Thursday, January 30, 2014

Global vs. Native English

You mean, I should eat the regulator?
Diving seems really demanding...

As at most tourist destinations, also in Bali, with some English you can get what you are looking for. Question is, why native English speakers have so many communication problems?

a) they speak funny
b) they listen funny
c) they don't speak real English
d) a fact, that besides their home village dialect even some other dialects exist out there, never crossed their mind

What is proper spoken English is anyhow a mystery. Is it really essential to hold a live fish (or two) in your mouth when speaking? You really need surgery on your adenoids before saying a word in proper English? Do you have to master drunken miner dance before basic phonetic lessons?

When traveling abroad global English is definitely an advantage.
And English native speakers are many times at serious disadvantage.

Imagine two guests ordering a breakfast in Bali.
A German guy: “Please, coffee with sugar and milk. Orange juice. Toast and butter and jam. Fried eggs. Thank you!”
And his friend a native English speaking lady: “I'm not overly demanding at all, but please do try to understand! Yesterday you brought me for my breakfast very spicy fried rice! You should know, I don't take chili at any time, and you put really a lot of chili in my fried rice for breakfast! Please do not repeat the mistake and get me a normal breakfast today! Something like what my companion ordered would be absolutely OK. Thank you so much!”
Balinese waiter is patiently listening to both, nodding, smiling, taking notes.
German guy gets his coffee, toast ... everything what he ordered.
A few minutes later his lady companion gets her fried rice with extra dose of chili.

German guest properly assessed local waiter's English abilities and listed his order like a search query for Google. And top result was what he wanted.
His companion's order caused waiter's processor to overheat and after filtering out the keywords, well, it was still not really bad.
Imagine she would be ranting that she's not a cannibal and she doesn't eat fried babies for breakfast ...

It's really refreshing to listen to comments of my guys on spoken English abilities of our guests. Highest marks for good English are regularly awarded to continental Europeans.
For some Australian and British accents my guys asked, how come these guests can not speak some English?

Thanks be to Gods, educational system in Bali enables most people to speak three languages (passably). And is not copying the system of some third world countries, where well educated adults can speak only the language their mother taught them.

1 comment:

  1. Hahahahaha I love that one :) Exactly that's what happened to me in Indonesia :) Luckily I figured out that quite quickly and I adapted my english to local needs. And when I came back home.. My english was worse than before. Now I had to move to UK to improve it again :D