Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden Post by charles
I thought you said an "Italian "restaurant.
That's what it claims to be. Once we had eaten there we realized that
that is a misnomer. However, even if it were really Italian they'd
need to be able to communicate with their customers in French. We
have an Armenian restaurant very close (run by real Armenians) but
they talk to us in French.
When I lived for a short time in Paris, there was a Turkish restaurant
on the ground floor of my apartment building. I ate there a couple of
times. It was interesting having a conversation where French was a
foreign language for the two of us. The shared foreignness was probably
the factor that allowed him to explain the problems of being a Turk in
It reminded me of a time I was in Tunisia, and (because of an accident)
had to take a taxi to find a pharmacy. The taxi driver explained to me
that for him "l'arabe est le francais" (Arabic is French), i.e. he knew
Arabic as an international language, so again we were speaking in a
language that was foreign to the two of us.
Elsewhere, I've only had serious language problems in Korea. (Where I
found that sign language isn't all that it's cracked up to be.) In
Hungary and Czechoslovakia I found people who could understand English.
Likewise for the Netherlands, where everyone seems to speak English. In
Germany I got by with a mixture of German and English words. In northern
Belgium ... well, I'll admit that was a bit of a problem. Ik spreek een
klein beetje nederlands, but it was not enough to survive in that region
where they detest you if you have even the slightest French accent. But
I survived anyway.
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia