|Subject: Re: Learning the lingo?|
I always at least learn the basics - please, thank you, hello, do you speak english, I don't speak whatever, sorry, excuse me. I've found this makes people much more willing to help. In every big city I've been to - people all seem to speak English, tho I still start out with as much as the local language I can. In more rural areas, the little language I know, a guide book, and gestures seem to help me get my point across.
I've also found that a lot of people I've met in non-English speaking countries really underrate their English abilities and that makes them hesitant. So maybe my fractured foreign language attempts makes them more willing to try out their English.
I worked with a man who had gone to France and came back saying the French are all rude (apparently he spoke to everyone in the country). I asked him how much French he spoke - he said none - but that they all knew English and just pretended not to! I told him if he was walking around Chicago and someone came up to him and started speaking in a different language and then got irritated because they didn't understand - how would he react? He had no answer.
Marguerite in Chicagoland