A Tricky Tourist Trap

Yesterday, I mentioned that I expect other languages to have an increasing influence on English due to the fact that there are more non-native speakers of English in the world than native speakers. I’ve already noticed this happening a lot with one specific word. Let’s see if you can guess what it is:

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Just Speak English in Brussels Airport

The title says it all really, so if you don’t fancy reading, you’re free to go make a cup of tea, or whatever you do when you’re not reading me. Yesterday, I told you how I’d had a cappuccino and blueberry muffin in Liège Guillemins train station (seemingly the only place with reliable and free WiFi). A few hours later I found myself in a similar situation, but things went a little differently.

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Una Cerveza, Por Favor

Une bière, s’il vous plait.

Una birra, per favore.

It’s something we might think about before going on holiday: oh, I should learn a few phrases of the local language before I go! And sometimes we do just that: maybe get a phrasebook, or peruse the little section on useful phrases in the Lonely Planet guide a few times. Or we do a quick Google the night before or at the airport because we’d completely forgotten about it until then.

And then we arrive and there a few variations on what happens: either we forget about what we’ve learned, and rely on English and hand gestures; we think about using a few phrases but are terrified and rely on English and hand gestures; or, we use a few phrases here and there. And that can go a couple of different ways. Sometimes ending in English and hand gestures. Continue reading