The Cult of Melinda

The gAyTM is closed! No gay rights, no gay $$$!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Language Skills Rock!

Since Stacey insists on mocking my French-speaking skills, I must defend myself.

What happened is this. In college, I met this guy from Morocco who had moved into the dorm room across from mine. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, so I told Stacey she should meet him. I was NOT thinking in terms of setting them up. Anyway, I was joking around and told him that Stacey was hot (in English). Apparently, the literal translation of that into French turned into "Stacey is horny." in his pervy head. He laughed and told me to leave the room. I thought he was joking around so I stepped out, but when I turned around, the door was closed and locked. Long story short, Stacey ended up dating the guy for a short while and he turned out to be a bit freaky.

Now, at this time, I had only had about 1 or 2 full semesters of French, so my skills were still a bit limited and I discovered a strange thing about my language abilities. For some reason, I carry my second language (Spanish) over when I learn new languages. So, instead of having an American accent, I speak with a Spanish accent and cadence in the new languages. I've done this with both French and Hebrew. I've managed to get rid of it for the most part after a lot more practice and the French speaking ladies have told me I have a lovely accent, very impressive for an American. (In fact, one French professor thanked me in the middle of an oral exam for proving that Americans can pronounce French correctly.) I do tend, however, to think it's funny to exaggerate the accent a bit when being a smart-ass, but my skills are just fine now. However, since someone made me paranoid about my speaking skills for a long time (ahem, Stacey), I didn't get as much conversational practice as I should have and so, I understand, read and write French much more fluently than I speak it.

Speaking of language skills, though, I have a kind of funny story. I was at a buffet restaurant with a coworker when two guys in suits walked in and stood behind us at the register. They started speaking in Hebrew. Now, although I pray in Hebrew, my grasp of the modern language is a bit limited. I could pick up enough to tell that they were speaking Hebrew but that's it. So, I turned to my coworker and noted how unusual it was to hear that particular language where we live. Suddenly, the guys stopped talking and walked out. Did I "bust" someone unintentionally? Mossad, maybe? They did have this whole Secret Service/FBI kind of vibe to them. That should be my superhero identity: Melinda the Spy Buster! Anyway, I cracked up because they weren't very subtle with the turn and run! If I had "busted" them, they could have been a bit more discrete.


Blogger Stacey said...


12:30 PM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...

Hey, that part of the story would be yours to tell if you wanted it told. I try not to air any of my friends' personal information.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Spy buster said...

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9:49 AM  
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