The other day I was discussing with an American lady the concept of bridge languages, where people who don´t necessarily know the language of the person they are speaking to, but can communicate via a third language. Often people use English but sometimes there is a better option. Here is a story my friend told me of using French between an English-speaker and an Italian-speaker. She said:
″speaking of “bridge languages” you remind me of a time I was backpacking/hiking in Corsica, and in a tent a few feet away someone was snoring like crazy. Not knowing what language the guy spoke, I called out in pleading, American-accented French: “s’il vous plaît, monsieur, je ne peux pas dormir!” “Please sir, I can’t sleep!” Lots of giggles and a few loud laughs came from all around in other tents, and I knew I wasn’t alone. Snoring is hard for anyone! His friend (in Italian) got him to roll over. ″
These are a few times that I have found a bridge langauge useful:
Discussing lawn mowers:
- Speaking French to a man from Portugal, in England
- Speaking French to a man from Italy, in France
Discussing all sorts of things at work, in a shed, weeding and labelling perennial plants in Germany:
- Speaking French to a man from Congo (French is widely used in Africa).
- Speaking German to a lady from Thailand and a lady from Morocco
… and there are more examples, but you get the picture.
Have you any examples? I would like to hear about them.