FW: Now this is what we used to call DISCOURSE!

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included
Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of the countries.

Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.
He then asked "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these
conferences rather than speaking French?"
Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied "Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German."
You could have heard a pin drop.


Anonymous said...

Русские пнули ишаков немцев, не Yankees.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a well-crafted joke than like a report of an actual conversation.

I don't read Russian but I assume that the prior comment says something like "Russians were the ones to stop Germany, not the Yankees." Russian and general Soviet deaths totalled in the tens of millions, though admittedly some of that was due to Stalin's own murderous madness and economic/resource policies both pre and post-war.

It is pretty sadly arrogant to expect other countries to speak English every damn time. It is explicitly NOT true that the "price" of substantial sacrifices by some Anglophone nations should be Anglophone world dominance over world cultural and diplomatic affairs. I am frankly embarrassed that our president - theoretically a Yale and Harvard man - is not fluent or near-fluent in several languages (his Spanish is not that great.)

Anonymous said...

"is not fluent or near-fluent in several languages (his Spanish is not that great.)"

neither is his english.


Anonymous said...

Many of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War and helped to restore this country to whole did not speak a word of English.

Many of the soldiers that fought and died in WWII would not have been able to do so but for the fact that their immigrant parents, some of which did not speak English, bore them here.

Of course it comes as quite a shock to me that only the Americans, the Aussies, that Canadians, and British fought Hitler in WWII. Many non English speaking soldiers died fighting Hitler and Japan, but I guess they did not die in numbers large enough numbers to matter for some people.

Then there are the Navajo code talkers who bravely fought and died in WWII and used their language as a code, but that accomplishment must not matter much to some people either.

I guess speaking only English imbues one with super human powers...who knew?

Anonymous said...

"We stopped the Germans from controlling you, so in return you have to let us control you!"

Seems fair!

ogre said...

Bruce, "our" president was aptly described by the late, much lamented Milly Ivins: "Bush isn't bilingual, he's bi-ignorant."

Anonymous said...

You could have heard a pin drop, as the Brits, Canadians and Aussies couldn't believe a prick the American is.

Buddhist with an attitude said...

It's probably not even a true story. But here's one I can guarantee is true cause I heard it myself from the interpretation booth:
At an international meeting, the American delegate complained that the costs of linguistic services were too high and suggested that all meetings and conferences use only one language and dispose of all translators and interpreters. The Senegalese delegate asked for the floor and said: 'I totally agree with my colleague from the United States and suggest that from now on, all meetings and conferences be held in French'. You couldn't hear a pin drop cause the whole room burst out in laughter.

Anonymous said...

Wow, there's always a good patriotic excuse for narcissistic ignorance. Bruce is right, 80% of the German army was destroyed on the East Front. I guess it's patriotic to be ignorant of history as well.

Anonymous said...

And the Frenchman looked at the American and replied:" If it hadn't been for the French during your tempter tantrum in 1776 & 1812, you'd srill be bitching about taxation without representation, quartering soldiers in your houses, and sailing ships called HMS whatever.

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