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My readers are all…

Women? No.

Writers? No.

British? No.

Nice people? I think so.

There’s only one thing I can say about all my readers. You can all read English. You can probably also write it and speak it. And that makes you very lucky.

This fact was brought home to me on my recent short trip to Prague (which was fascinating).

On two occasions I witnessed the problem of being Japanese. In our hotel, we waited patiently while the hotel staff tried to explain to a Japanese couple that they had nothing to pay because their stay had been paid for. I felt like clapping when the penny finally dropped.

In an art shop, where I waited patiently for my artist husband to choose a painting, I decided to help the conversation along:

Japanese Man: Can I pay yen?
Shopkeeper: Can you pay what?
Me: Yens. He wants to pay in yens.
SK: Japanese money?
JM: Japan money.
SK: Oh, I don’t even know … err….
M: The exchange rate?
SK: I don’t even know exchange rate.
JM: Ah. I pay yen?
SK: No. No yen.
JM: Ah. What pay?
SK: Krone or Euro.
JM: Ah.

Aren’t you glad you know English?

Of course, there’s at least one country where it’s hard to get around knowing just English. It’s called Japan.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

3 replies on “My readers are all…”

Interesting report, Miriam.
I have 2 comments – we have just returned from Paris. As you know, the French have a reputation for snootiness towards those who don’t speak their language. This time, however, they were falling over themselves to speak English.
I sometimes have to go to EU funded meetings in Brussels where the common language is English. The command of the language by young people was awesome. I sometimes find it difficult to understand, though, because they seem to have expressions that they recognise but which I as a native speaker don’t!

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