Re: Microsoft or Americans?
@Steve Davies 3..."speak almost perfect English but refuse to use it when Americans are around"...
We very quickly learned that on a student tour to Europe in 1980. For some reason Europeans take an Afrikaans accent to be American and then immediately become mono-lingual. The solution was to either chat to each other in Afrikaans (even the native English speakers) and then switch to English when addressing a local, or start off in Afrikaans and then switch to English. It was an eye-opener to how much friendlier people would be if they knew you were not an American (we attributed that attitude to an intense dislike of Americans, probably because of how they treated Europeans in their own countries after the war, or maybe because of their general superior attitude, but we were probably wrong. Generalising, I know, but that is how it is) and even the ones who genuinely could not speak or understand English would make an effort to try and communicate with you. If they took you for an American, that was it - no effort to help or try to understand.
..."because they don't even try to speak French". That applies to all cultures, in my experience. I have deliberately learned to greet people in their own language as far as I can (I can at least say "Hallo, how are you?" and "Goodbye" in a number of languages (isiXhosa, isiZulu, French (lots of migrants from French-speaking African countries like Burundi, DRC, Ivory Coast, et cetera), Tswana, Sotho, German, and so on. Not enough, though). Just that tiny show of recognition (as pitiful/inadequate as it is) makes a tremendous difference in how people perceive and treat you, as it shows a basic respect for that person and his/her culture. You have to be sincere, though.