Friday, January 24, 2014

Speaking a Second Language

There's no better way to learn about a culture and its people than to learn their language.  Their fay-to-day colloquial language - not that formal from a textbook stuff.  Of course we here in the U.S.A. g=have turned that into a political football thanks to the immigration issue. When I was in school learning Spanish was considered a good thing - now many folks consider it a travesty to learn the language of our large neighbor to the south. Me? I know enough Spanish for the important stuff - Mas cerveza por favor.  Mas tacos por favor.  You see where I'm going, I'm sure.

My friends and I took German in high school and I took an additional 2 years in college.  At one point I was quite fluent and thanks to a couple of German brothers at the McDonalds where I worked at the time I could cuss you out fluently as well as tell you to perform a physically impossible act upon your self  - good old Merle.

The latter doesn't seem to translate quite as well as the former - Komm gibt mir deine hand - Come give to me your hand isn't quite the same as I want to hold your hand - LOL - but these were both classy shout outs to the land where the Beatles spent their early career playing dive bars and the like.

Some songs need no translation to get thir meaning across -

Then there's my all-time favorite foreign language song - one that had everyone I know humming and singing along even though for all we knew it could have been about bean sprouts and fish eggs.  It just sounded - and still does sound - wonderful.  In fact it is one of my all time favorite tunes - I'ma big melody guy.

I am also in the camp that the same language can be made new in different environments.  Who can deny the difference in English between  Canada, the US and UK.  In fact American English has many varieties - as do the other 2. Cuban Spanish is quite different sounding friom Mexican Spanish.   I suppose one's definition of a second language may need a bit of specificity attached to it.

Whatever your definition, I think learning a second language is a good thing and whenever possible something we should take advantage of.


  1. See, ya gotta use the second language for it to be beneficial S.S (Santa Shackman). Me, I have enough trouble with English.
    blessings ~ maxi

  2. You never mentioned good or bad! * runs out of arms reach!*

  3. I also took spanish in high school, and I think if I ever moved to a latino country I could learn quickly. Lately I've been interested in learning German, but I think I need to take a class.

  4. In India it is a matter of survival to learn more than one or two languages. And I am surprised that you have not come across any of India's famous music! Or for that matter some of the older stuff like

    1. But Frank sings in English - I used real foreign language examples. I have listened to a fair amount of Indian stuff. I'm also not a huge fan of dubbed movies except maybe GoHdzilla, Rodan and the like. For example I loved the sub-titled Das Boot and hated the dubbed English version.