No habla shitwick

typed for your pleasure on 22 July 2004, at 3.23 am

Here’s one for the Philosophers: Why do people feel the need to bluff their way thru a language that they don’t fluently speak? Typical scene at work:

ME: Hi, Mrs Vallejo?
CLUELESS: Sí?
ME: I’m calling from [company name]. How are ya this afternoon?
CLUELESS (nervous laughter): Wha?
ME (louder, slower): HOOWWW AAARE YOOUUUUU.
CLUELESS: Uh… I not… I…
ME (near my limit): Se habla Englis?
CLUELESS: Poquito.

Little tip: if the first sentence you hear from this strange gringo on the phone is in a language that you don’t understand, the first thing out ov your mouth should be ‘Sorry, I speak no English’. Don’t try to be clever and bluff your way thru a conversation, cos despite your sudden thirst for linguistic knowledge, it’s just not gonna work. Simply come clean, and admit that you haven’t a clue as to what I’m saying; that way, both ov us save time, and can move on with our lives.

I consider myself a thinking individual. If I were staying at a friend’s place in, say, Germany, and I was the only one in the house when the phone rang, would I answer it? No. Why not? Because for one, I don’t answer other peoples’ phones unless they specifically ask me to do so, and most importantly, I don’t know enough German to hold a conversation.
Now it could be argued that most ov the calls that non-English speakers make & receive are conducted in their native tongue, and the last thing they expect is someone phoning up and talking at them in English. Valid point, I grant you, but I can’t stand it when the person I’m calling feels the need to drag it out. Don’t keep asking me questions if you can’t understand my answers; it’s just that simple

(BTW, this is in no way railing against the Hispanic community, Spanish-speakers, or anyone who speaks English as a second language. I’m just railing against stupidity. If I had been brought up in Spain, spoke Spanish as my primary language, and was doing the exact same job I am now and getting the occasional English speaker, it’d be the same damn situation)

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