Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lingua Georgica

Look, I don't want to be all, "Oooh, I studied abroad for a semester and I seem to be forgetting my English," but, well, I seem to be forgetting my English.

In Kitchen Confidential [thanks for the rec, Sarah!], Anthony Bourdain describes something similar to what I'm getting at. He spends his life surrounded by Spanish-speaking kitchen staff, and in order to communicate in the most efficient and effective matter, he simply speaks English to them the way that they do. "Knife! Is for me!", for example, is how he says "Give me the knife" and so on.

You really don't have to travel to experience this phenomenon. Anybody who's had to copyedit a text written by a non-native speaker, for example, knows this well.

But still, it's a bit embarassing when you stop noticing it. In the run-up to Thanksgiving, I said to my friend C: "I don't have pie pan. Do you have?" Now, she didn't even notice. Somebody else had to point out that I was talking like an imbecile, and today she said to me, "You should go up there. There is big view of Tbilisi." And John is always talking about what somebody gifted him for his birthday and now I'm editing a proposal written by Georgians and I have to scratch my head because, really, it's all starting to sound perfectly fine to me.

Just, ssshhh, don't tell the Grammar Police...


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