Thursday, July 17, 2014
Mamma, They Speak English Here
Here in Belgium Sidney attends a Belgian school where French immersion is the language of choice. Because the student body is as diverse as NATO itself, some kids already speak French but most speak their mother tongue and for most, that language isn't English. Even at the ripe age of four he has become adept at hearing a language and immediately identifying its national identity. And of course he is soaking up French faster than he did Albanian and loves to educate us on the proper way to say a variety of things in French. (And naturally it is always with the perfect accent). But despite his ear for languages, he is quick to inquire whether people will be speaking English in any particular situation and always seems pleased when we tell him they will.
So here we are back in America where English is the predominant language. He's told me some of it sounds funny (we're talking southern accents here so I can only imagine what he is going to say once we venture north into New England) but it is English none the less. "Mamma, they are speaking English" has become the refrain I've been hearing over and over again. And I must admit, it is kind of nice to not really have to think about what is being said to me. From dealing with store and hotel clerks to being able to effortlessly read street signs, this English thing is kind of nice. But at the same time it almost sounds foreign to me. In a good way, of course.