Day 22: The German Girl and Her Languages

So we are in Granada for an extra week now. The only problem so far is the German Girl, who lives in the broken down modernized type villa thing we are staying in. Today we spent another day with her on the sunny roof, doing things like crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

Here is the main problem with the German Girl: she speaks a billion languages.*

We found this out when we went to breakfast with her, which involved the strongest coffee Lara ever had in her life and the common Spanish breakfast dish of toasted bread, olive oil, and chopped tomatoes. As a breakfast dessert there were churros (but without sugar on top like in Mexico) and hot chocolate so thick it is like pudding. As an aside, in cafes in Granada people all throw their napkins on the floor because it is easier to sweep them up that way.

Here are the languages the German Girl knows:

English
German
Spanish
French
Swedish
Finnish
Russian

As a caveat, with Russian she says annoying things like, "I wouldn´t say I SPEAK it, I mean I have just studied for 40 years. Ha Ha Ha." But we all know she is fluent. What a crap meannie.

* (The alternate problem is that she is younger than Claire and already married, but this is only a problem to Claire, who is jealous. Lara is the opposite of jealous and feels very glad to not be married until she is 50.)

8 comments:

barbarakingsolver said...

she speaks BOTH finnish and swedish? please. those are the same language.

your blog rocks, by the way. makes me feel insecure about my own stable, lame job in major U.S. city XXX, but rocks nonetheless.

Jonathan said...

Finnish and Swedish are far from the same. They are spoken in some of the same places (Finnish is a minority language in Sweden), but linguistically speaking they are more unrelated than Swedish and English. Swedish is a Germanic language (as was/is English), and Germanic languages are part of the Indo-European group. Finnish, on the other hand, is a Finno-Ugric language. The relationship between the Indo-European and Finno-Ugric branches is unclear, and while somewhere down the evolutionary line they are related, claims that it was at all recent are tenuous at best.

Bottom line: German girl is worthy of emulation and adoration (but don't get me started on the being married part).

barbarakingsolver said...

a lecture on the differences between finnish and swedish? please. i am barbara kingsolver. how dare you contradict me.

johanna said...

Claire, remember our Polish girl on the train between Croatia and Budapest, and our awkward conversation about the Holocaust that started with me stupidly saying, "Oh, I'm part Polish."

I love this blog...and you girls!

Jonathan said...

barbarakingsolver, i am your biggest fan. (by which i mean, your biggest potential fan, seeing as i've never read anything by you). just looking out for the lacunae in your understanding of various linguistic facts.

(no one here doubts your facility with english--so probably best to just stick with that, eh?)

besides, i never have the opportunity to lecture. i'm an academic stuck inside the role of a web developer. cut me some slack, alright?

Lana said...

oh burn! throw down kingsolver, THROW DOWN.

"hi my name is jonathan, i'm an academic stuck in the body of a web developer" (in the denny's voice, in the denny's voice...)

i realize i dont even know jonathan, but that was too tempting. sorry j.

Jonathan said...

lana, that's alright. seeing as i don't know the "denny's voice" it's hard to feel really attacked. but i'm assuming it's something very, very offensive, so let me sit here for a minute and i'll try to make it get a rise out of me...

Claire and Lara said...

lara and i just found this out of control anger and want to alert everyone to the fact that:

a. we are laughing hard
b. it is fun to watch people fight who don't know each other especially when the basis of the fight is this horrendous "denny's voice" incident which was really really non-berkeley offensive and that i can hardly remember i am so ashamed (of you, lana).
c. that polish girl had lived on a farm in iowa learning english for 6 months, remember?

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