Morenangpinay who stated and I quote, "We went there last monday and I did notice the guy introducing the Shrek show had a strong accent." She didn't state anything about any difficulty in comprehending his English however which led to my subsequent response on accents as that appeared to be the predominant issue at hand. When you live anywhere outside of home, different accents are par for the course and this is true for even native English speaking countries and if we were to take it even further, applies to regional accents even within one country as you well know. My response addressed that specifically. The attraction is based in Singapore and you're going to get locals employed there with S'porean accents. Accents, strong or not, whether easy or difficult to understand are highly subjective and based on an individual's perspective and background. Funnily enough, I've heard people complain when certain DJs on the local radio stations speak with American accents in place of their local accent, so it appears, you can't please everybody all of the time.

I will end this post by saying you can glean quite a lot about a person's online persona by simply reading their posts and their history of slagging off all things local and I'm not referring to constructive criticism here, while reaping the benefits that Singapore offers (and as an expat myself though elsewhere), I find quite distasteful and in my opinion, is the worst kind of expat.
One man's meat is another's poison.

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Post by Plavt » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 9:45 pm

The issue regarding the PA system was not really mentioned much by the OP until after my initial post, he merely said; the tinny sounding PA didn't help'. Accents can distort words to the point of incomprehension as I am sure you already know since there have been times on SQ flights I haven't been able to understand a pilot's announcement and neither has anybody else there at the time.

However, I would concede the acoustics may well have been the problem having seen the same thing myself ironically perhaps while visiting the Malinta tunnel on Corregidor Island off - guess where? The Philippiines, I don't think I understood a word of what was said for the same reason.

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Post by nakatago » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 10:13 pm

Plavt wrote: However, I would concede the acoustics may well have been the problem having seen the same thing myself ironically perhaps while visiting the Malinta tunnel on Corregidor Island off - guess where? The Philippiines, I don't think I understood a word of what was said for the same reason.
like 0:20-1:10 in this clip? -->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_kGumHQWTY
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Post by Plavt » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 11:17 pm

:lol:

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Post by morenangpinay » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 11:17 pm

i agree100% you can learn alot from someone's online persona. we have a saying in Filipino "mataas ang lipad mataas ang bagsak"..that means keep of the grass.

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