EDITOR’S Be aware: The columns of Monthly bill Duncan are remaining reprinted in The Information-Evaluation. Duncan, who died in November 2011, wrote a weekly column for The News-Evaluation and The Capital Push of Salem from 1981 to 2011. Duncan wrote the adhering to column in Oct 1992. His ideas are nevertheless pertinent to currently.
My spouse is bilingual. I am scarcely lingual in English, and have by no means mastered a second language despite official courses and her coaching.
There is an exception, she suggests. I do talk a language that is normally international to her. I only do this, she suggests, when I am drained and tiredness has an effect on my speech, triggering me to lapse into the Southern idioms of my beginning: When I attempt to say “dog,” it normally will come out “dawg” and “water” that usually arrives out “warter.”
She can discuss, publish, translate, interpret in Spanish and normally does so professionally. This bilingual status will become far more critical as Hispanics migrate in greater quantities to the Pacific Northwest.
She tells me I ought to seriously concentrate on discovering to talk Spanish. So aid me, I have tried, and whilst I can get by with phrases, I will have to confess my Anglo-Saxon Southern tongue is much too straight to speak Spanish. When I have attempted in all seriousness, I have identified myself in trouble.
Though on a newspaper assignment in Mexico City, I utilized my e book Spanish to question a resort deskman for a rubber band to band with each other rolls of movie. What he sent to my room is just one of those items people from my era did not talk about in community and the drug store hid underneath the counter.
I could be the only reporter in history who was reimbursed for one particular of individuals items on his price account and only for the reason that the small business supervisor at the paper I labored for could not talk Spanish possibly.
I was when on a crowded bus in a South American town and spoke in Spanish, hoping to clear the way so I could exit. The appears to be on the people’s faces and the way they moved as I spoke really should have tipped me off, but it took a bilingual fellow passenger to appropriate me. I was employing my ideal Spanish to politely say: “Excusado.”
“Señor,” stated the fellow traveler in English, “the right term is ‘Dispenseme.’ In saying ‘Excusado’ you are telling them you have to go to the lavatory.”
Given that I was certainly a gringo and with Montezuma’s revenge remaining what it is, you can very easily understand why these bus travellers looked so distressed when I spoke as I tapped them on the shoulder.
I even acquired into problems as soon as in Washington, D.C., trying to display off my know-how in Spanish. It was at a time when Cuban refugees had been flooding into the U.S.
Regardless of their status in Cuba, the refugees finished up using any occupation readily available, numerous as waiters. I was possessing dinner in a person of Washington’s high-priced bistros. The waiter was Cuban and naturally experienced acquired only adequate English to read the menu.
The man at the desk upcoming to me kept inquiring the waiter for butter. The waiter, whose title tag said he was Sergio, only smiled. I observed a Cuban Missile Crisis setting up up ideal there in our nation’s money and employed my Spanish to defuse it by saying to the waiter: “Suero, manteca, por favor?”
Within a handful of minutes the waiter was positioning right before me a big glass of buttermilk. I had slurred the name Sergio so that I had actually asked for buttermilk.
I experienced to drink it for the reason that there was no way I could reveal to him I meant to request for butter for the up coming table.
My wife is normally telling me that translations from Spanish to English and vice versa really do not often arrive out the exact same. I’m heading to let her study this column to make guaranteed I haven’t explained one thing that will get me in deeper issues, but if she begins to snicker at me, I’m going to notify her in Spanish “to go fly a kite!”
“!Vete a freir esparragos!”
Copies of Invoice Duncan’s reserve are however available from his wife, Ada Duncan, at 541-673-1073 as very well as at Whilst Away Textbooks in Roseburg.