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View Poll Results: Could you?
Yes 77 85.56%
No 13 14.44%
Voters: 90. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-01-2009, 10:35 AM
 
Location: southern california
61,286 posts, read 87,603,614 times
Reputation: 55564

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doing that for years changes you.
when you get back you feel like a foreigner, its permanent.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Colorado
4,306 posts, read 13,495,414 times
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I have lived in several countries that probably count as non-English speaking: Germany, Hong Kong, Nepal, America . Thankfully quite a few of the people living there make the effort to learn English so there is some communication and understanding. Unfortunately, I have encountered too many expats who make zero effort to learn the local language.

I suspect more Chinese (whether it's Cantonese or Mandarin) speakers in HK can speak or understand English than they let on. It's fun to mess with the Gweilos.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,026 posts, read 24,669,967 times
Reputation: 20165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
doing that for years changes you.
when you get back you feel like a foreigner, its permanent.

My Dad was a Diplomat so it was question of adapting or being a foreigner wherever you went ! In a way I never truly fit anywhere including my own Native country but I kinda fit in most places. It suits me fine .

Speaking the language of the place you reside in is crucial for integration and I will never understand immigrants who hold on to their language for dear life.

It strikes me as insane.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Anchorage, Alaska (most of the time)
1,226 posts, read 3,651,246 times
Reputation: 1934
No way! Seriously impossible!
Sorry, first of April, must do something...
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,560 posts, read 14,496,339 times
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I speak fair French, Spanish and Hebrew, and broken Russian, Swedish and Irish, plus bits of many others, so I think I could get comfortable. I didn't learn a huge amount of Greek and Turkish on our vacation to both nations, but what I did learn fueled my enthusiasm. Whatever travel downers there may be about being from the US, I find they are almost completely canceled out by an honest effort to say something intelligent in the local language (in the places I've visited). Both the Greeks and the Turks treated us great, and while some of it was tourist hospitality, certainly not all of it was. One can tell when it's genuine and spontaneous.

The only rough thing was we were there just before the elections, which meant everyone wanted to talk about US politics (the one thing I would not begin by assuming would interest them). For our part, we were quite eager to get as far away from our domestic politics as possible, but we couldn't let that make us churlish. I found both Greeks and Turks intensely interested in the situation, and eager to hear an American perspective on the election and what it might mean for international relations. And for that one can hardly fault them, as it cannot help but impact them.
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
339 posts, read 1,170,634 times
Reputation: 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
I suspect more Chinese (whether it's Cantonese or Mandarin) speakers in HK can speak or understand English than they let on. It's fun to mess with the Gweilos.
Again, it depends on the area you are in. I don't get the impression that most people want to mess with 'gweilos' (perhaps if they are rude or arrogant sh*ts and deserve it), it's probably more that many people do know some English but are not confident enough to speak it to a native speaker - in the same way that I sometimes get a little flustered with my Canto and abandon it.

I have to say, I sometimes with-hold my (limited) knowledge so I can find out the 'true' price of something in a market/shop or listen to what people are saying. Do you know Cantonese from your time here too?
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:08 AM
 
Location: southern california
61,286 posts, read 87,603,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post
My Dad was a Diplomat so it was question of adapting or being a foreigner wherever you went ! In a way I never truly fit anywhere including my own Native country but I kinda fit in most places. It suits me fine .

Speaking the language of the place you reside in is crucial for integration and I will never understand immigrants who hold on to their language for dear life.

It strikes me as insane.
speaking the language well is not a guarantee of integration. it means you will be tolerated. its the painful lesson usually not learned until 5 years in the country. it means that at some point they tell you oh you speak the language very well, its you we dont like.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:58 AM
 
1,801 posts, read 3,561,298 times
Reputation: 2018
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
speaking the language well is not a guarantee of integration. it means you will be tolerated. its the painful lesson usually not learned until 5 years in the country. it means that at some point they tell you oh you speak the language very well, its you we dont like.
However, it's a fundamental first step towards integration. It is true that people who are perceived as "coming for abroad" have it nearly impossible to be 100% integrated, but knowledge of the language, being able to fluently communicate with your neighbours is key for them to relate to you and vice versa. It sure can't hurt.
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:14 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
339 posts, read 1,170,634 times
Reputation: 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
speaking the language well is not a guarantee of integration. it means you will be tolerated. its the painful lesson usually not learned until 5 years in the country. it means that at some point they tell you oh you speak the language very well, its you we dont like.
Speaking the local lingo is one highly important aspect of integration...however, if you speak fluently but are still an a-hole then people probably aren't going to like you anyways - doesn't matter where you are. Integration is highly dependent on the person and their outlook.
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:20 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,026 posts, read 24,669,967 times
Reputation: 20165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
speaking the language well is not a guarantee of integration. it means you will be tolerated. its the painful lesson usually not learned until 5 years in the country. it means that at some point they tell you oh you speak the language very well, its you we dont like.

It is a huge help though. I have found pretty much all people around the world extremely receptive when you bother to learn their language and customs.
Racism and Xenophobia will always exist but there can never be true integration without speaking the language in my experience anyway.
Communication is such a huge part of human relationships and the way we form bonds, it gives us a communality of purpose which most people respond to.

I will never understand people who chose not to learn the language of the country they reside in. It makes no sense whatsoever as you will miss out on so much and will definitely set yourself out as the outsider on purpose. It is a slap in the face in way to your host community.
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