jueves, 15 de marzo de 2012

English in countries out of the inner circle

If you have travelled to countries where English has no official status, what use could you make of English there? Did you see English in the media or in shops,etc.?

15 comentarios:

  1. In the case of the Netherlands, where I have been living for ten months, English is used in just a few situations. For instance, many films are kept in English, that is, they are not dubbed. You can also see some advertisements in English (on posters above all).

    Even if almost everybody speaks English in the country, I have to say that it seems not to have interfered in the use of Dutch at all. Dutch people are very proud of their language and also of being able to talk to any foreigner in English.

  2. The most striking case that I have ever found is that of France. The French are known to be a "chauvinistic", i.e. an extremely nationalistic population. I have never seen so many French cars, so many French perfumes, so much French food, French wine, but in France. Needless to say, the list goes on and on. They even have a different TV standard to the rest of Europe, SECAM, not Pal, I guess with the intention of having all their TV sets built domestically.

    This attitude has both advantages and drawbacks. The French are considered to be arrogant, inflexible and not wanting ever to utter a word of English, although they may be quite capable of speaking it. Moreover, they are missing out on practising what has become the "practical Esperanto" of the world: English. As an anecdote, the French initially objected to English being used as the official language in both air and maritime travel, when any means of transport was in France. The result was the crash of two air planes, head to head, some years ago. They had to finally consider English as the only feasible option.

    However, it may also have its advantages. For instance, when one goes to the cinema in France, one can observe how they defend and encourage their own cinema. I think that culturally speaking, this is very important. This also means that they esteem highly all their forms of art, preserve their traditions, encourage the consumption of domestic goods etc.

    I think that the case of Germany is somehow similar to that of France.

  3. So, do you mean that by keeping your language you "protect" more your country?

  4. I stayed for a week in Andorra when I was 15 years old. The official language of this country is Catalan, but there are other languages such as Spanish or French that are also widely spoken and understood.
    I took a series of classes in order to learn to ski with my school friends and teachers. Everybody spoke Spanish to us and we did not notice other languages.
    However, it is a place in which people from several countries can be. Therefore, apart from Catalan, you can see even English in some 'information points'. For example, this 'skipass' that we used to entry to the ski course: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2714/4327093305_a674b06339_o.jpg
    (I still keep this one as a souvenir!)

    1. Hi Nereida,
      Thanks for your experience and for the image, a really cute souvenir to keep!

  5. Fortunately, I've had the chance to travel to many different countries and in all of them I've been able to "survive" by communicating in English except in the case of Byelorussia. English is "the international" language, so in any touristic place you go you'll be able to communicate with no special problem.
    To give an example, I'd talk about my Erasmus year.
    Last year I spent 10 months in Poland where English is not an official language at all. Despite this, I had no problems with communicating with everybody in English except in the case of old people and in very rural areas. Films or TV shows were in original version and I even saw some ads using English words.

  6. I've been to Holland twice and I always used English to communicate. There were some places where people just spoke Dutch and I found a little bit difficult to communicate with them because no one spoke Spanish nor English and I wasn't able to speak Dutch.

    On the other hand, I've been to Morocco and I didn't find too difficult to communicate because most of them spoke Spanish.

  7. So, English is not used everywhere when needed...

  8. this is what happens with Spanish English


  9. I hope the Spanish image has improved.


  10. I've never been abroad but the most striking thing I have seen in Telde so far, regarding the English language, is a Spaniards hairdressing-shop called "Seléxion." Can you believe it? Why do we adapt a word that already exist in Spanish? And why do we punctuate it without no respect of the Spanish rules? I have a photo if you don't believe me: http://instagr.am/p/JU3BJnExfl/

  11. When I was in France, I tried to use English in state of French but I noticed that they preferred to use French even they can speak English. I think that it happens because they are really conservatives with their official languages and with that I mean that they do not like borrowings from other languages because France is the reference for all the countries that has French as the official language. For example, in places such as Disneyland, they tried to use French, in the case that you cannot understand them, so then they began to use your mother language or in case, English. So, even it is a very touristic place and many people from different nationalities visit it every year, they just prefer to use their mother tongue, French, because it is easier and more comfortable for them.

  12. I have not travelled yet to countries where English has no official status. But if I travel I will use English language to see what happens. I think that it is necessary to use English language in other countries as tourist; moreover it is an international language today.

  13. Two years ago I tavelled to Rome, and there people communicate with tourists in English, although if you don't speak English they ask you about any other language such as French or German. However, the most commmon one is English and you can communicate with everybody in English. Though sometime you find people who speak Spanish, so communication is not a problem.what is moe, italian is similar in a wat to spanish, so it's no very difficult to understand them in italian if you don't understand what they see in English.I have the sensation that some of them speak English in a lazy way, I mean, the speak English how they want not following the standard English.

  14. I travelled to Barcelona, especially Tarragona, that the common language used is Catalan, but also they used French and mainly Spanish. English is not too much used in this city, but I´m sure that If I had had to communicate in English, they could understand me very well, because English is well-known to everybody.