Saturday, February 06, 2010

English and languages.

Sorry if you have been commenting and nothing has happened I thought they would email me but I have to keep checking. Anyway got another spammer so worth doing.
Anyway I am developing a theory as to why the English are so bad at other languages. OK it's largely because we are lazy and English is an international language. But my theory is that we get a bit embarrassed at pronunciation.
Most days I give and Indian colleague a lift home. We were talking about the Himalayas. Now I know from watching a documentary that they are pronounced Himaaaarleears in the Subcontinent unlike HimaLAYas in England. When talking to Mamta I pronounced them as she does but if I was talking to somebody English I would use the second pronunciation because I feel a bit pretentious.
For example, I would never say that I am going to see my niece in Parreeeee. I would say I was going to Paris.
I remember when Kieran came to chose which language he wanted to do at school, he could choose between French and German. He chose the latter. Partly, I think, because as a mathematician he could appreciate a language that had rules and stuck to them. But also it's a less embarrassing language to pronounce. The boys could all bark at each other like prison guards from the Great Escape (the language of Schiller and Beethoven probably wasn't on the agenda). Whereas French is hard to get right and can be a bit camp.
Anyway such are my thoughts


Helen said...

I think you are right about pronunciation, which is another reason why kids should be taught languages in junior school, when they are much less inhibited. Why we expect teenagers - who are the most self conscious beings - to embark on trying to speak a foreign language, when they are too embarrassed by peer pressure to speak their own properly, has always baffled me.

oreneta said...

You can get it set up to send you e-mails. Go into the settings I think.