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I'm SO alone...on cyburbia

Wanigas? said:
Au contraire mon frere!

Last time I checked, I wasn't your "brother", mon ami. I am not even the right gender to be called "brother". :)

What you say may well be true. All I know is that when I speak with someone who speaks English as a second language, they are often reticent and apologetic. But I grew up in a bi-lingual home and my general attitude and willingness and ability to make a little extra effort and understand them puts them at ease. I have had lengthy conversations with folks who spoke English very poorly and didn't want to talk to me at all at first because they figured I would give them a hard time.

On a long bus trip, I sat next to a Cuban man who had started his trip in Alaska and was quite exhausted. I spoke of how hard it is to think of words in another language when you are already tired, the fact that I grew up in a bi-lingual home but I am not fluent in any other language and how impressed I am by anyonewho speaks English as a second language, and things like that. He ended up not only having a long conversation with me, but helping me with my luggage and generally being protective and doting. He was quite charmed.

I think a lot of Americans have a tendency to act like someone is "stupid" if their English isn't great -- and never mind that few Americans speak another language fluently.