european character written by an american: "You don't have to speak my language, my English is pretty good because I studied in the UK or America for a year."
actual europeans: "Most of us get taught English from an early age and speak it close to fluently from like age 12."
I'm subtooting a BPRD comic -- Kate, Liz, Abe, and Johann have landed in a small town "just outside of Munich, Germany," and Johann is talking in his native German to a local inspector, who says the first line from my first tweet, Liz indicating that she's impressed.
Literally every 10-year old "just outside of Munich" would be able to follow the English-language conversation that follows.
@Alexis Spoorwegteken colonialism.
@Alexis It's true, the only reason Americans go abroad is to learn English.
@Alexis Pet theory: lots of Americans, when going abroad, mostly interact with other expats and cosmopolitan Europeans and so this sense forms that that's the kind people who speak English. And not just, y'know, the entire damn country.
Shoutout to France for trying to resist this reality for as long as they could manage, even if they were often shitty about it.
I could speak English before I started school, thanks to computers, TV, and many other things. I'm from a tiny town in northern Scandinavia and I was not able to travel anywhere until much later. It's hard not to soak it up as a kid, when things aren't dubbed or translated.
But also I'm currently having a hard time in Germany, since very few people I need to interact with speak (or are willing to speak) English.
@Alexis meanwhile, i don’t think we know anyone in person who was born in the us who does.
american exceptionalism really fuckin sucks, because all the ways in which this country is exceptional are ways in which no one should ever want to be. it’s especially fucked up to us bc we come from mississippi, which is to most other us states as the us is to most of the rest of the world
@alexis I think some of my American friends speak various levels of Spanish, and some speak some basic German or Korean or French etc. because of grandparents/parents, that kind of thing? I'm pretty sure I don't know any fluently trilingual Americans.
I feel like Americans tend to have a Reason for speaking extra languages, whereas Europeans tend to kinda have to for practical reasons -- e.g., Americans tend to learn languages for going on vacation, or connecting with someone, for work, etc.
@Alexis My non-American friends generally speak English better than I do and I have an (American) degree in English <.<
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