Monday, May 25, 2009

The Proper Choosing of Language

The best part of floundering in a new language is the absolute thought, care and devotion dedicated to the choosing each world. Each "please" and "thank you" is a bridge between two worlds and the look of comprehension in the recipients eyes when the right tense is combined with the right verb is like the giving of no other gift.

Tonight we met Danny and Angela, siblings from Boston, who slip easily from Spanish to English with a mere flicker of thought. At one point, I asked Angela the best way to say "I would like" when ordering - knowing one could say "Quiero," "Pido", "Me gustaria" and so many other choices. (Imagine: in English... I'd like, Can I have, Bring me, Yea I want the... Gimmeah....). Her answer, "Deseo", was not one I had considered and my joy at using just the right word in the future is just so tangibly unique to any other experience.

What a strange and separate world it is to know just a sliver of a language. Enough to "act as if", but when the waterfall of worlds tumble out in response I back away, hands up, pleading "Mas Despacio!" And then as if the water was not cold enough the first time, I plunge back in.

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