You try hard. You want to learn the Local language of this wonderful new place you find yourself in. You love the place, you love the people, you love the sound of the language.
You passionately want to give it a go.
At night you sweat over the past simple and the irregular plurals and even swallow a vowel sound that your mouth and all your ancestors’ mouths have never produced in the history of vowels.
And then, one beautiful morning, you go out into the world and proudly say “I like peas” in Local.
And that is when, regardless of where the wonderful new place is and what Local sounds like, these 4 friends will always come out of the woodwork.
1. The Cold Ignorer
This guy will listen to your little peas confession, ignore it completely and loftily answer in his splendid American accented English. He doesn’t have the time or the inclination to listen to anybody butcher his language. He will not play your game. It is foolish and flawed and best ignored in the interest of real communication.
2. The Benevolent Pedagogue
Now this guy means business. He will listen to you with an expression of amused encouragement and then never let you go. He will drill you in how to say “peas” in Local until you are blue in the face and hate the little green buggers. The Pedagogue will demonstrate with gusto and then make you repeat and repeat until he can triumphantly exclaim: “Now do you hear the difference?” Of course I don’t, you secretly sob, while acknowledging out loud that you do indeed, and what sort of deaf fool could claim otherwise?
3. The Entertainment Seeker
The E Seeker finds you and your linguistic attempts hilarious. He will order you to speak Local at any opportunity and then fall off his chair laughing pea size tears. He will call his mother, he will call his mates, if he can he will arrange a TV crew to come and hear you speak Local. Fun fun fun.
4.The Gentle Liar
This guy knows you can’t speak his language. He sees right through your pathetic little efforts. But for some reason he wants you to believe you can. So he will mime ecstasy when you bring your peas into the conversation. He will swear he has never heard anybody sound so convincing since his grandfather last ordered peas in the local pub.
Let’s move on to Lesson 2. How do you like your peas, ladies and gentlemen?