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Courtesy to pilgrims for whom English is not their first language.

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007/8/9 2011 (C.F 2015)
#1
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

Those of us who have been to Santiago know how difficult it is for pilgrims to find the pilgrim Office nowadays. Why not spend a little time in and around the northern side of Praza do Obradoiro and show the way to pilgrims who seem to be searching. also if they are on their own coming down past the northern door of the Cathedral and down the steps give them a big smile and say "Congratulations". It can be a bit of an anticlimax to come in on your own.

Buen Camino to all who are planning Caminos.
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.
There was a newspaper article here in the UK a couple of weeks ago making a very similar point. As a Brit I sometimes find myself having to run through a sentence in my head before speaking to check it out for some of the more bizarre and inexplicable idioms which are so common in everyday spoken English. Even conversations with Americans can have unforeseen pitfalls: we are famously "two nations divided by a common language" :)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/14/idiomatic-english-means-brits-struggle-communicate-world/
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2017: Home(Germany) to SdC via Cologne-Taizé-Le Puy-Somport-Camino Aragones-Camino Frances
#3
I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.
As a German who does speak French and English, I really love to learn languages from native speakers. I find it very stimulating when others use their language(s) just like in their everyday life. I learned a lot of english and french idioms, colloquialisms and slang from fellow pilgrims, so I personally would beg anyone not to avoid it.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#4
As a German who does speak French and English, I really love to learn languages from native speakers. I find it very stimulating when others use their language(s) just like in their everyday life. I learned a lot of english and french idioms, colloquialisms and slang from fellow pilgrims, so I personally would beg anyone not to avoid it.
I am glad you find idioms so stimulating but I think that many who are less fluent or confident in another language may struggle to follow them. I think that we need to be careful to tailor our language to the skills of those we are communicating with. An example: many years ago I was a volunteer at a church residential centre in Scotland. The other volunteers came from many different countries. One day a young Spanish volunteer - Maria - was found in floods of tears hiding in a corridor. When asked what the problem was she replied "Richard" - another volunteer in the same department. We were very surprised because Richard was one of the kindest and most generous of souls. Eventually it became clear that Maria was upset because she thought she spoke and understood English well but she could not understand Richard at all. Richard came from the west of Scotland near Glasgow and spoke with a very strong local accent and used quite a lot of local dialect in his speech. I explained to Maria that her English really was excellent (which was true) but even though I am Scottish and had been born and bred less than 100km from Richard's home town even I sometimes struggled to follow what he was saying!
 
Camino(s) past & future
'
#5
As a German who does speak French and English, I really love to learn languages from native speakers. I find it very stimulating when others use their language(s) just like in their everyday life. I learned a lot of english and french idioms, colloquialisms and slang from fellow pilgrims, so I personally would beg anyone not to avoid it.
It's obvious that there's a segment of the pilgrims population that enjoys using and improving their foreign language skills - in all directions, not just those who are non-native speakers of English - but the point raised here is, I think, clear and efficient communication. The two examples given in the Telegraph article explain this quite well. I had a boss who wanted to improve her English and listened to all sorts of BBC podcasts etc and occasionally proudly tried out a newly learned idiom on me. And I usually had to disappoint her and tell her, yes, nice, but don't use it next time you address a linguistically mixed audience because 2 people in your audience will understand it and 98 won't.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2011-2017: Home(Germany) to SdC via Cologne-Taizé-Le Puy-Somport-Camino Aragones-Camino Frances
#6
I am glad you find idioms so stimulating but I think that many who are less fluent or confident in another language may struggle to follow them. I think that we need to be careful to tailor our language to the skills of those we are communicating with.
Yes, definitely. I absolutely support that view.

the point raised here is, I think, efficient communication.
If I may add, it's also about sensitivity - the better you can estimate your communication partner's language skills, the more efficient you can communicate with him/her.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#11
What a very considerate thread.

As one who is married to a lady for whom English is not a first language and who travels frequently on business, mainly Thailand and Vietnam, I would fully support the view that sensitivity is the key.

Obviously the ideal is to speak some of the others language, but if having to use English match it to the ability of the listener. Whilst speaking 'pidgin' and using sign language to a Bangkok taxi driver might be the best way to get your message across (or asking your new Pilgrim friend if they want a coffee), using the same to someone who 'thinks' their English is quite good, could merely be insulting :oops::oops:

As native English speakers we are indeed very lucky, as our native language is so widely spoken, but I think that also comes with a 'responsibility' to not abuse that advantage, particularly by expecting everyone else to speak our language ;);)

My wife who is Thai often jokes that she wishes her country had been colonised like Malaysia! Saying that at least they would all now speak English and have good legal, education and government systems!

Of course she is joking! Thais are very proud of their beautiful language and culture.

P.S. As an example of how hard English is for some people, imagine if your native language (like Thai) does not even use tenses, but does use 5 different tones which totally change the meaning of a word :eek::eek: I now realise why those whose languages use tones, often speak English totally 'flat' (monotone). Because English doesn't use tones!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
#12
On my first camino I walked frequently with an American, a South African and a Dane. We lunched this particular day in Burgos and one conversation topic was how well each of us spoke the English language. Without hesitation, each of the other three voted me as the worst English speaker in the group, which was probably true, but was quite salutary, nonetheless!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#13
On my first camino I walked frequently with an American, a South African and a Dane. We lunched this particular day in Burgos and one conversation topic was how well each of us spoke the English language. Without hesitation, each of the other three voted me as the worst English speaker in the group, which was probably true, but was quite salutary, nonetheless!
:):):)

Yes, sometimes English, spoken by the English is the hardest to comprehend with accents and colloquialisms!
I watched a TV program last night about English soccer 'fans'.
Even for native English speakers, if not actually 'English' it would have been unintelligible! :eek::eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#15
in my hometown : word 'salvage' is someone got murdered & not being save or rescue:eek::(
Hmm. That's very close to 'savage.' I wonder if that's where the word comes from. Sometimes pronunciations can get skewed.

verb

past tense: savaged; past participle: savaged
  1. (especially of a dog or wild animal) attack ferociously and maul.
    "ewes savaged by marauding dogs"
    synonyms: maul, attack, tear to pieces, lacerate, claw, bite
    "he was savaged by a dog"
 

yaying

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
somehow someday...
#16
@Icacos admittedly i was even shocked & shy when i found out what was the correct definition... by any chance will visit 'davao-philippines' never say the word 'salvage' at ease otherwise, worst u can be a suspect of a crime.:(:p
....
one day(first month in Dubai) my boss pissed of me, as he advised me to look for a room to rent (to reduce my hotel bill), for a month i couldn't find... ashamed to admit i didn't know what 'to let' on the adds means before. :eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
#17
Like most native English speakers, I do not speak another language apart from sufficient Spanish to find a bed, a meal or a Café con Leche. However I have been humbled to be with many pilgrims from other countries (e.g. China, Norway, Germany, Korea, Japan), who spoke English to a very high standard. Indeed I once walked part of the Portuguese Way with three German Ladies who spoke excellent English and when we walked together or ate together they all spoke English for my benefit (and I did thank them for including me, the odd one out). From having worked for many years with people from across Europe I know the value of speaking that little bit slower (not much, just enough to allow the listener to absorb my first word before I go onto the next word) and to avoid using slang or colloquial expressions. So even though I could not speak German to my companions on the Portuguese Way, I at least could make my English more comprehensible for them. I think Lydia makes an excellent point. I only wish I could speak fluent Spanish.
Aidan
 

ELHS220

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
#18
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

Those of us who have been to Santiago know how difficult it is for pilgrims to find the pilgrim Office nowadays. Why not spend a little time in and around the northern side of Praza do Obradoiro and show the way to pilgrims who seem to be searching. also if they are on their own coming down past the northern door of the Cathedral and down the steps give them a big smile and say "Congratulations". It can be a bit of an anticlimax to come in on your own.

Buen Camino to all who are planning Caminos.
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

Those of us who have been to Santiago know how difficult it is for pilgrims to find the pilgrim Office nowadays. Why not spend a little time in and around the northern side of Praza do Obradoiro and show the way to pilgrims who seem to be searching. also if they are on their own coming down past the northern door of the Cathedral and down the steps give them a big smile and say "Congratulations". It can be a bit of an anticlimax to come in on your own.

Buen Camino to all who are planning Caminos.
I have always made an effort to do this, maybe sometimes going overboard. I find myself trying to avoid contractions ("will not" instead of "won't", for example), even though they are such a part and parcel of the English language. Although I speak Spanish, I am not bilingual, and it's very helpful to me when THEY put on the brakes, slow down, and speak clearly. But I realize that it is very hard to change one's speaking style unless you really concentrate on it, and it does feel rather weird and unnatural when you are doing it. But it is very helpful to the non-native speaker. I see I've avoided a bunch of contractions here in my reply as well. :)
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

Those of us who have been to Santiago know how difficult it is for pilgrims to find the pilgrim Office nowadays. Why not spend a little time in and around the northern side of Praza do Obradoiro and show the way to pilgrims who seem to be searching. also if they are on their own coming down past the northern door of the Cathedral and down the steps give them a big smile and say "Congratulations". It can be a bit of an anticlimax to come in on your own.

Buen Camino to all who are planning Caminos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2017: Home(Germany) to SdC via Cologne-Taizé-Le Puy-Somport-Camino Aragones-Camino Frances
#19
a part and parcel of the English language. [...] when THEY put on the brakes [...] I see I've avoided a bunch of contractions here in my reply as well. :)
The contractions ain't :) the problem, as they are tought within the first years of English at school, at least here in Germany. But expressions like "is a parcel of a language" (we learn a parcel is either an area of land or a cardboard box) or "to put on the brakes" (we learn "to step on a brake" or "to brake") are of a slightly greater complexity and thus would need an additional second for interpretation. On the one hand, if you want to be understood most easily, you might avoid such expressions - on the other hand it's just that what makes a language interesting and lively.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances 2013; Camino portugues 2015; Via francigena 2016
#20
I like this thread in its calling for understanding and compassion for others who are making valiant attempts to communicate in a language in which they are not fluent, both in person on the Camino and here on the forum. I'm sure although I do know some Spanish and some French I would be very reticent to post to a forum such as this in either of those. Whenever I have made an attempt to speak either of those languages I have always been received with courtesy and respect by the native speaker for my efforts (except in French speaking parts of Canada but that's another story). In agreement with Bradypus, I do enjoy watching BBC English language programs on TV here in the US but must admit "thank God for closed captioning!"
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#21
......But expressions like "to put on the brakes" (we learn "to step on a brake" or "to brake").....
This made me smile. Recently I borrowed a car from an international car sharing company headquartered in a country where English is not the first language, but where it is widely spoken. To perform a certain function in their car, the instructions on the dashboard said to "depress the brake." What does that mean, I wondered; one either 'presses the brake' or 'releases the brake.' Later, I looked up 'depress' and learned that it had indeed been used correctly. I was chastened. :oops::)

depress - verb

push or pull (something) down into a lower position.
"depress the lever"
synonyms: press, push, hold down;
thumb, tap;
operate, activate
"depress each lever in turn"
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Oporto (2018 - planned)
#22
"One day a young Spanish volunteer - Maria - was found in floods of tears hiding in a corridor. When asked what the problem was she replied "Richard" - another volunteer in the same department. We were very surprised because Richard was one of the kindest and most generous of souls." And there I was expecting that Richard had innocently told her she had no reason to be embarrassed and she was fooled by a false cognate.

'To perform a certain function in their car, the instructions on the dashboard said to "depress the brake."' Here, my mind went to the challenges of affecting the emotional state of an inanimate object.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#23
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

.
Also there are pilgrims that communicating with you fluently receive the prize to their effort (4000 hours or more of learning English).
 

ELHS220

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
#24
The contractions ain't :) the problem, as they are tought within the first years of English at school, at least here in Germany. But expressions like "is a parcel of a language" (we learn a parcel is either an area of land or a cardboard box) or "to put on the brakes" (we learn "to step on a brake" or "to brake") are of a slightly greater complexity and thus would need an additional second for interpretation. On the one hand, if you want to be understood most easily, you might avoid such expressions - on the other hand it's just that what makes a language interesting and lively.
Als ich in Deutschland war, stellte ich immer meine Fragen auf Deutsch, aber die Leute immer antworteten mir auf Englisch!! I am not sure what "a parcel of a language" is supposed to mean. We do have the expression "to be (a) part and parcel of", which means "to be an integral part of."
Dealing with grammar is (a) part and parcel of learning a language. Using "parcel" by itself sounds strange to me in this context.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2013/2014)
Via Podiensis, Camino Francés (2015)
Camino del Norte (2017)
#25
As native English speakers we are indeed very lucky, as our native language is so widely spoken...
I have a different view on that. I sometimes feel sorry for native English speakers when in public. I quite enjoy the fact that nobody around me can understand me when I am talking to a friend in Dutch ;-)

But I do appreciate your consideration with non-native English speakers in the world. Some time ago, I worked together with an Australian with a very thick accent. I couldn't always understand him and he sometimes made fun of that. Until I started answering him in Dutch, then he got the point.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#27
And this! That is a 'disease' in the Netherlands as well. Not very helpful for someone who wants to learn a new language.
I read on Internet that to get by in another language you need 1000 hours and 5000 hours to master it I think that this fits in the case of a Spaniard learning (seriously) English.
In the Netherlands, probably less time would be needed for the same purpose, but anyway some effort is also required, so people who respond in English are (unconsciously) giving value to that effort.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2017: Home(Germany) to SdC via Cologne-Taizé-Le Puy-Somport-Camino Aragones-Camino Frances
#28
In the Netherlands, probably less time would be needed for the same purpose, but anyway some effort is also required, so people who respond in English are (unconsciously) giving value to that effort.
I always take my hat off to dutch people when it comes to languages. Close to the german border, german is spoken by nearly everyone and the more you get into the country, the more you can rely on everyone speaking English.
I'm just going to a jazz club tonight at Enschede (only a 1h drive) and most probably won't have any language issues (I can read dutch, but hardly speak). Films in the Netherlands are often shown with dutch subtitles, but without translation of the spoken original language, so learning other languages is quite normal.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#29
Many years ago I travelled parallel for a few days with a Dutch guy who spoke fluent English, and he liked me to correct his (if any!) mistakes. So one day when he mentioned the River THames in London, I corrected his pronunciation: it’s the River TEMMS. He was not impressed. He said that he spent the first year at school in English classes learning how to say TH . . TH . . . TH . . . . TH, and now I tell him it’s TEMMS!
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#30
I always take my hat off to dutch people when it comes to languages. Close to the german border, german is spoken by nearly everyone and the more you get into the country, the more you can rely on everyone speaking English.
I'm just going to a jazz club tonight at Enschede (only a 1h drive) and most probably won't have any language issues (I can read dutch, but hardly speak). Films in the Netherlands are often shown with dutch subtitles, but without translation of the spoken original language, so learning other languages is quite normal.
Don't forget us Belgians!;)
Three official languages : Dutch, French and German. And English as a fourth language in secondary school.
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
#31
Love language..Romance languages seems to come easily as latin based..
Spanish is my second language..go figure
German seems easier..and harder at times than french
Lately Korean KBS TV since i dont watch american tv..and terms for mom,dad,sis,brother and respectful terms for social hierarchy pop up on the captions as proper names ..which seems funny after a while,as they have westernized the caption.
The best part is the twist of a word to make different meanings..
Ime a slow learner,.but interesting romance,dramas,sad movies draw me in and sometimes the words become,soothing
Like the murmur of familiars in,another room...
Cant wait for more practice and time,with Google Translate to see what trouble i can stir up in my poetry....
One hundred languages offline
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: St-Jean-PdP - Santiago dC - Muxía - Fisterra (Aug 2017 and March/April 2018)
#32
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

Those of us who have been to Santiago know how difficult it is for pilgrims to find the pilgrim Office nowadays. Why not spend a little time in and around the northern side of Praza do Obradoiro and show the way to pilgrims who seem to be searching. also if they are on their own coming down past the northern door of the Cathedral and down the steps give them a big smile and say "Congratulations". It can be a bit of an anticlimax to come in on your own.

Buen Camino to all who are planning Caminos.
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

Those of us who have been to Santiago know how difficult it is for pilgrims to find the pilgrim Office nowadays. Why not spend a little time in and around the northern side of Praza do Obradoiro and show the way to pilgrims who seem to be searching. also if they are on their own coming down past the northern door of the Cathedral and down the steps give them a big smile and say "Congratulations". It can be a bit of an anticlimax to come in on your own.

Buen Camino to all who are planning Caminos.
This topic is close to my heart. As an native English, and fluent in French, I am humbled and kind of embarrassed at international conferences and so on to be a member of the "linguistic ruling class". When on the Camino, this is even more noticeable to me. I have been trying hard over the past few years to become "useful" in Spanish, and to a lesser extent in German.
One thing I have taken upon myself to do, when I do need to use English because nothing else will be understood, is to ask something like "May I speak English please?"
Over the years I have been amazed at how pilgrims from all over the world have been willing to converse in English, even when I am the only person present for whom English is a mother tongue.

When with pilgrims who make this effort for our benefit I feel we should make every effort to speak slowly and clearly, use fairly basic English and try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms and slang.

Those of us who have been to Santiago know how difficult it is for pilgrims to find the pilgrim Office nowadays. Why not spend a little time in and around the northern side of Praza do Obradoiro and show the way to pilgrims who seem to be searching. also if they are on their own coming down past the northern door of the Cathedral and down the steps give them a big smile and say "Congratulations". It can be a bit of an anticlimax to come in on your own.

Buen Camino to all who are planning Caminos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#33
One thing I have taken upon myself to do........is to ask something like "May I speak English please?"
:) This is a good idea. I have been asking the same, ever since I learned years ago that even though a person may speak English I should not assume he will speak it with me. I learned that the hard way.
 

SeaHorse

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(May-June 2015)
#34
I quite enjoy the fact that nobody around me can understand me when I am talking to a friend in Dutch ;-)
:D not so sure with 17 million in NL and 6,5 in BE. Plus all the people who have lived there and picked up enough to understand but not to speak. I understand, can't speak Dutch. Learnt this much only because my daughter studied in NL and I was visiting.

English is the new lingua franca like Latin was in the Middle Ages.

For me English is 3rd language and while I have no problems with contractions (at least spoken, there are some difficulties to type them because of the different language settings on the computer), those get covered at school, some other very English constructions go completely against my inner feeling of language. Like there is a word "capable" and opposite meaning "incapable" but "famous" and "infamous" are the same? And then this question or apparently it's a suggestion: "Why don't you do [whatever]?" at first I honestly tried to answer why I don't do [whatever]. Now I know but still feels strange. Sure there are more but those examples came to mind immediately.
 

Trish K

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
December (2017)
Camino Norte (2019)
#35
:D not so sure with 17 million in NL and 6,5 in BE. Plus all the people who have lived there and picked up enough to understand but not to speak. I understand, can't speak Dutch. Learnt this much only because my daughter studied in NL and I was visiting.

English is the new lingua franca like Latin was in the Middle Ages.

For me English is 3rd language and while I have no problems with contractions (at least spoken, there are some difficulties to type them because of the different language settings on the computer), those get covered at school, some other very English constructions go completely against my inner feeling of language. Like there is a word "capable" and opposite meaning "incapable" but "famous" and "infamous" are the same? And then this question or apparently it's a suggestion: "Why don't you do [whatever]?" at first I honestly tried to answer why I don't do [whatever]. Now I know but still feels strange. Sure there are more but those examples came to mind immediately.
 

Trish K

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
December (2017)
Camino Norte (2019)
#36
I’ve just completed my first Camino (Francés) and I have learned a new language - it’s called ‘Globe’ish)! It contains a little English, Spanish, Italian, French and a smattering of South Korean mixed with a lot of hand gesturing! Making the effort to converse with non - English speakers has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. One night I had dinner with a Serbian French speaker, who talked in French to a French/Canadian, who translated in English to me, who tried my best to translate into Spanish to a Mexican friend! It was Camino Chinese whispers and who knows if what the Mexican heard was what the Serbian had actually said - we all laughed and clinked our glasses anyway - that is the Camino and I loved every minute of it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: September - October 2016
Porto > Santiago - April 2018
#37
I have not read every entry in this topic but I want to say that on at least two occasions I enjoyed sitting at a cafe/bar/albergue with others who spoke no English and very much enjoyed BEING with them. One occasion was with three Italian men who met that evening, as far as I could tell, telling stories and laughing. I do not speak Italien but learned that night that is a beautiful thing to hear.

The other time I remember three Northern Europeans whose common language was German. They were having a serious conversation about spiritual or philosophical topics I think, and again I enjoyed every minute. I later found that one of them, a woman from Belguim, did speak English and wI had several good talks with her along the way.

My point here is not to contradict the theme of this thread but to add that there is something else going on as we are present with one another, something that I never see in my life in the US where everyone seems to speak one or two languages.
 

ELHS220

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
#38
:D not so sure with 17 million in NL and 6,5 in BE. Plus all the people who have lived there and picked up enough to understand but not to speak. I understand, can't speak Dutch. Learnt this much only because my daughter studied in NL and I was visiting.

English is the new lingua franca like Latin was in the Middle Ages.

For me English is 3rd language and while I have no problems with contractions (at least spoken, there are some difficulties to type them because of the different language settings on the computer), those get covered at school, some other very English constructions go completely against my inner feeling of language. Like there is a word "capable" and opposite meaning "incapable" but "famous" and "infamous" are the same? And then this question or apparently it's a suggestion: "Why don't you do [whatever]?" at first I honestly tried to answer why I don't do [whatever]. Now I know but still feels strange. Sure there are more but those examples came to mind immediately.
The "Why don't you" question can be taken either way, depending on context.

Simple question: Why don't you take a vacation?
I can't. I have too much work to do.

Suggestion: You look tired. Why don't you take a vacation?
Good idea! I think I will go to Hawaii for a week.

"Infamous" means "famous" or "well known" for very negative reasons. Synonym: notorious.

Jack the Ripper was an infamous murderer in London.

"Flammable" and "inflammable" mean exactly the same thing: catches fire easily.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#41
Just read the following article and it makes some interesting points especially for those of us who just speak English.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business...ch-us-about-workplace-communication-1.3355301
@Aidan21, congratulations. As someone who spent more years than I care to remember in the aviation world I recognised just about every aspect of the attached article. Oh and yes I am virtually mono-linguistic (English). Fortunately good old doctor google (especially Google Chrome) can translate an email from English into most of the major languages. I always include both the English and the translated versions - it might help the reader improve their English as well. Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cami Sant Jaume (2017)
#42
The "Why don't you" question can be taken either way, depending on context.

Simple question: Why don't you take a vacation?
I can't. I have too much work to do.

Suggestion: You look tired. Why don't you take a vacation?
Good idea! I think I will go to Hawaii for a week.

"Infamous" means "famous" or "well known" for very negative reasons. Synonym: notorious.

Jack the Ripper was an infamous murderer in London.

"Flammable" and "inflammable" mean exactly the same thing: catches fire easily.
As an American, I totally agree with these explanations.
 
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#43
We must also try to pick up some of the languages of the camino even if it's just a greeting in Korean, Arabic, European etc. I feel it makes people feel a little special if we can do that.
European , there is no sutch thing as European. There are when I'am correct about 25 languages in Europe .
Everybody is telling us in Holland that we speak our languages,when we can do it so can you.
And one more thing after Mandarin Chinese is Spanish the most spoken language in the world.
Rest my case . :rolleyes:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#44
While not being English, English is my native language. It is a mongrel language. I was fortunate at school to have learned three other languages. One I hated, although I know it was the foundation stone for the others (Latin). In later years I did learn to appreciate it. In adult years, I began to learn Spanish, and as Peter Fransiscus suggests, Spanish is number two in frequency of spoken languages today. I have been teaching for most of my life, and teaching English for the last 18 or so years. On the forum, I see many variations of usage and spellings. It usually does not bother me to see different spellings ( though sometimes I can’t resist putting my nose in! With for example hoard/horde: you can hoard hordes of bedbugs in a jar if you can catch them!). I take off my hat to all who have HAD to learn some English for survival, and thanks to the op for this reminder to native English speakers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#45
European , there is no sutch thing as European. There are when I'am correct about 25 languages in Europe .
Everybody is telling us in Holland that we speak our languages,when we can do it so can you.
And one more thing after Mandarin Chinese is Spanish the most spoken language in the world.
Rest my case . :rolleyes:
You are so correct re European languages, I can only greet in 9 of them, hopefully I won't bump into the other 14 on the VDLP.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#46
You are so correct re European languages, I can only greet in 9 of them, hopefully I won't bump into the other 14 on the VDLP.
Waka, if you have 9, you surely have enough savour faire to pass yourself in the other fourteen!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#47
Waka, if you have 9, you surely have enough savour faire to pass yourself in the other fourteen!
Kirkie

Its only the greetings and goodbyes I'm familiar with, ,this comes from working and travelling around the world. If only I could speak other languages like so many that learn English.
 

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