One of the special beauties of America is that it is the only country in the world where you are not advised to learn the language before entering. Before I ever set out for the United States, I asked a friend if I should study American. His answer was unequivocal. "On no account," he said. "The more English you sound, the more likely you are to be believed."

One of the special beauties of America is that it is the only country in the world where you are not advised to learn the language before entering. Before I ever set out for the United States, I asked a friend if I should study American. His answer was unequivocal.