Ah, language – such an interesting animal. My favourite line (notice my British spelling of ‘favourite’ – a small group of Australians rebel against American spelling (strange snobbism, crazy – it’s just a letter) is ‘We spoke Arabic anyway to rebel’. If you’re bi-lingual (or multi-) then you will want to speak the forbidden language – nobody is going to tell you what to do!
I was born in Australia but both my parents were born in Russia and left in the 40s or something like that. Russian Australian parents then tried to keep the language alive in their kids but we hated being forced to speak it and also hated going to Saturday school. Eventually I was grateful but now I’m losing the fluency. I still love languages and used to teach French and German but losing these too, especially French.
My father’s family were farmers who were kicked out of their property and somehow ended up in Iran (then Persia). Even then they had some American influences. He told us how they would show American movies in a shed, sitting on large empty cans on the ground. When the movie got exciting they would all beat the cans they were sitting on. For some reason I remember that. And I remember the way he pronounced ‘Bud Abbott and Lou Castello’ – maybe as ‘Persians’ did then.
My mother was half German and half Russian but both parents born in Russia. When she lived in Germany as a teenager, she used to visit her grandmother in a different part of Germany and very naturally picked up the dialect. When she returned her father would criticise her for the accent. Isn’t it funny that accents are associated with social standing and things like that.
Thanks for the post, loved reading it.