Misc queries - Grin with cat attached — LiveJournal
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Misc queries Dec. 9th, 2004 09:59 am
For reasons far too dull to explain, I own a domain of "ch3.org.uk". Can anyone tell me what CH3 would actually mean in chemical terms?

Brits are known, fairly justly, as europe's worst linguists, and it's assumed that most of western europe speaks at least one foreign tongue fairly well.
How true is this, and to what extent does it also apply to eastern europe? What languages are most useful there?

From: kaet
Date: December 9th, 2004 - 01:38 pm (Link)
I get the impression that in the more eastern part of eastern europe the lingua franca seems to be Russian, but that it's a good idea to appologise before using it, in case that causes offence. In central Europe, I think German is very common.

One reson I think that English people are bad linguists is that, given they can speak English to get most things done, and aren't really culturally exposed extensively to other languages, that takes away much of the motivation to learn. I'm sure that other cultures would be the same in similar circumstances, to be honest.
From: thekumquat
Date: December 9th, 2004 - 04:42 pm (Link)
yes, when I was in Azerbaijan I would try "Do you speak English, parlez-vous francais, sprechen Sie vielleicht Deutsch?" with no success and then one of my few Russian phrases "Would you by any chance happen to speak a bit of Russian?", knowing perfectly well they would speak it fluently. Unfortunatly that was almost the extent of my Russian...

I think English people do tend to have the useful and underrated skill of understanding Bad English, because we do it a lot, whereas in some languages you never hear the language in mangled learner form and find it very hard to understand.
From: sashajwolf
Date: December 10th, 2004 - 02:56 pm (Link)
I think English people do tend to have the useful and underrated skill of understanding Bad English,

Indeed. Even so, I frequently find myself having to translate from Bad English to Good English for another native English-speaker - compulsory English classes in a German school and a father who specialised in TESL and liked inviting his students round for meals taught me a lot about what tends to go wrong. Sometimes I have to do the translation in the other direction, too - many native speakers have no idea how to judge what words non-native speakers are likely to understand, what idioms they will know or what level of complexity in sentence construction they will be able to cope with.