Monday, March 23, 2009

I wish I'd concentrated in school

I've never been very good at languages. Throughout school my French was peppered with Welsh whilst my Welsh was often confused completely with German. I stopped learning French when I was 16, Welsh ground to a halt when I was 17 and my German education terminated at the grand old age of 18 after it clashed with Physics and, aside from the exchange trips and trying to impress German girls, Physics was more fun. Since that time I've been to a number of different countries and each time I've pretended that I was fluent in the local language, my previous linguistic education coming in handy when applying rules to a new one. All this has created a strange mix of vocabularies and grammatical rules - I give compliments in French, greet people in either Welsh or Canglish*, ask politely for things in German, thank people in Lettish, swear in Italian and can sometimes be spotted in Ikea being a bit of a dick and correcting everybody on their pronunciation of the furniture. But I don't actually speak any of these languages and it's starting to bug me, so I pick up a 'teach-yourself' book and settle down for a couple of hours in the evening...

"Heike Graf kommt auch aus Dresden, nicht whar?" asks my teach-yourself German CD, my brain whirrs and clunks as an appropriate response is formed, "Nej, Heike Graf kommer til Salzburg" spills out of my mouth and my eyes scan around for the correct answer... Wrong! I had somehow replied in Swedish, damn my stupid brain. At least I'm safe in the knowledge that I know where Heike Graf is from, even if I can't tell anyone other than the Swedes. The frustration continues as I randomly throw in Swedish words and inflections as I read through the accompanying German book. After thirty minutes of pathetic translation and pronunciation (I sound like a cheesy German pornstar who's spent the last two years holidaying between Stockholm and Cardiff) I throw the book onto the table and out of sheer frustration shout "TESTA DI CAZZO!". The Italian in the room next to mine shouts back in a motherly manner "Curly! Mind your language!" It's not my language, I muse - and at this rate it never will be.

*Canadian English. eg.
Cool/Awesome = Cawesome
Proud but Guilty = Pruilty

Hello, how are you? = Whadduup!
So, is there anything interesting happening = 'sgoinaan?

I don't think that's right = That's fucking retarded dude.


At 6:08 pm, Blogger Clearlykels thought it was best to say...

Good on you for trying! I keep thinking that I need to pick up French again, alas it's at the end of my 'to do' list.


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