Attention Jim

Canada Immigration Forum (discussion group)            
Subject: Attention Jim
  The excerpt from your post (quoted below) reveals a depth of ignorance. Surely you realize that accents have nothing to do with being a native speaker, or even "speaking English"? Or are you claiming hegemony over what counts as a native English accent? Try listening to media interviews given by recent Booker prize winners - their accents are wonderfully varied, and probably just as different from your own accent (yes, everyone has one) as they are from mine - they may not be easy to understand, but they are all native English speakers. Speaking English with a Brummie, Indian, or Australian accent (and each of these are in themselves regionally multiple), does not erase one´s nativeness, if it is one´s first language. And of course subtitles may be necessary to understand each other across Englishes. Just don´t interpret this as a symbol of the superiority of your own brand of native English.

The Canadian state (like every other) must practice linguistic hegemony in order to reproduce its own identity (the use of subtitles is an example), but as individuals, we have the option to desist.


"The people being interviewed are all highly educated computer scientists and government officials, talking about India?s high tech sector. The Problem? Their English is so strongly accented that the producers of the show had to put a " captioning line " along the bottom of the screen so the people watching in Canada, can understand what is being said.

They think that they are speaking english, but if a native english speaker, like me can?t understand it , what are they really doing ?"

Jim B. Toronto

(in reply to: Attention Jim)
Hey you guys gotta chill out and simply disregard Jimmy boy and that psycho wench Sharon. These two are the biggest bums I have ever known. It is not just their stupidity or ignorance that is the problem. They both suffer from some deep mental illness that seems to goad them into playing the Can Govt officer or moral high. Half the time, the two esteemed Canucks are high on weed and an assortment of narcotics. Sharon keeps smoking the damn pot while taking pot-shots at the folks seeking help on here. She doesn´t know diddly squat about the actual immigration laws.
(in reply to: Attention Jim)
and what are your qualificiations CoolCanuck? If you actually live in Canada... how long have you been here?
(in reply to: Attention Jim)
Sharon, I don´t agree with personal attacks - totally irrelevant here - but surely living in Canada or the length of time spent there are totally irrelevant too? Or can only Canadians or those who have lived there for a certain length of time voice their opinions? Perhaps we need to send in copies of our passports/ PR visas before we are allowed to voice an opinion about Canada? Makes one wonder how long one needs to put in before one´s voice as a new immigrant is taken seriously. Rather troubling.

And dragging this back to the topic of accents, I notice you don´t have one either - congrats! ;)

"I live in Vancouver. I walk into the bank and I am one of 2 white people in a building filled with Philipinos, South Asian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and no doubt, the other white person has an accent. "

(in reply to: Attention Jim)
the other white person in the bank was Irish.

My point about Canadian culture and sensibilities is this - our friend Balwant lives in Guyana. We don´t know where CoolCanuck lives. How can either of them make catagorical pronouncements about Canadian racism or attitudes.

If you want to know the real scoop about Canada- would it not make sense to ask the people who have actually lived here for an extended period of time. Would it not make sense to ask the less than hypersensitive about true racism in Canada?

There is no rules about opinions on this forum but it would only make sense to me that people with some real life experience might have a teeny tiny bit of credibility.

As for accent - I guess it depends who you ask. If we took a poll at the bank that day, I would likely be told I had an accent too except the Asian woman that served me had the same sort of accent that I have and the manager that wears a turban talked like me too.

(in reply to: Attention Jim)
Point taken. My point remains that you do not have to be in a country to talk about it or critique it. No such thing as the "real scoop" - just multiple facets, and the person who has never been to Canada and gets her impressions of the country through Al Jazeera and her daughter´s best friend who happens to be Canadian provides as authentic a viewpoint as a born and bred Canadian - its just a different one. (In any case, no two born and bred Canadians can have the same scoop - their experience of Canada depends on too many variables including region, gender, class position etc etc etc. Again, no such thing as a singular "real scoop". )

As for accents - for the lay person, perhaps it depends on who you ask. Usually its people with the hegemonic accent (whatever that is - depends on each part of the world) who insist that they have no accent and everyone else does. (As you point out there is often little correlation between accent and ethnicity). But according to the lingusitic literature on the subject, everyone has one, and it can historically be shown that accents, like other demarcators of difference, have been used by the majority to assert their superiority and rank others as beneath them somehow. Not saying that you do this - just that the presumption that one has no accent but others who speak differently do is a unconscious symptom of this.

(in reply to: Attention Jim)
Sharon has point, someone needs to live in Canada or any other country to have some realistic idea about racism. It makes sense.

Don´t know about coolcanuck. However, Sharon Balwant not a single time mentioned racism in everyday life in Canada. He clearly told possible racism by few immigration officers. That has no relationship with overall Canada. Isn´t it? Even a person living in Canada life long may not say it for sure. That person can only talk about racism (if there any upto his/her judgement) in everyday life in Canada. Two issues are totally different. This is the 1st question I asked yesterday. We mustn´t forget it, it is the center of all heated debate.

(in reply to: Attention Jim)
I give up. Never knew we were even talking about racism in this thread. Thought we were talking about discrimination of a different sort here. Must be the full moon.
(in reply to: Attention Jim)
Well that is the whole point .... the debate derived completely and transformed into racism ....some participants did not even know about it.

No need for all of these according to me. Debate was good, nobody can stop it.

What about people in need ?

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