Tuesday 21 January 2014

Anglo-Swedish-German Entente Cordiale

A couple of evenings ago I was viewing "Inspector Barnaby", the German-language version of "Midsommer Murders". Last night I watched "Potiche" (Trophy Wife) with the stunning Catherine Deneuve and comedic Gérard Depardieu in French.

Yesterday afternoon I had a really interesting conversation in German and English on the merits of sport and travel as means of progressing mutual understanding between different nations and indeed regions within individual countries. My German-Swedish neighbours are returning home tomorrow. I shall miss our conversations across our respective balconies. Mind I did once meet them in the flesh as it were. On Sunday gone, we, along with much of the local and tourist population, were taking a long and leisurely stroll along the esplanade, the paseo marítimo, in the glorious sunshine and comparative warmth, when my companion and I encountered them not far from bar Maracas and near the castillo Bil-Bil. So close-up our neighbours were just as affable. How odd though to conduct conversations in four languages - English, Spanish, Swedish and German. And that was just the four of us! 

Virtually everyone one meets in Spain, or for that matter anywhere in Continental Europe, is a polyglot. It re-inforces how useful languages are and the ignominy that, as a nation, we Brits on the whole fail to live up to the mark of our European counterparts.

[Image description: Rosetta Stone courtesy Wikipedia]

Learning languages, like playing sport and travelling, helps to break down barriers, in that one comes to appreciate other cultures, other literatures, other politics and other ways of thinking and behaving. Communication is good for business and economies; it is good from a socio-cultural perspective; it is also good for peace.

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