Re: [langue-fr] L'anglais est-il une langue universelle ?

From: Erland Sommarskog (
Date: Tue Dec 26 2000 - 17:54:58 EST

"Patrick Andries" <> writes:
> May I add that this is precisely the reason that makes so many
> Scandinavians and Dutch unsufferable : they cannot imagine speaking anything
> else than English to a foreigner (often not even their own language).

How true. An English-speaking person who moves to Sweden to work has a
hard time to learn Swedish, because everyone insists on speaking English
with him.

And when a Swede goes over to Helsinki he is likely to approach people
in English - which may lead to the bizarre situation of two people with
Swedish as their mother tongue communicating in broken English. (In
Helsinki there are plentyful of Finland-Swedes, but Sweden-Swedes are
only dimly aware of there are people in Finland who have another
mother tongue than Finnish.)

...on the other hand, if the foreiger is a dark-haired person coming
from the Middle East, Africa or South America to live on social welfare(*),
the Swedes are very upset if they don't learn to speak Swedish properly.

(*) That's my sarcastic description of what some of fellow-countryman
who are a bit xenophobic think.

> > (Myself, I'm not really like that. My own idea of a good holiday trip
> > is that not speaking English exepct as a last resort.)
> Speaking first the language of the local people ? Good.

At least some language. When I am in Helsinki, I don't approach people
in English, and Finnish I don't know, so...

And, of course, sometimes it can be a bit absurd. On a restuarant outside
The Hague I actually managed to pretend to be Dutch for a short while,
thanks to my friend who covered up for me. But while I can understand
some Dutch, I cannot express myself in that language. And while that
level of knowledge could be useful in a country like Spain or Bulgaria
where knowledge of English is not universal, it is of course plain
ridiculuous in the Netherlands.

Erland Sommarskog, Stockholm,
I'm not in love. It's not even a phase I'm going through.

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