On the same subject, I've always been intrigued by the following passage from Patrick O'Brian (The Nutmeg of Consolation, Ch. 1):
Stephen said, "The Captain does not understand Malay, so you will forgive me if I speak to him in English."Given O'Brian's general erudition, I expect that he had some precedent for this passage. I'd love to learn what it might be. Though I can imagine how English might sound rather delicate and flitty to an ear accustomed to tonal, nasal speech.
"Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to hear the English language," said the young woman. "I am told it is very like that of birds."
HT: Rod Dreher.