NK:s engelska lärare intervjuade

Ur Nordiska Kompaniets personaltidning Kompanirullan 1950:7 (årgång 24).

Som en fortsättning på Rullans engelska läsövningar bjuder vi här på en intervju med de två lärare, Miss Sundgren och Mr. Baker, som lett NK-kurserna ”Brush-up” och ”Advanced Brush­up”. Det hör ha ett ganska allmänt intresse att höra vilket in­tryck de har av sina NK-elever, av språkkunskaperna i huset och hur utlänningar blir behandlade. De är båda högst förtjusande människor, som det är lätt att prata med om allt, inte bara ”shop”, som det mest blivit under lektionerna. Innan vi återger intervjun med den som vant NK-försäljarna vid amerikanskt ordval, Miss Sundgren, skall vi be att få understryka hennes titel. Rullan har nämligen felaktigt presenterat henne såsom Mrs. Sundgren. Hon är än så länge endast förlovad – därom yttrade sig Mr. Baker sålunda:

Miss Sundgren is engaged to an ame­rican pilot, who has flown all over the world except to Mada­gaskar and Ireland by transport plan and has the American record.

De flesta som läser detta blir säkert ännu mer intresserade av att prata med Miss Sundgren. Där finns f. ö. mycket annat som det är roligt att höra henne berätta om. Och man konstaterar att hon är mycket lättare att förstå än de flesta amerikanare.

– How can that be? frågar vi henne.

– Oh, you find me easy to understand ! I am delighted to here it, she rep lies smiling. Y ou see, I am from Boston and the Boston accent is very soft, I think that is the reason. And as I am a singer I am used to using a clear pronunciation.

– Miss Sundgren, are you the singer we heard on the radio on Saturday the third of June?

– Oh, yes. That was me. It was my second programme on the Swedish radio hut I have sung to the American listeners for many years. As my father was horn in Sweden and my mother in Norway I have always been interested in Scandinavian songs and I have done my best to make them known in USA. My great interest is folk songs. My American programmes are nearly always composed of Swedish and Norwegian songs. Here in Stockholm I have had lectures at Kursverksamheten vid Stock­holms Högskola about American Folk Music and I have also given personal proofs of it.

– Are you not going to give a concert of your own?
– Oh, yes, in the fall I will give concerts in Stockholm, Oslo,

Helsinki and Copenhagen and then in October I have to go hack to America.

– And what is your impression of NK-shopping?
– Well, I find all people very helpful and I am impressed at finding so meny English-speaking clerks. I would like to say to all NK-people: Don’t be afraid if you are not sure of finding the right words. Let your face show your interest in the customer, look at him and smile and then you will make con­tact with him and will find it much easier to understand what he wants than if you are only afraid of lacking some English words. May I say that I find the Swedish clerks more reserved than the American and that I think they would win something by trying to act more in the American way.

So Miss Sundgren went away, a charming smile on her lips and in her eyes as usual, and we concentrated on Mr. Baker, who knows too the value of smiles and personal interest in relation to people, whether they are pupils or salesmen. He is half Scottish hut we have not seen him in a kilt in NK, yet!

During the lessons in the class of ”Advanced Brush-up” he has given us the impression that he doesn’t know any Swedish at all which has of course heen very good for the pupils. When we asked him how long he has been in Sweden he answered ”two years”. And he tells us that he has heen married for one year to a Swedish lady, who is also a teacher in languages.

– What made you come to Sweden? we asked him.
-When I got demobilized I emigrated to Canada, he says.

But I didn’t like to stay there and as I had been to Sweden as a tourist in 1946 and hade hecome very fond of the country and the people I decided to come hack here. In 1946 I had made a motorcycle trip around Sweden and I had heen offererl a job as a teacher here hut at that time I was not interested. I am very glad that I came later and as I am now married to a Swedish lady I will be happy to stay here for ever – hut perhaps we shall take a year off some time to teach in anothcr country.

– What has impressed you most at NK?

– I think, that there seems to be a very friendly spirit among the people in NK. I had heard of the NK-Family hut I didn’t know that it was like that. I am also impressed hy the standard of English among the NK-people. The standard in the classes is high. You see i have taught all sorts of people during my two years in Stockholm and the truth is that most of all I have liked to teach the NK-people and the officers of the Army and Air Force. Of course, some classes at NK are rather shy. But after the first few minutes of the lesson most of these people have hecome less shy and are more willing to speak. I am very pleased at their efforts and I have the impression that most of them have learnt the words they needed most for their jobs and which they had not caught hefore.

– What do you think of the importance of having English­speaking people as salesmen and saleswomen?

– I think it is very important that all salesmen and sales­women at NK should speak English. Tourists are lazy people. They like to go where they get what they want and where people understand what they say. They are not very patient and do not like to be forced to long explanations where a little know­ledge of English on the part of the salesman would have made the purchase quick and easy. So, I think it is a wise thing for the whole selling staff at NK to learn English. Y ou can explain many things by signs hut not all. I also want to say that I know that many foreigners are delighted to go to NK because they know that so many people speak English there. Only the other day a tourist from South Africa told me how surprised and pleased he was to find that the commissionnaire, Mr. Andersson who stands at the Main Entrance, could speak English and direct him perfectly to the Sports Department. He was very surprised and I am very proud of Mr. Andersson because one year ago he couldn’t speak one word of English.

If, during the Autumn, any people from NK would like to spend one Sunday evening a month listening to an interesting English variety programme _followed by a dance, they will be welcome to come to the Key Club. Y ou will find advertisements in the newspapers about it.

Ur Nordiska Kompaniets personaltidning Kompanirullan 1950:7 (årgång 24).

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