Monday, March 10, 2008


there's really no such thing as a communication barrier

women all over the world moan and groan that they can't communicate with their Spanish-speaking cleaning ladies. yet somehow, the houses are sparkling and the laundry gets done. and every pesach, the houses are chometz-free. you'd think that after spending six years in this country, they'd learn more English. more than the usual, mop, bucket, sponge, wash, fold, laundry, iron, sweep, floor, bedroom, bathroom, and maybe the occasional shmattta. my brother says cleaning ladies speak in broken English because that's what hear. he says instead of saying "can you please clean the bathroom?" my mom says "maybe you clean bathroom?" in face, I've found that human nature is such that people will talk to others in their language ability. that's why people talk to non-English speakers in a rather broken dialect. the only exception to this rule is the Israelis-they'll still speak to you in rapid-fire Hebrew (even if they know English) while you're left in the dust, picking out the few words you know (yes, no, ok...)
but if you really want to, you can figure out what someone is trying to say, even if you don't speak their language. my friend had a French couple at her house one weekend-he spoke Hebrew and French and she spoke only french. yet somehow both families managed to get through the weekend with only minimal awkwardness.
in eighth grade they told us our yearbook theme would be a passuk about how words from the heart enter the heart. i always personally thought this was just "feel-good-crud" as my friend would say. but then one day my friend came to me with a question i didn't think i could answer. but she needed to hear something. so i took a deep breath....and spoke from the heart (sounds cheesy, i know, but that's really what it was) and somehow, whatever i said was the right thing for her to hear. because i spoke sincerely. so even when you meet someone and you can't really understand them, if you want to, you'll get through.

the exception to this is my biology teacher. she's Indian and she's been in America for like seven years. and we still can't manage to communicate properly with her.


Yoni said...

I think its true too... done that several times recently too when I had no clue what to say.

The Babysitter said...

All though sometimes even when they speak in English its so hard to understand them because of their accent.
These Chinese and Indian people when they give presentations in class, their English isn't real English so I couldn't really grasp what they were saying.