The organisers of the London Olympics have confirmed they're to offer every person living rough on the streets of the capital, free language lessons ahead of the opening of the games in 2012.
Common tramp phrases like 'any spare change', '20p for a cup of tea' and 'spare a fag' will be translated onto laminated flash cards and issued to the homeless free of charge. The messages will also be printed on bottles of White Lightning cider, the official vagrant drink of the London Games.
"The idea is to make people from all over the world feel at home while in London." Marc Sangster from LOCOG told reporters. "We'll be translating those common phrases into French, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin, with the last two offered as a phonetic translation and as pictograms on the flash cards."
LOCOG admits it's an unusual step, and not one that's been tried before.
"Everyone goes on about the Sydney and Beijing Games, but to be honest those were very different. Sydney didn't have any homeless as they were all camped out in Earls Court, while China took the unusual step of shooting their tramps en mass. That solution couldn't work in London because we've not enough troops in the UK to do it."
And the offer of free language services for the homeless is going down well with leaders of the community.
"It's about time we were offered something other than tea and sympathy." Bob 'Mad Bob' Roberts said. "We've got an important role to play during 2012, as we'll be the unofficial face of London for the games and we'll be mixing with people from all over the world, telling them where to go, what to do and how they can help us with a cup of tea."