Austrian: A Language or Not

Leasnam   Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:52 pm GMT
<<And how many tourists go to Australia to find no Mozart birthplace, no Sound of Music site, and most of all- no Weinerwald? >>

or to speak "Australian"
Guest   Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:59 pm GMT
<<Obama is an ignorant in European culture as his predecessor was, but this is understandable giving the introverted character of the North American society. However, this is not an excuse for his advisors to be ill prepared - they are paid to do a professional job and they should provide some results on acceptable standards. >>

Do you expect us to be as knowledgeable of European culture as we are of Asian, African or Latin American? Do you think Europe is more special or noteworthy in regards to livings-airt than anyone else?
Q.E.D.   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:05 pm GMT
I assume that at a certain level and up (i.e. the high circles of power), where ordinary people do not have access, are rules and protocols to follow. The passion, hobby or common knowledge for the ordinary people is job requirement, training and high expectations for the ones who are paid from our pocket to guide us and provide to us, as per social contract established by our state organiozation.

Now, based on what I said above, it is not accepted to put the foot in your mouth if you are small and you have to make everyone happy and you don't have any backing at all.
If you are big, it is supposed to be even wiser and to avoid headaches and complications by paying a minimal respect to the little guy, to show tat you care - that is the game.
Unless, in a bizzare twist of theory of conspiracy, you really want to ignite some conflict to reap benefits from somewhere else by enforcing the clumsy and arrogant attitude. If this logic is not followed, then we're in trouble because we are on the hands of incompetents (the same feeling when you go to the barbershop or to the doctor and the butterflies kick in - what if this guy is incompetent?)
As for Europe, I do not know if it is more special than Latin America nor Asia. But common sense says that when in Rome do as Romans do - respect the local customs and be humble and show that you know where the heck you are.
guest   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:18 pm GMT
This seems to be quite a paradigm shift going on here, where Europe was once a great influential power but is no more. Hard knocks kid.
Guesto   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:22 pm GMT
This incident reminds me of something which happened to Obama's predecessor. Didn't Bush once apologize for not being able to speak Mexican when he was in Mexico?
Beethoven   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:24 pm GMT
Good old Europa!
Guest   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:26 pm GMT
<<This incident reminds me of something which happened to Obama's predecessor. Didn't Bush once apologize for not being able to speak Mexican when he was in Mexico? >>

Perhaps, I dunno, but Dan Quayle once said on a trip to Latin America that he regretted never having learned Latin (--not Spanish or Portuguese though). Guess he didn't know they don't speak Latin down there
Guest   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:35 pm GMT
The weird thing about Europe is this: had Obama gone to some country in Indo-China, like Laos or Myanmar, and made a similar mistake (like saying he didn't speak "Myanmarian" [i.e. "Burmese"]), we'd think nothing of it. We would think it was understandable. Who has any interest in that part of the world anyway? They're all the same. Right?

Yet when the same thing happens in Europe which is no different a region, they can't take it. It's like they expect to be better recognized. Europe is just another Indo-China in the world. Funny that they have a hard time accepting that they are the new Aeta or Mao Yaos (--the who???).
Skippy   Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:41 pm GMT
Bush speaks some Spanish (also, his brother is fluent in it), and he knows quite well that Mexicans speak Spanish. However, judging from other things he's said, I wouldn't be surprised if he referred to it as "Mexican" by accident.

Guest, I agree that if it was an East Asian language (especially something like Malay or Thai, anything other than Japanese and the Chinese dialects), that it wouldn't have made this much press. However, Obama did take some heat for saying America's Arabic translators were in Iraq instead of Afghanistan "where we need them" (Although, at present, the languages of Middle East are a little more salient to US foreign policy than Southeast Asia...)

But in the US we are certainly expected to have a certain level of knowledge about Western Europe (which culturally and linguistically would include Austria), Western Civilization, etc. because that's where the majority (or at least a huge plurality) of our population is descended from and it provides most of the background of our political institutions and history. Remember, most Americans knew little of Japan even up to World War II.