Foreigners in England/France

Axel   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 07:47 GMT
It makes me think that G. W. Bush named the Greeks the "Greecians" in a speech. I thought it was very funny.
nic   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 07:50 GMT

I don’t know very well the spanish history but i can explain why languages (except french of course) have been treated like that in France. Because France needed a real unity in the all country. And because many different people in France hated each others, most of the time their neighboors who were French two but different because of many rivalities (examples vendéens and Bretons, auvergnats and provençaux, south against north….). The unity was necessary. Some yougoslavians told me that in Fact yougoslavia history was the same kind of history with France with the difference it did not work in Yugoslavia.

The 1st world war has realized this unity, men have been mixed, on front there was no choice, you could be auvergnat, Corsican, provençal or something else and did not undertand orders in French. You were automatically sent to the peloton d’execution. French language or death was the only choice. That’s how many men learnt basic French at the beginning on the 20th century.
Damian   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 08:00 GMT
I think G W Bush is great - for a good laugh! The guy could be ludicrously funny if it wasn't so sad. When he (sort of) became US President he had to be shown the exact location of the British Isles on the world map.

Paul, very few Americans are "noted internationalists". You cannot blame them really...their country is huge and powerful so why should they concern themselves with the rest of us? An amazing number of Americans have never even been out of their home State and I believe that less than 20% even have a passport. Maybe someone from the US will correct me if I'm wrong.

I think a lot of British people are equally isolationist when it comes to languages, as I have said before on these threads. Maybe it's the "penalty" of having the now universal language English as our mother tongue. It breeds arrogance...expecting everyone abroad to speak English and yell at them rudely when they don't understand. Worse...going to live in another country and making no effort to speak or understand the local language or even take an interest in the local life and culture. I would hate to live in one of those British "colonies" that exist in Spain for instance.

Can you imagine the reverse situation.....Spaniards coming to live in the UK and refusing to learn English? They wouldn't get very far would they? I don't think so, anyway.
mjd   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 08:08 GMT
However, many people do come to the U.S. and refuse to learn English. This may or may not have consequences depending on the community (although I'd say learning English is a must if one wishes to succeed in mainstream America).

As for many Americans not travelling...I suppose this is true. One has to understand, however, that our country is huge. Many Americans want to see all of their own country before moving on to others. While I've been to Europe dozens of times (half my family lives there), I've never been to New England, the Midwest, or the West Coast of my own country.
nic   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 08:21 GMT
But it's the same for some europeans.

As french, do you think i have ever been in Alsace, Flanders, bretagne?
I have never been there like most of french from the south. But i have been many times in Italy, Spain, Germany, U.S.A, Canada....

There are countries in France i am absolutly not interested in.

The actual generation of retired people in France enjoy to travel, it was not the case in the past (two expensive), the most favorite destinations are Egypt and China. Some french today have been in many countries (Egypt, India, China, U.S.A (especially New Orleans). but have never been in Normandy for example.
Damian   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 13:13 GMT
It is weird really.....I am Scottish but I have never been over the sea to Skye, seen Loch Lomond or climbed Ben Nevis, or seen the Orkneys and Shetlands. I have been to the Isle of Lewis though...the extreme NW of Scotland. I come from Edinburgh and love seeing the Castle up there in its lofty position overlooking the city but I have never been inside it, a must for all tourists. I can so identify with nic and never really know your own back yard :-)

PS: I would love one day when I am rich and successful (ha ha!) to cross the USA by car or bus (is it Greyhound buses that cross the entire country?) say from Frisco to NYC and meet people. The range of accents and dialects I would come across would be fantastic. For some reason, the Midwest fascinates me, like Iowa. I hear that a lot of Americans enjoy listening to other accents as well. Would the average American recognise my accent as Scottish? Should be real fun.
nic   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 14:27 GMT

I know a scottish guy who came to U.S, he had problems to the custom office when he showed his passport. Because of his accent, the american customers did not believe him he was scottish. So they thought he had a wrong passport and was something else.
nic   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 14:28 GMT

they did not believe he was british
Damian   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 16:53 GMT
Thanks for that, nic! :-) I really do hope to visit the USA one day and see the country and meet the people. I can't alter my accent no matter is unmistakably Scottish to every British person. That was what worried me a wee bit....that some Americans are so far removed from the "outside world" that they only recognise Tony Blair-Hugh Grant-HM the Queen type accents as British! It would be so scary to land at US customs and they do not believe I am British because of my accent. But my passport photo is just 6 months old and looks EXACTLY like me and states that I was born in Edinburgh on 7 April 1982. I will be happy to sing "Flower of Scotland" to any "suspicious" customs person if it's the only way to convince him/her. :-)
skinhead   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 18:15 GMT
not everyone skinhead is racist. However west Europe will never understand love to nation.
When Poland was beaten by Germans France and England did nothing.What is more France were given without battle to Germans.

We have out honour, but we arent racists.
skinheads from Poland

sorry for my mistakes.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 02:41 GMT
Damien, you would not want to travel across the U.S. by Greyhound bus -- that would be a very slow and completely miserable experience!

Two years ago I travelled from the pacific northwest coast (Seattle) all the way to the east coast (Maine) by car and back. I believe that was about 7000 miles. My route took me through the northern half of the U.S., then through the so-called "midwest" (Indiana, Ohio, etc.), and then up through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

During all this time, I paid particular attention to people's speech. In fact, that was a primary reason for travelling by car, so that I could experience the different flavors of speech in many different cities.

Being that my native speech is that of the west coast, I truly didn't notice any significant differences until east of Chicago (although there is a very distinct Chicagoan accent which is hard for me to describe). Also, the smaller the city you're in, the more likely you will encounter a stronger accent. I can state with certainty that listening to the afternoon traffic report on the radio in Boston is no different (as far as regional accent) than a similar report in Portland, Oregon.

Whether an American would identify your accent as Scottish depends on the degree your accent approaches that of James Doohan of Star Trek fame :-)
Dulcinea del Toboso   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 02:43 GMT
Oops - sorry for mispelling your name, Damian
mjd   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 02:43 GMT
I think the Scottish accent is definitely one of the most distinct.
English   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 02:54 GMT
The Scottish Accent is the most distinct accent.
nic   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 09:18 GMT
A scot's friend told me the story but i never said all americans aren't abble to recognize an accent. As french i know the scottish accent, most of the french aren't abble to differenciate any british accent. Anyway Scotland is a beautifull country, i reallly enjoy the place. Wonderfull and wild