Universally Understood


See this lovely girl here? Her name is Lladka and she is from the Czech Republic. She speaks exactly no English and I, as you may have guessed, speak no Czech. We both speak German at the level of about a 4-year old native speaker. She is a lovely girl, and through our broken, awkward and charades-like conversations, I have learned quite a bit about her. But on the rare occasion that a large number of people from Dave’s team get together, the stilted but smiley dialogue I have with Lladka is the least of my concerns. Last night, we gathered at Fred’s Bowling and mother-tongues of those present included English, German, Russian, Czech, Slovakian and Croatian. While many of our European counterparts are multilingual, there is always a lot of translating, Pictionary and previously mentioned charades in order to have a mutually intelligible conversation. Until the ultimate Interpreter is brought out. The Interpreter comes in various forms, and last night it was known as ‘beer’ and ‘vodka shots.’ My German skills skyrocket from the 4-year old level to the 6.5-year old level, my sign language becomes more fluent, and my non-linguistic methods of communication (ie: booty shaking, thumbs upping, high-fiving) become en fuego. I’m hot, people, burning up.

So, in the photo montage to follow, you can see that all those present at Fred’s on this lonely Sunday in Crimmy made ample use of the Interpreter. We learned things about each other that we will neither comprehend nor remember the morning after the visit from the Interpreter. But the point of the Interpreter isn’t so much attaining and retaining personal information about each other, but more so just to break the ice and perhaps incite hilarity so we can all pantomime it to each other the next time we’re together.






2 thoughts on “Universally Understood

  1. I love this post – it’s sooo true. I’ll be practising my wild gesticulations in South East Asia in 9 days time – argh!!

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