Welcome to our forums.

Learning to speak the local language

I’m sure we’ve all seen some interesting translations from other languages into English – I remember a menu, in the Azores, with ‘kebabs’ translated from the Portuguese as ‘roasted pricks’ …

I, too, always try to learn please and thank you when I travel and generally it is greatly appreciated.

Albox, Costa Almeria, Spain

@jasper ~ your post reminds me of my attempt to clarify that my daughter was “safe to fly” after a medical scare ~ out came the dictionary so i could ask the doctor ~ using the word “safe” (to keep your valuables in) and “fly” (that irritating buzzing-on-food insect)
gave him a laugh, and his english was good enough to explain my mistake, haha :-)

A couple of years ago my wife and took the bus to Bourgas and trying to be polite I asked for our 2 return tickets in Bulgarian. The lady conductors face lit up and she started talking to me. It was difficult then to make her understand that I only knew a few basic words. Lesson to be learnt there.

London

Having just bought a house in Spain and trying out the language, I tried to wish the gas engineer a happy christmas and a happy new year, the first part was fine but my pronunciation of new year left him in fits of laughter – I forgot the accent on the n of year and apparently wished him a happy new bottom !! Anyone who understands Spanish will know where I am coming from. We parted great chums anyway.

Fishguard

Michael always tried to learn a few words in the local language, even if it was only “I am English and don’t speak….” It is surprising what you can achieve with a smile and hand gestures. I usually managed to master please, thank you and hello, but like Eric Morecambe these weren’t necessarily in the right order which did lead to some confused looks.

We were in China just before the Beijing Olympics and the Chinese were so keen to try out their language skills on us. We went past one of the schools at the end of the day and all the children greeted us with a cheery ‘hello’. They then dissolved into fits of giggles when we replied ‘Neehow’ the Chinese equivalent. The only other word Michael used regularly sounded a bit like ‘brooha’ which was a very strong way of saying go aay and stop pestering me.

ESW
Lincolnshire
I get the safety thing – it’s important to have language that most people understand. But I also think it’s respectful to – at least – be able to say please and thank you in the local language, even if you can’t say anything else.

i agree with you entirely jocarroll, when visiting anywhere an appropriate marhaba or danke is the least i like to know ~ the “english only” is strictly for flying personnel only!

Last Edited by pink at 30 Dec 19:57

pink wrote:

when i lived abroad, working for a non-english airline, some forty-odd years ago, i learned that english was the designated language for everything to do with flying. imagine the chaos if everyone spoke in different languages ~ and dangers ~ you’d get delays in translation when “time is of the essence” ~ potentially loss of lives.
so far as i know that’s still true. it’s a safety issue.

I get the safety thing – it’s important to have language that most people understand. But I also think it’s respectful to – at least – be able to say please and thank you in the local language, even if you can’t say anything else.

when i lived abroad, working for a non-english airline, some forty-odd years ago, i learned that english was the designated language for everything to do with flying. imagine the chaos if everyone spoke in different languages ~ and dangers ~ you’d get delays in translation when “time is of the essence” ~ potentially loss of lives.
so far as i know that’s still true. it’s a safety issue.

English is apparently the international language of many. Here is a joke I found on the internet which made me laugh and has a certain irony about it.

“Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following -Lufthansa (in German): “Ground, what is our start clearance time?” Ground (in English): “If you want an answer you must speak in English.” Lufthansa (in English): “I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?” Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): “Because you lost the bloody war.”

London
15 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top