I have always dread tele-conferences with London, which is quite frequent in my line of duty. First, it’s the timing of those calls. 7 or 8 hours ahead of them means I will have to wait till the end of my “office hour” before such calls take place aka unpaid-forced-overtime. Secondly, it’s the language. Communicating on a speaker phone with those Brits who carry over-loaded English accent always end up with me saying “Could you please repeat that?” one time too many.
But if you think that is bad, you’re wrong. My workplace has a hub in India where we outsource most of our processes. Tele-conferences with them are also pretty common. While timing is not exactly an issue since we are only 2.5 hours ahead of them, communication certainly is. Have you ever spoken to anyone from India before? I am not making fun of them but they do have a certain authentic ‘flair’ when it comes to their command of the English language.
Firstly, I have discovered that superman is not the only thing faster than a speeding bullet. In fact, when a native Indian reaches top speed in his speaking, even superman may have to give way. Of course, at top speed, the only thing you will hear probably goes something like “I-le think-le we-le think-le I-le I-le think-le we-le think-le”. Trying saying that at supersonic speed and you will know what I mean. So you will only know they are thinking something but will not know what they are thinking.
Secondly, when you ask them to slow down, the conversation will evolved from English to … “Indlish”. If you think our very own manglish is unique, please think again. One thing though, while we have our very own ‘la’, ‘ler’, ‘lor’, ‘mah’, etc as part of our manglish vocabulary, there is no additional words added in Indlish. Just that the way it is spoken, mimics very much of how Tamil or Hindi are spoken. Of course, the easiest way to describe it is… a-very-heavy-Indian-accent.
Indeed, I do find that all these make the Indian people rather unique. How so?
When I was in London, I was surprised that Indians dominates most of the stores in Totenham Courtroad, one of the shopping hearts of London. Having spoken to some of them, I realised that they too speak the way those native Indian speaks… at a rather super-sonic speed and a rather obvious ‘Indian accent’. What I find unique in these people is that no matter where they are or where they have been, they will always speak the way they do… well, most of them at least. No matter who they speak to… they will always carry that Indian spice in their English language. No matter where they are… they will always shake the heads gracefully when they speak.
Now, the same cannot be said of Chinese. Spending just a few months in America, England or Australia alone is enough for them to catch the ang-moh accent and forget about how manglish is spoken. Pretty amazing huh? Of course, I am not saying that one should speak manglish. But to actually lose the way you speak over the last 10 years in just a few months is quite out of this world. Don’t you think?
By the way, I mentioned before about a colleague being sent from UK on secondment here who sits right in front of me. He is a Chinese by the way, quite ‘leng-jai’ and of course, being born in the UK, he speaks with an English accent. This morning, there was girl who spent almost an hour talking to him in (I think) Australian English at its fullest glory. From the way I see it, she probably has got the hots for him as she was trying very hard to make an impression. Then, a colleague of her walked past and amidst those powerful Australian English… she replied to her colleague…
“hah? Em ho yi cho seong toi ka?” … in a rather… not so powerful figure of speech.
(Huh? Can't sit on the table?)
Typical huh? Just like the people I once bumped into here.
P/S: No, she was not wearing a mini skirt.
P/S/S: The templates that I quite fancy are here and here, but they're in html and not xml.