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View Diary: The Power of Foreign Languages (46 comments)

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  •  In my wife's home village (5+ / 0-)

    in rural Thailand one might hear 3 languages in one conversation, Thai, Lao and a dialect of Khmer. None of the people who live there are well educated but grew up in an environment where all three of these languages are used.

    A fourth language is sometimes encountered also. Not sure about the spelling. It is Souoi, a dying language spoken by the people who, many years ago, caught and tamed wild elephants. There are no wild elephants today but they still raise and train them and have thus far been able to sustain the use of their language.

    •  Reminds me of a lunch we attended in Paris. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, SoCalSal

      My husband & I took our teenagers on their first overseas trip, for spring break last year.  We were mostly in London, but took the Chunnel train to Paris for a day, where we met up with one of my husband's business associates who'd arranged a tour for us.  We had lunch in Montmartre with him (from Luxembourg but living in Germany), the tour guide (an English woman, fluent in French), and the man's daughter (German/Luxembourger, going to school in Paris.)

      They were all tremendously charming, but my kids and I were all dazzled by the ease with which the three of them switched between English, French, and German.  Made us feel wholly inadequate.

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