Over on the east coast (where I’m based) it’s easy to forget that Spanish is the second most used language in the United States. According to Wikipedia it’s spoken at home by more than 35.5 million people aged 5 or older.
So I was tickled by this video of Tom Hanks delivering the weather forecast on a Spanish TV channel. Lots of ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) features are evident here:
- if you don’t understand, keep smiling and hope you’ll catch on later ( ‘letting it pass’ is the term coined by Alan Firth – see more on that here)
- people will speak slowly to accommodate (It’s just good manners. Ettiquette may vary in all sorts of ways across cultures but it’s the human condition to want to help)
- on a similar point – look at all the code switching that’s going on here. Hey Tom, we don’t care if you answer us in whatever language you can cope with and think is going to be most comprehensible and express your thoughts best. We’ll adapt.
- a lot of shared understanding transcends language and derives from modern culture (e.g. we all know that newscasters performing in front of a greenscreen can’t actually see what region on a map they are pointing to)
Hope you enjoyed it too. If so, let me know with a thumbs up or comment. I’d love to know what mainland Spanish speakers might think of this too.