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英国人发现法国人变了:“我们说英语吧!”  

2014-08-31 10:47:00|  分类: 英语,法语 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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然的安排,我们也依然继续。最终他被派驻到别的地方,我还没找到一个人代替他的位子。 如果你想申请接替他的角色,请看以下地址,你可以用任何一种你喜欢的语言来申请。 译者许雯佳 Non-Anglos won’t let us speak their languages By Michael Skapinker Anglophones will struggle to find people prepared to talk in a foreign language to them This isn’t fair, I said in French to two fellow conference-goers during a coffee break. You are in the majority here. We should be speaking your language, not mine. They indulged me for a few sentences – and then switched back to English. With school examination results out, the UK is having its annual panic over young people not studying foreign languages. There were 10,000 fewer taking language exams this year than there were at the end of the 1990s. “Languages are an important part of business,” says John Cridland, head of the CBI, the employers’ group. “That second or third language gives your competitor from Germany, or France, or the Netherlands, the edge.” That may be true. But those eager young anglophones who take his advice and learn another language face disappointment. Not only is mastering someone else’s language hard. When you do learn to speak it, you will struggle to find people prepared to speak it to you. While you have been learning their language, they have been learning yours. And English is what they want to speak. My conference experience was not the only such one I have had – and it is not just top executives who have resisted my attempts to speak their language. At a trade fair in the south of France this year, I went to the bar and asked in Fre

nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I 英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧!

 

nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I

英国人该不该学外语?
英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (
nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I www.ftchinese.com)

然的安排,我们也依然继续。最终他被派驻到别的地方,我还没找到一个人代替他的位子。 如果你想申请接替他的角色,请看以下地址,你可以用任何一种你喜欢的语言来申请。 译者许雯佳 Non-Anglos won’t let us speak their languages By Michael Skapinker Anglophones will struggle to find people prepared to talk in a foreign language to them This isn’t fair, I said in French to two fellow conference-goers during a coffee break. You are in the majority here. We should be speaking your language, not mine. They indulged me for a few sentences – and then switched back to English. With school examination results out, the UK is having its annual panic over young people not studying foreign languages. There were 10,000 fewer taking language exams this year than there were at the end of the 1990s. “Languages are an important part of business,” says John Cridland, head of the CBI, the employers’ group. “That second or third language gives your competitor from Germany, or France, or the Netherlands, the edge.” That may be true. But those eager young anglophones who take his advice and learn another language face disappointment. Not only is mastering someone else’s language hard. When you do learn to speak it, you will struggle to find people prepared to speak it to you. While you have been learning their language, they have been learning yours. And English is what they want to speak. My conference experience was not the only such one I have had – and it is not just top executives who have resisted my attempts to speak their language. At a trade fair in the south of France this year, I went to the bar and asked in Fre

 
这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
 
学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。
 see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
“语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。”
 
这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。pinker@ft.com Twitter: @Skapinker
 
我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。
 see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。
 
这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自
 
可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。
 英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自
效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。
 
这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语?pinker@ft.com Twitter: @Skapinker
 
可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。
 英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自
当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。
 
他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢?英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自
 
为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。
 nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I
第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。
 
第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
 
还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自然的安排,我们也依然继续。最终他被派驻到别的地方,我还没找到一个人代替他的位子。
 see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
如果你想申请接替他的角色,请看以下地址,你可以用任何一种你喜欢的语言来申请。
 
译者/许雯佳

英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自


Non-Anglos won’t let us speak their languagessee French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
 
By Michael Skapinker
 

nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I

Anglophones will struggle to find people prepared to talk in a foreign language to them
 

pinker@ft.com Twitter: @Skapinker

This isn’t fair, I said in French to two fellow conference-goers during a coffee break. You are in the majority here. We should be speaking your language, not mine. They indulged me for a few sentences – and then switched back to English.
 英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自
With school examination results out, the UK is having its annual panic over young people not studying foreign languages. There were 10,000 fewer taking language exams this year than there were at the end of the 1990s.
 
“Languages are an important part of business,” says John Cridland, head of the CBI, the employers’ group. “That second or third language gives your competitor from Germany, or France, or the Netherlands, the edge.”nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I
 

That may be true. But those eager young anglophones who take his advice and learn another language face disappointment. Not only is mastering someone else’s language hard. When you do learn to speak it, you will struggle to find people prepared to speak it to you. While you have been learning their language, they have been learning yours. And English is what they want to speak.nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I
 
My conference experience was not the only such one I have had – and it is not just top executives who have resisted my attempts to speak their language.
 然的安排,我们也依然继续。最终他被派驻到别的地方,我还没找到一个人代替他的位子。 如果你想申请接替他的角色,请看以下地址,你可以用任何一种你喜欢的语言来申请。 译者许雯佳 Non-Anglos won’t let us speak their languages By Michael Skapinker Anglophones will struggle to find people prepared to talk in a foreign language to them This isn’t fair, I said in French to two fellow conference-goers during a coffee break. You are in the majority here. We should be speaking your language, not mine. They indulged me for a few sentences – and then switched back to English. With school examination results out, the UK is having its annual panic over young people not studying foreign languages. There were 10,000 fewer taking language exams this year than there were at the end of the 1990s. “Languages are an important part of business,” says John Cridland, head of the CBI, the employers’ group. “That second or third language gives your competitor from Germany, or France, or the Netherlands, the edge.” That may be true. But those eager young anglophones who take his advice and learn another language face disappointment. Not only is mastering someone else’s language hard. When you do learn to speak it, you will struggle to find people prepared to speak it to you. While you have been learning their language, they have been learning yours. And English is what they want to speak. My conference experience was not the only such one I have had – and it is not just top executives who have resisted my attempts to speak their language. At a trade fair in the south of France this year, I went to the bar and asked in Fre
At a trade fair in the south of France this year, I went to the bar and asked in French for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English.
 
This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today.see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
 
Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days.

然的安排,我们也依然继续。最终他被派驻到别的地方,我还没找到一个人代替他的位子。 如果你想申请接替他的角色,请看以下地址,你可以用任何一种你喜欢的语言来申请。 译者许雯佳 Non-Anglos won’t let us speak their languages By Michael Skapinker Anglophones will struggle to find people prepared to talk in a foreign language to them This isn’t fair, I said in French to two fellow conference-goers during a coffee break. You are in the majority here. We should be speaking your language, not mine. They indulged me for a few sentences – and then switched back to English. With school examination results out, the UK is having its annual panic over young people not studying foreign languages. There were 10,000 fewer taking language exams this year than there were at the end of the 1990s. “Languages are an important part of business,” says John Cridland, head of the CBI, the employers’ group. “That second or third language gives your competitor from Germany, or France, or the Netherlands, the edge.” That may be true. But those eager young anglophones who take his advice and learn another language face disappointment. Not only is mastering someone else’s language hard. When you do learn to speak it, you will struggle to find people prepared to speak it to you. While you have been learning their language, they have been learning yours. And English is what they want to speak. My conference experience was not the only such one I have had – and it is not just top executives who have resisted my attempts to speak their language. At a trade fair in the south of France this year, I went to the bar and asked in FreTo what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English.
 
Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled?pinker@ft.com Twitter: @Skapinker
 
Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence.
 然的安排,我们也依然继续。最终他被派驻到别的地方,我还没找到一个人代替他的位子。 如果你想申请接替他的角色,请看以下地址,你可以用任何一种你喜欢的语言来申请。 译者许雯佳 Non-Anglos won’t let us speak their languages By Michael Skapinker Anglophones will struggle to find people prepared to talk in a foreign language to them This isn’t fair, I said in French to two fellow conference-goers during a coffee break. You are in the majority here. We should be speaking your language, not mine. They indulged me for a few sentences – and then switched back to English. With school examination results out, the UK is having its annual panic over young people not studying foreign languages. There were 10,000 fewer taking language exams this year than there were at the end of the 1990s. “Languages are an important part of business,” says John Cridland, head of the CBI, the employers’ group. “That second or third language gives your competitor from Germany, or France, or the Netherlands, the edge.” That may be true. But those eager young anglophones who take his advice and learn another language face disappointment. Not only is mastering someone else’s language hard. When you do learn to speak it, you will struggle to find people prepared to speak it to you. While you have been learning their language, they have been learning yours. And English is what they want to speak. My conference experience was not the only such one I have had – and it is not just top executives who have resisted my attempts to speak their language. At a trade fair in the south of France this year, I went to the bar and asked in Fre
People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family
 
By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too.nch for some mineral water. “Would you like ice?” said the bartender, in English. This is quite a change. I remember, years ago, asking the person who answered the telephone at a large French company whether she spoke English. “No, you can speak French,” she told me in French. I cannot see that happening today. Perhaps francophones don’t think I speak their language well enough. I work hard at it, reading the Paris press online and listening to a French podcast most days. To what effect? I was in a meeting a couple of years back with six people in Geneva. After initial chit-chat in French, they switched to English, even though, I estimated, I spoke better French than at least three of them spoke English. Is this just a French issue? Are French speakers so unused to hearing foreigners speak their language that they cannot bear to hear it mangled? Possibly, but I have seen the same switch to English happen elsewhere. When I worked in Greece in the early 1980s, people were so delighted I was bothering to learn their language that they were happy to chat in it even when I could barely manage a sentence. People now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family By the time I left four years later, they were effusively complimentary, ignoring my mistakes. They still are – “you remember your Greek after 30 years!” – but then they, too, switch to English. Once again, it is not just business people: taxi drivers and hotel staff do it too. The tone is subtly different. Whereas I
 
The tone is subtly different. Whereas I see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours?

 

see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska

Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence.
 see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages.
 
Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender.see French language-switching as passive-aggressive, the Greek switch is enthusiastic: why speak our language when we can speak yours? Why is it happening? I have some theories. First, English is now a prerequisite for any job that requires contact with foreigners. Whether that job is in the boardroom, behind the reception desk or touting for customers outside a restaurant, you need to be able to speak English. Perhaps addressing people in their own language rather than English suggests they lack that crucial professional competence. Second, as English has become the lingua franca of business, science and academia, people now see their own languages as part of their private domain, reserved for friends and family. In conversations with both French and Greek friends, I have found them happier to speak their own languages. Third, it is possible that I give up too easily. Rather than meekly accepting that the conversation should revert to English, perhaps I should carry on speaking their language as insistently as they do mine until they surrender. There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement. If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like. michael.ska
 
There are more civilised ways of behaving. I used to have lunch with the London-based correspondent of a French newspaper. We would spend half the meal speaking English and half French. This carried on even when his wife told him it was the most stilted and artificial arrangement she had ever heard of. Eventually he was posted elsewhere and I have not found a replacement.
 pinker@ft.com Twitter: @Skapinker
If you wish to apply for this role, please do so to the address below, in whatever language you like.

英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自michael.skapinker@ft.com
Twitter: @Skapinker英国金融时报刊登专栏作家迈克尔•斯卡平克文章,抱怨英国人学外语不易,因为别的国家人不屑于与他们练外语。现在,连过去一贯要求外国人说法语的法国人都对英国人说:我们还是说英语吧! 英国人该不该学外语? 英国《金融时报》专栏作家 迈克尔•斯卡平克2014-08-29 (www.ftchinese.com) 这不公平,在会议的茶歇期间,我用法语对两个与会者说,你们是这儿的大多数。我们应该说你们的语言,而不是我的。他们迁就着和我说了几句之后——就转回用英语了。 学校的考试结果出来了,英国又到了每年一度的恐慌期:年轻人不肯学外语。与20世纪90年代末相比,今年参加语言考试的考生少了一万名。 “语言是商贸的重要组成部分,”英国雇主团体工业联合会(CBI)总干事约翰•克里德兰(John Cridland)说,“第二外语或第三外语让你来自德国、法国或者荷兰的竞争者获得优势。” 这也许是正确的。但是那些以英语为母语、听从他的建议学习外语的热切的年轻人要失望了。这不仅是指掌握一门外语很难。还指的是当你真的学会说外语的时候,你很难找到准备和你说这门外语的人。当你一直在学他们的语言时,他们也一直在学你的语言。而且,英语才是他们想说的语言。 我在那次会议上遭遇的事情并非仅此一次——而且拒绝我说他们的语言的也并非只有公司高管。 在今年法国南部的一个贸易展销会上,我去了一家酒吧,用法语点了矿泉水。“您加冰么?”酒保用英语说到。 这真是翻天覆地的变化。我记得几年前,当我打电话给一家大型法国公司时,我问对方是否会说英语。“不,你可以说法语。”她用法语告诉我。现在我看不到这样的事情了。 可能是这些以法语为母语的人认为我说法语还不够好。我很努力地学习法语,多数日子里我都在线阅读法国媒体的新闻,还听一个法语播客。 效果如何?几年前,我与其他6人在日内瓦参会。在最初用法语进行闲聊后,他们转而用英语交谈,尽管据我估计,我说法语比他们中至少3个人说英语要好。 这是不是只是法国的问题?是否说法语的人这么不习惯听到外国人说他们的语言,他们无法忍受听到拙劣的法语? 可能是这样,但我在别的地方也同样发现了这种转到英语交谈的现象。上世纪80年代初,我在希腊工作,当地人非常高兴地发现我愿意费心学习他们的语言,所以即使我几乎无法成句,他们也很高兴用希腊语和我交谈。 当我在4年后离开希腊的时候,他们也热情地称赞我,忽略我的语言错误。今天他们还是这样,“30年了你还记得你的希腊语!”,然而说完了这些话以后,他们也会转而用英语和我交谈。又一次,不仅仅是商务人士,的士司机和旅馆职员也都这样做。 他们的语气有微妙的差异。在我看来,法国人转换他们的语言时是消极对抗的,而希腊人这样做的时候则是热情洋溢的:当我们能说你的语言时,为什么要说我们的语言呢? 为什么会发生这样的情况?我有些看法。首先,英语现在是任何接触外国人的工作的必备技能。不管是在董事会会议室、在服务台后、还是在餐馆外招揽客人,你都需要会说英语。或许,如果工作者不用英语,而用对方的语言和他们交谈,就表明该工作者缺乏关键的职业能力。 第二,随着英语成为商界、科学界和学术界的通用语,人们现在将母语视作私有领域的一部分,是留给朋友和家人的。当我与我的法国朋友和希腊朋友聊天时,我发现他们更愿意说自己的母语。 第三,可能是我太过轻易就放弃了。比起顺从地接受谈话转为英语,或许我更应该继续说他们的语言,就像他们坚持对我说我的语言那样,直到他们投降。 还有更文明的方式。我曾经与一家法国报纸的驻伦敦记者共进午餐。我们用一半的午餐时间讲英语,一半时间讲法语。即使他的妻子告诉他这是她听过的最生硬和不自

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