Sunday, September 26, 2004

They Can Hear You



I have promised no more public library stories, and to that I am sticking to my guns. However, I can extrapolate fine points of etiquette and convey them to you my fellow librarians, and other devotees. (please pronounce that deh-voh-tays).

Believe it or not, non-English speakers are not deaf. I know, I know. I'm always breaking stories here at WDL. But this one is true. Foriegners, or as the French say l'√Čtrangers...do not need you to raise your voice to them.

It is also impertinent to lean in to the conversation and also to wildly gesticulate. They are not lip readers, so a good Donatella Versace after collagen impersonation is equally unhelpful.

I bring this to your attention because at some point in my recent past, I actually witnessed this. I was terribly embarrassed that I saw it happening.

Perhaps the speaker thought that added volume and body language would some how transform our native tounge to a version of Cantonese that no one has yet to hear of.

Moral of this blog: Invest some time with Berlitz. Its much easier.

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