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potatoe
18-05-04, 17:12
I feel that if someone travels to another country they are oblige to learn the native language or at least attemp to try and learn some, its just some common courtesy.

I would like to hear people's opinions on this so please do reply. :cool:

Elizabeth
19-05-04, 04:12
I'd say it isn't necessarily an obligation to your visiting countryman as much as your own blood family for anyone with resident spouse to be comfortable enough with the language if there comes a time when that national would like to consider moving back that their partner be able to handle basic chores of daily life while eventually landing a job and integrating with the culture, etc not to mention your own husband or wife. It's really sad to see the misery this can cause in families left without a choice but to live in somewhere because there'd be no lifeline of support in the person's own home country.

Golgo_13
19-05-04, 04:41
i feel that if someone travels to another country they are ablige to learn the native language or at least attemp to try and learn some, its just some common curtesy.

i would like to hear peoples opinions on this so please do reply. :cool:

I once heard about a guy who was in Japan (not because he wanted to, but because his lover was there) who went to a barber shop for a haircut. The guy told the barber how he wanted his hair cut but the barber had no idea what he was talking about because the barber did not understand English. The guy got annoyed and became rude, and the barber finally asked him to leave. Later on, the guy complained how rude and racist the Japanese are.

I heard this story from a co-worker.

yimija
19-05-04, 09:37
i feel that if someone travels to another country they are ablige to learn the native language or at least attemp to try and learn some, its just some common curtesy.

:cool:
Hi Potato, nice name...

You are absolutely right : courtesy & respect are the two main ingredients of successfull travelling. That I know for certain.

But to some people, it doesn't mean a thing. For a large part of the population on this planet, being born in an english-speaking country is an excuse to be lazy and not to make an effort to be civilized and respectfull.

If you are "lucky" to be an European (excepted England), it's easy, since in very short distances you must be forced to speak 3 or 4 different languages. Go from Torino in Italy to... say Copenhagen in Denmark (you do that in less than a day, and you'll have to speak italian, french, german, dutch and finally danish). In tiny countries like Switzerland they "only" have 4 national & official languages !

Funnily enough, the four "main countries" (in term of population and/or surface) where english is the spoken language, are "isolated" : One and two are USA/CANADA, and it's well far away from anywhere else. We could call it an "isolated island". The other two countries are REALLY ISLANDS, since I'm talking about ENGLAND/U.K. and also AUSTRALIA.

For the US, and Canada too, they very quickly forgot that they are descendants of many and multicultural Europeans and that at the beginning, the population was nothing more than a reunion of hundreds of different languages. It is a shame that now they have decided that this was past and that they don't need to learn anything else since it is well known that wherever they will go, the english language will be spoken by more and better educated, more open minded people who are better adapted to today's world where changing countries and travelling is a matter of hours. I think their attitude is wrong and somewhat a little arrogant and irrespectfull towards other countries. For them it is : "I take it for granted that they will speak english, wherever I go and comply with my expectation". I have heard a men from South US (maybe Texas or so) insulting a waiter in a 5 stars hotel in Italy because the poor waiter could not understand a word that was said due to the horrible accent the client had. No one in fact could understand him. It was my extreme pleasure to intervene (as a client) to tell the texan (or whatever) what I thought of his attitude. For those who have the (dis)pleasure to know my way of speaking you might well immagine that it was a very "floral speech". And that kind of situation does happend a lot and unfortunately often. Let's get back to the subject :

For the English, too, the same kind of "excuse" is valid, but I must say that with the opening of the European borders, the British have made some serious efforts to learn a second language, such as french, italian or spanish, so that they could migrate or a least spend holidays in the sun... The americans are not yet up to it. I do not speak so much of canadians since they have french brothers living on the same soil.

As for the Australians, they were extremely protectionist althought non-english speaking communities have been through the years and still are very important in Australia due to the very high levell of immigration during the years 1946 through to 1970. They closed the door briefly but soon realised that it was foolish and lacked a lot of good and qualified workers. So they had to open the doors again to Asian citizens such as Indonesians, Philippinos, Chineses, Malays, Korean and Japanese.

Now Australia has become a well balanced "country of the future" and in schools you can easily learn foreign languages. It is an open country and the australian population is becomming a multi-lingual, non protectionnist population. And that is good for the future, that is good for tomorrow's world.

Have a lovely day to all

chiquiliquis
19-05-04, 12:46
I mean for this to be taken with a grain of salt... it is just a fleeting thought... but what if I had to have a sex change every time I wanted to visit a woman...

What does it say about me that I am thinking this...?

Anyhow... I am all in favor of multilingualism... and think learning the language of a country you're visiting can not only be interpreted as a courtesy to the people you are visiting... but it can be seen as a courtesy to yourself...

having new lenses through which to see the world is never a bad thing IMHO

yimija
19-05-04, 13:01
I mean for this to be taken with a grain of salt... it is just a fleeting thought... but what if I had to have a sex change every time I wanted to visit a woman...What does it say about me that I am thinking this...?

Based on the assumption that you are a man (if not come back I'll have some other questions) :

question 1 : fleeting or not, the question is in your head. Why ?
question 2 : why would have a sex change, are you not happy with the actual one ?
question 3 : dont you know any woman who is happy with your actual sex ?
question 4 : in case of sex change, what would you choose ?


Anyhow... I am all in favor of multilingualism... and think learning the language of a country you're visiting can not only be interpreted as a courtesy to the people you are visiting... but it can be seen as a courtesy to yourself...

having new lenses through which to see the world is never a bad thing IMHO
And I will drink to that, I think it's worth champagne.

"You can only dish out what you have in the fridge" once said an well known cook, also a friend of mine. He meant by that : you can give respect to others only if you respect yourself. He is a good chef, indeed !

Buddha Smoker
19-05-04, 13:25
I wouldn't say a person is obliged either but I think it would be the wise thing to do.

My boss has been in Japan for about 35 years and he can't speak a lick of Japanese. He's also married to Japanese and has been for about 30 years. I mean, besides saying like Konnichiwa or Domo....that sums up his entire experience in Japan. When we go out to eat together then he makes me order or translate for him, etc....the same if I happen to be with him while he is shopping or something. I mean give me a break....where has he been and what has he been doing?

Anyway, it's been bothering me for a while and I got it off my chest and it seemed to go with this topic.

yimija
19-05-04, 13:33
where has he been and what has he been doing?

Anyway, it's been bothering me for a while and I got it off my chest and it seemed to go with this topic.

He has been nowhere
He has been doing nothing.
That's frightning to think that this kind of guy can be "the boss" to someone else.
Now you know how this guys will repsect his japanese wife : none whatsoever, and I hope that he has no kids.

It's good that you could take it off your chest, but the real thing would be : talk to him and tell him what you think of him.
Then fire him and get yourself a new job. (this last part is optionnal...)

Buddha Smoker
19-05-04, 13:56
He's been a couple of places but not nearly as many as I have...he doens't eat Japanese food, etc.. and yes, he has a daughter (she's about 30 years old)...

I'm a patient person and he retires in a couple years then I take over his position.....so, I'll just wait :) and I have my Japanese wife with whom I talk to anyway. I think it's just as well.

chiquiliquis
19-05-04, 14:04
question 1 : fleeting or not, the question is in your head. Why ?
question 2 : why would have a sex change, are you not happy with the actual one ?
question 3 : dont you know any woman who is happy with your actual sex ?
question 4 : in case of sex change, what would you choose ?


I can always count on you to come back with good questions, yimija.

1: I think I found it somehow analogous to the question at hand

2: It's about communication. We have that saying: Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus (as if they spoke different languages). The original poster suggested that when in a country other than your own, it is common courtesy to make an effort to be on the same page. Another saying: When in Rome, do like the Romans. If we are obliged to appropriate the communicative methods of people from other socio-linguistic backgrounds... what would this mean for sexes?

In the Japanese language, this difference between communicative methods, in terms of sex, is rather distinct (IMHO). Example: "Ikuzo!" (man) "Ikuwayo!" (woman) -- both meaning "let's go". Functionally speaking, this is an example of language defining gender.

Language, is then, a function of culture and social roles. Why wouldn't I make every effort to appropriate the communicative methods of the opposite sex (if I am to keep true to the "when in rome" standard)?

3: I know many women who are happy with my sex... I meant to pose the thought as a pure hypothetical.

4: Not seriously considering...

BTW: I like the quote :cool:

kirei_na_me
19-05-04, 14:43
Wow, Buddha Smoker. Your boss sounds like one of the numerous guys that go to Japan just to get a Japanese wife. I know men like that. Men who have been married to Japanese women for years and all they can say is "konnichiwa" and bow when meeting another Japanese person and that's as far as it goes. They can live in Japan for years without really knowing anything about the culture.

Married to a Japanese person myself, I would like to learn more about the language, because I think it helps you to understand Japanese people more(and goodness knows I need all the help I can get, even after 8 years). The only problem I have is that learning Japanese is very time consuming, especially for someone who has 3 children all under the age of 6. No wonder a good bit of the Japanese I have learned has come from shows such as Inai Inai Baa and Okaasan to Issho... :p

Anyway, to get back to the original question, I think it's good to know at least some basic phrases in the language of whatever country you're going to visit. I spent 3 years studying French in high school and 1 in college, so I felt pretty prepared when I got to France. As a student, I always heard the French had no tolerance for people who couldn't speak their language properly and I had also heard that they would refuse to speak English. Well, that stereotype was shot to hell. All the French people I met were extremely friendly and helpful and would gladly speak English when they saw I was struggling trying to speak more than basic French. I can say that I made an honest effort, though, and I think that is very important and I think it is appreciated by the natives of whatever country where you are a foreigner.

As for the US and the UK being isolated and not speaking any other language, well, we really can't help it. I'm American and I would've loved to have had the opportunity to learn to speak many languages as Europeans do. All of those countries are close together and at your fingertips, so it makes sense for Europeans to learn most of the major languages spoken on that entire continent. I didn't have that advantage, and neither do most all other Americans. If you intend to go to college, two years of a foreign language is required, but that is all. Two of my best friends in college were from Europe. One was from France, and yes, one was from the UK. Each of them could speak 4 languages. English, French, German, and Spanish, and they could speak them fluently. For someone who always craved knowledge of different cultures and different languages, I was amazed and also sad that I didn't have the opportunities to learn as many languages as they did. I think there might be a lot of native English speakers from the US, UK, Australia, etc. who perhaps feel the same way.

yimija
19-05-04, 14:56
I can always count on you to come back with good questions, yimija.

Yes, thank you... if you ask good questions, chances are to get good answers, which I did, I'm ok with answer 1 & 2.




3: I know many women who are happy with my sex... I meant to pose the thought as a pure hypothetical.

4: Not seriously considering...

BTW: I like the quote :cool:

Well, you see, in fact you could have just answered the # 3 and # 4, and all would have been said.

bossel
19-05-04, 22:37
I'm American and I would've loved to have had the opportunity to learn to speak many languages as Europeans do. All of those countries are close together and at your fingertips, so it makes sense for Europeans to learn most of the major languages spoken on that entire continent.
I wouldn't be as positive about Europeans learning each other's languages. It all depends, really. Maybe the smaller the country the bigger the motivation to learn foreign languages. The bigger the nation the smaller the motivation. Many people learn foreign languages at school (because they have to) but forget most of it in the years after they left school, mainly due to lack of exercise.

As for the original question, I would differentiate between tourism & a longer stay. If you're a tourist, you should be able to pronounce & understand some basic phrases you might need. If you stay longer, for whatever reason, you should try to learn the language of your host country as best as you can.

I absolutely dislike some forms of mass tourism. As in the case of many Germans travelling to Majorca in Spain. They don't need to know a word of Spanish, for they usually stay in hotels where German is spoken, go shopping where German is spoken & go to restaurants where not only German is spoken but solely German food is served.
They go there to be grilled in the sun, not to get to know land & people.
Well, of course, everyone to his taste, but to me this seems horrible.

Lina Inverse
19-05-04, 23:38
If you are "lucky" to be an European (excepted England), it's easy, since in very short distances you must be forced to speak 3 or 4 different languages. Go from Torino in Italy to... say Copenhagen in Denmark (you do that in less than a day, and you'll have to speak italian, french, german, dutch and finally danish). In tiny countries like Switzerland they "only" have 4 national & official languages!
Not quite, three languages "only": German, French and Italian. German has the biggest part (64%), and German is also the language all the documents are in and so on, and it's pretty much spoken in all three parts, so you could get by only speaking German and be only hindered by the funny Swiss accent (SchwyzerdŁtsch). The second biggest part (19%) is French. You probably know the Nestle group which has grown quite big by now, which is located in the French part (Vevey, to be exact). The third part, finally, is the Italian part. (percentages taken from Ethnologe)

@bossel
It's spelled "Mallorca", and it's the favorite spot of all these braindead "proll" creeps (Manta drivers etc.) :mad:

Buddha Smoker
20-05-04, 00:04
Wow, Buddha Smoker. Your boss sounds like one of the numerous guys that go to Japan just to get a Japanese wife. I know men like that. Men who have been married to Japanese women for years and all they can say is "konnichiwa" and bow when meeting another Japanese person and that's as far as it goes. They can live in Japan for years without really knowing anything about the culture.

Alas, I've seen my fair share of people like him too...it's just hard to understand...



Married to a Japanese person myself, I would like to learn more about the language, because I think it helps you to understand Japanese people more(and goodness knows I need all the help I can get, even after 8 years). The only problem I have is that learning Japanese is very time consuming, especially for someone who has 3 children all under the age of 6. No wonder a good bit of the Japanese I have learned has come from shows such as Inai Inai Baa and Okaasan to Issho... :p

Yes, it has taken me quite some time myself but my wife always tells me that I'm an above average speaker so, it makes me feel good that I haven't NOT learned Japanese (I like using double negatives sometimes..lol). My daughter watched those shows for years but now she watches anime or Japanese morning cartoons. Sometimes, I find it amazing that she speaks both languages so fluently. Kids are amazing to watch with language.

Golgo_13
20-05-04, 00:06
Both o' yous,

ganbare!

Buddha Smoker
20-05-04, 00:37
To myself: Gambaru!! :-)

Elizabeth
20-05-04, 02:04
Married to a Japanese person myself, I would like to learn more about the language, because I think it helps you to understand Japanese people more(and goodness knows I need all the help I can get, even after 8 years)
This logic must break down when it comes to the Japanese, though. I think I've actually learned as much if not more about the culture from news documentaries and cooking programs than actually being with the people. Nothing you do seems to have much of an impact sometimes. :p The Japanese aren't really this way themselves but I suppose there comes a point you just have to lay back a little and let things unfold....

Maciamo
20-05-04, 02:44
As for the original question, I would differentiate between tourism & a longer stay. If you're a tourist, you should be able to pronounce & understand some basic phrases you might need. If you stay longer, for whatever reason, you should try to learn the language of your host country as best as you can.


Being experienced in travelling and learning languages, I will have to disagree with that. I see your point for European tourist travelling to European/American countries, as it is in fact quite easy to learn the other country's language (same word order, same alphabet, similar expresions, similar words...). But there are countries where it is just impossible to learn anything useful if you are just going there for a few days or a week.

Then, in many Asian and African countries, their are dozens if not hundreds of local languages, many of which have no travellers's phrasebooks. India has over 800 languages (17 official) and the most widely understood nationwide is English. In that case, it is useless trying to learn Hindi, Bengali, Maharati, Tamil or Malayalam as you are not even sure the people in the region where one language is official will actually speak it, as there are many others.

Then, In almost all African countries at least one Western European language (90% English and French) are official, so why bother learn a local language if you do not intend to live there ? Well, of course, if you do not speak English or French sorry to take it for granted :blush: ), then it is even better learn one of those two than the local African languages, because you have more chance to be understood everywhere.

For non English native speakers travelling outside European languages areas (mostly Asia), learning English is definitely the best thing to do. When Koreans meet Japanese, they usually speak English. When French, German, Finnish or even Indians meet Japanese people, they speak English. Why ? Because English is the first language learnt at school in almost any country in the world. All Japanese must learn English at school, and they normally CAN'T choose any other language until university. As any adult Japanes under 30 or 40 will almost certainly have learnt at least 6 years English, there is no chance a tourist coming for the first time in Japan and having never learnt Japanese before can communicate better than the Japanese in English. some Japanese may have a hard time making a sentence from the word they know in English, but that is as much true the other way round (ie for foreigners making a sentence in Japanese without any gramatical knowledge).

Let me alos remind that this thread is about people travelling to a foreign country, so what I wrote here is not for people living there.



Anyhow... I am all in favor of multilingualism... and think learning the language of a country you're visiting can not only be interpreted as a courtesy to the people you are visiting... but it can be seen as a courtesy to yourself...


I think multilingualism has little to do with the question of learning the language of the country where you travel. You could have learned languages all your life and speak 50 languages, but still not the one of the country where you are going.

As for learning the local language being a courtesy, that also depends of your ability level. Imagine, if you go to Norway and try to speak Norwegian but can't even pronounce a word correctly, while most people speak very well English can be irritating for the locals who will immidiately switch to English. In France, if you have a strong accent or visibly can't make a sentence, many people will not even try to understand you. So you'd be better off with English again with younger people. At least they will have to force themselves not to admit that they can't speak English (as many people can but just don't want).

Buddha Smoker
20-05-04, 02:53
As for learning the local language being a courtesy, that also depends of your ability level. Imagine, if you go to Norway and try to speak Norwegian but can't even pronounce a word correctly, while most people speak very well English can be irritating for the locals who will immidiately switch to English. In France, if you have a strong accent or visibly can't make a sentence, many people will not even try to understand you. So you'd be better off with English again with younger people. At least they will have to force themselves not to admit that they can't speak English (as many people can but just don't want).

I think you make a good point but you still have to give it to the person for trying and making the attempt to be open-minded.

Maciamo
20-05-04, 02:57
My boss has been in Japan for about 35 years and he can't speak a lick of Japanese. He's also married to Japanese and has been for about 30 years. I mean, besides saying like Konnichiwa or Domo....that sums up his entire experience in Japan.

I am sincerely sorry for this guy. But why did your company recruit a mentally handicapped person for this job ? Is he a kind of "savant" (in the psychological meaning) with exceptional abilities in one field and completely retarded for the rest ? It cannot be lazyness in that case. Even without ever learning a language, just hearing it everyday because you live in a country is enough for normally constituated people to understand it after a few years. A person in a managerial position should be intelligent enough to become fluent within 3 years without taking lessons, even arriving in Japan with a zero-level of Japanese.

Buddha Smoker
20-05-04, 04:56
I am sincerely sorry for this guy. But why did your company recruit a mentally handicapped person for this job ? Is he a kind of "savant" (in the psychological meaning) with exceptional abilities in one field and completely retarded for the rest ? It cannot be lazyness in that case. Even without ever learning a language, just hearing it everyday because you live in a country is enough for normally constituated people to understand it after a few years. A person in a managerial position should be intelligent enough to become fluent within 3 years without taking lessons, even arriving in Japan with a zero-level of Japanese.

Well, I/we deal with alot of foreigner (mainly American & Philipinos) and English is the primary language. So, to be honest, not that many Japanese to deal with and the ones that do then they usually speak English fluently and if not then he makes me talk to them. I can understand why he doesn't from our work stand point but from the area/living/community/family point of view, I can't.

yimija
20-05-04, 06:58
Not quite, three languages "only": German, French and Italian. German has the biggest part (64%), and German is also the language all the documents are in and so on, and it's pretty much spoken in all three parts, so you could get by only speaking German and be only hindered by the funny Swiss accent (SchwyzerdŁtsch). The second biggest part (19%) is French. You probably know the Nestle group which has grown quite big by now, which is located in the French part (Vevey, to be exact). The third part, finally, is the Italian part. (percentages taken from Ethnologe):mad:
Sorry Lina, but you are wrong on 2 counts : 1 : The constitution of Switzerland is clear (and that document knows what it is talking about) all the paperwork HAS to be translated in FOUR LANGUAGES, (and they all are without exception schwytzerdŁtch is NOT mor official than the other three) since ther ARE 4 national & official languages. 2)The visible part is : all swiss Federal banknotes have allways been..., are.. and will be printed in 4 languages. You juste too quickly dissmissed and forgot the Romanche language which is still talked, learned at school and spoken, even if it's a minority. Make sure you get all the facts and change a 10 swiss frank note, you'll see easily.


I wouldn't be as positive about Europeans learning each other's languages. It all depends, really.

As for the original question, I would differentiate between tourism & a longer stay.

I absolutely dislike some forms of mass tourism. As in the case of many Germans travelling to Majorca in Spain.

Yes 1) you are right, the french are a little bit lazy at learning foreign language specially english. There must be some kind of ancestral rivalry...

Yes 2) You have to make that difference, and that seems to be logical.

NO 3) Majorca in not in Spain anymore, it is allready in Germany since many years. You can even eat bratwŁrst. Bye bye PaŽlla !!!


I think you make a good point but you still have to give it to the person for trying and making the attempt to be open-minded.
Yes, I'll agree with that, to me it's called respect and integration. (when in Rome do as the roman do... or at least try not to hurt their feelings). You DON'T HAVE TO BE an Italian if you go to Italy, but it does not hurt to learn to say hello, thank you and "parla inglese, per favore ? " (do you speak english, please?). It will also help to understand and /or make you feel closer to the way of life.


I am sincerely sorry for this guy.

A person in a managerial position should be intelligent enough to become fluent within 3 years without taking lessons, even arriving in Japan with a zero-level of Japanese.

I dont feel sorry for him, I think he might just be "too good" to make the effort. I have known quiet a few of those. They will usually end up being very unhappy, but will never be able to admit it. And as it is the case here, the others will have to make do with him.
But even if he is in a managerial position, it proves and demonstrates that some of our leader are not all that intelligent... (we all know a few that are not, but not all...)

Buddha Smoker
20-05-04, 08:35
Yes, I'll agree with that, to me it's called respect and integration. (when in Rome do as the roman do... or at least try not to hurt their feelings). You DON'T HAVE TO BE an Italian if you go to Italy, but it does not hurt to learn to say hello, thank you and "parla inglese, per favore ? " (do you speak english, please?). It will also help to understand and /or make you feel closer to the way of life.

Here here. *tips cup for drink* Salute.




I dont feel sorry for him, I think he might just be "too good" to make the effort. I have known quiet a few of those. They will usually end up being very unhappy, but will never be able to admit it. And as it is the case here, the others will have to make do with him.

When I have asked him or brought it up in casual conversation...I always get the excuse. Well, my wife always wanted me to speak English so she would practice and learn. Also, now I'm too old and what would I use it for?

I'm always thinking to myself.........at least he is trying to make an excuse but it still doesn't "cut the mustard" for me. But, then again not everybody is us and are entitled to their own opinion (even if we don't agree).




But even if he is in a managerial position, it proves and demonstrates that some of our leader are not all that intelligent... (we all know a few that are not, but not all...)

This is so true...except for the few part....it's alot more than a few. :-)

playaa
20-05-04, 10:47
OK!! My turn, being I am an American, I speak English only, and I am sitting here in the middle of Tokyo writing this reply.

I do not think it is your obligation nore is it even courtious to learn the language of the country you are going to.

The only time that it is courtious is in these situations,

You have problems realizing that you cannot just walk up to a native and speak in your language.
You are marrying a native.
You are MOVING not visiting to the country.
OR you are staying for a long time.

other then that, learning the language is only a disadvantage to you. As I only know very basic Japanese, (I tried learning 6 months ahead of time before I came) As kirei said, as an American we did not get the language course opportunities as other countries.. In High School I was made to take French, that was the only foreign language course offered. In middle school it was Spanish. But reading from a book, and learning to pronounce sentences in the language class for your grade does not teach you how to speak fluently.

So no it is not your obligation, though I am for being multilangual.

AND By the way, when I mean disadvantage...

When you are somewhere where noone speaks english and if they do its 1-4 words. Nothing is in english except maybe a few directions here and there.

Imagine yourself being 6 months old in the same body you are now, you cannot speak or read anymore nore can you write. Noone understands you, you understand noone, and you cannote read or write. Basically all you can do is see and point, that is how you will feel when coming to a foreign country without knowing the language.

Trust me it is not fun, and I know basic Japanese and still feel this way.

chiquiliquis
20-05-04, 10:58
I think multilingualism has little to do with the question of learning the language of the country where you travel. You could have learned languages all your life and speak 50 languages, but still not the one of the country where you are going.

As for learning the local language being a courtesy, that also depends of your ability level. Imagine, if you go to Norway and try to speak Norwegian but can't even pronounce a word correctly, while most people speak very well English can be irritating for the locals who will immidiately switch to English. In France, if you have a strong accent or visibly can't make a sentence, many people will not even try to understand you. So you'd be better off with English again with younger people. At least they will have to force themselves not to admit that they can't speak English (as many people can but just don't want).

What do you want to understand by "multilingualism"?

I could sit at a desk for three years and memorize all things syntactical, grammatical, and lexical in regard to the Latin language... I might even say that at the end of that process, I was functionally fluent in Latin.

Suppose after my three years, I went to Rome.

Language is more than syntax, grammar, and vocab. It's about communication. Syntax, grammar, and vocab, a good communicator make not.

Multilingualism (for me), is about openness to verying methods of communication. When in Rome, I need more than "Latin" to communicate... I need the right mindset... or openness to transcend beyond the so-called "parts" of language.

I would rather head to Rome with no knowledge of Latin, but an openness to communication, rather than go having mastered Latin, but no oppenness to transcending the "language". I think I would have more fun--and the Romans would probably be more forgiving in my inability to pronounce the language as they do (when I finally started learning).

Still, having a grasp of Latin, is a good foot in the door towards that end of opening my mind.

This is why I think multilingualism is pertinent to the question at hand. Multilingualism is about being open to multiple methods of communication... not just language.

bossel
21-05-04, 03:13
Being experienced in travelling and learning languages, I will have to disagree with that. I see your point for European tourist travelling to European/American countries, as it is in fact quite easy to learn the other country's language (same word order, same alphabet, similar expresions, similar words...). But there are countries where it is just impossible to learn anything useful if you are just going there for a few days or a week.

Then, in many Asian and African countries, their are dozens if not hundreds of local languages, many of which have no travellers's phrasebooks. India has over 800 languages (17 official) and the most widely understood nationwide is English. In that case, it is useless trying to learn Hindi, Bengali, Maharati, Tamil or Malayalam as you are not even sure the people in the region where one language is official will actually speak it, as there are many others.
You are right, of course. But I really see it as what you called courtesy. If you go abroad you should at least be able to understand & speak some basic stuff. Nothing elaborate, just things like "Where is the toilet?". Or as Yimija said: "parla inglese, per favore ? ".
& (I think, I mentioned it) you don't have to learn it by heart. It's enough if you are able to talk with the help of a guidebook.

What we in Germany call "Pauschaltouristen" (you only have to pay your travel agency & they provide everything, from hotel to interpreter) are a special case. Since they probably won't have much of a contact to the local population, it would be futile to learn the language.

As for local or regional languages, I suppose in most cases the national language should suffice.



NO 3) Majorca in not in Spain anymore, it is allready in Germany since many years. You can even eat bratwŁrst. Bye bye PaŽlla !!!
Yeah, isn't it wonderful? Some here in Germany even proposed to make it a province! :mad:

yimija
21-05-04, 05:49
The only time that it is courtious is in these situations,

You have problems realizing that you cannot just walk up to a native and speak in your language.

Well, I don't agree with you and you gave yourself the one and only motivation to my disagreement which I have quoted just above.
If you go on a trip (holiday or work) in a foreign country and you are NOT able to talk to the natives, then you better stay home, ther is nothing to see AND understand. Going to a country and completely disregard the population, to me it's like going through the desert without water.


I could sit at a desk for three years and memorize all things syntactical, grammatical, and lexical in regard to the Latin language... I might even say that at the end of that process, I was functionally fluent in Latin.

Suppose after my three years, I went to Rome.
Well, if I might make a recomandation : if you want to go to Rome, don't bother to learn Latin nobody will understand you (excepted a few doctors, pharmacists, chemists and a few other specializes scientifics, in all an extremely small part of population).
Better learn italian. They'll read you loud and clear.


Nothing elaborate, just things like "Where is the toilet?". Or as Yimija said: "parla inglese, per favore ? ".
Well, that particular last sentence is ok in Italy, not in Egypte or Danmark... LOL :D

(I think, I mentioned it) you don't have to learn it by heart. It's enough if you are able to talk with the help of a guidebook.
Yes, it's right

Since they probably won't have much of a contact to the local population, it would be futile to learn the language.
Isn't that a terrible shame ??? Travelling anywhere around the world ignoring the local population should be condemned as a major offence... :haihai:

Buddha Smoker
21-05-04, 07:27
Well, I don't agree with you and you gave yourself the one and only motivation to my disagreement which I have quoted just above.
If you go on a trip (holiday or work) in a foreign country and you are NOT able to talk to the natives, then you better stay home, ther is nothing to see AND understand. Going to a country and completely disregard the population, to me it's like going through the desert without water.

I can understand your point of view BUT wouldn't you think it is better to see a little and open your eyes/mind then to stay at home and done nothing.

As the Buddha says "It is the first ripple in the pond". :bow:

chiquiliquis
21-05-04, 11:57
Well, if I might make a recomandation : if you want to go to Rome, don't bother to learn Latin nobody will understand you (excepted a few doctors, pharmacists, chemists and a few other specializes scientifics, in all an extremely small part of population).
Better learn italian. They'll read you loud and clear.


HAH :cool: :okashii:

That is a really good point!!!

But still, I chose latin, first... because it has been a language that was historically studied for it's form, and not it's communicative value (unless in the business of translating).

And I suppose, in an odd way, I was following up on the expression "when in rome"... which I believe dates back to a time when Latin was actually spoken in Rome (or was at least coined in the context of the Roman empire).

But thanks for noting the temporal discognizance (is that a word) in my post. I will be sure to take your advice, if I decide to head to Rome tomorrow.

By the way... if there is anyone out there that actually knows the true origin of the expression ('when in rome...'), I would be glad to find out... The phrase is a bit before my time...

yimija
21-05-04, 12:23
By the way... if there is anyone out there that actually knows the true origin of the expression ('when in rome...'), I would be glad to find out... The phrase is a bit before my time...
you're lucky (if I might say so...) I'm still hanging on my laptop for another 3 minutes... LOL ... There is your explanation it's in french (but good for you) and the complete citation :

"" Lorsque tu es ŗ Rome, vis ŗ la romaine; si tu te trouves ailleurs, vis comme on le fait ailleurs. Mais lorsque tu es ŗ Rome, fais comme les Romains. (Traduction libre) ""
and it's from (the name of the culprit) :
- Saint-Ambroise (Aurelius Ambrosius, v. 340-397 ap. J.-C.) ==

It says : When in Rome live the Roman's way; if you find yourself elsewhere, live as they are living elsewhere. But when you are in Rome, do as Romans do.

See you all Tuesday or wednesday... or ???

Maciamo
21-05-04, 12:24
Well, if I might make a recomandation : if you want to go to Rome, don't bother to learn Latin nobody will understand you


That would be fun to try and speak Latin to some Italians (or French or Spanish speakers, for that matter) in the street. They would be wondering if you had travelled through time and landed in the 21st century. :D Imagine talking to the Japanese in yamato-kotoba. :?

bossel
22-05-04, 03:20
Isn't that a terrible shame ??? Travelling anywhere around the world ignoring the local population should be condemned as a major offence... :haihai:
Ah, how harsh you are. :worried:

It all depends, really. Personally, I would always want to stay at a place not only to visit some historical sites, but also to get to know a bit about the current state of affairs. But if you go somewhere just to learn about some ancient stuff, you wouldn't really need to know the recent stuff.
I think, it's a pity to ignore the people that now live where the ancients once roamed, but, well, it all depends.

yimija
25-05-04, 12:51
That would be fun to try and speak Latin to some Italians (or French or Spanish speakers, for that matter) in the street. They would be wondering if you had travelled through time and landed in the 21st century. :D Imagine talking to the Japanese in yamato-kotoba. :?
well, I don't speak latin, nor do I speak yamat-kotoba but that doesn't stop me from going to Italy and thoroughly enjoying all of it...
But you can always "spice" it (or make it more complicated) by using a "dead tongue".

Cimmerianbloke
09-06-11, 04:15
Got great food for thought here. As our moderator, I am well versed in the science of learning languages and extensive travelling. I have lived so far in 5 countries, worked as a receptionist and had my share of dealing with ethnocentric idiots. To the best of my knowledge, the French are the worse, closely followed by the English. But where it's pure laziness concerning the English, the French way is more complicated. The French still see their language as an expression of culture and sophistication. Speaking French is then a European social marker (although an american diplomat famously said "Who still speaks French anyway, apart from waiters and some african dictators?...).
From a personal point of view, I believe that living more than a few months in a place without learning its language and culture (both go together) is definitely a proof of narrow-mindedness and lack of respect for your host country. My personal experience taught me that learning the local language opens doors socially but also from a professional perspective. Some of my colleagues in Tarragona, Spain, were bitching about my recruitment as a receptionist, but I spoke Catalan and they didn't. Speaking Catalan in Catalonia is for me normal, and not some political statement. The rest of the hispanic world still needs to understand that.
Sadly, speaking a language and not another, or refusing to learn "the other"'s language is still a major issue in Europe (Catalonia, Basque country, Belgium). Europe is often seen as a multilingual heaven from the US, but the truth is that tensions are high in some places, and as in Northern Ireland in the 80s, languages are sometimes used as a political tool in a hidden agenda.
Some members have been quite defensive about the fact that they would not intend to learn the language of the country they live in. As for everything in life, choice should be a personal matter. Meeting people who are in the same situation and decided to do the contrary might change their mind.

Sybilla
12-06-11, 01:34
Well, learning a whole language is impossible, but when I travel I always try to learn at least some words and phrases (and also when I meet a foreign people, whatever is his ethnicity). I consider it a sign of respect and also it helps me to understand that culture better and opens my mind. Also some languages express concept in different way (for exemple it's impossible to translate in English the colour that in the romance languages is called "azzurro" - a medium tone blue, usually refers to the colour of a fair sky).

Antigone
12-06-11, 04:53
If it is of any interest, English uses the same word for that colour blue, azure.

The etymology of the word is, from Middle English azure, from Old French azur, from Medieval Latin azura, from Arabic al-lazaward, from Persian lajward (lapis lazuli).

Reinaert
13-06-11, 14:41
What I don't ever see mentioned is the possibility of bi-directional use of language.

One directional is when I as a Dutchman speak English to an Englishman, Speak French to a Frenchman, and speak German to a German.
No wonder, those people aren't very interested in speaking Dutch.
One directional is also if I speak English in all other European states.

Bi-directional is when a German speaks German to me, and I answer in English.
This works in most multi language countries, except Great Britain and the USA of course.

By all means it's easier to understand another language, than to speak it.
So, you can use that.

An advise...
Don't try to speak a rather unknown language to police officers and the like.
They usually don't have your sense of humor, and they don't understand you what so ever!
So you are always on the losing side!

himagain
29-01-12, 05:20
I use a phrasebook and speak in the local language as well as I can. A week is usually all the time I can take, but I always try to do my best. If I had six months in, say, France, I would be able to devote time to becoming semi-fluent in the language.

veshali
22-09-16, 13:57
Hello,
I think one should learn the language of the place where they are travelling because they may stuck in a situation when it is necessary to know the native language. Recently I read a blog in which a Chinese tourist ended up in German Camp. Here is the link : dammann.com.au/blog/how-a-chinese-tourist-ended-up-in-a-german-refugee-camp/.

firetown
07-01-17, 16:12
I completely disagree with you. I speak several languages but consider English the one that you simply need to speak if you want to get things done in life. So I have a lot less understanding for anyone who is too lazy to familiarize himself with the world's number 1 language than someone relying on it to get by with it. And again: I speak several languages fluently. And Spanish seems to be the best and most convenient one when you go spend time in the Americas. Btw. This blog post you are sharing ... they of course want to sell their language courses.
http://www.dammann.com.au/about-us.php
What is strange: I have never met anyone other than my family members having my last name. But they seem to. Aside from one celebrity I have never met ,,, Michael Dammann Eisner.

[QUOTE=veshali;490388]Hello,
I think one should learn the language of the place where they are travelling because they may stuck in a situation when it is necessary to know the native language. Recently I read a blog in which a Chinese tourist ended up in German Camp. Here is the link : dammann.com.au/blog/how

firetown
07-01-17, 17:03
Well, I don't agree with you and you gave yourself the one and only motivation to my disagreement which I have quoted just above.
If you go on a trip (holiday or work) in a foreign country and you are NOT able to talk to the natives, then you better stay home, ther is nothing to see AND understand. Going to a country and completely disregard the population, to me it's like going through the desert without water.


Well, if I might make a recomandation : if you want to go to Rome, don't bother to learn Latin nobody will understand you (excepted a few doctors, pharmacists, chemists and a few other specializes scientifics, in all an extremely small part of population).
Better learn italian. They'll read you loud and clear.




Strongly disagree. I learned Spanish rapidly because of Latin and could communicate to some extent immediately because of it.

Angela
07-01-17, 19:36
If you're going on some two week guided tour, fine, don't learn the "native" language. If you really want to get to know and experience another culture, then learn at least some of the language. A language is a window into the soul of a culture. If you don't really want to know it, fine, don't learn it.

There's also the question of simple good manners, and the further fact that adding a few words in the native language, or making a stab at expressing yourself in their language will endear you to the people with whom you come into contact and result in a much more pleasant as well as enriching experience. Does anyone really think that coming across as the "Ugly American", or "Arrogant Brit" leads to a more pleasant experience? (Well, that would apply everywhere except France. :))

Northener
08-01-17, 15:52
I've got good experiences with English and German in most European countries. My French is way worse. But I must say most French people don't appreciate it even if you give it a try. Most times you get some kind of irritated or angry face. There is not much consideration with non fluent speakers. (I'am very lucky my wife is native French ;) In the Dutch situation it's the other way around, when foreigners start talking, most Dutch people speak English (sort of) in reply (in order to give the speaker more comfort). In my professional surrounding at the university this even leads to complains, 'this way I never learn Dutch' ;)