Thu 1 Sep, 2011 11:42 am
My mother's nursing home is staffed with many Jamaican healthcare workers. They are competent, but sometimes I just can't understand them!
She has been in the hospital this week and again, I am having problems understanding the Drs. from Pakistan. Thank goodness, there was a nurse there that could tell me what was said, afterwards.
A young nurse friend of mine was told she would not be transfering to a new facility with a certain Chinese Dr. He didn't want her on his staff. Seems this friend told the Dr. that she could not understand him and he took offense.
Are you having problems understanding people in the healthcare field?
Are you having problems understanding people in the healthcare field?
Why limit it to the health care field? In New York, it's a challenge to communicate with the taxi driver who takes you from airport to hotel (via Staten Island). In the state of Hawaii, most people speak Pidgin, not English.
Yeah, them damn no good immigrants.
Why can't they understand that all ya need to do is yell in your native language? Then everyone can understand you. It works wonders for us Americans when we travel the world.
You're probably not aware of this, JTT, but English is a second language for me. At age 11 I came to the US as a dirty no good DP immigrant, speaking scarcely a word of English. Since then I've picked up just enough of it to be able to teach it at the secondary school level (along with a couple of other subjects), to write in that language for several news media, including daily newspapers and United Spress International, to get some fiction (in English) published and to try and put you down at every opportunity.
I have traveled to many faraway places on a number of this planet's continents. I can testify that Americans are far from being the most obnoxious yellers. But, I forget -- in your eyes, anything an American does is despicable. Never mind the American government (for which I have also worked, even with my limited English); it compares unfavourably to Stalin's USSR.
But everyone understands LOUD ENGLISH.
Yep, I have trouble understanding some people. I worked with many foreigners in the medical field (education - Pediatrics). Most of them were fine, but I discovered why I couldn't understand some of them - some of it's because they don't change their English speaking rhythm - they keep their own language's cadence. Naturally, their accent and pronunciation are also factors, but I think a big one is the rhythm. I found that when I spoke to them in their cadence, they had an easier time understanding me.
I used to get frustrated when I couldn't understand someone, particularly when they are on the phone but now I just say, "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're saying" over and over and over, and leave the problem in their hands. I have a Nigerian doctor who is just lovely but sometimes I have no idea what he's saying... usually when it's medical terminology.
Edit: Ha! Just got a call from a lady in Illinois with a very strong Latino accent about a survey they were conducting. She asked me something and I didn't get a certain word and after telling her several times that I didn't understand it, she just disconnected
See, it's not my problem, lol.
My problem was that I naturally caught on to her or their mode. So, for a short while, I spoke camaroon english, and so on. I still remember Sirii.
I'm a fool with song but I did language shifts with ease. Of course, I never sounded just like any of the others.
There was one person who thought I was making fun of her. I forget who this was. Maybe norwegian.
But, I forget -- in your eyes, anything an American does is despicable.
That's false, LA. Whatever an American does that is despicable is despicable. The difference is subtle, but I know that you'll be able to grasp that.
I never suggested that your English is limited. I have commented on your knowledge about English. There you have shown limitations.
But that's not at all unexpected. As you say, you came at age 11. You're obviously a product of the education system. With regards to English grammar and how English works, that system still sucks, badly. Some good news - at the university level, there have been changes made.
Why oh why are young kids so badly misled by incompetent teachers? It's not even fair to the teachers, asking them to teach things that are not part of the language, asking them to try to understand rules that are artificial.
Rarely do I have difficulty understanding a person. There are times when hearing them is difficult; but, if they speak up, not whispering, I can pretty much figure what it is they're saying. Sometimes there's a little bit of a problem, until I shut my eyes and just listen to the voice, then start making connections with the words which are clear, then get a feel of their accent and it's smooth sailing from there.
The most difficult for me are some French accents. Some, not all. Even there, when I make the effort, I can understand what is being said.
Maybe it's the fact that I partially grew up in New York City and heard several different approaches at English from newly arrived folks. Even New York City accents in those days varied greatly from one area to another and people moved around and landed in new neighborhoods bringing with them, their culture and speaking patterns/accents. Perhaps having heard different speech patterns within the family helped. Perhaps shifting around in 4 different New York neighborhoods and Vermont helped.
In High School, in Senior year, I was in some school office (no idea which it was, although I can picture where it was) and this rather unfortunate boy began mocking young Mustafa, Mustafa was from some country over around Afghanistan (it may have even been Afghanistan) and had a thick accent having just recently arrived. The boy mocking him, had been the butt of many a joke and was undoubtedly thrilled to have the chance to taunt another. He tried to enlist me. Mustafa would say something, and the other boy would laugh and say he couldn't understand him and ask why he didn't speak English. I looked at the American born boy, and told him I understood Mustafa quite well, which I did. No trouble comprehending what he was saying. Now, at the time, my hearing was still quite screwy in the right ear, the lingering result of a massive ear infection a few years prior, and I had a habit at the time of constantly saying "What?" because I couldn't hear people, especially if my left ear wasn't towards them. Accents were not an issue, my fully functioning ear understood it all. Over time, the blurred hearing in the right ear, became something I was able to adjust to and the sounds which come in are for the most part workable (still can't understand of most what a person says on the telephone with the right ear, that's why I don't plan on a Van Gogh moment).
From what I can tell, the majority who don't understand the accents of those not born in this country are just too damned lazy to put in the effort. It's easier to tease and taunt than to try listening.
By the way, anyone ever wants an interesting time with my own speech, I have a rather curious accent when I read aloud. Somehow I picked up my grandfather's speech patterns and accent...no idea how.
and to try and put you down at every opportunity.
With no regard to the truth, LA.
Who says that propaganda doesn't work!
I don't generally have a problem understanding someone in a face to face situation. I've always been around people speaking with such a wide variety of accents that I've become fairly adept at understanding them.
I do have a problem on the telephone when I'm connected to a customer service person who speaks with a strong accent. Often, I have to ask them to speak more slowly, or louder, and that usually helps.
Please try to understand this, JTT. I know that it's difficult for you, but do try:
In your first post you mad the unwarranted assumption that my somewhat light-hearted response to the op was, somehow, jingoistic and/or xenophobic. No, please don't try to deny that. That inference is inherent in your tone in that first post. That's the only reason I filed that brief vita
in response. Being wrong or right has niothing whatever to doo with anything in this discussion. It's all about your abysmal attitude and tone in all of these forums. Your problem isn't whether I'm wrong and you're right. Your problem is the way you love to rub people's noses in the dirt even when it's unjustified.
Don't your ever wonder why tyou're one of the most unpopular people on this site in spite of the fact that most of us here tend to be probably quite liberal and probably agree with your views much of the time?
In your first post you mad the unwarranted assumption that my somewhat light-hearted response to the op was, somehow, jingoistic and/or xenophobic. No, please don't try to deny that.
Why would I try to deny it. That's what I did. If you tell me that your response was intended as somewhat light hearted, then I have to accept that it was just that. I retract my comments and I offer my apologies.
University students in Ohio in the late 1980s complained that they could not understand their instructors in university classes, specifically referring to instructors and professors from India and China. A law was passed in Ohio requiring anyone who wished to be accepted to teach at any state-supported university or college to pass a test of spoken English.
Really? I did not know that. According to feedback E.G. gets, that law must be loosely enforced. (The clarity of his English is much praised, especially as compared to other profs.)
It was a big deal in the late 80s. I worked part time (moonlighting) for an Indian gentleman who had taught math in an Ohio college. He was very bitter. I think the law was just a sop to the xenophobic constituency in many parts of the state, and i suspect it has only been enforced when people know about it, and lodge a complaint. Probably it was quietly ignored after the entire hooraw had died down.
Well, maybe not. This is from the Spoken English Progam at the Ohio State University:
The Spoken English Program (SEP) was established in 1986 to implement a Council of Deans mandate requiring the screening and training of international teaching assistants (ITAs) whose first language is not English. A subsequent state law, in effect as of September 1986, mandates such screening for prospective international teaching assistants at all state of Ohio institutions.
Kinda hypocritical, isn't it Set, considering that many of those same universities are the ones that taught you all the crap you [and others] think you know about English.
Interesting about that law.
Back in the early sixties I had one professor and one t.a. that were hard for me to understand. The t.a. in physics was Russian, and both physics and the t.a.'s english were a puzzlement to me. I was quite lost in a large class where everyone else had had physics back in high school, but the t.a.'s english was the least of my problems, and the lecturing professor spoke fine english except that he talked fast about physics. <crosses eyes>
I had another prof, an electron microscopist from Sweden, for a relatively small class in histology/biophysics. I wrote my notes phonetically and as soon as I could afterwards translated them to sentences I could understand with the added time. My motivation was high because of my interest in the subject. I got the highest grade (B+ ... those were the old days) and the prof offered me a job in his lab. I didn't take it, feeling like a fish out of water since the techs there were also swedish. Just one more decision in the years of making a lot of them.
Anyway, I don't think that those fellows should not have taught; I think it was part of what makes up the wide world that a university exposes us to.
In the case of the doctors mentioned earlier, I can see where that could result in a treatment problem.
and the lecturing professor spoke fine english except that he talked fast about physics. <crosses eyes>
Perfectly understandable when you think about it like a pastrami sandwich on a cold winter day. Physics is an exciting topic and in excitement many people speed up their speech.
You may be wondering about the pastrami sandwich. Well, there's a compulsion to gobble the sandwich down, not fully comprehending that the taste buds want their chance to learn all the nuances of the delicious meat, including all taste and texture, the same is true with physics, the teacher must race through, not fully realizing that the student desires to learn all the details.
You've undoubtedly seen similar exhibits from people in other areas of life who speak fastly when they're excited about something, whether it be a food, a textbook subject, a movie, a love interest, a sports event etc. etc.