Saturday, November 7, 2009

Whai arhe bhe insiting on Enghlish!

I have seen Chineese food on a menu which also had an offering of Mashroom XXX!

I have seen Hotel Vegetable and Non Vegetable!

I cant figure out this fixation with English, especially wrongly spelled and mispronounced.

I have interacted with service staff who would rather speak complete nonsense because of bad pronunciation and wrong usage of words, even when addressed in the vernacular language.

Maybe the HR and Training executives need to wake up and realise some ground realities and home truths!

Most service staff especially in Retail are from economically challenged backgrounds (Politically correct term for poor people with limited or no exposure)

They are further subjected to training programs which are full of PowerPoint presentations and lots of Enghlish!

Is the unsaid and subconscious conditioning that, we want you to be like goras!

Service is service, regardless of the language used to deliver the same. I think that it is high time that staff were trained in vernacular languages and the focus should shift from language to service orientation and service delivery.

Recently when I went to Yercaud near Salem to train a bunch of youngsters on leadership, I experienced a superb example of a person’s pride in vernacular language. While waiting for the train in the night I wanted to use the wash room and walked up to the nearest platform shop and enquired where the wash room was and then said thank you after getting the directions. The person replied in Tamil “Nandri, Vanakkam”. Which loosely means thanks and regards. I am impressed and obviously this interaction of a few seconds left a strong enough impression in my mind. This person has chosen to prioritise the communication instead of the language and in the process ended up communicating far more powerfully than if he had replied with an accented welcome!

Internationally speaking, the French are proud of their language and so is the case with many other countries. Why should we bend over backwards to prove that we know better English that most others, which is also incidentally the fact!

Conversely, if a large tourist group of Indians lands up in California, should they expect to be addressed in Hindi or Tamil or Telugu or possibly all Indian Languages.


Balakrishna Parankusam said...

The MNS would be proud of this post.

The pride in the vernacular language runs deep. During training sessions, retailers can customize their training material to cater to the vernacular language, or have options, like one training session in English and the other in the vernacular language and the audience can choose the option to suit their needs.

Everyone wants to learn english and most of them do end up picking up the language, but it is the fluency aspect and fear of rejection which hinders many from actually talking in English.

And as far as the hoardings are concerned, the printing press should know that there is something called a "spell-check" available.

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