Our cleaner, A, is from Latvia. The other day he commented on how well herself spoke French. “We used to live in Belgium,” I explained. “How many languages do you speak?” I asked. “Russian and Latvian; I studied German at university but I have nearly forgotten it all now.”
The OECD economic survey of Ireland in 2008 found that “[m]ost migrants are young, well educated and work, but are often in basic jobs.” They’re not kidding.
A Polish Scout I was on camp with (World Moot Mexico 2000) pointed out that for Eastern Europeans of a certain age being taught Russian was compulsory. He seemed to feel that the Russian he spoke didn’t count – he learned English and Spanish because he wanted to.
In Latvia now, I think it’s the other way round, ethnic Russians have to speak Latvian. I got this impression from the Latvian students who are joining our orienteering club.
Mmm, yes, I got the impression that he felt Russian speakers were a bit oppressed.