Friday, September 28, 2012

Ask A Stupid Question Day: Why Don't They Just Learn English?

Another obscure holiday is upon us today. It's Ask A Stupid Question Day! We've heard it all before from most Anglophones, usually those travelling.

We feel that if you ask a stupid question, then you should get a stupid answer.

Why don't they just learn English?

If you are an English speaker you should consider yourself very lucky that no matter where you go you'll probably be able to find someone who can help you in your language (Scotland excluded). It doesn't take much to learn a few phrases when visiting a foreign country. Even please and thank you can go a long way in somebody's mother tongue.

"Could you take our photo, por favor? Gracias!"

The expectation that everyone should learn to speak English is part of the reason most nations rate English speakers among the worst tourists... find a full list here.

You'll find Australia (16th), Ireland (14th), Canada (11th), the UK (10th) and the U.S. (1st) among the countries that are home to the world's worst tourists. Okay... so it's not all down to the language barrier and an expectation of the entire world to speak English. A good number of those countries are famous for having a drinking culture (we'll not name names) and generally getting quite rowdy abroad.

If you are from one of these countries you wouldn't be as annoying to the locals if you were slurring in their language rather than just shouting at them in English whilst you drink the bar dry.

Apothecary or bar? Sometimes booze is the best medicine!

You may think "I'm not like that", and perhaps you're right. You probably like languages like we do, and feel sorry for those that don't. A lot of people do speak English, but while many of them may speak it poorly, they probably speak English better than you speak their language.

On the other hand, they should learn English... so they can read this blog!