I love it.

According to this article on SkyNews, "Britons are the rudest, meanest, most linguistically incompetent and least adventurous holidaymakers in the world, according to the results of a survey." And "Britons were judged to be the rudest, followed by Russians and Canadians." and at the end, "The top three nations were Germany, America and Japan, while the worst was Britain, followed by Ireland and Israel."

Being here in Spain and speaking English I run into - or at least HEAR - quite a few Brits, Irish and Canadians and I can tell you from personal experience that this article is more than true. I've been telling people this for years. What drives me most nuts is that these are the people who are the first to pipe up about "Ugly Americans" travelling abroad. Yet it's a complete myth. Every American who travels abroad nowadays is warned repeatedly in books, magazines, on television NOT to be the ugly American. So we pretty much aren't. (Well, there's 280 million of us, so there's bound to be an idiot in the bunch, but the majority of us behave). But the loud mouth, and normally tremendously drunk, English-speaking Europeans don't make any effort at all to blend. And the Canadians... they're like what the American stereotypes all talk about, but worse because they've got a chip on their shoulder because of their connection to Britain. Here's a hint for the Canadians: The Brits don't really consider themselves Europeans, so where did you ever get the idea that you're somehow more welcome here in Europe than anyone else? And look, just get get rid of the flags, alright? We get the idea already. You're not Americans. We know. Thank god.

The other thing about these other English speakers is that they don't GET the idea that other people don't speak "natural" English. They'll find someone here who speaks a little English and then they'll talk as fast as normal without thinking at all what comes out of their head. Here's the rules: When talking to a non-native speaker, speak slow (NOT LOUD) and you can't use phrases, expressions or any sort of multi-word verb. It's called "International English." Very simple sentences: Noun-verb-object. Got it? I think the Brits in particular think it's below them to speak so that others can understand them or something...

Living in another country, you get a more objective view of your own. Some good some bad. But in this instance it's good. An amazing thing about the U.S. that is pretty rare in the world is how incredibly diverse the country is and how we come from many places and speak many languages, Spanish being the most popular after English. The classic melting pot is really true - all you have to do is live in a more homogenous country like Spain to see it. And that culture means we're better with languages, which is great, for example if you're my sister-in-law with Mexican heritage who comes to Spain for a visit. A little Spanish goes a long way.

Personally, I was a monoglot and my Spanish STILL sucks after 2+ years here (you try picking up another language starting at 28 years old) but I'm doing okay. It's the effort that counts, really.


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