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You know you’re a language nerd when...

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 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
3735 messages over 467 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 386 ... 466 467 Next >>
Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3115 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 3081 of 3735
19 September 2013 at 2:20pm | IP Logged 
Of course you can be so bad but in that case, you are unlikely to pass a B2 exam for example. I surely met a lot of french who had no trouble using French with me but the % is much different than in other european countries I visited (and I have visited approximately half Europe so far). What strikes me more than my personal experience (which can be biased of course) is the number of people who have got exactly the same experience. That cannot be a coincidence in my opinion.
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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3015 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 3082 of 3735
19 September 2013 at 5:33pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
Maybe I should add that I haven't had any trouble with other Frenchmen, only that lamentable case, so I wouldn't judge a whole nation on such a limited basis. But of course you can be so bad at a language that you can't expect local people to do their business with you in the local language.


Interestingly, I had the opposite experience with some students from England in a different French aquarium (up North). The students were supposed to be practising their French, and the lady at the snackbar insisted on speaking with them in French. When the students would ask for something in English, she would tell them how to say it in French. At the time I wasn't learning French myself (I was along as a member of the Humanities deptartment), but I was disappointed that students who were in their second year of French didn't know how to say, "how much is this?"

Down in Besançon, on the other hand, I successfully asked about prices and bought tickets for a boat ride. When I asked for the departure time, and I got a bit mixed up with numbers, the woman groaned loudly and spoke to me in English in an annoyed tone. She was probably someone who wasn't paid enough to really care about the customer, but still a jerk.
1 person has voted this message useful



Tsopivo
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2577 days ago

258 posts - 411 votes 
Speaks: French*, English
Studies: Esperanto

 
 Message 3083 of 3735
19 September 2013 at 7:59pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
What strikes me more than my personal experience (which can be biased of course) is the number of people who have got exactly the same experience. That cannot be a coincidence in my opinion.


I have not done nor observed the same thing but I agree that I have read about it many times to discount it.

If someone has trouble with French, it is usually considered polite to switch or offer to switch to their NL but I can't really see a reason why you would continue doing so if the person mention they prefer talking in French and your command of their NL is not as good as their French. That's weird.

tarvos wrote:

It's also poor customer service. Customer is king, if he wants to do business in your
language...


Then keep in mind that "customer service" and this kind of reasoning ("customer is king so if he wants this then the employee has to comply") does not held the same importance worldwide.

Besides, not all customers would be put out by switching to a common fluent language if service is slowed down by the poor level of a particular customer in the country's language.

Edited by Tsopivo on 20 September 2013 at 8:13am

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garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3313 days ago

1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 3084 of 3735
20 September 2013 at 11:00am | IP Logged 
My experience on my last trip to France was that in most "customer service" situations, people were quite happy to speak French with me. On previous trips, when my level was lower and my pronunciation was terrible, I got a lot of switching to English, but now that I'm more comfortable and fluent in the language and speak it quite understandably, it's rarer. There are exceptions like staff in hostels and ski resorts, but these days they tend to speak near-perfect English and they're busy and want to get things done as efficiently as possible, so fair enough. The real problems and bad attitudes are with social situations: people switching immediately upon the slightest mistake or sign of discomfort and being very insistent about not speaking French, even if their English is considerably worse than my French.

It has also happened to me with Italian, although more rarely, but all my Italian speaking experiences have been here as opposed to in Italy so I can understand people being more keen to use English. I'm curious to see how things will go when I visit Italy next month.
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4809 days ago

9078 posts - 16470 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 3085 of 3735
20 September 2013 at 3:25pm | IP Logged 
I know that a remark from me gave rise to this discussion about language choice in conversations with service persons, but maybe we should return to the examples of nerdiness which normally should characterize this thread.
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montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2934 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 3086 of 3735
20 September 2013 at 5:19pm | IP Logged 
OK.....when you can't decide whether it's German, Danish or Welsh on the MP3 player
today.....


Danish is incomprehensible to listen to (sorry Iversen), Welsh is incomprehensible to
read. German is really very well behaved in almost every respect. I could stay in my
German comfort zone forever, but that's not quite the HTLAL way, is it.
3 persons have voted this message useful



Warp3
Senior Member
United States
forum_posts.asp?TID=
Joined 3641 days ago

1419 posts - 1765 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Korean, Japanese

 
 Message 3087 of 3735
22 September 2013 at 6:53pm | IP Logged 
When you are scanning across the map in Grand Theft Auto V and you happen to notice that a region of the map is called "Little Seoul". At this point, you immediately drop any mission plans you had, set a checkpoint for Little Seoul and go read all the Korean store signs there.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Teango
Triglot
Winner TAC 2010 & 2012
Senior Member
United States
teango.wordpress.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3662 days ago

2210 posts - 3734 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona

 
 Message 3088 of 3735
22 September 2013 at 10:42pm | IP Logged 
When you start confusing license plates with Ancient Egyptian transliteration.


8 persons have voted this message useful



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