English and other languages.

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Sa Palomera, Apr 15, 2008.

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  1. Sa Palomera

    Sa Palomera Well-Known Member

    Okay so I don't really know yet where I want to go with this post, so bear with me.

    My native language is Dutch, as I'm from the Netherlands, but I have a deep interest in the English language and even more so in the differences between US English, UK English and Australian English.

    Like, I never understood why there have to be so many (little) differences between those three. Where did that originate from? Who came up with that, and even more so: why?
    What on earth is the purpose of US people spelling 'color', while British people spell 'colour'? Why on earth do British people write 'definitely', while (most) Australians write 'definately'. I, someone for whom English is a foreign language, find that utterly confusing and I cannot imagine how it can make sense to anyone (including people from the US, UK and Australia).

    Maybe now some of you think something along the lines of "yes, but you're not in that situation. If English would be your first language, you'd probably understand." And that is a fair point, but I think the situation is kind of comparable to the situation with Belgium/Netherlands.

    In the Netherlands the first language is Dutch. In Belgium they've got two main languages, really. The lower half mostly uses French (and many citizens there can't speak Dutch), whereas the upper half mostly speaks Dutch.
    The Dutch we speak in the Netherlands is different to the Dutch they speak in the upper half of Belgium. It's not a massive difference, but there are differences. They have some words we don't have, they have certain expressions we don't have, they have a different accent. And vice versa. So I guess, in that sense it is comparable to the whole US/UK/AUS-English situation.

    Also something I think about a lot, and that really bothers me, is the whole 'English versus other languages' thing.
    I know this generation of people whose first language is English feel differently about it, but a lot of 'older' people, seem to consider it no more than normal that foreigners speak (proper) English. In turn that makes a lot of foreigners think that people with English as first language feel superior to others.

    Now if we focus on the UK, I think I know what has caused this whole "English versus foreign languages" issue: the fact that English is the leading international language. In the world of business English is currently the leading language between enterprises from different countries, at tourist places it's practically normal to talk English [as a tourist], and so on.
    -= on a side note: I once was in Amsterdam (which, for your information is in the Netherlands, so DUTCH is the official first language), and there are actually people who don't know any Dutch working in coffeeshops there. So I go into a shop, in my own country, and I can't speak my own language there because then they don't understand me. :laugh: =-
    So yeah, English is the leading language in communication between people with different first languages.

    And in turn, THAT causes the English government to not do something which, in my opinion, they really should do: make one or (preferably) several foreign languages obligatory at secondary school.
    But that's not the case. And because in other countries (e.g. the Netherlands), [some] foreign languages (including English), are in fact obligatory, it's expected that we speak English to English people. (at least that's how it feels).
    I mean, if I, as a Dutch person, go to the UK, I have to speak English to the people there. That is no more than logical, I'd say. But if an Englishman comes to the Netherlands, they expect to be able to speak English with us too! You have to admit, that can come across rather arrogant. Don't you think? You see, I know it's not your (the English citizen's), but the government's fault for expecting practically everyone (i.e. foreigners) to be able to speak English. So in fact it's the government with the arrogant attitude. But I think that BECAUSE of that attitude the government has towards foreign languages, a lot of people in the UK don't realise that it's really quite amazing that so many people outside of the UK are able to have conversations in English.
    Like it's been taken for granted.
    I mean, I bet quite a few English people who read this post don't realise that it's actually rather admirable that it's in understandable English (at least for the most part it is...). And yes, I know that sounds cocky, but I don't mean it in a cocky way. I'm really only trying to say.. well.. look at it like this:
    For me, writing this post in English, is what it'd be for an English person (who's had Dutch classes) to write this in Dutch.
    Yet in general, it's considered more of an accomplishment when an English person writes an essay in Dutch, than it is when a Dutch person writes an essay in English.
    I have to admit though, that in a way that IS true, but only because of English being the leading international language and (here I go again) the English government thinking it's bullshit to make foreign languages obligatory within the educational system.

    And people aren't exactly helping to get this changed, as long as things are the way they are. I mean look at the world! People are only helping England to keep this arrogant attitude towards other languages...
    > By far the most films that are released internationally, are in English. Countries where English isn't the main language will just have to add subtitles (or, as often -if not practically always- is the case in Germany and France, have them dubbed. Which is not smart either, but that's like a totally different story about which I could have a massive rant too :dry:).
    > Within the music industry, majority of world wide hits are in English. Songs that are sung in a different language, usually only end up being hits in the countries where they speak that language. (And sometimes the surrounding countries, but barely ever in English speaking countries).
    > Majority of stuff that can be found on the internet (communities, films, websites, etc), is in English.
    > Many countries are like.. absorbing English words into their language. Some examples from the Netherlands: "weekend" once used to be 'weekeinde' in Dutch, now it's 'weekend'. We've got 'skateboards', we've got 'laptops', 'keyboards' (the instrument), and in sports there's things that have like a real Dutch name, but the English name for it is also commonly accepted into the Dutch language (e.g. penalty, corner, goal)

    Anyway, don't get me wrong, I know full well that we NEED a 'leading' language, one language that can be spoken and is understood by majority of humanity. It's necessary for world wide communication. And quite frankly I really do not mind English being that language, in fact I like it, because I love English language. But I think the English government (and this also goes for US government and the entire story really also applies to the US. Less so to Australia, because as far as I know foreign languages get more attention over there.) should be more aware of other languages besides their own. In my opinion they should make at least one language other than English obligatory within the educational system. I think it's an addition to people's lives to be able to speak other languages.
    Take a look at how they do it over here, in the Netherlands, for example. We've got at least one foreign language which is obligatory, and there are more, depending on which 'level' you do at secondary school.
    I won't explain the entire system here, cos then we'd be hours further, but shortly said: we've got about 4 different levels, from 'low' to 'high': VMBO (4 years), HAVO (5 years), Atheneum (6 years), Gymnasium (6 years). Unlike in England these levels are separated from the first year of secondary school on.
    and within those levels there are different 'profiles' you can do, depending on what sort of job you want in the future. (profiles that focus on chemistry/physics etc, ones that focus on economics etc)
    Let's have a look at the languages that someone who does Gymnasium ('highest' level), with the 'culture & society'-profile (profile that has the most languages) has with the amount of years during which they have these classes:
    *Dutch (all 6 years)
    *English (all 6 years)
    *French (all 6 years)
    *German (last 5 years)
    *Latin/Greek (Latin first 3 years, Greek 2nd and 3rd year; after that they have to choose which one to continue. So you either have the first 3 years Latin, and the 2nd to 6th year Greek OR all 6 years Latin, and 2nd and 3rd also Greek. Very rarely does one do both languages up to graduation year (so that'd be all 6 years Latin and last 5 years Greek)
    And added to that, a lot of schools also offer the ability to take other languages on top of that. I for one, also did Spanish the first 3 years.
    Wouldn't it be awesome if every country would do something like that?
    Especially Latin is like... well I'd almost say it's a necessity to understand most other European languages. You see a LOT of European languages come from Latin. That's why French, Spanish and Italian, have the similarities they have.


    Anyway I guess that's it for now.
    I would would start about dubbing and subtitling films, but I won't bore you with that, after this rather long post.
    In fact I'm surprised if anybody gets all the way through this post lol.


    IF you have managed to get all the way through, please do feel free to reply with your opinion/view/thoughts on all this :smile:
     
  2. JBird

    JBird Well-Known Member

    *i didn't read it all because i...well i couldn't be bothered lol, i got the jost of what you were saying and we've had talks about it before but i'm gonna reply anyway*

    from what i know atleast one language, other than english, is obligatory in the education system. We've already spoken about what my school do and how much i hate it but in my high school, for 5 years we WILL do atleast one other language.

    It goes like this;
    Year 10 (my year) when we started we automatically had to start taking German classes.
    Year 9 and 11, when they started they automatically had to start taking French classes.
    When you reach upper school (year 10 and up) you get the option of taking the other language on top of the one your studying so you can get 2 language GCSE's but it's not obligatory. I happily turned down taking French on top of German because I DON'T UNDERSTAND ANY OF IT!!! hmph.

    As far as i know there aren't any other languages being taught in my high school until you go into sixth form but you have to travel deep into town to reach another school that'll teach it on behalf of my school :blink: . The only other language classes i've had was as a lunchtime activity in my infants and junior school, they taught loads of different languages like punjabi (which i learnt). Thoug i have to say, most of those classes were spent doing those pretty pattern things (hennas i think they're called) on our hands.

    I hate my language classes and i'm glad i only HAVE to take one but not because im arrogant, because i can't get my head around it lol. If i was to plan to go to the Netherlands, Germany, France, Canada, Spain etc. then i'd atleast learn the basics in their language before i go. I don't believe in the whole "we're english, we rule, speak our language!" because thats utter crap and i think its equally spread throughout generations, its just that the elderly generation aren't afraid to speak about it. England is VERY multi cultural/ethnic/language now and i do think that we need more languages being taught in school, but i'm only saying that because i finished school next year and won't have to learn them lol. If i was at school having to learn more than one foreign language i think i would actually explode.

    I don't know what its like in the tourist parts of London but from what i've seen, if you were to come to london and not be able to talk english you'd have to wait for a designated translator to help you out. :dry:

    One thing that i have rants about ALL the time is because i live on a council estate and when i go to my local corner shops i can't buy anything because all the products are pakistani or indian and i don't like people shouting over my head in a different language, it makes me paranoid. I really don't mean to be fussy but PLEASE will someone make the shop owners talk english and have english products, we have designated stores where you can get the best quality food from other cultures. :mad: :unsure: /rant

    But back to the point, my opinions;
    1. more languages in school (though i'm pretty certain all schools in england teach atleast 1 language GCSE)
    2. england's attitude to language sucks.
    3. we shouldn't expect everyone to talk english to us in their own country.
    4. popular tourist attractions should hire people that have good communication skills with more than just one language.


    and lastly, everytime i see you writing or hearing your talk in english fascinates me. i've already bombarded you with questions about the languages you've learnt and how you talk/think now etc. and i've already learnt a teeny tiny bit of dutch lol. just know that it doesn't go unnoticed.
     
  3. JohnADreams

    JohnADreams Well-Known Member

    There is little differences between them because England adopted a Southern English dialect as the offical version of the English language, which was later taken along to other countries. If American and Austrailian immigrants used other dialects instead, we'd all have to be taught how to understand it. :mellow:

    I was taught French, German and Welsh in school. Afterwards I emptied it all out of my brain along with 90% of the things they tried to shoehorn into my memory. I imagine that if the majority of movies and music were in French, that it would be a lot easier and beneficial to learn that language.
     
  4. resistance

    resistance Staff Alumni

    Out of curiosity, what English to you learn in the Netherlands? British English or US? I have a friend in Belgium and we have had a similar conversation to this and she finds it really confusing too, which I can understand. It's confusing to us sometimes. I always used to write 'definately', until someone pointed out to me only a few years back we write it as 'definitely' and that stumped me, didn't look right.

    If I go to another country, I wouldn't expect them to speak English. I'd attempt to learn the basics of the language and take it from there because it is somewhat rude and arrogant, as you say, to wander into a country and expect them to speak English. I think it's safe to say some people get a big head over the English language, some people even call London the 'Centre of the Universe', but would you believe English is not the most spoken language (yet :unsure:), it's actually Mandarin, followed by Spanish, then English.

    Let's all learn Mandarin. :)
     
  5. thedeafmusician

    thedeafmusician Staff Alumni

    I read it all... and the replies. I love the arguments that you put forward too. And for the record I can never tell if I spell definitely right or not... because I'll type it as definitely but hand write it as definately, when I KNOW that it's meant to be spelt definitely.

    English is downright complicating. It is the hardest language to learn pretty much, although character based languages like Mandarin prolly come fair close too. I agree with you when you say that one or several languages should be compulsory at school, ALL through school. Especially if you have lots of classes for it and you get to hear the language a lot, so some kind of immersion program. Only learning in the class isn't good. I mean, I've been learning Japanese for the entire time I've been at school, but I am nowhere near fluent enough to hold a decent conversation in Japanese.

    But taking a second language is good overall because you get to learn how you learn... if that makes sense.

    As for stuff about the media industry... I don't have anything to add or answer in that. It's just the way the world is. In English speaking countries, there is comparitively little intrest in media that is in a language other than English. In other words, they only understand and read English. Which just leads back to the whole "schools should advocate teaching some sort of LOTE."

    TDM


    Afterthought: grrr i completely forgot to add in mandarin - thanks for reminding me, res! seriously though... if people are going to learn a second language, they should pick some dialect of chinese. the population of asian people has exploded, especially here in Australia... so learning mandarin would be pretty smart.
     
  6. :smile:

    I too read your whole post - it was riveting! And yes, "forcing people" to speak English is very arrogant. And for good or ill, it is becoming the "international language" on so many fronts. I do think it's a terrible shame (and yes, as often arrogant) that folks seem to insist that someone address them in English as if it were their "right"! But you have obviously mastered it, even over and above those whose mother-tongue it is! Really! I have always found languages to be fascinating, personally.

    I couldn't possibly go into all the reasons that so many variations exist (which can be as fascinating as infuriating- especially when trying to learn it). Even while I was traveling in the UK, I could distinguish the differences while being in the East, to the West - and then from North to South. Countless dialects exist all over the planet (and english is not the only language where this is true). I remember being utterly exasperated, having moved from Québec, Canada - to Ontario. And I would otherwise have excelled in French Class but that the teacher was forever correcting me, in that I was not speaking in Parisienne French! And I thought, well, shit! If I'm going to Paris, I'll keep that in mind - but I live in CANADA!!!!! :mad:

    Even in Canada, the dialects vary from region to region, as well as province to province, and many phrases (especially coloquialisms) are quite unique to each. Even the Newfoundlander's say to everyone who isn't from there, "Oh, you're from "Away"! :smile:

    And perhaps this will make you all feel better:

    "Speaking English will kill you!"

    For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition
    and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies:

    1. The Chinese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the
    Americans, Australians, British, or Canadians.

    2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans, Australians, British, or Canadians.

    3. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks
    than the Americans, Australians, British, or Canadians.

    4. The Italians drink large amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart
    attacks than the Americans, Australians, British, or Canadians.

    5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and
    suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans,Australians, British, or Canadians.

    6. Ukrainians drink a lot of vodka, eat a lot of perogies, cabbage rolls and
    suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans, Australians, British, or Canadians.

    CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

    * * *

    And this (sorry it's long) always makes me laugh at all the idiosyncrasies that exist in this really silly English language...:biggrin: God love 'em for trying!!

    FUNNY ENGLISH NOTICES AROUND THE WORLD!
    ---------------------------------------
    Here are some signs and notices written in English that were
    discovered throughout the world. You have to give the writers an
    'E' for Effort. We hope you enjoy them.

    In a Tokyo Hotel:
    Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a
    person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

    In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
    The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we
    regret that you will be unbearable.

    In a Leipzig elevator:
    Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

    In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
    To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin
    should enter more persons, each one should press a number of
    wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by
    national order.

    In a Paris hotel elevator:
    Please leave your values at the front desk.

    In a hotel in Athens:
    Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the
    hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

    In a Yugoslavian hotel:
    The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the
    chambermaid.

    In a Japanese hotel:
    You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

    In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox
    monastery:
    You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and
    Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except
    Thursday.

    In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
    Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the
    boots of ascension.

    On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
    Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

    On the menu of a Polish hotel:
    Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy
    dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose;
    beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.

    Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
    Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

    In a Bangkok dry cleaner's:
    Drop your trousers here for best results.

    Outside a Paris dress shop:
    Dresses for street walking.

    In a Rhodes tailor shop:
    Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute
    customers in strict rotation.

    A sign posted in Germany's Black forest:
    It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that
    people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live
    together in one tent unless they are married with each other
    for that purpose.

    In a Zurich hotel:
    Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the
    opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby
    be used for this purpose.

    In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
    Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

    In a Rome laundry:
    Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon
    having a good time.

    In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
    Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no
    miscarriages.

    Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
    Would you like to ride on your own ass?

    In a Swiss mountain inn:
    Special today -- no ice cream.

    In a Bangkok temple:
    It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed
    as a man.

    In a Tokyo bar:
    Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

    In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
    We take your bags and send them in all directions.

    On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
    If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to
    it.

    In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
    Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

    In a Budapest zoo:
    Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable
    food, give it to the guard on duty.

    In the office of a Roman doctor:
    Specialist in women and other diseases.

    In an Acapulco hotel:
    The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

    In a Tokyo shop:
    Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are
    best in the long run.

    From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air
    conditioner:
    Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your
    room, please control yourself.

    From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
    When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn.
    Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles
    your passage then tootle him with vigor.

    Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
    - English well talking.
    - Here speeching American.


    :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :wink:
     
  7. ggg456

    ggg456 Guest

    When I learnt French at school and I talked to people over in France , their English was about 100 times better than my French. It's pathetic, the standard of foreign language being taught here is pathetic.

    I used to love languages but after I left school I just got depressed/tired and forgot the French I learnt. I loved learning that. Right now I'm thinking of doing a course in BSL at my local college..

    It's also a pity that my mother can't remember Malay or Malayalam. English in Malaysia is second to Malay but still it dominates. My aunt is the only person who remembers slightly - Malayalam.

    My father never taught me Bengali although he speaks it fluently. I used to badger him time and time again to teach me but he didn't want to. I learnt a few Urdu words from my friend at school but other than that nothing. I was generally bought up empty and lost.. :/
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  8. x.R.x

    x.R.x Well-Known Member

    Yeah I agree it is quite arrogant. In our school we did learn French for 2 years and then they introduced German, then we had a choice of carrying on German or French (or both) for our GCSE's. But yeah I understand what you're saying, I suppose though cos when you visit most countries (generalising I know) they can speak English, but we can't speak to them in their language unless it's something we learnt in school, and we only really learn certain languages here. Like if I went to a German speaking country now I'd try and talk to them in German but if it was somewhere like Italy I couldn't possibly speak Italian - cos I've never been taught it...if that makes sense lol.

    I get what you're saying though :smile: I wish we started learning languages earlier on in school rather than just later on.
     
  9. ggg456

    ggg456 Guest

    I can remember when we were 10-11 and started to learn French, we were taught by a teacher who didn't know French herself and it was such a waste of time. She was just literally reading off tapes and books herself, in the classroom and then trying to 'teach' us there on the spot. I agree with you there though. I think the from age 5-15 I didn't learn much at school at all.
     
  10. Lady of Shalott

    Lady of Shalott Active Member

    If I cared anymore, I would probably have a lot to say on this subject. As it is, though, I just couldn't let this one little thing slip by and have all the people reading this think that "definately" is a word in English.

    There is no English in which "definitely" is spelled with an "a," and that's a fact.

    I'm a translator...or I was before my breakdown, which included leaving my job a couple weeks ago...so it...was my job to know these things.

    Otherwise, I grew up in the U.S. and I thought a foreign language was obligatory there, I'm pretty sure it was when I was in high school. And now it must be even more critical, since so much of the population speaks Spanish. I don't think it's true that a foreign language is not required. It may only be required for 2 years or so, but I think it's required.
     
  11. Flight

    Flight Well-Known Member

    I don't have much to add either...

    but I used to spell 'definitely' as 'definately,' until an english professor rhetorically clobbered me with a dictionary. I think it's a common error in spelling. At least in western Canada.

    Also, the french that is spoken in Quebec is quite a bit different from the french spoken in France. Very similar to the difference between Canadian english and British english, I'd believe. So it's not just english this happens to. For all I know, portugese and spanish could have at one time been the same, but the accent got so thick that they became different languages altogether.
     
  12. Bostonensis

    Bostonensis Guest



    A++++++++. Pandemoniacally funny




    FUNNY ENGLISH NOTICES AROUND THE WORLD!
    ---------------------------------------
    Here are some signs and notices written in English that were
    discovered throughout the world. You have to give the writers an
    'E' for Effort. We hope you enjoy them.

    In a Tokyo Hotel:
    Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a
    person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

    In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
    The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we
    regret that you will be unbearable.

    In a Leipzig elevator:
    Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

    In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
    To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin
    should enter more persons, each one should press a number of
    wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by
    national order.

    In a Paris hotel elevator:
    Please leave your values at the front desk.

    In a hotel in Athens:
    Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the
    hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

    In a Yugoslavian hotel:
    The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the
    chambermaid.

    In a Japanese hotel:
    You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

    In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox
    monastery:
    You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and
    Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except
    Thursday.

    In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
    Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the
    boots of ascension.

    On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
    Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

    On the menu of a Polish hotel:
    Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy
    dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose;
    beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.

    Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
    Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

    In a Bangkok dry cleaner's:
    Drop your trousers here for best results.

    Outside a Paris dress shop:
    Dresses for street walking.

    In a Rhodes tailor shop:
    Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute
    customers in strict rotation.

    A sign posted in Germany's Black forest:
    It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that
    people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live
    together in one tent unless they are married with each other
    for that purpose.

    In a Zurich hotel:
    Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the
    opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby
    be used for this purpose.

    In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
    Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

    In a Rome laundry:
    Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon
    having a good time.

    In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
    Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no
    miscarriages.

    Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
    Would you like to ride on your own ass?

    In a Swiss mountain inn:
    Special today -- no ice cream.

    In a Bangkok temple:
    It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed
    as a man.

    In a Tokyo bar:
    Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

    In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
    We take your bags and send them in all directions.

    On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
    If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to
    it.

    In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
    Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

    In a Budapest zoo:
    Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable
    food, give it to the guard on duty.

    In the office of a Roman doctor:
    Specialist in women and other diseases.

    In an Acapulco hotel:
    The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

    In a Tokyo shop:
    Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are
    best in the long run.

    From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air
    conditioner:
    Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your
    room, please control yourself.

    From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
    When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn.
    Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles
    your passage then tootle him with vigor.

    Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
    - English well talking.
    - Here speeching American.
     
  13. Bostonensis

    Bostonensis Guest

    IF you have managed to get all the way through, please do feel free to reply with your opinion/view/thoughts on all this

    Brilliant argument/thought & thread:

    I commend you for opening this topic. Like the race issue,comes along the language too. There is actually a bill in the US House of Reps to criminalized children in school who cannot speak English. Arrogance at its best. I thought back then,wtf happen to this country. When the Pilgrims came to this land ,they were not ask whther they can speak Native Indian or not. Workers from Mexico are heavily ostracized for not being able to speak English so wtf they are asking them to come for? This is really an arrogant arrogant people.

    Part of this immigration reform is a qualification to be able to speak English. The SOB's cannot even spell their own language & they require othhers to learn it. ask an average american where is Texas if they won't tell you it is in Californiar. Halleluyahrr. Obamar...

    & I ask what is an Englandish or Americandish is anyway. The native tongue of this land is neither of the two. This country has no proper language in itself & the ignorance is painted with more arrogance. Most americans can mumble but grammar ? The worst since the medieval times.

    Jay Leno use to pick on the American knowledge of their own history. It is humiliating. Average college students ,does not know who Condoleeza Rice is.
    But when they are ask about people from other countries ,the gdsob's will blob ,f this & f that. Hell they cannot even sing the national anthem.It is pathetic.

    Goddamn it. United States of A as in Assholes. Good argument but it makes my blood boil.
     
  14. Melmoth the Wanderer

    Melmoth the Wanderer Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure, but I think that the differences between American, Australian, and British English came about because of the geographical separation and isolation of the three countries. Since America and Australia were colonized before mass communication, language ties quickly weakened and changed independently. Differences in dialect within the countries themselves often came about because of social, economic, cultural, and possibly even religious divisions in populations. For example, I live in the southern part of the US. Southerners have different accents from Northerners because historically, the South was more agricultural and had more influence from African dialects, while the North was more industrial and urban. On a side note, if you were wondering, there are different kinds of Southern accents based on social class and geographical location (am I the only one who's getting tired of hearing a Georgian accent as the quintessential "Southern" sound?).

    Anyway, I agree that it's arrogant of English-speakers to expect other peoples to speak our language. I've been to France twice, and both times, I tried my best to use as much French as I could. When I was growing up, however, language courses were inadequate and not taken seriously. I had Spanish classes all through elementary school (from five years old to twelve), but the main problem was that there was no one to speak Spanish to in-between classes, so much instruction was quickly forgotten through lack of practice. Spanish is becoming more common, fortunately, but oftentimes, other languages like French and German can only be heard within the classroom in this country.

    That is strange that people visiting the Netherlands don't even attempt to speak Dutch. Dutch is actually English's closest relative, figuratively speaking. My sister lived near Amsterdam and had a Dutch boyfriend for a couple of years, and she said that the two languages had similar intonations and sounds, though spelling was often quite different (for example, she bought me some stickers with my name on them in Dutch, and I was quite surprised that the Dutch version had about six more letters and a "j" that weren't in the English version). I guess my point is that it wouldn't be that difficult for English-speakers to learn a few phrases and titles in Dutch before or while we're visiting. I mean, German is often considered a difficult language, but it's similar enough to English that even I know a few words without having ever taken a class (for example: mein gott, danke, wo bist du?, guten morgen, and etc.). Why should I expect Germans to speak English to me in Germany? I’m beginning to think that a lot of us English-speakers are just lazy.
     
  15. Sa Palomera

    Sa Palomera Well-Known Member

    Okay so I've got about an hour time now, and I'll reply to everything that's been said, as far as I can get within this time :smile:

    Well, I think that's no more than fair. I'd consider it normal that you are expected to speak the language of the country you visit. It's just ridiculous how arrogant some English people can be. Expecting others to speak English when visiting England, is no more than common sense, but then don't go around and expect everyone to talk in English to you when you're visiting another country!! There are English people who don't expect that, true. And I truly respect those people. You see, I understand you can't just speak any language. But when someone comes to visit the Netherlands, and they at least TRY to speak the language, that's the way it should be in my eyes. Of course you can't speak that language fluently. But if you go to a coffee shop and order a coffee, just TRY it in that language. I've had customers in the clothing store where I used to work, who were from France, Germany, the UK, Australia and US even. Whenever they TRIED talking in Dutch, even if it's just a few words like "this please", or "thank you", I would immediately show my appreciation and compliment them about their Dutch. I would just start talking their language to them. But if I had a German customer, and they'd just straight out EXPECT me to start talking German to them (the store was near the german border so practically everyone there could speak german), then I would refuse to speak german to them. I don't like people with such an attitude. The least you can do it TRY.


    To answer your question as to what English we learn at school... Well it's just called "English" everywhere, but as far as I know, the grammar and writing we learn is British English. Though the speech and articulation and all, that depends on the teacher really. In my opinion you only really learn the correct pronunciation and articulation if you've got a teacher who's at least lived in the UK for a while. And we don't have a lot of those at secondary schools. They mostly are teachers at University or college.
    I think at secondary school it's mostly British English. But if I'm correct if you do the English Language and Culture degree programme at Uni, you can choose whether you want to learn American English or British English, depending on what direction within the programme you choose to do. :smile:


    Exactly!!

    Well if this is about a teacher French, than I think they weren't in the wrong. If you are learning a foreign language, than I think it's trivial that they teach you the articulation and pronunciation the way it is in the country of that language itself. But that's just my personal opinion on it. It can be rather funny to hear someone speak a language with a very thick accent :laugh: Though that doesn't mean I disrespect those people, far from it, I highly respect them for speaking the language. It's just that sometimes it can sound rather funny, hearing a thick accent :unsure:

    That cracked me up! Thanks for that!



    See, this attitude is the one I love. It's the same I feel towards languages other than Dutch. It truly is a shame that the government in the US and UK doesn't feel that way. =/ If everyone in the world would be so eager to learn languages other than their own and English, imagine how easily it would be to communicate with each other. Of course English is now one of the most used languages to communicate with other people, but I just think it'd be good to have a few more languages along with English which can be used all around the world.
    I have to add, I don't have a problem with English being one of the most used languages in world-wide communication, because I simply love speaking English. But a few other languages besides English to be spoken world-wide would be even better =)

    Exactly my point. :smile: This is the kind of attitude everyone should have, and the government in the first place!

    That is a disgrace! Honestly, why would you have someone teach french if they can't even speak it themselves! =( Surely there must be someone around who can speak French, or else go look in France, I bet there are plenty French people there who can speak proper English and would like to teach French in England!

    Thanks for correcting me there Shalott :smile:
    I've had someone else tell me 'definately' is not proper english, not even in Australia. And I am sorry for the error I made. I guess I just assumed so as almost all Australians I know spell definately rather than definitely. I'll be more careful with such assumptions in the future :smile:

    Also sorry if I've mistaken in the original post about the requirement of foreign languages. So a foreign language is required, for say 2 years. I think that still isn't enough. Just my opinion though.

    Yes, I've noticed that these differences are in more languages. In quite a lot of countries actually. German in Austria/Germany/Switzerland. Italian in Italy/Switzerland. Dutch in Netherlands/Belgium. And I'm sure there are plenty more.
     
  16. Sa Palomera

    Sa Palomera Well-Known Member

    Same here, Bostonensis. I have to say it's mainly the government's attitude that gets me angry. Thankfully not all citizens are as arrogant as the government if it comes to this subject..

    Thanks for this reply, Melmoth :smile:
    I was wondering if I could use your first paragraph in this same debate I'm having on another forum?
    It's given me some rather good insight.

    You're right about the laziness, I think. But, once again, I think this only exists, because of the arrogance of the government. You see, if the government wouldn't be too arrogant to have some proper foreign languages taught at schools, people would consider it normal to have to speak languages other than English, and I think if that were the case they wouldn't be too lazy to learn other languages properly, because they'd already learned the basis of them languages in school anyway, so why not use it when visiting those countries? :unsure:
     
  17. Wow! :blink:

    You sure know how to make the best of an hour!!

    I just wanted to add that Canada is bilingual - English/French are official languages here by law (even on packaging...which is how I practice my French now, killing time, reading in the bathroom!) :biggrin:

    Countlesss regions (nevermind the province of Québec itself) have many dialects. But there is a basic "Québecois French". My problem with the Ontario teacher I'd mentioned was that he was rather pedantic in how he taught. To be practical, one should teach what is relevant and useful, and/or at least accept that communicating in any language will never be perfectly executed (um, not even in ones own tongue!!!). If I live in a bilingual country, I should be able to apply what I know and have learned WITHIN that country... (whateveh...done my wee rant) :wink:

    I also remembered that when the ongoing (seemingly endless) possiblility of Québec separating from Canada kept rearing its head, even when I spoke French to some, if they detected even the slightest hint that it was not my mother tongue, I and others were ignored (Yeesh - the English ain't the only ones who can be anal!) Anywaze - just wandering down memory lane... :smile:
     
  18. Melmoth the Wanderer

    Melmoth the Wanderer Well-Known Member

    Sure you can. I'm glad it was helpful. :smile:

    I agree that the government is arrogant. Actually, I think this entire culture is arrogant. I'm always hearing how the "US is the best!" and how "free" we are. Many Americans truly believe this country is the best one on Earth, and if the "best country" speaks English, then all the countries should speak English, too. I personally disagree, but I hear many people say these kinds of things. I'm hoping it's just a phase or a small percentage of people.
     
  19. :biggrin:

    [​IMG]

    pleez reed karefulee
     
  20. Melmoth the Wanderer

    Melmoth the Wanderer Well-Known Member

    :laugh:
    Is that a real picture? Still funny whether it is or not; I'm just curious.

    Actually, the "Minutemen" bumper sticker reminded me of why a lot of Americans are against learning Spanish. America has no official language, and I think some people are afraid of losing their national identity. There are other fears here as well. I remember talking to a peer of mine about it, and she was afraid that she would become a foreigner in her own country, suddenly confronted with a language barrier she feared she couldn't adapt to. I wasn't as concerned as she was, however, because there was cultural exchange between the Spanish and British colonies from the get-go, and many English words are taken or adapted from Spanish. Here are a few words I found on about.com that illustrate this (I left out food terms because those are usually obvious. You can hear these words being used quite often. Note how many cowboy and horse terms are actually Spanish; the cowboy way of life was learned from the Spanish and Mexican cultures.

    aficionado
    alcove (from Spanish alcoba, originally Arabic al-qubba)
    alligator (from el lagarto, "the lizard")
    armadillo (literally, "the little armed one")
    avocado (originally a Nahuatl word, ahuacatl)
    banana (word, originally of African origin, entered English via either Spanish or Portuguese)
    barracuda
    barbecue (from barbacoa, a word of Caribbean origin)
    bonanza (although the Spanish bonanza can be used synonymously with the English cognate, it more often means "calm seas" or "fair weather")
    bronco (means "wild" or "rough" in Spanish)
    buckaroo (possibly from vaquero, "cowboy")
    canyon (from cañon)
    cargo (from cargar, "to load")
    chaps (from Mexican Spanish chaparreras)
    chihuahua (dog breed named after Mexican city and state)
    cinch (from cincho, "belt")
    comrade (from camarada, "roommate")
    condor (originally from Quechua, an indigenous South American language)
    corral
    coyote (from the Nahuatl coyotl)
    embargo (from embargar, to bar)
    fiesta (in Spanish, it can mean a party, a celebration, a feast — or a fiesta)
    flan (a type of custard)
    guerrilla (In Spanish, the word refers to a small fighting force.
    hammock (from jamaca, a Caribbean Spanish word)
    hurricane (from huracán, originally an indigenous Caribbean word)
    jaguar (from Spanish and Portuguese, originally from Guarani yaguar)
    jerky (the word for dried meet comes from charqui, which in turn came from the Quechua ch'arki)
    lasso (from lazo)
    machete
    manatee (from manatí, originally from Carib)
    mosquito
    mustang (from mestengo, "stray")
    nada
    patio (In Spanish, the word most often refers to a courtyard.)
    pinto (Spanish for "spotted" or "painted")
    plantain (from plátano or plántano)
    plaza
    poncho (Spanish adopted the word from Araucanian, an indigenous South American language)
    potato (from batata, a word of Caribbean origin)
    pronto (from an adjective or adverb meaning "quick" or "quickly"
    pueblo (in Spanish, the word can mean simply "people")
    ranch (Rancho often means "ranch" in Mexican Spanish, but it can also mean a settlement, camp or meal rations.)
    renegade (from renegado)
    rodeo
    savanna (from obsolete Spanish çavana, originally Taino zabana, "grassland")
    savvy (from sabe, a form of the verb saber, "to know")
    shack (possibly from Mexican Spanish jacal, from the Nahuatl xcalli, "adobe hut")
    siesta
    silo
    stampede (from estampida)
    stockade (from a French derivation of the Spanish estacada, "fence" or "stockade")
    tobacco (from tabaco, a word possibly of Caribbean origin)
    tomato (from tomate, derived from Nahuatl tomatl)
    tornado (from tronada, thunderstorm)
    tuna (from atún)
    vamoose (from vamos, a form of "to go")
    vanilla (from vainilla)
    vigilante (from adjective for "vigilant")
    wrangler (some sources say word is derived from Mexican Spanish caballerango, one who grooms horses, while other sources say the word comes from German)

    filibuster (from filibustero, derived from Dutch vrijbuiter, "pirate") :eek:hmy: I didn't know about this one! What luck! :biggrin:
     
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