When stationed in Germany, I had the opportunity to visit several other countries. I had learned German in college, so I could practice and get along in most things I wanted to do there. With the exception of England, I knew little or nothing of the languages of France, Italy, or Belgium. Neither did I have any expectation that they should learn English simply to accomodate me. It was nice if they did if I was having difficulty, but my expectations were low. As a Military Police Station Commander, part of my job was to conitnue good relations with the local German police. One particular police chief was nearly impossible to understand, so I talked with his deputy who spoke good (British) English. He explained that the chief did speak with a different rhythm and dialect and was a little more difficult to understand. Still, the problem was not his, but mine.

We can do nice things for people who come to our country to accomodate them, especially if they come here to do business or missionary work. Yet, I feel no pressure or responsibility to learn every language of every people group who I may meet. It would be courteous to do so, but being required is not helping them to learn anything about us.

It may seem heartless to some, but I would have expected to learn German extensively if I had decided to remain there for longer or permanently. This is not incorrect (politically or otherwise) but an invitation to welcome them into our country where we speak English.


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