Originally posted by seneca at 2007-3-17 10:56
I appreciate your reply, JB; it substantiates one of my own fundamental beliefs: Everyone in the world ought to be made at least bilingual!
I totally agree. One of my former colleagues, a fellow who migrated to Australia from Iran in the mid 80's told me "We have a saying in my old country, a man with one language is one man. A man with many languages is many men." or something like that. Basically it means that ones abilities are extended by the extra language skills.
In my first big overseas trip to Europe in 1984, I visited a small TV station in Luxembourg, RTL (It's a little bit bigger now) and was in a control room as they were recording a kids show. The young presenter came into the control room and asked a question in French, and got answered in Flemish or German and the conversation between 3 or 4 people proceeded in almost as many languages. I felt quite inadequate!
However in 1992 I was in Barcelona for the Olympics. I was in a shop with some colleagues asking about souvenirs and as I don't speak Spanish I asked the attendant if she spoke English, no go.
I then noticed a small German flag on her shirt and so posed my questions in schoolboy German and got the answers I needed! I was very pleased with myself then!!!!
In Barcelona a bunch of us would eat at a nearby pasta place and we attracted a local fellow who would often have dinner with us. He was actually from Seville and spoke Castillian Spanish rather than the Catalunyan language. As none of our TV crew were Spanish speakers the only way we could communicate was through a couple of our number who spoke Italian. So Frank (one of my colleagues) and this chap would natter away in Italian and Spanish. It all worked well until Frank invited the Spanish chap to eat the meal we'd bought him, "Manjari" Frank said. The Spanish guy stood up and stormed off looking quite hurt. We looked at each other and wondered what we (Frank) had said.
I typed "Eat" into my little pocket translator thing and pressed "Spanish" and it came out as "Comte", so we yelled over to him, "Comte, Comte" and he realised what we'd meant and returned to the table.
International incident avoided!!!!
Ahh, it's all a learning experience!
[ Last edited by emucentral at 2007-3-17 10:21 PM ]