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Friday, June 22, 2007

Do you want flies with that?



I'm currently sitting in a Starbucks across from the Taipei Railway Station, trying to make the most of the NT100 "WiFly" card I purchased to access the internet. Apparently it will only work for 24 hours?

I also got to experience what must annoy and frustrate many a foreigner trying to establish themselves as Chinese speakers. I asked for a roast chicken sandwich in Chinese, and then a Mocha Frappaccino, in English. As soon as I spoke in English, the cashier began replying to me in broken English, despite the fact that I continued speaking in Chinese afterwards.

And to have a person replying to you in a different language than you yourself are speaking to them elicits a strange feeling. Especially when the other person can barely speak that language, and you are trying to show you can understand their native language and don't need to struggle with a foreign tongue.

But then again, I've heard that many people here want the chance to speak more English, usually through language exchange. That's cool, but it's pretty hard to do when they lack the basics of grammar and just know vocabulary.

And my ears are horrible at deciphering even the slightest accents, anyway.

1 comment:

david on formosa said...

Starbucks is not the best place to practice your Chinese! Even Taiwanese people will often say the English name of various items when they are ordering.

Good luck with your studies.