What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

28 September 2010

Language, Language

My last class of the day is Spanish literature (also my hardest class of the day, but those are the breaks). I'm already thinking in Spanish when I leave class, so I generally try to keep my thoughts going in Spanish until I get home and must use English with my husband (although he does do his best to take advantage of my Spanish education in a 2-for-1 kind of way).


So the other day, I got on the bus, pulled out a Spanish textbook and was concentrating pretty intently (I have to, in order to understand some of this stuff) and didn't really notice that the bus was filling up, until a woman with two little girls came and sat down next to me. There was space for the woman to sit with one of the girls on her lap, but the other one had to stand up and the nearest place for her to hold on was on the other side of the bus.

Now if I were on a bus with my small kids, I would want them within reach (especially when standing). And I can think of all sorts of reasons for this, not the least which would be to make sure they don't fall over when the bus stops and starts--kids are, on the whole, pretty easily distracted and might well forget to hang on.

No double-deckers in Austin, alas.
So, I stood up to give the girl my seat (we were pretty close to my stop, so this was not as much of a sacrifice as it may sound), and since I was already thinking in Spanish, I told her, "SiƩntate." The mum smiled at me and we went on, only for me to think to myself, "Dummy!" You see, it's not technically polite to assume that someone doesn't speak English. Since the mother smiled at me instead of scowling, I can only suppose that my guess was correct, but still... It would be nice for me not to be an insensitive jerk from time to time.

It gives a whole new meaning to "watching my language".

3 comments:

Mike and Lucy said...

Ha. ha. Funny! Have you been learning spanish only in school or did you live somewhere foreign? Spanish lit is SO hard to understand!
So, I didn't know you had a blog, or if I did, I had completely forgotten. Anyway, I'll have to drop in now from time to time to say hi. And read your funny blog!

Mike and Lucy said...

That was from me, Lucy. Apparently my hubby knew about it! :)

Su said...

Hi, Lucy. :) Most of my Spanish education has been at school, although I've had a succession of coworkers who have been happy to help with my understanding, and also happy to teach me what not to say. :/

I quite like most of the stuff we've studied, once I've understood it. I'm not sure that it counts as reading to have to have a dictionary open in front of me and stop at every other word, but hey, I'm getting there. The hard stuff is the figures of speech, since they don't really translate literally!