Thursday, May 24, 2012

Language notes part 7: A strange moment

Just a quick note, in the midst of finals. I had a odd language moment the other day, courtesy of Joe, my visiting cousins E. and S. (more on their visit later), and the fact that the four of us ran into one of my Swedish teachers from last term, at random, on the street.

Teacher T. (she of the 'we have nothing better to do in Sweden other than compare our hands' incident) and I saw each other and I said hello, then I started to introduce people... in Swedish, because that's all I've ever used when speaking to T... Joe and E. and S. stared at me... And then I suddenly realized that I should speak English, but wait, I had never heard T. speak English, and oh my gosh, what do I do now? What language should I speak? Using English just felt wrong, like it would be cheating or something, and I became briefly (but truly) tongue tied. I think this sort of thing has happened to T. before though, and thankfully she quickly took over and introduced herself to all (of course she speaks English, better than I do probably, don't be silly).

We all talked briefly about Uppsala and the weather, but I found myself switching back to Swedish when talking to T. I don't think I was intentionally showing off — in retrospect I suppose one who is studying something obscure (like Swedish) is glad to when an opportunity comes along to display one's knowledge, however imperfect.

(Quick, someone ask Joe about separation logic.)

Anyway, learning and using a foreign language certainly has its odd moments. I guess I expected it to be more like history or something fact-based — you study it, and then you know more about it, and that's nice. I've never studied/learned something that results in moments of pure disorientation...

1 comment:

  1. interesting! i like the disorientation, though certainly not comfortable in the moment.