Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Foreign Language

“The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’”  Genesis 11:6-7

Okay, so my husband is Russian, but I took a lot of Spanish in school.  In fact, I almost came out of college with a minor in it.  But I think I would have had to take one more semester and it didn’t really seem worth going to school any longer for.  What good would it have done me anyway, since I married the Russian? 

Anyway, in college I had had so much Spanish that I had to give presentations in front of the class in Español.  I was always self-conscious when speaking Spanish because of my accent – read, hick from Oklahoma – and felt kind of like Sean Penn’s character on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  “Dude… Cómo está usted?” 

We had a lady in my class from El Salvador, whom I asked if she could even understand me, and she said yes, but maybe she was just being nice.  Oh, and my college Spanish classes were taught by a Cuban who’d gone to school in Russia and married a Russian lady and spoke Spanish, English, and Russian.  Fate, I tell you! 

So, I am the authority on Spanish in my household, even though I don’t speak it, read it, write it, or even understand it anymore. 

Here was the conversation at breakfast this morning:

9YO: “What does español mean?”

Me: “It means Spanish.”

9YO: “No, what does it MEAN?”

Me:  “It means Spanish in Spanish.”

9YO: “That’s not what I MEAN!  What does español mean?”

Me:  “Español is the Spanish word for Spanish.”

9YO: “So what does it mean?”

Me: “It means SPANISH!  It is the Spanish word for Spanish!”

9YO:  “So how do you say English?”

Me: “Inglés.”

9YO: “Ohhhhhhhh!!!  Now I get it.”

And to think that conversations like this would have never existed if the tower of Babel had never been attempted!  What would the world be like if we all understood each other?  Who would we assume was talking about us just because we don’t understand what they are saying?  What word would I use for “You got me?” besides capisci to sound like a mobster mother? 

Thank God for differences, and children, and laughter, and entertainment that stems from us all trying to understand each other for thousands and thousands of years! 


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