Monday, October 12, 2009

Americans only speak English

We went out for dinner tonight to a local bar that has a good deal on beer and a burger so long as you eat before 5:30 p.m. It was a little early for dinner, but it was easier than cooking.

It was a family-friendly establishment with a kids menu, but still definitely a bar-ish kind of place. As we were waiting for our food to arrive, DS commented on how loud the group of people at the bar were. I said, "Well, that's because they're Americans and Americans are loud."
DS: "We're not loud!"
DH and AA: "Oh yes you are!"
DS: "Well mommy's not loud and she's half American."
DD: "Mommy's not American!"
DH: "Right, she's Almost American!"
AA: "Why am I not American?"
DD: "You were born in England."
DS: "But you've been to other countries and speak other languages."
AA: [to DD] "How about you sweetheart? Are you American or British?"
DS: "She's half Chinese."
AA and DH: "Huh?!!!"
DD: "No, I'm not!"
DS: "Yes, you are, you're learning to speak Chinese!"
AA: [to DS] "Well are you half Chinese then, 'cos you're learning Chinese too?"
DS: "Yes."
AA: "So if you speak another language you're not American?"
DS: "That's right!"
AA: "And if you speak English you're American?"
DS: "Yes."
AA: "Well they speak English in England don't they?"
DD: "No they don't. It's a different language. Cookies are biscuits over there."

At bedtime, DS was still insisting that real Americans don't speak other languages. Sadly, how right he is! I had an email conversation this week with someone (who should know better) who commented on my "impressive array of language learning experiences." I had only told her about my French and (not even really minimal) Chinese, and had not mentioned German and Spanish at all! Hmm - I'm thinking maybe the kids need Muzzy for Christmas!


Expat mum said...

Does my Latin O Level count?
Actually, the decibel level in my house is shocking. My kids can be standing right next to me and they're projecting like bloody Olivier! I know myself that I speak more loudly (grammer?) than I did when in England. An American friend recently asked me why all English women whisper!

Da Goof said...

In really unscientific analysis of people I work with, I can say that Hungarians talk really loudly on the phone, Serbians are loud all of the time, and the "americans" vary their volume proportionately with alcohol consumption.

sablonneuse said...

Oh I remember Muzzy. We had a copy at school for learning French. The kids loved the cartoon and the songs but they preferred it in English!

Anonymous said...

Today is ethical poorly, isn't it?

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