Sunday, November 19, 2006

Don't Understand English...

...then (you dumbass) I'll talk more s l o w l y or SHOUT like a crazed banshee while flapping my arms like an emu trying to fly.

Living in a large city in the Northeastern section of the US, I run across a quite a few immigrants, a sizable number of whom do not speak English well, or even at all. (Nope, this ain't gonna be one o' them stoopit conservative screeds about how these gooks, dotheads and Russkies better learn the language.) My ancestors, probably like yours (unless they came from Great Britain) didn't speak English either when they came here, (and the older ones never really did learn the language). No, this is about how I see Americans respond to people who can't speak English.

1. Some will insist on insulting the non-English speaker, totally oblivious to the fact that these insults don't mean diddly if the person doesn't speak English.
2. Others will slow down their speech and if a non-English speaker will get English if it is spoken more slowly or enunciated. I'll type this really slowly and see if it helps you: Se soubesse que não tínhamos dinheiro não teria almoçado. Any ideas? (No, it has nothing to do with having almonds for dinner).
3. Still others will SHOUT as if LOUD English is more easily understood. Doh! The non-English speakers are not deaf, they don't speak English -- volume will not help. Let's try this: WO KANN ICH HOSEN KAUFEN? (you want to cough up hoses?)
4. There's a final group that slows it down, turns it up, and engages in a spastic game of charades. Well, it's amusing to watch.

Am I going to offer any words of wisdom on how to deal with issue? Nope. Just avoid the above examples of what not to do.


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