About me

Apr 11, 2014

On Communication

Don't be friends with only other Bangladeshis in your school, and have fun learning about the people and culture where you are, go hiking, go kayaking, celebrate Halloween,  and ask them to celebrate Pohela Baishakh with you. People sometimes ask me if English is the first language of Bangladesh since our English is much better than other Asian countries (we need to practice the pronunciation though, but over all we are good:)), and I proudly say that, "No, our language is Bangla and that's what we speak at home, English is like a second language".  I am proud that we have our awesome language and no matter how many other nations invaded us they could never destroy our linguistic heritage. And, while we are abroad, it is a great chance to practice the local language. If we just confine ourselves to our own little circle, we may struggle more in our professional level. Indian and Chinese people have many of them in every sector, sometimes I feel they don't need to care about their language proficiency anymore. In my office one floor is full of Chinese people and they do all the official works in Mandarin. But we are not in that position. You might sound unconfident just because of the language, may be you know everything about the topic, but just lacking words to express them, and during a presentation, that can affect the listeners' attention. Take your international friends to a Bangladeshi restaurant, and be a part of what they have to offer. They might not reach out to you initially, I mean, you are the foreign one here, You Need to explore the local scene, You Need to expand your reach, so you are the one who should be more proactive.

A few days back I was working with one of my colleagues from east-Asia, he is a good programmer, he finished his PhD from USA, living here for 7 years, and he was worried that his English needs to be improved because he only has Korean friends. So basically only time he speaks English is when he is with his advisor! I admire the Bangladeshi education system: we learn our own language properly and gradually learn English as a second language, finally in undergrad level our text books and exams are in English, too. But we also learn English from other Bangladeshis (our parents and teachers), so we try to approximate the English vowels to our vowels, and it is hard to unlearn our accents after years of practicing the wrong thing.

I am a very very bad story-teller, even when I am talking about something super exciting like space or black-holes, I sound morbid! No mater what language it is. If you ask me to tell the story about Cinderella, I will just say, "a poor girl married the prince. and oh, there was some magic stuffs, too". While I am in a meeting, no matter how inspired I actually am I sound totally uninspired, which makes my advisor think that I don't like my research, so now when I talk to him I try to be like "Wow! this is awesome! bla bla..", and shake my head unnecessarily like I got a sugar rush. I think for non-native speakers it is more important to emphasize and enunciate words, and be more enthusiastic while we speak. That compensates our accent and helps the listeners comprehend better.

While I am at the campus, dealing with professors, and other grad students, I feel super confident about my language, these people deal with tons of other accents and empathize on this, they understand my English most of the time. But then I talk to 'regular' people and they look confused! Then I realized how bad my accent is!  I used to say "beer","bare", "bear" all the same way! One time I was talking about the lake called "bear lake", and people are like "a lake full of beer!". Even watching 10 seasons of "FRIENDS" over and over couldn't help me, but having conversations with real people should work. I still cannot differentiate between "desert" and "dessert", but baby steps..

Sometimes I think of something, never tell my husband what I was thinking of, and the next day I ask him about that, and he is dumbfounded because he has no idea what I am talking about.  At least he is my husband, but imagine that sort of gap in communication with your manager or advisor. Sometimes I have to write three emails rather than just one, because I feel the first two emails missed a lot of information that I just assumed my advisor will just 'understand' or 'remember', while he is actually dealing with a few more projects.

My poor communication skill failed me so many times that now I force myself to be more communicative and express what is going inside my head. There is no 'System.out...' from my brain to other people's brains unless I speak it up.Since I am not a successful communicator, I thought I can at least write about my failures.

1 comment:

  1. ধন্যবাদ, অনেক কিছু জানার ছিল। আমরা অনেকে অনেক কিছুই জানি না। আপনা এই পোস্টটি দ্বারা অনেকে কিছু তথ্য জানতে পারবে।আমি আপনাকে কোন প্রকার অফার করছি না। ছোট একটি তথ্য আপনার উপকারে আসতে পারে Rent Apartment


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