Thursday, September 27, 2012

Please Please Talk to Me!

Do you speak more than one language?

(Answering in fourteen different languages to prove your amazing worldly prowess is showing off. Don't be so egotistical.)

If you do, good for you. Hopefully it's one that will be helpful someday.

If you're an American, I bet English is it. At least I hope you speak English. I know that I do. And as an engineering student, that puts me ahead of most of my peers. Numbers are the better choice for them. If I knew how to insert them, I'd toss in all the random Greek letters I've learned over the years. But, I digress.

I only speak English, or American if you prefer. After all, I don't spell color with a "u". We, Americans, are a little self-centric. It's hard for us to understand that other places don't necessarily do things the way we do. (Not sure why they wouldn't because we're just that awesome.) I think this is historically the biggest reason American tourists are insulted. We assume everyone we meet speaks English.

Want to know a secret? (looks around suspiciously)

THEY DO!!!!!

In eight weeks in central Europe, I ran into a single person who spoke absolutely no English. Any idea who that person was?

Nope, it wasn't a random person on the street I was emphatically greeting to expel some of my excited energy.

It was a postal worker.

You'd think someone at the post office in Warsaw (across the street from a hotel nonetheless) might speak English. Tourists do like to send post cards after all. Your random relatives need to see what you're doing every minute of every day. Updating your facebook status and skyping with them every night is not enough. A postcard makes it so much more legit. For that reason, I think it's time to give you one.


Until next time, God bless America.

13 comments:

  1. I speak bits and pieces of several different languages...some of them even repeatable in public.

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    1. That does always seem to be a problem. I met several Polish students while there and they felt the need to teach the random Americans pick-up lines and ways to cuss people out.

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  2. I subscribe to the 'Allo 'Allo school of languages, in other words speaking with a very bad accent. That's how it works, right? Or has television let me down again?

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    1. Television never lies. So, Allo to you too.

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  3. Replies
    1. Bien. C'est vendredi! Je suis excitee. Et vous? (I took five years of French and that's about the extent of my knowledge.)

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    2. Well, it's better than mine. I managed to fail my 'O'Grade French exam three times.

      Actually I learned my best French from the group Labelle, singing "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?"

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  4. I learned a couple of dead languages for my degree, but somehow a working knowledge of Coptic doesn't seem to be that helpful when traveling...

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    1. Probably not. But, I've found the ones you do learn have a tendency to be unhelpful and the ones you need aren't available. After all, Nebraskan high schools don't teach Polish, Czech, or Hungarian.

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  5. I would love to learn another language and plan on it after the kids get older and I have some extra time on my hands (that sounds like a myth, lol). I took 2 years of French in high school, but only remember a few things. My husband grew up in Germany but it was on a military base so he only knows English too, lol! Oh but I can speak toddler very well after 5 kids! Thank you for linking up with the Friendly Friday!

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    1. I think speaking toddler should count. That's definitely a skill. Maybe I can say I speak nerd. After all, today I commented on other drivers' perception reaction times and the priority at a four-way stop while heading to the movies.

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  6. I assume you didn't visit France, because the French hate speaking English in their own country, particularly to American tourists who assume everyone speaks English. Gorillas prefer English to French because it sounds less affected.

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    1. No, I haven't been to France. I've heard about their loathing of English from many others, though. The general consensus was, "France was pretty, but I glad to get the hell out of there because the people were mean".

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