I’m all for learning a language other then your own. If you travel, knowing the language of the land opens doors you didn’t even know were doors. You can walk around in complete security even without a map, because you know you can always ask, “where is the train station, please?” Sometimes you can even understand the reply.
I learned enough Italian at Perugia’s Universita per Stranieri to get into trouble trying to speak it. No, the University wasn’t “for strange people,” although there were a few…from Florida.
In any case, my native tongue is English. Not the King’s English—that’s a language reserved for UK natives. My English is significantly different, or at least the movie industry thinks so.
You see, I watched a travel movie last night. It was a DVD about an English woman who goes off to Greece and finds romance because her oafish husband wanted steak every Thursday. But before I could watch it, I had a language choice to make: UK English or US English.
I thought this was odd, but I chose US English because that’s where I was at the time. I was amazed. Words in the film were actually translated. When the woman mouthed the word “suspenders” in the lingerie shop, out came “garter belt.” When she loaded stuff into her car, “boot” turned into “trunk.” I don’t know the underlying word for K-Mart because I’m not a lip reader, but it was in there.
I’m thinking, “gosh, they worked hard on this.” But is it so difficult to listen to “foreign” people say what they say and maybe allow us to learn a bit about the differing culture? I sure don’t want to go out in London with my suspenders and pants ensemble. I’d get arrested.
Are we linguistic idiots? Does everything have to be translated for us? What do we do when it comes time to think a little, when it’s all been done for us?
Except for that choice. UK English or US English? I coulda gone around for hours on that one. Nobody tells you which is best of course.