Tag Archives: code-switching

London in November – Bilingual communities in the city

London in November – still blessed with warm weather and proud of its charming parks with vast lawns of dark green grass covered in heaps of golden leaves. Winter season is fast approaching with festive decorations in the streets, Christmas traditional fairs and ice-skating rinks, where you can hear skaters talk in dozens of different languages. London has become a second home for many immigrants who, by starting their lives over in a new country, entered a totally new social network formed by the majority of ‘natives’ and minority communities, all of which live by certain rules, also rules governing their modes of communication. Continue reading London in November – Bilingual communities in the city

Where did my German go? – Language forgetting

Born native speaker of Polish, she started to learn English in elementary school. German followed in high school and she successfully passed her A-level exams in Polish, English and German. It seemed that her path was set for life, when she decided to continue her education at the faculty of Applied Linguistics, with specialization in foreign language teaching and translation studies of English and German. One could expect that after graduation she would end up either in rainy London or in the city hosting Oktober Fest, but alas! she marched south, getting herself a job in the capital of the ancient world – Rome. Continue reading Where did my German go? – Language forgetting

Topic for today’s discussion…

This is quite a common picture of my work day: I log on into the system and the calls start arriving. First, an engineer from Aberdeen requests a new flight booking to Luanda. Then, an Italian travel arranger from Florence calls to modify an existing trip for one of her passengers. She speaks English to me and Italian to her colleague at the other desk. I am checking the availability of the new itinerary and listening to their conversation at the same time. When I am done, I inform the travel arranger of the cost of the new flights and she discusses with me the remaining details. After a few minutes we both realize that we switched to Italian, quite unconsciously. We are a little embarrassed and amused at the same time and this will be the anecdote of the day for both of us. Continue reading Topic for today’s discussion…