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Joined: Sep 2000
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Carpal Tunnel
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Carpal Tunnel
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Hi Verbo,
What type of discrimination did you feel in Qubec city? Please realize that 99.9% of Qubec city residents speak and understand only French. They have no cause to speak English in business or in their daily lives so you can`t expect them to do so. You may have had trouble being understood - but did you try to speak French or did you expect the natives to try to speak English. Miscommunication is not discrimination.

If you had said the same about Montreal I would have lent a sympathetic ear, and agreed that you may have faced some discrimination. Montral is where the 'war' is most heated. The island is divided straight down the middle between the English speaking West-Island and the French speaking East End. If you wind up in the East End and try to speak English, people will generally try to help you out, however, in every conflict you have fanatics and those are the ones that give everybody a bad name. Generally, if you have some sort of foreign accent (non-Qubec English) they will realize you are not from here and help you out. If they think you are from here and have not bothered to learn French, then you will get some flack.

I am glad you started your note with 'I was fortunate....it would be sad to think someone did not have a good time while here. I get so many good reports from people who come on vacation.




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enthusiast
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I have noticed the rise in Esperanto speakers, Vtex.In my wanderings over the Internet,I've only found 1 or 2 anti-Esperanto sites. If you type it into a search engine you get several thousand sites.compare the numbers. jimthedog


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stranger
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I am a native English (L1) speaker, born, raised and currently living in the USA. I have also lived/studied/volunteered/travelled all over Europe, lived in Siberia and am now planning to move to Seoul. I have a Master's degree in Adult Education and a TESOL certificate.

I have two things to say about this topic:
1) As someone who speaks Russian fluently and has in the past been more conversant than currently in German and French as well, I would say that relations with people in their native language are quite different than making them speak English, if it is not their first language. For example, I found that in the Louvre in Paris, when a Parisian and myself were admiring the same painting, and he found out I could speak French he began to tell me about other exhibits around the city. In Russia, I spoke Russian even with English teachers, even though I offered to speak English with them if they wanted to. I felt I was much more accepted as one of them by speaking their language with them.

2) Also, as an ESL/EFL teacher, I am very sensitive to try to avoid any possible insinuation that English (or the USA) is "better" than their language. I feel this can be a kind of cultural imperialism. Just like we are afraid of losing our biological diversity, I think we need to be concerned about our cultural and linguistic diversity too. In Russia, for example, I tried to approach English teaching from the standpoint that it was helpful for them in world/international communications. Also, I took into account that they might be using English to communicate with people from all different countries, including non-native (L2) speakers. So I looked at it in an instrumental way, that English might be useful for them.

By the way, I feel very unprepared going to S. Korea without knowing the language. I'm going to put a lot of effort into learning it though and hopefully I'll be able to pick it up before too long. I DO NOT want to just hang around the expatriate community. Oh, heavens, I avoided Americans in Russia. Americans have all the answers, are god of this world, and don't think we have to learn other languages and cultures. That's a generalization, but really, I never met one native English speaking English teacher who knew Russian the whole time I was in Russia. I met one German missionary couple who knew Russian. It was pretty bad.


Joined: Dec 2000
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old hand
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> ...that relations with people in their native language are quite different than making them speak English..

I friend of mine noted the other day:
'She's a real bitch in French'
That kind of puts your idea in a nutshell.

'...(Americans) don't think they have to learn other languages and cultures..'

An acquaintance from the U.S. once told me:
'I like to be able to order a beer and a meal; learning anymore doesn't really interest me'
I happily chortled, pondering how lucky I am.


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