2010/11/06

Language of choice

I am thanking all the gods of the heavens and earth or where ever they might be that I am able to speak a second language. I am also praising the above mentioned gods, that the second language is only spoken in a small community in the southern tip of Africa...(okay, and in some parts of London as well), and that I am therefore reasonably assured of one pedantic, British citizen not understanding one word of it...

The die-hard supporters for the continued existence of Afrikaans would have made me their leader after today, well, maybe after a stern talking to about the liberal use of some Afrikaans words that should not be uttered in polite company.


For being on the receptive side of dismissive and sometimes abrupt conversations/answers/or raised eyebrows, I have explained in full Afrikaans detail what I thought about his eyebrows touching his hairline, thrown in a couple of two more eh...impolite words about the rest. I am meeting his sarcasm with my own sarcastic remarks; I have even resorted to counting to twenty in Afrikaans - something that I have not done in years.

The only problem is that one does not necessarily have to understand a language to understand what is being said. As hard as what I try to keep my tone even, the Afrikaans words are spat at him, very similar to bullets from a machine gun. I hear how my voice drops, how the words are encased in ice and I know that my tone project my little retorts so well, that I could just as well have said everything in English.  


To make matters worse, I do have a problem in restraining my hands to limit the gestures that go so well with the words and my tongue seems to click in disgust at him without any apparent control. I am not even sure whether it is worth mentioning that I am seriously having a battle with the concept to keep an expressionless face; I have glared at him, rolled my eyes, pulled my face and even stuck out my tongue (granted, that was when his back was turned)...

And Uncle Nick? All my outbursts, in Afrikaans and in English in a tone meant to wither and petrify, my gestures an expressive language in its own right, elicit nothing more than a maddening, frustrating and oh, so irritating patronising and amused look....

However, I do have this niggling feeling that the use of my native language is going to land me up in hot water sooner than later...


4 comments:

Kirsten Louisa Saoirse Ellison said...

Danke mevrou!

I don't speak Afrikaans, although I live within that community in London with many of your countrymen (and women).

But I assure you, confident of you pride in me, that I am fluent and quite so very persuasive in "those other words".

Totsiens.

barely.pink said...

Sarcasm transcends all language. :)

I suspect you are right and we will be reading soon about the temperature of the water you land in.

Hugs,

Pink

Raven Red said...

Kirsten

My fluency in those other words are frightening. I did not even know the extend of it, until yesterday..LOL

Hugs

Raven

Raven Red said...

Miss Pink

What can I say? I have made myself a promise that one day I will ask the Man upstairs, why He had thought it wise to dish out so royally the temper component, the inability to know when it is wise not to speak component, oh and the overdose in pouting abilities..

And the harder I try not to, the more it seems to come to the fore.

Raven
xx

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