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View Diary: How many Languages do you know? (129 comments)

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  •  What counts here? (7+ / 0-)

    As a preteen I was a whiz at Pig Latin. Really, we spoke it so quickly that adults couldn't follow.

    And if we can count genetics... hey my dad can read a dozen languages and speak fluently in half of those.  He is from Italy and was a professor in Italian for decades. I didn't live with him.

    Still...
    I can swear in Italian. Thanks Grandma! She taught me at my request when I was an adult. I wanted to be able to swear and not have people know it.
    She had a great time. She kept kicking grandpa out of the room and she giggled and laughed and blushed as she taught. There was one sahe would not even define for me...
    Well later that week I found my son had gone to a birthday party after some wisdom teeth extractions when he was told to lay around for a day. I went into that room of junior high boys and said he had to come home. He said he was fine.
    I used the really bad word. A couple of kids I didn't know burst into laughter, one fell of his chair laughing.
    "Italian?" I asked them.
    No, they were visitors from Spain. Now I didn't know what it meant and I told them not to tell me, I could tell Grandma was right. It was bad. They kept laughing, proclaimed it one of the best parts of the visit so far.
    The moral here is if an Italian Grandma teaches you swear words she won't interpret for you do not say them around dark haired kids you don't know yet.

    I can also say "Come here and give me a kiss honey" in Vietnamese, courtesy of a returned soldier.

    I can count and say niceties in Spanish, sing some French songs and Latin prayers, a few Yiddish words, fewer in Russian.

    So let me add that up. How many languages do I know besides English?
    None. Ninguno. Nessuno.

    My son made a class trip to Germany and the class mostly got by because Germans spoke English.
    When the German kids visited us it was different. They had started in elementary school. The kid who stayed with us had his first dream in English his 2nd night here.
    Starting early makes it easy, natural.

    But hey, we're American by golly. We don't need to communicate.

    •  That bit with your grandma's swearing lessons... (4+ / 0-)

      ...and your use with the Spanish visitors is the funniest thing I have heard all week.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:13:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cruise Missiles, Drones and Money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BFSkinner, RiveroftheWest

      They all talk, and the US uses all of them frequently.  Understood Everywhere!!

      Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

      by mbayrob on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:26:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Was the bad word "Footata", by any chance? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, BFSkinner, Aunt Pat

      It means "F--- You".

      Learned it from my aunt - it's a vulgarism in South Italian dialect.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:46:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was more like (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BFSkinner, RiveroftheWest

        va fangool, pardon the spelling and the language

        I did find out later what it means, sort of,
        which is a directive to go f#@# an ass  or go f#$% yourself, depending on which person I believe.

        I should go ask those kids, they sure seemed to know.

        •  Some people say you only know a language when (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joynow, RiveroftheWest

          you can swear in it. :-D

          On that subject, some of the linguistics experts in Sindarin have constructed "swear words" from the roots of the vocabulary Tolkien developed. (Naturally, he didn't think of any such thing himself - he had enough trouble remembering what his Orcs were supposed to be saying.)

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 05:09:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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