By Lawrence Parmenter
Last night I went out with a girl who can barely speak English.
She’s from Turkey and over here studying.
I saw her textbook.
“Pre-intermediate”… Pre-intermediate? Isn’t that beginner? Yeah.
Why are they using such complex language on this textbook for people whose first language isn’t English?
Are they trying to spare their feelings? Hmm…
At school I remember French classes were mostly about what’s in your pencil case and the direction to the beach, if that was the limit of her vocabulary, how difficult would it be to convince her to come home with me?
I’m sure some of you are considering my motives for this and I won’t shy away from them – but the copywriter in me really was excited about the prospect of delivering a message with absolute clarity, using appropriate understandable vocabulary, and hopefully changing her behaviour.
“What music do you like?” I asked. I thought this was an easy one.
She shrugged and checked Google translate on her phone.
“Turkish music.” Was her eventual response.
“Oh. I’ve never heard any of that. What’s it like?”
“Turkish. It’s Turkish.”
A few moments of silence while I tried to think of other deep, meaningful, conversational topics we could cover.
“Do you… Enjoy learning English?”
To be honest… I think I’m doing a disservice in my depiction of her.
These are what my conversations with girls who are fluent in English are like as well. Only normally I haven’t got them sat down opposite me in a pub. They’re on the bus and they’d rather I didn’t disturb them.
Maybe it’s not just about the words, they’ll always shoot down the words – but about finding a relevant abruption so that I can find them at just that right desperate moment when they need my product to answer their problem.
Yep. Maybe that’s it.