Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Michigan sends and gets a lot of exchange students to/from universities around the world. I was supposed to be in Sydney, Australia this semester but decided against going. So, we have a British student, who is studying in Stockholm, as an exchange student. The class was engaged in a heated case debate on some Global Competition topic. The situation involved a decision on whether a company should send its European sales force (highly skilled sales people) to replace local sales force in different parts of the world. Many students argued that building relationships and networking, a critical component to sales success, was a highly 'local' thing . They argued that an international sales force might not measure up well.
The British student started talking and said ".... may not smooch well". The first time he said it we went "whaa..." and paid closer attention until he said "smooching may be important but....". As the giggles started trickling out, he said "...it is okay if they don't smooch well". The class couldn't take it anymore and burst into laughter. The student paused, looked up, threw up his hands and said "well! I I guess, I am not a native speaker of English here". Later, in a smaller group setting he asked me to pronounce 'schmooze' a couple of times. He got it right after saying it as 'smooch' a couple of times.