Clea Saal wrote:
> [...] Now, I've been following the news, and there was one
> bit of news that I found disturbing, [...] at least one of
> them a passanger apparently refers to what the hijackers
> were saying... if these were even connected to a group in
> the Middle East [...], it would not make one lick of sense
> for them to be discussing their plans, in English, in
> front of the passangers. [...]

I apologize for having started this series of OT discussions. I will
consider only the part of Clea's message that deals with languages, in the
hope of steering the discussion back to something connected with writing

The area called "Middle East" does not include only Arabic-speaking
countries: e.g., Israel, Turkey, and Iran speak different languages.
Probably, a journalist's definition of "Middle East" would also include
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several former Soviet republics, where a plethora
of different languages are in use.

On the other hand, English is the de facto world-wide vehicular language,
and it is commonly used by people from all around the world (including the
Middle East and Central Asia) when no other common languages are available.

If you hear two or more people talking in English to each other, not
necessarily one of them is a native English speaker.

Locally, the same can be true for many other languages: a conversation in
Russian in a former Soviet country does not necessarily involve a native
Russian speaker. In Greece, where many people are fluent in Italian, I have
heard with my ears a Briton and a Greek dealing in Italian about the rental
of an apartment.

_ Marco