Throughout all our moves, we’ve always been lucky that the posting was to an English speaking country. (Although navigating the intricacies of Singlish is a whole different story-lah.) I can only imagine how hard it must be to have to learn another language on top of all the other stuff you have to do for an international move, and I have great admiration for those people. Well, technically I guess I’m also one of those people if I count our original move from Germany to the U.S., but that feels like it was about a hundred years ago.
But learning a new language is what also makes an international move more fun, in the long run. Noisette might disagree, but I love the challenge of languages and how they help you better understand a culture. In fact, I am convinced you can only understand (and love) a culture if you speak the language. I love France and anything French, for instance, precisely because I speak the language (or did speak the language, also about a hundred years ago). People who don’t speak French don’t usually love the French, if we’re completely honest.
Also, if you’re a blogger, you get a lot more writing material if you throw language into the mix. I recently came across this story about how the mispronunciation of a single vowel made for a rather embarrassing admission.
Which brings me to the point of today’s story. I really thought, mistakenly it turns out, that I had South Africanisms down pat. In fact, I had written several blog posts about them, like From Babbalas to Yebo, We Will Give you a Tinkle, and “Just Now” or “Now Now”? (my favorite). Babbalas, by the way, means hangover, so you would think that if I know the word for that, I should also know what causes it.
But I didn’t. I was made aware, ever so politely, that the title of a blog post last week could be severely misconstrued. Instead of conveying how angry I am at South African bureaucracy by shouting I’m REALLY pissed!, capital letters and all, I apparently told the world (or, rather, the South African-English-speaking world) that I was very drunk. Oh well, there goes my reputation. Just make sure you take everything I say with a grain of salt. ~Hic!~