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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Alkmaar 

Here I am in Holland about to give another Arezzo course. It's only been a couple of weeks since I gave the course in Hong Kong.

I'm giving the impression that I am a bit of a jet-setter but that would be incorrect. I can count the number of work trips I have had abroad, or anywhere come to that, in the last few years on two fingers and they have both happened within weeks of each other.

Yet again, I find that English is spoken fairly commonly, for which I am very grateful and also, rather guilty. Like many of my countrymen, I do not know a second language. I know the odd word here and there but not enough to have a conversation. Yet, in Europe, many people know two, three or four languages almost equally well as part of their everyday lives.

Kind of shaming really.

The problem is, of course, that because English is so common, we don't have to bother to learn another language. Picking up French, for instance, would only help me in France or Belgium. Dutch would only help me here. English is the common lingua Franca which makes us all exceedingly lazy.

That's the British for you.

Another point of note is that a few days ago, a Turkish airlines jet crashed five hundred metres from the runway at Schihpol airport. I saw that plane on the drive out from the airport. I didn't want to see it but my eyes found it and were morbidly glued to it. It was a sad little thing in a field off the side of the road, broken in three pieces as we have all seen in the newspapers.

It really was very close to the motorway. If it had travelled a hundred metres more a lot more than nine people would have died.

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Have you considered that Esperanto has a wider role to play in international communication? It is one way of communicating with foreigners without having to resort to English.

I'm British and have used Esperanto in some fifteen countries including Cameroon.

Take a look at www.esperanto.net
 
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