Getting rid of accents

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon May 21 13:02:18 UTC 2001

It's all going global. Today's NYTimes has an article about how Ireland is
becoming the phone message center for lots of German firms, and Germans
(from E. Germany, where there is still high unemployment) go to Ireland
(sic!) to work and answer phones from German customers.  (Hello?  Why
can't the GErmans call directly to E. Germany?  Because it's too expensive
to pay Germans German wages in GErmany!  So pay them Irish wages in
Ireland, and save money.  Meanwhile, other E. Germans are laying bricks in
the Netherlands etc. where there is a shortage of bricklayers.

Hal S.

On Sat, 19 May 2001, Maggie Ronkin wrote:

> 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
> >>say...
> >
> >Hal,
> >
> >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
> >Coordinator
> >Program in Foreign Languages
> >Dept. of English & Foreign Languages
> >University of North Florida
> _________________________________________________________________
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