Friday, 28 November 2008

Yippee!...and notes on SLA

I finally went into a cafe and ordered something all in Icelandic!

First I asked what was the soup of the day in Icelandic. And then the cashier replied. Mind you, I have almost no idea what they said; I just caught the words 'cheese' and 'tomato' and 'onion', but I said I'd take it.

Later I found out that what I had said was wrong. I said, "Hvað er súpadaginn?" instead of "súpadagsins" or whatever but I love how the cashier gave me the benefit of the doubt anyway. This officially marks my upgrading from 'tourist' to 'foreigner' level!

This reminds of when I was in Ottawa and I'd walk into a store that was clearly Francophone, and then speak in French and have them answer in French. I'd beam just knowing that the people did not switch to English.

It's hard to learn a second language when English is so prolific. Native English speakers are used to hearing accents and grammar mistakes and are generally accommodating when it comes to foreigners speaking because so many different people speak it as a second language, but not the same with other languages. At times, yes, it's easier for both people to switch to English when trying to speak and the other to understand, but then at other times it's just plain rude. To switch to English is automatically saying, "No, you can't speak the language. You're not a native speaker so don't even try."

Yup yup.

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