• Re: French proverb : "A man who knows two languages is worth two men."

    From J. J. Lodder@21:1/5 to jerryfriedman on Sun Jun 9 12:48:11 2024
    XPost: sci.lang, alt.usage.english, alt.proverbs

    jerryfriedman <jerry.friedman99@gmail.com> wrote:

    Peter Moylan wrote:

    On 04/06/24 09:01, HenHanna wrote:

    If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his
    head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his

    At various times I have been in places where my command of the local language was somewhere between zero and negligible. That must happen to anyone who has done a bit of travelling. How does one deal with this?

    One approach is that of the obnoxious tourist who speaks in English
    loudly. (Only English speakers do this, for some reason.) The
    assumption, I presume, is that anyone who can't understand him must be deaf.

    My own approach is meek. I avoid saying anything at all. Where that is
    not possible, I'll at least make sure to work out how to say "Do you
    speak English or French?" in the local language, those being the two languages where I can get by. (Special case: I have worked out how to
    say "I don't speak X" for a number of different values of X.) If you
    can't speak a language, most people appreciate that you've at least
    an effort.

    (Exception: if you say that to a Dutch speaker, you get one of two responses, in my experience. The first is "Maar U spreekt Nederlands, meneer". (If you can say that much with a good Dutch accent, you must
    fully fluent in Dutch.) The other is a very offended "Of course I speak English". How dare you suggest that I'm so uneducated that I can't
    your language?)

    Saying "I don't speak Dutch" in Dutch with an obviously foreign accent
    might be a good strategy.

    There really is no need for that,


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