Your Italian is worse than mine Mags and mine is abysmal at best. But we all know that English is the 'greenback' of the language world. If the Euro types want to converse with each other mostly they do so in English in the somewhat common situations where either hasn't a sufficient grasp of the other's language. Many of them are of course bilingual, trilingual or more and I greatly admire those who are. But anything better than a very basic competence in more than a couple of other EU languages is rare. I once was drawn in as an unwilling interpreter for two old blokes, a Pole and a Finn, trying to talk to each other in broken English. The Finn had no Polish and the Pole had no Finnish and neither could understand much of what the other was saying in English but i could get the general gist of each side, especially the Finn as he was my Father-in-Law so i was quite used to his accent and quaint pronunciation. They both had some Russian and German, but the Finn would sooner swallow poison than speak Russian and they both hated the Germans and anyway i couldn't really help unless they spoke English. They'd turn to me when a puzzled look was the only response from the other and i'd unwillingly do my best to put it in plain and carefully measured English, concerned that one might take some offence if i got it wrong. Both of them were well into their 70's but still built like brick houses and as strong as Mallee bulls. Their commonality was that both had been sailors who worked on tall-ships in their youth and they were swapping 'war-stories' from that time. Tales of climbing rigging to cut free a wildly-flapping torn sail using a razorsharp knife in a raging storm became the norm as the Vodka flowed [another thing in common] and their thick accents became more slurred. Hard to know what was fact and what was highly-embellished 'one-ups-man-ship' but i reckon all the jaw-dropping tales had at least some basis in truth, no 'workplace health and safety' laws in the good old days! Another thing they had firmly in common, both loved Australia. Apart from a few 'Whinging Poms' from the 1960's i don't know of any older post-war migrants from Europe who don't fiercely love this country. And why shouldn't they? They helped build it.
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