Wednesday 1 July 2015

Bonne Fete

I was born in an English speaking country to English speaking parents and grew up in schools that taught the lessons in English. For the most part, my friends are English speakers. I would like to have more friends that are multi lingual, but if I did there would undoubtedly be a language barrier because I only speak English.

God knows that the Ontario school system did their best to teach me to speak the other official language of our country. Unfortunately, either because of a lack of intelligence or interest, I only managed to learn the very basics of French. I can say “Open the door, Open the window, Shut the door and shut the window.” I can say “My name is…” and I know that “rue” means street and “avenue” means avenue. I think this is where my problems learning French started, it seems that Mr. Webster stole words freely from other languages and used them sometimes like the foreign languages did and sometimes not.

I could never understand how a boot could be male or female. I understand that boots can be for males or females, but to me, boots are pretty much sexless. I don’t know where people with shoe fetishes fall in this discussion, but boots are just boots!

Sometimes verbs change depending on the sentence that they are used in. Who does that? Yes, the English language does it too, but I know English and I don’t know French. I suspect that if I were suddenly to be thrust into an all Franco speaking country I would manage to get by. Sure they would assume I was retarded at first when I walked into a restaurant and told them with a smile to “open the door, close the door, open the window and close the window…my name is Ken!” People are generally kind to the mentally challenged.

I am like a lot of English speakers, assuming that where ever I go in the world someone will be able to speak my language. More often than not, I am right. I do try to learn a few key phrases when I travel, but when I try to use them I will generally stop when I see the pained expression on their face. I’ve found that if I point to a pork chop and then to my open mouth they get the idea that I am hungry. They might assume I think I’m a pig, but I don’t think so, pigs don’t have wallets filled with money.

This coming Friday and for the ten days following we are hosting the Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth. That might be exaggeration, but a lot of people will be there, including those people from other countries that don’t speak English as a first language. We welcome everyone. You should come; the Canadian dollar is at a low point so basically all of Canada is 20% off. Such a good deal!

If you happen to go to one of the pancake breakfasts, just point at the pancakes and then at your open mouth, we will understand. We might even open and close the doors for you.

Oh yeah, today is Canada’s 148th birthday.


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