Monday, 23 August 2010
‘How do you know it is me?’ She laughs, and I tell her that I can always tell it is her, from the way she structures her sentences. That, and the favouritism.
‘Stop it now!’ my friend said to her daughter, ‘Or you get in a whole lot of trouble!’
‘Wow,’ my mother commented ‘I like this expression! You don’t come across phrases like that in language studying books!’
‘I hope not’, my friend laughed.
Mother likes to know why.
‘Why do you say ‘’I will pop over?’’
‘Don’t know. You just do.’ I say.
Yes, but when do you say pop in? How do I know when to say pop over, or pop in? Or is it pop up? Or is it pop down? When do you say pop up and when pop down?
And why do you say ‘Are you around today?’ A round what? Around where?
I thought it was children who ask why all the time, but nope. It is Azeri mothers trying to perfect their English.
Once in a movie, I heard what I thought was one of the best phrases related to speaking a foreign language. An old man said to Keanu Reeves: ‘ Just because I talk with an accent doesn't mean I think with an accent. ”
Because, when your language is not perfect, it is hard to express yourself. It is hard to sound intelligent when your vocabulary is limited and you occasionally come up with wrong expressions or words.
A long time ago, while on holiday in North Wales, we were in the car heading somewhere along the seaside, when my mother suddenly asked my father in law about ships.
'Where do ships go in winter?' She asked.
Father in law was confused. ‘Hmm...’he said. ‘Eh?’
‘What do you mean where do they go?’
‘Well, don’t they get cold in winter?’
You can only imagine what my in-laws must have thought of this strange Azeri woman who thinks ships made of steel could get cold in winter and need looking after. Of course, she was not asking about the ships but the sheep in the fields.
My in-laws laughed very hard once I explained what she actually meant. It was not that funny, really. They were just very excited to realize that she was not mad. It was laughter of relief. ‘Oh, she is not crazy!’ They thought ‘she is just foreign’.