Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Language Faux.......Whatever.


I just love this picture. It has nothing to do with the story.



My mom and I were on the phone laughing yesterday, because we were talking about various mistakes we have made when trying to speak another language. Sometimes, when trying to get out the right words, the wrong things come out. It's almost like our brain has a mind of it's own.....so to speak.

Mom tells about the time she went to Mexico, and was trying to buy something in the local market. In her effort to try to say a certain word, she resorted to sign language. It's not like she was fluent in sign language, but somewhere in her brain the message came in "other language" and sign language came out.

A few years after hearing that story, I had my own experience. I was in a market in China, trying to buy some vegetables, and Spanish came out. It's not like I knew Spanish. I never even took a class. But I did live in a small Texas town where there were many spanish speakers, so the few words I knew are the words that came out of my mouth when I was searching for a chinese word instead.

I would be willing to throw the possibility of genetics being an issue, but since living overseas I've heard of too many people in a similar circumstance. I think it's more about keeping us humble. We think we're doing great, we're being adventurous, trying new things, wait till our friends back home hear about this...then "BAM", we get a brain freeze, locals look at us like we're crazy, and we remember we're in a huge learning curve and we better settle down a bit.

Life learning. Isn't it grand?

3 comments:

Mike said...

Stacey, greetings from Springfield. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comments about Springfield. I look forward to your continued visits. If you have any questions or picture requests just let me know.

You have a nice blog. Hope all is well in Taiwan. I love this picture today.

Mike

Craver Vii said...

Nee-how, SeƱora.

It helps sometimes though, doesn’t it? Probably not between Spanish and Chinese, but using Spanish, there are a bunch of Latin-based languages that you could pull it off with… Portugese, Italian, French, even Romanian!

In the summer of ’05, I was at Osaka Castle in Japan. My ears perked up when I heard a Japanese couple speaking Spanish! They worked in Argentina, and the gentleman actually spent most of his life in South America, not knowing much Japanese. We had a fun conversation, as my American companions (they don’t speak Spanish) initially thought I was fluent in Japanese!

Stacy said...

Mike,
I'll take you up on the picture request in the Fall. I love Springfield in the Fall. James River is always a good choice. :) I don't want to put you out, though.

Craver,
It's fun the things you can do with another language. Our family has a lot of fun with it. Working at an international school has it's challenges in this way. In the staff alone, there is Spanish, Afrikaans, Chinese, English, then we deal with even more languages than that with the students. It's great fun, though. Great perspectives as well. I learn so much more from them than they do from me.