An anglophone who for years claimed he had mastered the local languages has been forced to admit that he can only really speak English after what one witness described as a “disastrous” telephone conversation with a hospital receptionist.
On Tuesday, teacher Alan Rooney, 47, attempted to make a medical appointment over the phone while several of his colleagues sat within earshot. Wishing to show off his linguistic prowess, Rooney initiated the conversation in Luxembourgish.
However, when the Luxembourgish receptionist couldn’t make sense of what Rooney was saying, he figured she might come from the north and that his Luxembourgish was actually too polished for her, so he repeated his request in German, or some version of it. The receptionist remained baffled.
“Well, okay, let’s do this in French,” Rooney said to himself, thinking that would be the easiest solution. However, when he tried to explain in French why he was calling, the receptionist took matters into her own hands. Without giving him a chance to resist, she said, “I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand you. What would you like?”
Publicly defeated, Rooney was then obliged to admit to his colleagues that he had deceived them — and himself.
“I do speak Spanish though,” he added as weak proof of his aptitude for learning languages. “I mean, I can get by ordering drinks and such.”
“And I really can count to 10 in Japanese,” he added. “I’ve been told my accent is very good.”