Saturday, January 5, 2013

Devious Uses of Foreign Language Skills

Here at The Lingua File, we often promote learning foreign languages and using them for good. Communicating with other people, learning more about other cultures and even learning more about your own language are just a few of the great benefits of speaking a foreign language. What if you have ulterior motives or just a bit of a mean streak? We've compiled a list of a few naughty things you can do with your skills. Have your evil moustaches at the ready.
 
Avoiding People You Don't Want To Talk To

If you've ever been to any big cities, you know that there are tonnes of people around who feel the need to stop and hassle you for various reasons. Whether it's giving you flyers and other bits of rubbish that you don't want to carry, stopping you to talk about Jesus or convincing you to donate to a charity you've never heard of, using a foreign language can quickly help you distance yourself from those pesky marketers or religious lunatics. A quick "je ne comprend pas" or a "no entiendo" can work wonders in stopping those who only hinder you on your journey to the pub.

Bitching About Things

Sometimes you don't have anything nice to say, yet feel the need to say it anyway. If, for example, you exhibit a British level of politeness and don't want to say anything bad about a restaurant you're in, you could vent your disappointment in your foreign language without ever having to upset anyone. Does that dress actually make her bum look big? You'd be safer muttering it in Swahili than in her mother tongue. If asked, you can always say it means something poetic and beautiful.
 
Quiet cussing is perfectly acceptable.
Swearing 

There are few places in the world where a loud profanity won't go unnoticed. If you ensure that you swear in a foreign language avoiding obvious well-known expressions, you can probably get away with it. Screaming "joder" when you stub your toe is fairly acceptable in Manchester, just as shouting "bollocks" probably won't upset anyone in Madrid.

One-Night Stands

Even this one is a bit strong for us. However, if you're so inclined and you like the idea of never having them call you the next day, then think about pretending to be on holiday. Just make sure they don't live in your neighbourhood as you're bound to bump into them again and then you'll have some explaining to do.

Outing Racists

Not that bigots and racists should be allowed to hide. Finding them isn't necessarily evil but tricking them so that they reveal that they are errs on the side of devious. Using a foreign language can quickly help you find these people and let you know that you should never associate with them again.