Saturday, April 08, 2006


Am I a Belgian?

I thought I was really getting to talk like a local. All I'd done was stopped my car on an Ile Rousse forecourt to get some diesel, and when I passed over my credit card with the usual pleasantries, the attendant looked at me keenly and said "You're Belgian aren't you?"

The day I was mistaken for a national of one French-speaking country by a resident of another was probably the height of my linguistic achievement. I'm afraid that like so many other Brits, I will never speak perfect French.

I do try. The main language spoken in Corsica is French, and although the Corsican language is taught in schools, is spoken in many of the villages and appears on signposts, French is the lingo you'll nead to get around with and make yourself understood.

The big concern for most first-time tourists is "Is my French good enough to get by in Corsica?"

There is less English spoken here than say Paris (or indeed Brussells) but in most restaurants and bars the staff will be able to understand a little English. However, as in so many other countries, learning a little of the language before you go - and using it when you get there - can pays dividends.

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