Friday, May 21, 2010

Talk to Me

Expecting someone to abandon their language and speak to you in yours is rude.

When someone does, they've shown you a courtesy you might not deserve.

I knew this before I was stranded in Europe, but seeing it play across the faces of multi-lingual Europeans made it real for me. In Holland, they're willing to speak English. In Brussels, they are not.

Waiting for our Eurostar connection, spent a day in Brussels where they speak French and German. Between us, we remembered enough high school German and early French to read the warning signs but not the directions. We stayed in our room.

This article at Times Online cracked me up. Speaking various languages, they call government offices asking for help.

I thought the funniest one was when they called the Catholic Church Media Office and asked, in Latin, where to buy a Bible. Odd, the only Latin they knew was a by-rote response to a phrase heard in Mass. Peace be with you.

C'est la vie.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Glad to hear from you!