Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy ESL Time

It's almost 6 am and I have a fever so I decided to start a new section, called "Happy ESL Time". It doesn't have to do with writing as much as my relationship with the English language. This will be the eleventh year I've spent in America (3rd+4th grade, then high school onward). The only time someone sat me down to teach me English was in 3rd and 4th grades. When I came back to America the second time, I had to jump into Shakespeare and learn a foreign language like everyone else (I took Spanish. My teacher told me I don't conjugate as much as I mutilate. He was one of my favorite teachers.)

Most things you simple pick up when you've lived in another country for this long and 90% of your friends don't speak your native language. But after a certain point you start hitting words that people just don't use enough for you to pick up naturally. I distinctly remember learning "asphalt" in 2004 because it was in Gwen Stefani's song "Long Way to Go", and the word "silhouette" in 2003, first semester of college, because it was in Cake Man's script, three times, and I couldn't pronounce it (Damn you Cake Man. The fuck did you pick the Asian girl to read stage directions for??). And some things you just don't pick up unless you grew up here.
Such as the term "Rub-a-dub-dub". Is that trying to say "rub-a-duck" i.e. rub the famous yellow duckie? Or does it actually mean "rub-a-tub", i.e. spray the tub down with some Lysol and start scrubbing. I still don't know.

If you do, answers would be appreciated.

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