Genric Holiday Post (a Bit of Best of, a bit of Christmas Books)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Jan 2 19:26:08 EST 2004


On Fri, 2 Jan 2004 12:05:59 -0800 (PST), Jon Noble wrote:

>On the whole I suspect that native English speakers
>are the most linguisticly insular in the world,
>believing that foreigners should learn English, and
>that Australians in particular are the worst of the
>lot.

I don't know about Australians or deliberate insularity, but even those
native English speakers who are open-minded about other people's languages
have very few incentives to "need" to learn a second language.  If people
around the world refused to learn English as their second language, the need
to communicate would probably result in a much higher rate of bilingualism
in English-speaking nations.  But as a member of the upper middle class, I
have no idea how widespread the attitude is that others should learn
English.  Most people I know either speak a second language or wish they
could.  This is mainly because of the large number of languages which are
spoken here in Salt Lake...lots and lots of returned LDS missionaries who
are parlaying (oops, pun) their linguistic talents into a better career.

I did try to speak German to the natives :) when we were there two years
ago, but the Berliners took pity on my ineptitude.

Melissa Proffitt

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