CrazyWaiter’s Framework of Reference for Languages

There’s an Common European Framework of Reference for Languages which is very handy to evaluate your language skills. I made an own version of it. In fact the steps like I experience them are ‘Hello -> Order -> Information -> Complaint’, but I also applied the framework to our work so you can evaluate yourself and mention the level(s) on your CV.

A1 You can say the basic things, e.g. those which are written on the flap of a tourist guide (“I can interact in a simple way“)

A2 You can take an order and give information regarding topics outside your work (“I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities.“)

B1 You can handle a complaint, You can talk about what people have done that day (“I can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life”)

B2 People are starting to ask whether you have lived and worked for a while in that country (“I can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible“)

C1 You can express fluently (“I can express myself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.”)

C2 You shouldn’t be waiter but translator 🙂

By the way, I think they should have made two top levels of C2: An motherlanguage level and a scientific level. I think most of my collegues aren’t able to ‘write complex letters, reports or articles which present a case with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points’, while it’s their mother tongue and know most words, expressions and slang.

I had a dream… speaking 6 languages

When I came to my current workplace almost five years ago, I saw several maps in different languages. “What would it be cool to be able to understand and speak them all”, I thought- and wished by myself. I started with Dutch (mother tongue), English and a very basic knowledge of French and German.

Then I had to take orders in Spanish, so I started to learn that language. Later I got Italian friends, thus I wanted also be able to speak with them in their mothertongue. It’s still surprising how fast you get rapport with people -at work or in privatelife- when you speak their mother tongue.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. Nelson Mandela

I did it all with the colleagues, guests and of course my fantastic friends from all over Europe. They even started a Facebook group:”Also I have corrected the CrazyWaiter at least once in my life”.  I also used magazines, music and a lot internet resources. (start with of course!) I didn’t really work hard for it (in the sense that I closed myself in the library to learn lists of words) but it didn’t go automatically neither.

Today my manager handed me a little pinboard with four flags. (French isn’t given because everybody speaks it. And unfortunately they don’t have it for five languages – so my mother tongue is a separate pin ;)). A very tangible prove that my wish of 2006 has been fulfilled and yours will also become reality as long as you work hard for it and wish enough.  Hey, didn’t I work in a place where dreams come true?

International Hospitality Words

We all know that speaking the guests language is THE way to get rapport with him or her. Especially to make contact with the children it’s good to speak some words of their mothertongue. That’s why I’m started to learn the basics of several languages. I love to share my knowledge, thus I’m proud to present the

International Crazywaiter’s (&friends) HospitalityWords

Thanks to my lovely friends who added translations and proofread what I had, I can present my readers words to use in your restaurant in 9 languages. More languages and functionalities are to come quick! (follow us at Twitter of Facebook).

Puss och kram!

Last week I went to a big attraction parc with two women and a little lovely girl of four years from Finland. However, their mother tongue was Swedish. The girl could only speak Swedish so we had to communicate with hands, but the language barriere was very high so that made her shy. That made me so frustrated that my very very vague intention to learn Swedish has changed in a big desire to learn the basics to be able to communicate with her, collegues and guests. Remember: the easiest way (ahum…) to make rapport with somebody is to speak (a bit) of the others mother tongue!

For that I bought the  iPhone app Go Swedish. (I already had the free love-version) Here you learn the language with a girl with a very sweet voice. She has also put a lot of words on her videos at her Youtube-channel and of course she can be found at Twitter.

Thanks to this nameless Swedish(?) girl I didn’t need a lot of time to learn to count till ten! yay! Jag kan räkna till tio in Svenska nu!

BTW Another great basic tutorial can be found here. But without the cute voice of my Swedish friend! 🙂 (But I always like to use different methods at one time to learn a language)

Playing with accents

Today I was seater. I take the guest to the table and explain the buffet:”et voila, l’entrée, l’entrée, plat chaud, dessert“. She:”attendez monsieur je vais le traduire pour les autres… l’entrée l’entréé plat chaud dessert“. WTF!!!

Being a polyglot isn’t easy, you have to fight against your accent because they don’t understand you. French is a very sensitive language in this matter and the Frenchies in general aren’t the most patient people (in contrary to Italians for example). But even in my motherlanguage I have a kind of accent (“You speak it perfectly, but where do you come from”) so maybe it’s me. 🙂

But as CrazyWaiter you can also play and improvse with it to amuse your guests. Amy Walker is doing 21 accents. After the jump she explains how to do it.


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In fact Spasiba (‘thank you’) is the only Russian word I know for yet, but that’s going to change since I have a new lovely Latvian collegue who’ll teach me one russian word a day (I hope). Word of today was Kak dela (‘how are you’).

This video is very handy. Also because I predict that the Russian tourist market will grow very fast the next 10 years! (and so our clientele…)

(There is a version where the lady says the words  slower here)

Dasvidania ! (‘goodbye’)

Hablamos espagnol! (part 1)

Spanish people and especially their kids are Crazy Waiter’s Heaven. They are very open for interaction and very lively. But a condition is that you have to speak a bit Spanish. You don’t need a lot knowledge because we’re born improvisers of course 🙂

This video is made of the guest point of view, but it’s a good video to start with. Later I will post my standard phrases…