Look At All Those Estony Faces

, , , | Learning | November 12, 2019

(I’m attending a crash course along with twenty other people. The lecturer starts off by asking each of us to tell others a bit about ourselves. The course is in Latvian, the only official language of Latvia, but about a third of attendees are of Russian-speaking minority. This minority is infamous for expecting to be able to converse in Russian everywhere, although these particular people, obviously, must understand Latvian language well enough. Still…)

Lecturer: “I think we’ll allow everyone to introduce themselves in their native language; does everyone agree?”

(People nod and make agreeing noises, but I prick up my ears. When my turn comes, several minutes after the previous non-Latvian speaker…)

Me: “May I speak in my native language, too?”

Everybody: *nodding toward me in a friendly way* “Yes, of course!”

Me: “But… do you all understand Estonian, then?”

Everybody: “Hahaha, no! You will need to translate your introduction for us afterward.”

(So much for equality.)

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