Getting rid of accents

Maggie Ronkin ronkinm at
Sat May 19 23:24:09 UTC 2001

I don't think that this kind of thing is an urban legend, although my
evidence is anecdotal. I read the story from Bangalore in the New York Times
a month or so ago.
Afterward, I phoned the 800 number of an airline to check an online travel
agency's fare and spoke with someone on another continent. I don't recall
details because the incident merely confirmed what I'd thought might happen.
  Then, three weeks ago, I attended a university talk on information
technology in a developing Asian nation in which set ups like those in
Bangalore--and in East Asia--were mentioned as desirable ways to enter
global markets. In addition to values attaching to different language
varieties in such situations, I've wondered about the response of US labor
with regard to potential losses of jobs.

Maggie Ronkin

>From: Ronald Kephart <rkephart at>
>To: linganth at
>Subject: Re: Getting rid of accents
>Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 17:42:34 -0700
>At 8:29 AM -0400 5/17/01, Harold F. Schiffman wrote:
>>I wanted to interject here a factoid that I have heard/read, namely,
>>that AOL's voice hotline (800 number)  takes you to an office
>>somewhere in the Philippines, where all your questions are answered
>>by local people. Whether they've been trained to sound like
>>Americans, my source didn't
>This may be one of those legends... We (my wife and I) have a friend
>who works for AOL right here in Jacksonville, answering customer
>service calls.
>Ronald Kephart
>Program in Foreign Languages
>Dept. of English & Foreign Languages
>University of North Florida

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