Monday, March 6, 2017

2017 SOLC Day 6: Speaking in tongues

My mother, born and raised in California, took Spanish in high school.  When we lived in Naples, Italy, she told me it was easier for her to pick up bits of Italian because it was similar to Spanish.  She learned enough of the language to navigate "on the economy" as we said back then (meaning away from the military base), and to barter with the vendors for produce, yarn, and clothing.

When we lived in Bangkok, I believe she learned a bit of Thai, too.  The same can be said for German during our Stuttgart years.  I think one reason is that she was determined not to be the "ugly American" who expected everyone around the globe to speak English.  The other reason is that my mother loved to shop.

I inherited the shopping gene, to the detriment of my finances.  The retention of language, not so much, despite French and Spanish lessons.  I can do a fairly decent job of reading aloud Spanish, Italian, German, and French; the sounds must have stayed with me.  Beyond understanding a handful of words in each, though, I am woefully not multilingual.  

My daughter, on the other hand, took Spanish in high school at my insistence, since we live in Texas.  In college, her love of Asian culture led to a minor in Japanese.  She became fairly fluent, a skill that serves her well as she lives and works there today.

I guess speaking in tongues skips generations.


  1. I feel the same way about speaking foreign languages. Despite many years of instruction, it just never really stuck with me. I appreciate languages, and I try to learn a bit whenever I travel. It seems like you also have an appreciation for them to have passed that on to your daughter.

    1. It's on my retirement list of things to do--try, try again to learn another language! I'm just glad my daughter has a better aptitude than I do!

  2. As you know our house in Germany was across the street from a bakery. Your Mother would shop there. One morning the Grandmother was manning the shop. When your Mom pointed to what she wanted and then held up her fingers to tell her how many, the Grandmother got what she wanted and then wrote down the price. AS your Mom was leaving Grandma yelled, "Learner German". Shortly thereafter, we took two "Conversational German" classes, basic & advanced. Then one day your Mom goes into the bakery, Grandma was there and in perfect German she said, "Good Morning. How are you today?" Grandma was shocked, then her face lit up with a smile and she hugged your Mom. Good memories. Love Ya, Dad.

  3. While the speaking in tongues may have skipped a generation, the writing flowed freely between Dad & daughter. Write On, Dad!