September 7th, 2008


Three meals, six languages

Just reflecting back on my recent travels: on Monday evening last week, I was in Slovenia, and went out for dinner with a journalist friend. We ordered the meal in a mixture of pointing to the Slovenian menu and my tourist-level Serbo-Croat - which is similar to Slovenian, but sufficiently distinct in various ways to easily qualify as a separate language. I skipped breakfast on Tuesday as I was coming back to Brussels, but met a couple of people for lunch at one of the cafes near my office. As is standard in that part of town, we ordered in French but there was a strong undercurrent of Italian to the conversation, especially when difficulties arose. Then in the evening, finally at home, I took Anne out for dinner to one of the local places. Since we live in Flanders, we ordered in Dutch. It became clear that the staff also spoke English, but by that point I had almost forgotten how to do that in a restaurant.

And it's German for the next two days.