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Author Topic: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade  (Read 9667 times)

w3bby

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #75 on: March 16, 2009, 06:22:32 pm »

Sure would be common courtesy but I repeat how many English learn the language when overseas?
I for one and all the expats that I know here. I chose to live in Sweden (about 20 years ago) and as such I learnt the language once I got here. Have English friends in Holland who speak Dutch, in Denmark who speak Danish. Having learnt the language I was employable, before that my (now) wife had to support me.
There is a difference to overseas "visiting" and overseas "living" but even when I was doing my "travelling the world" bit I always tried to have the basics, please, thank you, hello, goodbye, basic foodstuffs and a few other phrases for the countries I was in.

tigertiger

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #76 on: March 17, 2009, 01:04:40 am »

On the point of language acquisition.

There is a huge difference between being able to survive in a language (please, thank you, how much does it cost, where is the toilet) and being fluent.
Yes some people are fluent, and they are the exception. People who are good at learning languages, forget that not everybody finds it easy, or even possible. Those expats who speak other languages are usually (not always) educated professionals who are good at languages.
Most immigrants to the UK are economic refugees. They are not highly educated, and many are unlikely to ever be fluent in English.



An old expats joke.


Q. What do you call a person who is fluent in 2 languages?
A. Bilingual.

Q. What do you call a person who is fluent in 3 languages?
A. Trilingual.

Q. What do you call a person who is fluent in many languages?
A. Multilingual.

Q. What do you call a person who is fluent in only one language?
A. English.
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sheerline

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #77 on: March 17, 2009, 09:28:53 am »

You have to ask yourself why the Brits are not so flexible when it comes to learning other languages. I know several of my countrymen who are fluent in other languages, they are either well travelled and spent a fair bit of time in these other countries or are simply fairly adept at learning them and have been interested in the language. Many of my European friends can speak the language of the countries which border them.
For instance, my German friends can speak Swiss, French and some Italiain, this is mainly because they can visit these countries as easily as I can travel from Norfolk to suffolk or london and they can simply go there for the day out like we might go to the seaside. Over time, they become familiar due to exposure, something we as Brits do not have the ability to do and as a lot of tourists visiting Britain have been taught English in school, they tend to be able to communicate much easier when here.
I have visited and worked for a short time in Germany, it did not take long to begin to pick up the language as i was continually being exposed to it daily and was forced to try to communicate as a lot of the older people i encountered did not speak English. It is all down to exposure. Here in England, we are not given the same level of exposure so tend not to practice it on a daily basis.
I wonder how many other countries could be critised in the same way as we are. I wonder if for example, the Australians, New Zealanders, Icelandics or any other countries surrounded by the sea are as flexible in other languages as the Europeans are.
it's all down to frequency of exposure in the end and by nature, we are insulated from it to quite a degree.
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tigertiger

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #78 on: March 17, 2009, 12:23:05 pm »

Hi Sheerline.

I take the opposite view.
People who are naturally adept at language tend to thrive in these environments. So they are more comfortable seeking them out, once exposed for the first time.
Those who exposed and then struggle/fail, tend not to go back for a second helping. So you won't find them flitting across Europe for work or pleasure.

You may be one of those lucky people who are naturally good at languages, and not realise that others will always find it hard, because you find it natural.
Its a bit like the fresh accountancy graduates who cannot work out how anybody could possibly get into debt. Only after they have been out there for a while do they realise that some are more numerate than others.

Or the computer geek who cannot understand why some people can not do the basics. And perhaps why other want to beat the carp out of them.

I lived in Germany for 4 years and struggled getting past survival German, even though I did night classes. I have lived in China for 5 years, and have had many lessons, including 9 months full time study. My wife and mother in law are Chinese, my mother in law speaks no English. Most Chinese speak no English so I am fully immersed.
I am still struggling to get past the basics.

We all have talents, but they are often very different.
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Turbulent

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #79 on: March 17, 2009, 12:30:54 pm »

I know Brits that struggle with English - But I do live in Norfolk!! :}

sheerline

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #80 on: March 17, 2009, 08:42:48 pm »

Well, ok guys, maybe I haven't got it quite right but it was just the way i see it. Perhaps it may be due to the fact that these Europeans are exposed to it from a very early age, at a time when young minds are open and flexible. I did however meet a lot of Germans, mostly the older ones, who I might add were very charming folks but did not have a grasp of any English at all. It was those encounters which forced me to adjust to them rather than expect them to fit in with me. I was afer all, in their country and as a matter of courtesy and respect, I tried my damndest to make myself understood. More than i can say for some folks living here!! Imight also add that we had a lot of fun trying to understand each other and you do feel like you have been struck totally dumb at times, you just stnd there staring at each other then burst out laughing... thats a definate universal language.
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Peter Fitness

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #81 on: March 17, 2009, 09:32:39 pm »

I wonder if for example, the Australians, New Zealanders, Icelandics or any other countries surrounded by the sea are as flexible in other languages as the Europeans are.
 

Speaking for Australians, the answer is, definitely not. Because of our geographic isolation most Australians only speak English, or a form of it  ok2 . I would venture to suggest that most Australians who do speak another language are either immigrants, or of recent ethnic origin.

I think it's fair to say that most English speaking people do not speak another language, mainly because we have no need to. English has become the common language in many countries, so we can communicate in most places on earth.

Peter.
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sheerline

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Re: Pride and shame of the Luton Military Welcome Home Parade
« Reply #82 on: March 17, 2009, 10:38:01 pm »

High peter, you hit the nail on the head there. English certaily has become a universal language and it's true what you say.
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