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Old August 25th, 2011, 09:29 PM   #141
Penn's Woods
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I've heard that many Belgians, including categories such shopping or restaurant attendants, etc..., react very badly if someone speak to them in French (if Flemish) or in Dutch (if Wallonian) and they refuse to answer in that language even if they know it. Is really so widespread this rudeness or are only some stupid nationalists?
If a foreign come to my country and I can help him\her by knowing some word of his\her language I'm happy to do that!
Well, I suppose because a Fleming being addressed in French, or vice versa, perceives that as rudeness. A couple of times in Washington, I've had people ask me for directions in French without saying first "Do you speak French?" It...well, I wouldn't say it was rude but you don't expect it, and don't have a couple of seconds to tune your ear.... When I'm in a country where I don't speak the language (granted, this hasn't happened in years, as I'm on the linguistically-boring side of the Atlantic), I make a point of learning how to say "please," "thank you," and "Do you speak English?" Seems to me like basic politeness. So when you add to it the fact that there's a bit of bad feelings, bad history.... Wimpie I'm sure could tell us at length about that, or one side of it.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 09:32 PM   #142
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The way I've heard is that the Walloons want to be annexed by France, but the French are not interested in a bit of land with old industry and a few million unemployed. The Dutch like to see Flanders inside their borders, but the Flemish are not interested.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 09:34 PM   #143
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I've heard also about British who refuse to answer to foreigns who speak a bad English and sometimes they even mock them.
Every population has its share of idiots. We should perhaps leave it at that.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 11:01 PM   #144
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I've heard also about British who refuse to answer to foreigns who speak a bad English and sometimes they even mock them.
I'm sure thats its happened, but in general I think that the British do try to understand foreigners speaking English despite the fact British people can't speak foreign languages at all.


Theres a joke that goes
What do you call someone that can speak more than two languages?
Multilingual or Poliglot
What do you call someone that can speak two languages?
Bilingual
What do you call someone that can only speak one language?


English
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Old August 25th, 2011, 11:05 PM   #145
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I don't have any photos but A-52 in Spain has several references to Portuguese towns.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:02 AM   #146
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I don't have any photos but A-52 in Spain has several references to Portuguese towns.


Yeah... and thanks to God...

As I explained some weeks ago, Spain lived in a bubble for a lot of years. It had a regime with no relation with other countries and they pointed only the name of the country... but they could point "anywhere in the world outside Spain" or something similar.

Road laws and stadarization has no change too much but in new motorways there are more cases of foreing cities pointed in the roads.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:06 AM   #147
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At Andorra there are no signals pointing anywhere outside their borders.

But... Andorra has more or less 30 km corner to corner. There are four main roads that starting at the country government building, goes south (CG-1) and north with different valleys (CG-2, 3 and 4).

CG-1 is pointed as "Espanya" (Spain in Catalan) and CG-2 is pointed as "França" (France in Catalan).

There is only one border with Spain and only one border with France, so then, everyone knows which direction they are pointing.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:23 AM   #148
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the specific case of Brussels. And for this case I believe it partly has to do with our very long history of cultural and political ties with the city. When I visit Brussels - looking at the older - pre-1830 - buildings, I always have the feeling that Brussels is a 'Netherlandic' city
Same with Lille, very "Netherlandic" architecture (in France it's called simply "Flemish" architecture, given that Lille is the capital of Flanders anyway), so why do authorities in your country signpost Lille as "Lille" and not as "Rijsel"?
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:27 AM   #149
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May I ask how are relations between Wallonia and France and between Flanders and Netherlands? Is there a feeling of language and cultural unity or everyone minds his own business?
This has been asked many times on the forum. Wallonia (and Brussels) are usually more culturally united with France than (Belgian) Flanders with the Netherlands. Walloons and Bruxellois look very often towards Paris, whereas the Flemings look less often towards Amsterdam or Rotterdam. For example it's always funny when I read the Francophone Belgian press (i.e. the Bruxelles press) how they treat French domestic news almost as if they were Belgian domestic news (for example they won't say "the French prime minister said", they will just say "the prime minister said", which always strikes me as strange).
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:31 AM   #150
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Paris city council are trying to turn this around, as this kind of rudness prompts people to visit Prague instead.
Well, Paris: 44 million tourists per year. Prague: 4 million tourists per year.

Besides, this urban myth about Parisians not speaking foreign languages is just that, an urban myth.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:37 AM   #151
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Well, I suppose because a Fleming being addressed in French, or vice versa, perceives that as rudeness. A couple of times in Washington, I've had people ask me for directions in French without saying first "Do you speak French?" It...well, I wouldn't say it was rude but you don't expect it, and don't have a couple of seconds to tune your ear.... When I'm in a country where I don't speak the language (granted, this hasn't happened in years, as I'm on the linguistically-boring side of the Atlantic), I make a point of learning how to say "please," "thank you," and "Do you speak English?" Seems to me like basic politeness. So when you add to it the fact that there's a bit of bad feelings, bad history.... Wimpie I'm sure could tell us at length about that, or one side of it.
Really? You got to love the French, only them have the balls to do th
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:39 AM   #152
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A couple of times in Washington, I've had people ask me for directions in French without saying first "Do you speak French?"
Really? You got to love the French, only them have the balls to do that in the capital of the Empire!

I was speaking with a (female) doctor in Paris recently, she told me how whenever she travels to New York she doesn't need to speak English because she always manages to speak French with the taxi drivers and personnel (lots of them come from Francophone Africa), so she was like "why should I learn English?"
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:43 AM   #153
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This has been asked many times on the forum. Wallonia (and Brussels) are usually more culturally united with France than (Belgian) Flanders with the Netherlands. Walloons and Bruxellois look very often towards Paris, whereas the Flemings look less often towards Amsterdam or Rotterdam. For example it's always funny when I read the Francophone Belgian press (i.e. the Bruxelles press) how they treat French domestic news almost as if they were Belgian domestic news (for example they won't say "the French prime minister said", they will just say "the prime minister said", which always strikes me as strange).
I've noticed that too, but I just assumed they were publishing dispatches from the AFP without bothering to edit them. (Sometimes they do.)
It is, though, completely bizarre - as I've already said - that Le Soir has a "France" page.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:48 AM   #154
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Really? You got to love the French, only them have the balls to do that in the capital of the Empire!

I was speaking with a (female) doctor in Paris recently, she told me how whenever she travels to New York she doesn't need to speak English because she always manages to speak French with the taxi drivers and personnel (lots of them come from Francophone Africa), so she was like "why should I learn English?"
Well, the first time it happened, I was coming out of the French department at my college.

But the second time, I'd just left an Episcopal (Anglican) church on a Sunday morning. Don't know what made them think that was a hotbed of French-speakers. But for all I know they'd been standing there for hours hoping someone could answer the question "Où est le métro ?"
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:53 AM   #155
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Usually I always assume there are no Francophone speakers outside of the Francophone world, so I always address people in their local languages, not French, when I'm outside of the Francophone world, but in reality it's crazy how you can always find some people able to speak French in most countries of the world. There is this guy on French TV who travels around the world and films his random encounters with people in the street. He always speaks French first (which personally I wouldn't do), and I'm always dumbfounded how everywhere he travels there is at least one person who knows French (even in Japan! once he hitch-hiked on a road near Sendai, in northern Japan, and the Japanese guy who stopped to take him onboard happened to speak very decent French ).
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Old August 26th, 2011, 01:59 AM   #156
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Usually I always assume there are no Francophone speakers outside of the Francophone world, so I always address people in their local languages, not French, when I'm outside of the Francophone world, but in reality it's crazy how you can always find some people able to speak French in most countries of the world. There is this guy on French TV who travels around the world and films his random encounters with people in the street. He always speaks French first (which personally I wouldn't do), and I'm always dumbfounded how everywhere he travels there is at least one person who knows French (even in Japan! once he hitch-hiked on a road near Sendai, in northern Japan, and the Japanese guy who stopped to take him onboard happened to speak very decent French ).
What's the show? I get TV5, but don't watch it as much as I meant to (hardly ever, in fact), because I'm not familiar with the shows....
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Old August 26th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #157
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What's the show?
It's a fascinating and very original show actually. It's called "J'irai dormir chez vous" ("I'll go sleep at your place"). Love the music in that show!
Website: http://www.jiraidormirchezvous.com/i...p?page=accueil
On Wikipedia: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%27irai_dormir_chez_vous

Another show where they always seem to manage to find French speakers everywhere around the world is "Echappées belles" ("Beautiful escapes", but it can mean also "Close calls").
Website: http://www.france5.fr/echappees-belles/
In the last episode I watched, the blondish guy on the right was travelling by car from LA to San Francisco, he stopped in a typical American roadside joint in the middle of nowhere between Big Sur and Monterey, and just there he met a 50 y/o American guy on his way to a jazz festival in the Santa Cruz mountains who happened to speak very good French, so he took him onboard and continued his trip with him.

There is also the culinary-cum-travelling show with the very pretty Julie Andrieu who usually does her best to speak the local language, but if not then uses French. Love that show. It's called "Fourchette et sac à dos" ("Fork and rucksack").
Website: http://documentaires.france5.fr/seri...tte-et-sac-dos

Last but not least there's this guy who travels on trains around the world and meets local people. The show is called "Des trains pas comme les autres" ("Trains unlike any other").
Website: http://documentaires.france5.fr/docu...res/le-vietnam
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Old August 26th, 2011, 02:40 AM   #158
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Coming back to Belgium, the show that I talked you about, J'irai dormir chez vous, travelled to rural Wallonia and recorded one of the greatest moment in the history of world television. The Walloon rednecks as even the Flemings could never portray them!!!!

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Old August 26th, 2011, 04:14 AM   #159
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I fully agree that sign language shouldn't be affected by the territory they're in for place names. The place names should always be written in the language of their official language(s). So that'd be both French and Dutch for Brussels. It doesn't matter whether there's more French-speaking citizens in Brussels than Dutch-speaking citizens. It's our freaking capital. If it doesn't represent both languages (and to an extent: both cultures), it's no longer our capital.

I personally feel more connected to a Walloon person than to someone from the Netherlands. I've met plenty of people from both and they were all nice, but there are still some connections that are strong enough to see we're from the same country.
EDIT: though I have to admit that the video posted above concerns me quite a bit. Luckily I'm aware they're a minority. But I guess that's what happens when some people don't get proper parents.

As for talking another language: I know Dutch, French and English all very thoroughly. I will gladly switch to any of those when I'm at a public place where lots of people come, but I refuse to talk another language in a shop when I'm in a town where only one language is spoken (I only speak their language there). I don't act as if I don't understand them, but I'll reply in the correct language since I hate the culture changes that some people seem to be very keen on implementing. Keep in mind though that I'm talking about a local grocery or so and talking about people who work there, not the people who visit the shop!

But I have the "slight" idea that we're all veering strongly off-topic here

Greetings,
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Old August 26th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #160
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Usually I always assume there are no Francophone speakers outside of the Francophone world, so I always address people in their local languages, not French, when I'm outside of the Francophone world, but in reality it's crazy how you can always find some people able to speak French in most countries of the world. There is this guy on French TV who travels around the world and films his random encounters with people in the street. He always speaks French first (which personally I wouldn't do), and I'm always dumbfounded how everywhere he travels there is at least one person who knows French (even in Japan! once he hitch-hiked on a road near Sendai, in northern Japan, and the Japanese guy who stopped to take him onboard happened to speak very decent French ).
In Italy French was the only foreign language taught in school until the 70s, so many well-educated older people speak it. Then we realize that the world was changed and switched to English.
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