While wandering through The Rocks, I began by simply listening for languages. While I heard little snippets of many languages I couldn’t decipher, I believe I heard (besides English) Italian, German, Chinese, French, along with many I wasn’t sure of. While these languages were spoken, I heard no stall workers speaking any non-English to customers.
I began talking to a jeweler who has been working at the Rocks every weekend since ’08. She has begun to learn little snippets of languages in order to relate better to her customers. For example, she has learned the words “cute” and “sweet” in Korean. If she hears these, only then will she ask if they are from Korea. But if she doesn’t, she won’t ask for the fear of offending them. She explained the relationship between Korea and China similar to New Zealand and Australia- Kiwis would get offended being called Australian, while Aussies don’t care as much. She has also learned how to say “thank you”, “goodbye” and “have a nice day” in four or so languages.
When asked about the development of languages at the market, she explained that due to the location of the market, being in a prime trading area, she hasn’t found much change in the language use since she began. It has always been a large range of cultures all coming to see what the market has to offer.
Pictured below: not her stall, simply a picture of many of the stalls at The Rocks.