Should UK have a "common" language?


(stella wood) #41

Paul… I know how awful it can be when we come across the Oddball who just will not be nice. Happens in all countries and cultures.

However, I am getting tougher…and if someone attempts to brush-me-off… simply because I have asked them to speak a little slower …or asked them to use another phrase… :thinking: I will NOT let it go ! I persist…(albeit with a smile and an apology) but I insist that they do, indeed, help me (with whatever).

I ask to speak with their Superior… if they themselves are unable to assist… that is a last resort, but does get results… :relaxed::relaxed: I ask for the name and contact number… and they suddenly come over all helpful…:grin::grin:

Having said that… this is a rare occurrence… most folk are OK and want to help. I guess they are stressed and over-worked and, perhaps, I am just the last straw :rofl::rofl::rofl:


(anon62051519) #42

Stella… I know how to look after myself…in any language… and I don’t mean that in a macho way…I too don’t get brushed off easily.

I just want to say that if all us foreigners were all perfect, we’d all have learned the language before arriving. But we’re not all “perfect” are we? And everyones circumstances are different.

Most of the bitterness caused between people - in any circumstances - is caused by a breakdown in communications.

So it doesn’t take an Einstein to see that anything which improves communication is a plus.


(anon71231711) #43

I totally agree with that, but communication isn’t only to do with language is it. AFAIK the entire Tory government “speaks the same language”, in the literal sense…


(anon88981270) #44

I worked in north Wales for a while and met quite a few who went to Welsh school and who couldn’t speak English.


(Helen Wright) #45

Totally unrealistic to set an “x-date” for all to speak English as far as the city where I was born is concerned…unless there is to be a huge injection of cash to local councils…as presumably local councils would have to be the ones dealing with it…Many councils are teetering on bankruptcy…Northamptonshire amongst them…One of our local councils has loaned £5 million to them…allegedly they might recuperate some interest on that loan…Northampton has just spent a fortune £53 million on new offices…now it seems they might have to sell it in a firesale to stay afloat…what next…??? Do we float our local councils on the stock exchange selling to the lowest bidder…??? When services are being cut to the bone by government imposed austerity measures…to the point of libraries closing and vital services extinct …where is the money gonna come from to make sure everyone speaks English by the x-date…??? In the city where I was born it’s now quite possible to take a walk through the back streets and not hear a word of English spoken…I’ve seen a newcomer to the area playing ball with his little blonde haired toddler on the green and not been able to communicate that just that very morning the council had sprayed the green with weed killer and just 100m from where they were playing ball I had picked up and binned last nights accumulation of discarded “drugs” plastic sachets…Best I could do under the circumstances was hand the ball back to the little girl receiving a Thankyou gesture from her non English speaking father and hope for the best…broke my heart…Vulnerable people…where do you even begin…??? The Somalian population and FGM…how do you address that initially without interpreters…??? Sure it would be great if everyone arrived in a different country fluent in the language but it’s not how it happens…x :frowning:


(Carol Lokocki) #46

All you have written Helen happens in France also.In big towns Paris Marseille, Nimes,Ales and many more areas full of different cultures. It is a huge problem but a decade ago France was le pays des droits des hommes.


(Kouta Lakis) #47

It already does - English - if, by ‘common language’ what is meant is ‘lingua franca’.


(Carol Lokocki) #48

@Koutalakis Indeed the fact that a certain politicien asks that all persons living in Britain should speak english or as you say lingua franca, maybe known as the official language to be used in business and legal affairs.But not only in business also in everday language.


(Carol Lokocki) #49

Your remark is very interesting Debra welsh who could not speak english.:thinking:


(anon88981270) #50

Carol, there were people who went to the English school and who learned Welsh as a foreign language and if Welsh wasn’t spoken at home, couldn’t speak Welsh very well or at all. There were people who went to the Welsh school and learned English as a foreign language and if English wasn’t spoken at home, couldn’t speak English very well or at all.

My boyfriend at the time, who went to Welsh school, would speak to his age group who went to the English school in Welsh and they would reply in English and vice versa, both refusing to speak in the other language (even though they could). Then there were his friends who would speak Welsh to him and he would translate to me - and explained that they weren’t being rude but genuinely couldn’t speak English. He explained that they were farmer’s sons and went to school and then home to work on the farm and didn’t really mix with other than Welsh speakers. As I learned French as a foreign language in school and we did hardly any oral or aural practice, I totally understood :slight_smile:

I’ve met older people in the Charente who didn’t speak French, only their local patois. Probably for similar reasons (their education experience and the language of their family and social circle). Yet when my kids were in primary school they were introducing initiatives to keep the local patois alive because they were concerned that people weren’t learning it anymore - which was what some people were concerned about with Welsh, years ago (they might still be, but I’ve lost touch with my friends from North Wales now so I have no idea).


(David Martin) #51

I can remember a news item when I was at school about how the last Cornish language speaker had died. Now there are thousands of people who claim to be fluent. Not me, I only a know a few words and two of those are because the town I grew up in translated as harbour of little boats.


(Carol Lokocki) #52

thanks Debra for explaining it is interesting, suppose it happens in lots of countries. Very interesting.have a lovely day. my parents in law who were Ukrainien always spoke their native language when at home.but spoke french with the children. they coudnt write in french but my SIL did the paper work.they were wonderful people who taught me many things around the house i was only 22 when i got married.


(Diana Pinnell) #53

I believe the British insistence upon providing translations is not, in the long term, helpful. Other European countries don’t do it, we have had to learn how to interpret French documentation and forms, and have worked hard to communicate in French, for which we are respected. In the UK we make it so easy for foreigners to cope without learning English, that many never bother and never gain that commitment to the UK or understanding of British culture. Personally, I can’t see the point in moving to another country without learning the language and joining in to the community, but we moved to a village of 700 where nobody else spoke English, so gave ourselves no choice!


(anon62051519) #54

I’m curious… when you say many never bother to learn English and never gain commitment to the uK (because of translations)…how many people is that? Approximately? And those that don’t bother to learn English… how much of that is due to the provision of translations - as opposed to Cultural influence within families? And if translations are not provided (as in France), how many people regardless (especially British) never try to learn French? And especially in the south of France, how many families don’t bother to learn French due to Cultural influence (say, amongst north African immigrants)?


(anon71231711) #55

Did you never ever have occasion to come into contact with a non-English speaking community in the UK? It’s an odd experience until you get used to it.

Yes of course it has a lot to do with cultural influences, but needing to learn a language because if you don’t you can’t function in daily life and you can’t claim your rights and benefits, is a great motivator.

I remember there was hot debate about this in the run up to the last election, Macron was accused of wanting a multi-cutural France and he had to give a speech categorically denying this and saying he welcomed diversity but he believed in integration not multi-culturalism.

The reason France insists on using the French language and not translating everything isn’t because it hasn’t occurred to it, or it can’t be arsed, or to make life difficult for foreigners, it’s because it puts France first and it has seen the dangers of adopting a policy that in the longer term would dilute France’s Frenchness.


(anon62051519) #56

Well…it’s a shame the policy hasn’t worked then …as I would guess (and it is a guess) that 50% of the English speaking immigrants still don’t know more than very basic French. Many people come to France to retire. … and are therefore on the elderly side. It’s not so easy (or a priority) for them to integrate 100% into French society. Many people start that journey to integration by wanting to know how to pay their bills, taxes, access health care etc. They don’t want it for nothing - and they don’t want to make mistakes. They would love to avoid the stress of not understanding. How that dilutes France’s Frenchness is not something I can grasp. Of course, with a little help in that direction ie. some assistance in understanding the language… many people might then gain confidence and integrate further. How is that causing a problem?


(Carol Lokocki) #57

@Paul Rupa 2 I certainly agree with you about retired people coming to France to live and not wanting to learn french. They wish to enjoy life and not to return to school .


(David Martin) #58

For many people coming to France to retire integration is vital. Are they really expected to form friendships with people who share no common traits other than the ability to speak the same language? That sounds incredibly shallow and restrictive to me. Personally I can’t imagine anyone who has a wish to retire to a foreign country would leave grasping the basics of the language before they actually moved. I do know that they exist because I’ve met quite a few but it makes it no easier to understand. Learning the language of the country that you intend to live in cannot be compared to being at school, it really is a necessity and from that point of view should be central to your plans.


(anon62051519) #59

As you say… despite you not being able to imagine it, you’ve met people who came here not speaking the language. Of course, that’s their choice to make and not yours. If they are law-abiding, pay their taxes, happy to live closeted with a few english speaking friends, and then enjoy their retirement in a pleasant climate etc… whose business is it but their own?

Personally, that was not for me. I wanted to integrate fully… and I did - and that despite moving here without any real knowledge of the French language. I didn’t want to wait - so I didn’t. And I learned my French _on the job! _As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam , everybody’s circumstances are different. And so…it would be helpful if France (and other countries) helped by providing a little encouragement. It wouldn’t really break the national budget would it? And I completely dismiss the idea that if would remove the Frenchness of France. Au contraire…


(Jane Jones) #60

Just seen a post on another thread about the SAMU having problems with communicating with people in Charente who don’t speak french… fair enough not everyone is able to learn a new language fluently, but isn’t it important to know some critical phrases? Particularly if you are elderly and may need to communicate urgently with the ambulance services?

So it seems france is having to go the way of providing translation services of a sort, they what’s difference with some of the things UK councils are doing? Although having said that, my understanding is that the UK is pulling back from translation as there just aren’t the funds to do so.