Friday, January 20, 2006

Learning the Language Just a Little

One curious thing, for me anyway, is how people can be over here for years and years, and not pick up any of the language. I know several people who have been here five, eight, ten years, but can't do much more than tell the cashier that they'd like their coffee 'to go'.

I've noticed this in all three countries that I've spent long periods of time in (Spain, S. Korea, and Japan). What's the deal with that?

Learning a second language is a pain in the ass. I've experienced it, and I understand how hard you have to work to figure out language number two, three, four, etc. And I'm not expecting people to be fluent by default after a decade in a foreign land. However, I think a little effort is called for. Just a little.

Where I'm from, anybody who comes from overseas is expected to speak at least a little bit of English. I know that English is the Lingua Franca, but come on. If you're going to be in one place for more than six months, put a little bit of effort in. Just a little.


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