I won't ever forget that awkward lunch meeting back at SGI, when we met with the Japanese factory representatives. My manager at the time (who will remain nameless) thought it would be a good idea to overcome the language barrier by screaming dumb English accross the table. His stupid, verbless sentences and frantic, open-mouthed stabbing hand waving made me wish I was close enough to kick him under the table. Even the whincing looks from the Japanese execs, who seemed to be squirming back from the table, weren't enough to stop this bozo.
At one point my manager pounded on his own chest and said "MY HEART, MUCH GLADNESS, WORK WITH YOUR COMPANY!". The word "WITH" was accompanied by his two hands clasping each other.
"Yo!" I just wanted to throttle this guy.
First, this is a language barrier, not a sound barrier. So why the hell are you screaming at them?
Second, as somebody who's actually bothered to study a language beyond "American", I can tell you that speaking stupid English doesn't help either. When the Japanese execs speak English, maybe their sentences aren't the most elegant. And maybe a 3-year old doesn't speak the most elegant sentences either. But they're learning - And anyone who's learning a language will *always* understand it better then they can speak it on their own.
It's like hearing the opening notes to an old top-40 song - You instantly recognize it, but you probably couldn't play it yourself or think of the words on your own.
This morning I took one of my daughters to her grade school here in Thailand. I had forgotten to braid her hair that morning, which is part of the dress code at the school. So I tried to say this to the teacher, but I couldn't think of the right words in Thai and it came out of my mouth all wrong. Then the teacher said it, and it just sounded so correct, so precise - Yeah! That's it! That's how I wanted to say it.
So what if, instead, the teacher had screamed at me, in stupid, verbless, broken up mishmash Thai sentences? Hmm... I guess I would have had the same squirmy look on my face as those Japanese execs did when my manager was screaming American at them.