Sunday, 16 May 2010
Parlez vous any other language at all?
An amusing piece in the Times: Parlez vous any other language at all? The reporters tried calling various public bodies and speaking different languages to see what response they would get. The National Association of Head Teachers didn't have anyone who could speak French but the Cabinet Office comes out quite well, having someone on hand who could speak Dutch. The Catholic Media Office did at least have someone with GCSE Latin.
This stunt reminds me of an occasion when I was in a supermarket in Belgium. The girl at the checkout was about 18. She spoke to me in Flemish, changed to French, then realised from my accent that I was English, so spoke to me in fluent English with only a trace of accent. In England, speaking a foreign language fluently is regarded as a skill comparable to being a chess grandmaster.
(And I even got a lolcats picture on the blog!)