By Dr. Jeff Sanders

I guess I am always amazed at how some people (usually those living in Europe) can be fluent in multiple languages.  I have studied several ancient and a few modern ones, but I am not "fluent" in any of them.  As I try to translate Hebrew or Greek, I still need a lexicon by my side.  So, I really admire people who are completely at home in another language.  

Such was the case of many of the French Canadians we encountered in Montreal.  We would walk into a store and be greeted with a hearty "bonjour!". I would say it right back to them, thinking I said it exactly the way they said it, accent and all.  Darn it, they would catch me every time, knowing that I was English-speaking.  And could almost see a little "switch" go off in their head, and they would immediately start talking to me in perfect English!!!  

I think the craziest thing I saw was a Middle Eastern woman who was the clerk at a souvenir shop.  She spoke to her husband in Arabic or Persian or something like that, then switch to French with a customer, then without taking a breath she spoke to me in flawless English!!

Dang, how do they do that?

Americans really are "sheltered" from conversing in other languages. And that is a real shame.

Maybe someday I'll get that good in French and Italian.  In the meantime, I had better keep practicing!

Posted: July 30, 2017, 07:53 PM

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