Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wie sacht man...?

I work for a large international company with locations in several different countries. Most of the international employees can speak multiple languages with English being one of them. I also have some bilingual cube neighbors near-by who occasionally grace the office space with conversations in other languages. I, like most Americans, can only speak one language. Sadly, and this is the really sad part, I can only speak the second language I learned. Yep, English is a second language for me. My first language was Korean, and I spoke it for the first five years of my life. Now, I can only say a few phrases.

The tragedy of this was illustrated to me when we were in Vancouver and went to a Korean restaurant. We walked in, I said "Hello" in Korean, and the hostess began to continue talking to me in Korean (because I look the part) and I had no idea what she said. I think the blank look on my face gave me away because she started speaking English after a brief pause. That's when I realized just how sad my inabiliy to communicate in my native tongue really is. I never appreciated it growing up and I never asked my mom to speak to me in Korean. Now that I don't have her anymore, I can't rely on her to teach me or Little Clover. It's my responsibility and I owe it to my mom and to Little Clover. My days of being a monolinguist will come to an end! Especially since I've now kinda proclaimed. I better start learning. Wie sacht man "To the language lab" auf Korean?

1 comment:

Nana Clover said...

You are so amazing! I so admire your courage and your energy!!