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Old December 17, 2014, 07:23 PM
Glen Glen is offline
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Varieties of Spanish

Out of curiosity I called the toll-free number 211 and selected the Spanish option. The voice that answered was obviously not of a native-born speaker; in fact, the accent was so heavily influenced by English that I could only imagine what a Spanish speaker would think. It sounded awful to me, as a non-native but as someone who knows how it ought to sound.

Trying to be helpful, I called back - in English option - and suggested they get a native speaker. They replied something to the effect that they believe the Spanish language is so diverse that they couldn't possibly accommodate all the variations of it so decided to get an English speaker instead.

Were they right? According to what I've been told, there is less divergence among all 21 Spanish-speaking countries than there is between English of the US, the UK and Australia. I've also heard there is something called "Neutral Spanish," which is universally understood.

At any rate, I suggested they try to find a good speaker!
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Old December 17, 2014, 08:43 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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Neutral, or universal, Spanish is understood everywhere because a native speaker knows how to fluently use the vocabulary.
I've also heard some very lousy Spanish on those PBX machines.

Thanks for complaining!!
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Old December 18, 2014, 04:00 PM
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Julvenzor Julvenzor is offline
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Hola, Glen:

¿Qué tal? Pues vaya atrevimiento por parte suya. Con lo 'simpáticas' que se muestran algunas empresas, siéntase contento de que siquiera le ofrecieran una explicación al respecto. Sinceramente, me parece muy absurdo el argumento. Para mí no existe un "español neutro" por el simple hecho de que tanto el vocabulario general como ciertos dejes al hablar varían muchísimo entre países (sólo en España hay diferencias marcadas entre localidades separadas apenas unos 5 km); no obstante, todos logramos entendernos perfectamente en casi todas las situaciones. Si yo fuera el encargado de recursos humanos habría optado por un hispanohablante oriundo del país mayoritariamente emigrante hacia EE.UU (¿Mexico?) o, para no discriminar, también tuvieron la posibilidad de contratar a un angloparlante con un nivel suficiente como para ser capaz de hablar un español con poco acento.

Un saludo para ambos.
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Old December 18, 2014, 05:41 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen View Post
They replied something to the effect that they believe the Spanish language is so diverse that they couldn't possibly accommodate all the variations of it so decided to get an English speaker instead.
¡Patrañas!

Of course any native speaker can communicate with anyone in Spanish.
If someone can only speak jargon, slang and local colloquialisms, they can't communicate with anyone out ouf their immedate environment, but this is never the case.

I recently called Samsung's support center and I talked with a woman with a Caribbean accent and with an Argentine man. None of them had any problem understanding me and I had no problem understanding them.
In several Mexican highways, the toll machines speak Spanish from Spain; in some medical laboratories, the queue machine speaks Argentine Spanish.

So what they said to you is a plain lie, and it's good that you complained.
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Old December 18, 2014, 06:03 PM
Glen Glen is offline
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I haven't called them back to verify. We can only hope.

Along the same lines, there is a chain of grocery stores with the name Ingles. Perhaps understanding that it could be the source of many jokes, they had the recorded voice (this time a good one, obviously that of a native speaker) on their automated checkout machines as Gracias por comprar con Inglés.

When I had had enough of their thanking me for "shopping with English" I contacted them, recommending they stick with saying it untranslated: Een-gulls.

Happy to report they did make the correction, and none of my Spanish-speaking friends object to the way it sounds.

Well, that's about all the crusading I've done lately. I'm not really a battler, only hate to see this beautiful language corrupted.
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Old January 09, 2015, 02:47 PM
Alfredo Alfredo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen View Post
Out of curiosity I called the toll-free number 211 and selected the Spanish option. The voice that answered was obviously not of a native-born speaker; in fact, the accent was so heavily influenced by English that I could only imagine what a Spanish speaker would think. It sounded awful to me, as a non-native but as someone who knows how it ought to sound.

Trying to be helpful, I called back - in English option - and suggested they get a native speaker. They replied something to the effect that they believe the Spanish language is so diverse that they couldn't possibly accommodate all the variations of it so decided to get an English speaker instead.

Were they right? According to what I've been told, there is less divergence among all 21 Spanish-speaking countries than there is between English of the US, the UK and Australia. I've also heard there is something called "Neutral Spanish," which is universally understood.

At any rate, I suggested they try to find a good speaker!
The existence of a "neutral / universal / standard" Spanish is a matter of discussion not suitable for this thread, I think. Educated answering machines speak neutral Spanish which is the kind of Spanish you'd hear from reporters at CNN en español.
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