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Bilingual in Europe versus USA



 
 
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  #11  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:02 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
Outlawpoet[_1_]
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA


spamfree wrote:
This is somewhat of a USA rant, but Europeans will understand. In
the USA, if a sign/ad includes the word bilingual, it always refers to
an ability to speak English & Spanish (and not European Spanish, but
Mexican / Central American Spanish). But in Europe, bilingual would
simply refer to an ability to speak two languages; German & Italian,
Dutch & French, etc. A European employment ad requiring bilingual
employees would always attract the query "Which two languages?"
This USA policy completely annoys some of us because if we ask that
question, "Which two languages?", we are immediately termed racists,
but in reality we are merely literalists. In any major city's Chinatown,
bilingual would more honestly refer to English & Chinese, and there are
neighborhoods in New York and Chicago where bilingual could easily
refer to English & Polish or English & Russian.


Where in the US are you? I'm in LA where we have a huge Hispanic
population, but whenever I've seen an ad asking for bilinqual
employees, they specify the languages they are looking for. And more
often than not, they are seeking folks who speak some of the Asian
languages.

As for signage here, it's more common to simply have the sign include
the same ad copy in the various languages represented by the company.
Ads for dentists, doctors, contractors etc. state quite proudly the
number of different languages their employees speak - not simply
Spanish.

When I worked in retail (about five years ago), our name tags specifed
the other language we spoke. We had a huge number of employees who
spoke French, Italian, Cantonese and even Hindi and Arabic.

  #12  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:03 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
Giovanni Drogo
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA

On Wed, 23 Aug 2006, Cesar Neri wrote:

In this town, all the signs were in 2 languages and everyone was
bilingual. This town was Bolzano/Bozen and in this town bilingual
definitely meant being able to speak Italian and German/Austrian.


I do not think there is officially such a thing as "German/Austrian"
although there surely are several Austrian dialects, to which
"tiroulisch" as spoken in Alto Adige / Suedtirol may be alike. But
despite the fact I even saw a book of Asterix translated in tiroulisch,
that should not be what is taught in schools.

And yes, in most of Alto Adige / Suedtirol "bilingual" will refer to
Italian and German. There should even exist a "patentino di
bilinguismo", an official document which states you speak enough of both
languages, necessary to get a job at a public administration. Residents
there shall also declare their belonging to one of the three linguistic
groups (italian, german or ladin ... but I've never heard of a
requirement to be trilingual in ladin areas).

Similarly I suppose bilingual may mean Flemish-Dutch and French in
Belgium, possibly Finnish and Swedish in Finland, maybe Slovak and Czech
in former Czechoslovakia, perhaps Catalan and "castellan" Spanish in
Catalunya, or more or less complex variations thereof ... e.g. in
Swizerland it might mean any two of the four official languages.

Outside of such context bilingual may mean "any two parental tongues"
(for instance my god-daughter is bilingual in German by father and
Italian by mother ... she used to speak also some Swedish when she lived
there, but maybe she forgot growing up), or generally "any two
languages".

As we sa "il mondo e' bello perche' e' variato" (world is beautiful
because it is varied).

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  #13  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:26 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
Keith W[_1_]
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA


"spamfree" wrote in message
...
This is somewhat of a USA rant, but Europeans will understand. In
the USA, if a sign/ad includes the word bilingual, it always refers to
an ability to speak English & Spanish (and not European Spanish, but
Mexican / Central American Spanish). But in Europe, bilingual would
simply refer to an ability to speak two languages; German & Italian,
Dutch & French, etc.


Not in Wales it wouldnt.

Keith



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  #14  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:27 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
Keith W[_1_]
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA


"Padraig Breathnach" wrote in message
...
Martin Bienwald wrote:

I think that would be the case in most places with more than one official
or "default" language. I guess in Brussels "bilingual" would mostly refer
to Dutch/French, for example. I'd expect that it refers to English/French
in at least some parts of Canada.

Louisiana too, I would expect.


Hmm I've seen a Cajun trying to speak 'French' to a
Parisian. They ened up settling for talking in English.

Keith



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  #15  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:45 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
EvelynVogtGamble(Divamanque)
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA



spamfree wrote:

This is somewhat of a USA rant, but Europeans will understand. In
the USA, if a sign/ad includes the word bilingual, it always refers to
an ability to speak English & Spanish (and not European Spanish, but
Mexican / Central American Spanish). But in Europe, bilingual would
simply refer to an ability to speak two languages; German & Italian,
Dutch & French, etc. A European employment ad requiring bilingual
employees would always attract the query "Which two languages?"
This USA policy completely annoys some of us because if we ask that
question, "Which two languages?", we are immediately termed racists,
but in reality we are merely literalists. In any major city's Chinatown,
bilingual would more honestly refer to English & Chinese, and there are
neighborhoods in New York and Chicago where bilingual could easily
refer to English & Polish or English & Russian.


I'd be happy if any of the repair people my landlords employ
WERE "bilingual"! I have no problem with people speaking
their native tongue among themselves, but in a country where
the main language is still English, it is very frustrating
to try to explain a maintenance problem in my non-existent
Spanish! (At least, when faced with communications problems
in another country, I can refer to dictionaries and phrase
books - one doesn't expect to NEED them in one's own home!)
Also, it's one thing exchanging pleasantries like "buenos
dias" and "por favor" and "gracias", quite another trying to
explain (in Spanish) that the dishwasher drainpipe is
clogged, so the dishwasher is draining through its overflow
pipe into the kitchen sink!

  #16  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:46 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
Hatunen
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA

On Wed, 23 Aug 2006 08:09:11 -0600, "spamfree"
wrote:

This is somewhat of a USA rant, but Europeans will understand. In
the USA, if a sign/ad includes the word bilingual, it always refers to
an ability to speak English & Spanish (and not European Spanish, but
Mexican / Central American Spanish).


Well, not always. In San Francisco it might mean Chinese and
English. In northern New England, French (Quebecois, that is) and
English.

But in Europe, bilingual would
simply refer to an ability to speak two languages; German & Italian,
Dutch & French, etc.


A sign that said only "Bilingual" in any language in Europe would
be thoroughly uninformative.

A European employment ad requiring bilingual
employees would always attract the query "Which two languages?"


Which is why they probably wouldn't say "bilingual", except,
perhaps in Belgium.

This USA policy completely annoys some of us because if we ask that
question, "Which two languages?", we are immediately termed racists,
but in reality we are merely literalists.


In most areas it would be a pretty dumb question, perhaps
intended to antagonize. As one who lives in a distinctly
bilingual area I rearely see signs on stores that say
"bilingual": they say something like "Hablamos espanol".

In any major city's Chinatown,
bilingual would more honestly refer to English & Chinese, and there are
neighborhoods in New York and Chicago where bilingual could easily
refer to English & Polish or English & Russian.


And do. But even in those areas a simple "bilingual" sign is
unlikely. Instead, the business is likely to state which
languages are spoken of to have signage in several languages
staing the services offered.



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* My typos & mispellings are intentional copyright traps *
  #17  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:48 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
Hatunen
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA

On Wed, 23 Aug 2006 14:56:12 GMT, "Cesar Neri"
wrote:

I don't think you can just make a sweeping generalization like that. Even in
Europe, it all depends on what country and what region we are talking about.
For example, on a trip to Bavaria many years ago, I took the Brenner pass
from Austria and ended up in a town in Italy near the border with
Austra/Germany. In this town, all the signs were in 2 languages and everyone
was bilingual. This town was Bolzano/Bozen and in this town bilingual
definitely meant being able to speak Italian and German/Austrian. So, this
is at least one example in Europe where, similar to the US, the word
bilingual referred to 2 specific languages.


He's not whining about bilingualism, he's whining about signs
that literally say "Bilingual". They seem to confuse him.


************* DAVE HATUNEN ) *************
* Tucson Arizona, out where the cacti grow *
* My typos & mispellings are intentional copyright traps *
  #18  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:51 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
Hatunen
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Posts: 4,483
Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA

On 23 Aug 2006 08:35:55 -0700, "Iceman"
wrote:

Martin Bienwald wrote:
Cesar Neri wrote:

I don't think you can just make a sweeping generalization like that. Even in
Europe, it all depends on what country and what region we are talking about.
For example, on a trip to Bavaria many years ago, I took the Brenner pass
from Austria and ended up in a town in Italy near the border with
Austra/Germany. In this town, all the signs were in 2 languages and everyone
was bilingual. This town was Bolzano/Bozen and in this town bilingual
definitely meant being able to speak Italian and German/Austrian. So, this
is at least one example in Europe where, similar to the US, the word
bilingual referred to 2 specific languages.


I think that would be the case in most places with more than one official
or "default" language. I guess in Brussels "bilingual" would mostly refer
to Dutch/French, for example.


Brussels has an annoying way of doing it where the sign for a street is
in one language or the other, not both. So you are looking for "Rue de
Ghent" and when you get to it the sign says "Klixpacqtynstraat."


I lived in Montreal in the mid-1960s when bilingual signage was
everywhere. The signs generally took advantage of the
"fore-and-aft" methods of applying English and French adjectives.
One day I was walking down the street and a car from Ontario
pulled over and the drive hailed me. He wanted to know "How do I
get to this Pont Mercier Bridge?"


************* DAVE HATUNEN ) *************
* Tucson Arizona, out where the cacti grow *
* My typos & mispellings are intentional copyright traps *
  #19  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:52 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
EvelynVogtGamble(Divamanque)
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA



Mxsmanic wrote:

spamfree writes:


This is somewhat of a USA rant, but Europeans will understand. In
the USA, if a sign/ad includes the word bilingual, it always refers to
an ability to speak English & Spanish (and not European Spanish, but
Mexican / Central American Spanish). But in Europe, bilingual would
simply refer to an ability to speak two languages; German & Italian,
Dutch & French, etc.



Many Americans don't realize that there are other non-English
languages besides Spanish.


Perhaps because most immigrants from other countries take
the trouble to LEARN English? The public schools offer
night classes in "English as a Second Language" - they used
to be free, so can't be all that expensive, even now. (And
certainly worth the investment for people planning to live
here permanently!)

  #20  
Old August 23rd, 2006, 05:57 PM posted to rec.travel.europe,rec.travel.usa-canada
EvelynVogtGamble(Divamanque)
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Default Bilingual in Europe versus USA



Padraig Breathnach wrote:

Martin Bienwald wrote:


I think that would be the case in most places with more than one official
or "default" language. I guess in Brussels "bilingual" would mostly refer
to Dutch/French, for example. I'd expect that it refers to English/French
in at least some parts of Canada.


Louisiana too, I would expect.


Not any more, if ever! Louisiana also has its own "Creole"
which is a combination of English, French and Spanish -
possibly with a few Africanisms thrown in.

 




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