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Author Topic: Language and cultural differences  (Read 13517 times)

Tom

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Re: Language and cultural differences
« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2008, 04:37:47 PM »
I'm reminded of a time I joined a small CA company where almost all the employees were Hispanic. I needed to be able to communicate with them, and hired a bilingual person as an interim measure. I'd hold frequent group meetings, and everything would be translated.

My next step was to work with a local community college to conduct English language classes during working hours. I was very concerned about the chemistry between teacher and students, so I insisted on interviewing a number of potential teachers ad picked one. When I asked how she'd start the process, the lady explained that she'd talk to the employees individually about their home and family (anything non-threatening), then she'd put them into one of two categories:

  • The folks with no knowledge of English.
  • The folks who could understand English, but were too intimidated to speak it because they didn't have all the vocabulary or the grammar.

A week later the lady came back to me and said "you have a third category of employees here; Those who are not literate in their own language". This was not something I'd expected.

The lady began her classes and I decided that, to be fair, I should attend Spanish classes at a college. I think that the employees did a better job of learning English than I did of learning Spanish, but the need for translation diminished significantly.

Some years after leaving that company I was still hearing feedback from employees via mutual friends and acquaintances. The typical comment was "He did more for us than anyone else in the years we've worked here; Amongst other things, we can now go to the bank and communicate with the teller, rather than wave our arms."
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 04:39:37 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Language and cultural differences
« Reply #31 on: June 29, 2008, 04:42:56 PM »
islandmomma,

Thank you for that background explanation; It certainly helps understand some of the reactions and behavior we've observed.
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JerArdra

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Re: Language and cultural differences
« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2008, 04:46:45 PM »
Sounds good to me.  When I'm in Quebec I play the game by their rules/beliefs and I get along very well. 

On the other hand it is to bad that many of Quebec's citizens feel that "Compared with English-speaking citizens, they have been impoverished in too many ways to count. The French population has stored considerable anger over the generations. They are used to being maligned and trivialized and treated as if they have little value." 

With regard to these feelings, it is their loss to carry that grudge.  The citizens of Quebec have to solve it for themselves, neither English speaking Canadians nor Americans can solve it for them.

JerryF

 
JerryF  ;D  ;D

Ron

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Re: Language and cultural differences
« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2008, 04:50:26 PM »
With regard to these feelings, it is their loss to carry that grudge.  The citizens of Quebec have to solve it for themselves, neither English speaking Canadians nor Americans can solve it for them.

After living there as we did it appears they are not interested in trying solve it themselves.
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Marc L

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Re: Language and cultural differences
« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2008, 05:28:08 PM »
After living there as we did it appears they are not interested in trying solve it themselves.

I think it will start to happen over the next few generations.  40 years ago and more is the period that caused the most anger.  Also, 40 years ago, there was not much connection with the outside world except for travelers.  Now with television and the internet, younger generations are more in contact with the rest of the planet that some of these things will change.  Things like saving the planet and finding alternative energy may become a higher priority over this.

At some point, it's time to get over it.  For example, I don't like what the British did to us the Acadians back in 1755.  However, there is no point to hold a grudge against any of the living British because neither them or me were there back then.
Marc...

Tom

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Re: Language and cultural differences
« Reply #35 on: June 29, 2008, 05:31:17 PM »
Quote
... I don't like what the British did to us the Acadians back in 1755.

Probably English, and we don't like what they did to us either (see my earlier message). But, as you correctly say, time to move on.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 05:32:54 PM by Tom »
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Pierat

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Re: Language and cultural differences
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2008, 10:39:39 PM »
As to British and American English: Churchill, I believe, said that we are two countries divided by a common language.
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