The Jones family from London, England, arrive at their hotel in San Francisco, USA.
Hotel receptionist: Good morning, are you here to check in?
Mr Jones: Oh, I’m sorry, are you American?
Receptionist: Yes, I am Sir. How can I help you?
Mr Jones: Isn’t this a little bit embarrassing. The thing is, I’m not American and can’t speak American. Do you speak British English?
Receptionist: Now I wish my manager were here, Sir. He speaks British English. Sorry, I don’t. Do you want to check in?
Mr Jones: Yes, that’s right. We’ve just flown in from London, we’re a little tired and would like to go to our room as soon as possible.
Receptionist: Your room will be available in a moment, Sir.. London, isn’t that where everyone speaks British English?
Mr Jones: Indeed.
Receptionist: I’ve always wanted to go there, but I just don’t have the time to take British classes. How long do you think it would be for me to speak like you?
Mr Jones: Well, with a bit of effort, meeting people and having lessons, I’d say you should be conversational after about 6 months. What about us? We need to learn American.
Receptionist: Sir, first here’s your room key. It’s room five hundred twenty.
Mr Jones: Darling, did you catch that?
Mrs Jones: I know my numbers in American, I think she said five hundred AND twenty.
Mr Jones: Well spotted.
Receptionist: Second, for every British guest we have an American phrasebook. It helps you get by in restaurants, checking in to hotels, basic phrases and small talk. I think if you can use this during your stay you shouldn’t have a problem speaking with Americans.
Mr Jones: That’s a relief. I’ll study this tonight. Many thanks for your help, and sorry that you couldn’t understand us!
Receptionist: Not a problem Sir, you’re very welcome. Now if you could come this way, I’ll get our British porter to take you to your room. Have a nice day!
Mr Jones: Darling, what did she say?
Mrs Jones: I think that was a greeting. Just say ‘take care’ back to her.
Mr Jones: ‘Take care’?? How mad are these people..
Mrs Jones: Thank you very much – and have a nice day too!
A few moments later:
Receptionist: Just one second, Sir, Madam. Our British porter just called – he’s stuck in traffic. Instead, Bruce from Sydney will take your bags for you.
Mr Jones: Sydney?! Sorry, we don’t speak Australian at all.
Mrs Jones: That’s ok, darling. Maybe we can all use our American English phrasebooks. That way we’ll all get along fine.
Mr Jones: Splendid!
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