Monday, September 22, 2014

There will be no sex tomorrow...

I wrote that in German on my Facebook page.  My Italian friend, vicfar, made fun of my translation and said I needed to work on my prepositions.  There ain't no doubt.

I said, "Nah, I'd rather have sex."

He said, "Trust me.  You really need to work on your prepositions."

Then I wrote that we tried to speak German the other day while having lunch at a restaurant, but the waitress immediately answered in flawless, accent free English.  That happens a lot around here.  And then I reminded him that sometimes, not speaking the language can be a blessing.  Like, for instance, when Zane got loose and it took me about forty-five minutes to catch him.  As I was taking him home, some old guy stopped me and, based on his demeanor, seemed to be either chastising me or making fun of me for losing my dog.  

I wasn't all that interested in talking to that guy about my wayward beagle, so I said "Ich spreche kein Deutsch," and continued on my way.  I probably should have spoken Armenian to him.  Transliterated, that would be "Yes ch'yem khosum Germaneren."  Of course, I don't have an Armenian keyboard to write it using the Armenian alphabet...   But just for you curious folks reading this blog, this is what it would look like if I wrote that in Armenian.  "Ես չեմ խոսում գերմաներեն."  I wasn't as good at speaking Armenian as some of my colleagues were, but I got by...  One would think I could get by in Germany, too.  But even if I wanted to speak German, most folks seem to revert to English.  It's probably gotten that way in Armenia by now, too.

Incidentally, if I wanted to write "Thee will be no sex tomorrow." in Armenian, it would look like this  "Կլինեն ոչ sex վաղը".  I like how the word "sex" stays in English.  It reminds me of when I first moved to Armenia and got terrible diarrhea.  I was living with a host family and the "mom" was a doctor.  

She found me in my bedroom kind of doubled up with stomach cramps.  She asked me what was wrong.  My Armenian skills at that point had not progressed to the point of being able to explain it to her.  So I told her I was "sick".  Then I got up and ran to the toilet.  She handed me a Russian/English dictionary.  The word "diarrhea" was apparently too dirty for the Russian dictionary.  Frustrated, I handed the book back to her.  Then she got a bright idea and asked me if I had tampons.

I laughed and shook my head.  That was not why I was sick, although it is why "there will be no sex tomorrow."  I finally stood up and pantomimed stuff coming out of my ass.  It was then that host mom got a clue and started laughing.  She said, "Դուք ունեք լուծ եմ կպել."  Transliterated, it sounds something like "Du’ unes’ luts yem kpel."  The word "luts" (pronounced "loots") is very useful when you first get to Armenia, but apparently to the Russians, it's a dirty word.  I guess diarrhea literally is dirty, given what it is.  

She gave me green tea, which did absolutely nothing to stem the tide.  Fortunately, the next day, I went on a site visit and a colleague had some Pepto Bismol available.  That's what finally helped me get over my "luts".        

I am capable of learning different languages, but I think I've gotten to a point in my life at which if I don't have to, I won't.  Sometimes not knowing the language isn't a bad thing.  At least if someone insults or makes fun of me in German, I won't have to know what they are saying about me and it won't piss me off.  That has happened before here, too.  If I don't speak the language, it's a lot easier to ignore such rude behavior.

On the other hand, not knowing German makes getting to know the country harder.  So I've been trying to boost my language skills and I probably do need work on my prepositions and conjunctions...  I guess I'll spend some time on Duolingo today and see if I can't improve my German a bit.  Later today, we'll probably buy our plane tickets back to the US for Thanksgiving.  What fun.

2 comments:

  1. Fun post! I learn the basics, including numbers, in any country I live in. If you end up in Indonesia you'll find the language easy enough to pick up, even when you're in your 40s.

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    1. That's the weird thing about Duolingo. They don't teach you how to say your name or age or count first. It's all about food and clothes and shit. But I'm doing pretty well with German comprehension, even if I can't speak it worth a damn.

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