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  #141  
Old 18.11.2010, 16:12
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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And let's not forget, locals put huge pressure amongst themselves to learn their official languages,
They do? That has not been my experience. Most people speak only the language of their own region, even those on the border often only speak one of the two.
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  #142  
Old 18.11.2010, 16:20
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Next time he brings an article about Ivan....oh my.

How would my students like me using the good ol commie books? There is a lot about Marx and Engels, lotsa verbs...

Can he really teach you language when all you focus about how unprofessional he is? Tell him to stuff it.

He is just a jerk, not your stereotypical local teacher, mind you. Just a bad one. There are all over, not only here. He is not even local. You know, more local than the local type.
Well, its not just about the language but also about learning about the country, the culture and the local norms, so its good.

Another very intelligent thing he did was when teaching about "genders" in German. Said all machines are Female and I said but that does not make sense, machines (thinking of big strong machinery) are masculine in nature, I think. He goes "No... when its about machines, only think about sewing machines, washing machines and dish washers, that will help you remember its gender" AGAIN with a loud chuckle in the end!

I have no idea what sins I commit in my previous life to get this!
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  #143  
Old 18.11.2010, 16:24
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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There is a lot about Marx and Engels, lotsa verbs...
Very good. More doing words . . . nouns are frowned upon until they are brought into common ownership.
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  #144  
Old 18.11.2010, 16:36
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Strange pattern with the local Swiss...

Upon first meeting, they will feign that they don't speak English, or only "a little bit". So showing some attempts to communicate in their language causes them to open up. Then before you know it, they're speaking English. In fact, more proper than inner-city people in English-speaking countries. By then, one has lost any opportunity to practice the local language. I think just about EVERYONE in Switzerland speaks English, if they want to.
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  #145  
Old 18.11.2010, 16:41
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Strange pattern with the local Swiss...

Upon first meeting, they will feign that they don't speak English, or only "a little bit". So showing some attempts to communicate in their language causes them to open up. Then before you know it, they're speaking English. In fact, more proper than inner-city people in English-speaking countries. By then, one has lost any opportunity to practice the local language. I think just about EVERYONE in Switzerland speaks English, if they want to.
I know - they are usually fluent/native after a three-month stint in Brighton and can tell you in shocking but terribly articulate detail the horrendous food offerings conjured up by their well-meaning host family.
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  #146  
Old 18.11.2010, 16:47
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Twickenham actually! (well Isleworth or even Brentford) lol. And the food was dreadful.
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  #147  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:07
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I think it's a bit of a shame to dismiss learning the local language as a waste of time and money - it does rather suggest that the only reason for doing anything is because it is 'useful', and that you have to somehow be an 'optimal' or 'efficient' human being. Many seem to overlook the fact that learning a language can be jolly worthwhile pursuit in its own right - not just as a tool for survival, or out of 'politeness' to locals etc, though those are positive side effects... You can argue perfectly well that people 'should' learn the local language on the basis that they're missing out on something valuable and interesting - and it's so much easier when you're inadvertently exposed to it (even only in written form) everyday.

John le Carré also had some interesting stuff to say:

http://thinkgerman.org.uk/john_le_Carré_thinks_German
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  #148  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:07
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

This is a good one to discuss!

My view is that "trying" to learn the language is the gateway to learning the culture. Understanding the local culture is the key to navigating the numerous nuisanses of Swiss Life. What is there to loose?
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  #149  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:15
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

At the risk of receiving a few groans, I don't see how you can live
in another country without speaking the language.

However, if I knew that I was only going to be here one year, I wouldn't
have learned it in so much depth.
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  #150  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:17
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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This is a good one to discuss!

My view is that "trying" to learn the language is the gateway to learning the culture. Understanding the local culture is the key to navigating the numerous nuisanses of Swiss Life. What is there to loose?

Loose? I've think you've gone a bit too far.
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  #151  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:22
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

An ex student of mine from the UK is now a very Senior manager for a large IT company in London. He often works in Germany and France - and only English is used for business. However, he told me he'd picked up a lot of very useful stuff from 'aside' conversations between foreign clients - and was able to clinch deals thanks to being more astute as to what was going on. He usually does not let on at all that he does speak/understand both French and German - until the 'deal' is done- then just 'drops it in' - to great surprise and amazement. He also told me that he once got a huge contract with a big bank because he was able to deal direct with the CEO whose English was very poor. He was told by a German that they (the Germans) were very happy to speak in English to do the selling to the Brits- but when they were doing the buying!
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  #152  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:22
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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John le Carré also had some interesting stuff to say:

http://thinkgerman.org.uk/john_le_Carré_thinks_German
That's a nice piece.
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  #153  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:29
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Excellent!

BTW, has anybody ever been offered an extra % of salary due to their ability of speaking another language?

A very sad thread has appeared today on redundancies in a Swiss Company. Of course they will try to hang on to the best workers- but I do wonder, could the willing to learn, take an interest, speak the local language, and interact with other Swiss colleagues, make the difference here?
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  #154  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:34
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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2) We had this chapter about profiles of different kind of people living in Switzerland, and I was baffled by all the stereotyping in there. Swiss woman as a doctor, German male office worker, Italian male motor mechanic, female nurse from Honduras, Sri Lankan male kitchen help!!!
This was all part of the fancy TEXT BOOK, dont these people have any idea about political correctness? I mean why can't it be a Construction worker from Italy and Nurse from Philipines, German motor mechanic and Sri Lankan kitchen helper?
[

This made me chuckle, and reminded me of a rather different language course:

I took a beginning Russian course in the early 70s; the book used was an import from the USSR, 'Russian For Everyone' I think it was called, designed not only to teach the lingo but also to open the minds of the opiated masses.

In each lesson, the gender roles were reversed. Mom was a construction worker bravely scaling tall buildings, dad the librarian appeared largely when he cooked and cleaned floors.

Made for a nice change.

(The imagery seems to have stuck all these decades later; unfortunately the Russian didn't. The only thing I can remember is: Я не говорить Россию. )
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  #155  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:48
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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At the risk of receiving a few groans, I don't see how you can live
in another country without speaking the language.

However, if I knew that I was only going to be here one year, I wouldn't
have learned it in so much depth.
Not everyone is "living" here.

Some of us are just passing by.
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  #156  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:50
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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BTW, has anybody ever been offered an extra % of salary due to their ability of speaking another language?
For sure, if chatting Bullshyte can be calssified as a language.
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  #157  
Old 18.11.2010, 17:51
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Frankly, if one is ready to accept all the consequences of not learning the local language, I don't see why one should juge anybody for it. People are free and decide for themselves what is best. But one's surrounding also is free to react to it freely, so one need just decide what bothers one less and live the consequences of one's choice. And take it like a man/woman.

IMHO - find ich - je trouve - denk ik - pensa eu - synes jeg
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  #158  
Old 18.11.2010, 18:00
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I think its very important to know different languages, atleast some critical vocabulary so you dont make a fool out of yourself.

In Turkish Sik or even Sick means male ssex organ, so in Turkey if you say "Im sick" people might take you seriously.

Also in Hungarian Pussi or even Pussy means something like Farewell, Bye, So dont get offended if some Hungarian calls you a Pussi.
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  #159  
Old 18.11.2010, 18:01
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Don't know if this is related to the thread or not but, what makes my toenails curl up are people who don't know the language but have picked up odd words through their kids or the neighbour, or whatever and you get this bizarre English littered with the picked-up German words.
Got to thinking about this point, and realized that I've been guilty at times.

It crops up - albeit unconsciously - when speaking of a something that is exclusive to my life in Switzerland. An example: Mittagsruhe. Yes, there are perfectly serviceable English words to describe this, but the concept of enforcing silence over the lunch hour is utterly foreign to my American experience, hence the first thing to trip off my tongue is 'Mittagsruhe'.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
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Old 18.11.2010, 18:41
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

One of the reasons that happens is that there isn't a word/equivalent for what you want to say. 10000s of such words have crept in, but we take them for granted now. Pizza, yogurt, anorak, etc, etc. When I used to talk with French friends living in the UK, we would talk about 'le bac', 'la galette des Rois', etc, etc. Raised a few eyebrows talking about 'la fac'? If you speak in French or German, you'll quite naturally say that tonight you are eating 'Toad in the hole' rather than des saucisses cuites dans de la pate à crepe'.
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