PRODUCTIVITY: Don’t be too concerned about making “above the waterline” mistakes; can’t die of embarrassment!

FROM AN EMAIL ABOUT A NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING BLOGGER DOING A BLOG IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH

>(hopefully, it’ll help me on the other hand to polish my English based financial vocabulary),

I’m sure your English is far better than my rudimentary Spanish.

Speaking of “polishing”, my best “practicing” story was when the USAF decided it would be simple a wonderful idea if I learned Thai, …

… (This of course overlooks the fact that -at the time- 95% of the Thais spoke fluent English thanks to the British Crown schools. And 85% could write in English better than we could. It was rumored that there were Thai bumpkins out in the countryside who couldn’t speak the Queen’s English. But I never met anyone who did not speak it perfectly. Humorous to see an Oriental face and hear english with just a hint of Brit accent.) …

… and we would go to our Teacher’s restaurant (Thais are stereotypical hard working folks who likely have a full time job, part time job, a business on the side, and gamble / horsetrade / barter in their spare time. You could get tired watching them.) and she would have us entertain the patrons with our language skills.

Imagine two students standing in front of a room full on natives speaking their language in a simulated conversation about something from a lesson book.

The restaurant patrons would laugh, hoot, and howl. The women would cover their eyes (i.e., how Thai women feign embarrassment). It was “soda thru the nose” time! (Most of them didn’t drink. Smoke like chimneys, yes; drink, no?)

When we graduating, the teacher shared with us that our mispronunciations of the tonal Thai language hit most of the bad words, or made absolutely no sense. Who knew that when we were discussing going to “fly our kites” referred to … … and “drinking bootleg gin” referred to … … Well you get the idea.

BTW business at the restaurant went up 50% when she would announce that her students were “coming for dinner”. She got us there to practice our Thai and learn the local culture. We didn’t know we were the stand up comic act. We were just polishing our language skills.

Having made a complete fool out of myself in front of that audience, you’ll hear no laughing from this end of the wire.

Sa Wah Dee there, partner, polish away. BTW, haven’t spoken any Thai since I left the Air Force decades ago. When I do run across a Thai these days, they still speak perfect English and laugh when I greet them in their native tongue. Maybe I’m offering to fly a kite for them? Any way, nobody dies of embarrassment which is all in one’s own mind. People will probably just think it’s new internet lingo. Or, typos.

:-)

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