Thu, Mar 24, 2016 - Page 10 News List

A language in need Is a language indeed

Supporters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lie in London’s Trafalgar Square to raise awareness on World Vegan Day on November 1, 2014.

Photo: REUTERS/Paul Hackett
照片:路透社Paul Hackett攝

Julie is an attractive, confident woman at the peak of her career. Originally from London, the political and financial center of the UK, she now works in an information management company in Taipei.

One day she shared a story with Eason, another brilliant mind in the company, on the importance of languages.

“I used to attend protests and make speeches in London’s Trafalgar Square,” Julie said. “But one night, as I headed home after delivering a rather mediocre speech on taxation policy, I saw a man who appeared to be arguing with a police officer.

“So I approached them and tried to find out what was going on. It turned out that they were not arguing, as the man obviously could not speak a word of English. The officer, who spoke only English, was at a loss.

“Fortunately, I am multilingual, and I felt compelled to offer some help, so I began speaking in French. However, it was as if I had spoken Greek to him, which I absolutely could not have done even if I had wanted to. So I tried German instead, and failed miserably. Then I decided that maybe Spanish could be the solution. Sadly, it wasn’t, and neither was Italian. Everybody was frustrated.

“Before I gave up, it occurred to me that maybe I should try the language that I was least capable of speaking — Russian. After I uttered a couple of Russian words, without even finishing a sentence, the man responded with joyful tears in his eyes. It turned out that he was Polish, traveling in London that night with some Polish friends, who were going to take him to see another Polish friend, but somehow they got separated in Trafalgar Square. So he tried to get the police to help him, which the policeman failed to do, and then I showed up.


1. mediocre adj.

差強人意(cha1 qiang2 ren2 yi4)

例: What do you mean that I am a mediocre lover?


2. at a loss phr.

不知所措(bu4 zhi1 suo3 cuo4)

例: After they had a terrible fight, he was completely at a loss.


3. companion n.

同伴;夥伴 (tong2 ban4; huo3 ban4)

例: “Do you think that it’s our destiny to be each other’s best companion?”


“Although the Polish man’s Russian was also far from fluent, we understood each other well enough for me to help him find his companions.”

“Fantastic story, Julie,” said Eason. “But please, one more time. And this time in Russian.”


(Written by Ethan Zhan)











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