Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Brits refuse to learn foreign languages.

My heart sank as I read this article from the Daily Mail this morning.

I'm not a regular reader of the Daily Mail, honest. I have set up a google newsfeed for anything relating to modern languages.

Apparently, the average British tourist knows fewer than 10 phrases of the language of the country they visit.

It isn't this which bothers me, though. It is the fact that this ignorance is worn as a badge of pride. Only in Britain can ignorance be a status symbol - something to be proud of.

Luckily for us, the Daily Mail has printed some useful phrases for us all to impress the locals when we travel abroad (Obviously, I have left in all their mistakes and I love the fact that readers are told how to ask the time in French but would have no idea how to translate the reply):


Hello (Bonjour)
Goodbye (Au revoir)
Yes (Oui)
Thank you (Merci)
My name is... (Je m'appelle...)
Do you speak English? (Parlez-vous Anglais?)
Good evening (Bon soir)
Wine (Vin)
What time is it? (Quelle heure est-il?)


Hello (Hola)
Yes (Si)
Thank you (Gracias)
Goodbye (Adios)
Good morning (Buenas dias)
Good evening (Buenos noches)


Hello (Guten tag)
Yes (Ja)
Thank you (Danke)
Goodbye (Auf weidersehen)
Good morning (Guten morgen)
My name is (Ich heisse)
Good evening (Guten abend)


Hello (Salve)
Goodbye (Arrivederci)
Yes (Si)

Enjoy the holidays!


Alex Bellars said...

Salve, Dom!

What a depressing read. Hopefully once the English Baccalaureate has had time to work its magic, we will have a new generation of thrusting linguist who know how to spell "Auf Wiedersehen" as WELL as all the dates of our kings and queens.


Clare Seccombe said...

Good morning (BuenOs dias)
Good evening (BuenAs noches)

Even the Daily Mail got that bit right ho ho ho!!!

Steve Smith said...

Good old Mail - always accentuating the positive. Do we think the French would do nay better abroad?

Dom said...

I'm sure that this applies to many people in many countries. I recently took a group of 6th form students to Paris and they were quite surprised to find that not all French people spoke fluent English.