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Illustration: Communication, Understanding

A woman was visiting a relative who was stationed in Germany. She assumed that most Germans would speak English, but found that many people spoke only their native tongue—including the ticket inspector on the train. He punched her ticket, then chatted cordially for a bit, making gestures like a windmill. She simply nodded from time to time to show him that she was interested. When he had gone, an American soldier in the compartment leaned forward and asked if she spoke German. The woman confessed she did not.

"Then that explains why you didn't bat an eyelid when he told you that you were on the wrong train."