A few Itchy Feet comics


Civis Illustris
I just wanted to share some Itchy Feet comics I happened to come across again while looking at old files of mine from a couple years ago. I haven't checked the comic more recently since about then, but I wanted to mention these in particular.


I don't know about Thailand and South Korea, but that is definitely the general Chinese attitude towards language learners, and I wonder why that is? Obviously it's not true 100% of the time, but it is generally the case that the moment they see you can kind of handle yourself in Chinese, they get all excited about speaking to you in it and go full throttle at you as if you were completely fluent. Maybe they believe that by speaking normally (fast) in very idiomatic ways you can't understand, you will be fluent? It's never been clear to me why.

His comic about having an easier time practising French in Morocco than in France is also fascinating in its own way:


I'd say this is also true of the Chinese. If you want to practise Mandarin as a low-intermediate speaker, it's best to find someone whose mother tongue is actually Cantonese or, say, diaspora Hakka (like a Hakka dialect of Malaysia), who has learned good Mandarin. Native Mandarin speakers just can't control their language, in the sense of making their speech a little bit easier for a learner.

In contrast to the above, the comics about his experience with Germans and their insistence in practising their English are hilarious for the exact opposite reason.




The last comic has a comment I find pretty relatable:

"In Germany, they've usually let me speak in German. It might be because my ethnic background is Chinese and, based on my appearance, they probably don't expect me to speak English (actually my native language)."

I've heard many stories from Anglo-Canadians of making trips to Quebec, trying to speak French there, and meeting frowning faces and negative responses. But this is probably due to the relatively ongoing tension between Quebec and the rest of Canada. In my own experience, the Quebecois in general tend to react quite positively to my French, occasionally a bit too much. But then again, I speak French with a very noticeable Spanish accent, and I don't look much like a white Anglo-Canadian. Maybe the running assumption is that I'm an immigrant from Latin America who speaks better French than English, but as you know that's not the case.

I am also reminded of the experience Japanese learners often say they've had some of the time in Japan, even those who know it at an advanced level, in which some Japanese people have not wanted to bother speaking Japanese to a Western-looking person even though their English may be worse than the Westerners' Japanese, which Western tourists and residents often find puzzling. It's a very different attitude, practically the diametric opposite attitude, of the Chinese. Sometimes they even excuse themselves from having any interaction at all saying their English is not good enough, at which point the meme is that the Westerner says, in Japanese, "then why don't we speak Japanese instead?".
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