Sunday, September 13, 2009

Language Learning

Dear Friend,

Now that we've been reunited once again in Mostar, I'm beginning to notice us once again falling prey to the inevitable confusion which accompanies learning a foreign language. Please don't be offended by what I'm about to say...because it's likely that as long as we know each other your English will be better than my Bosanski/Hrvatski/Srpski/other world language. However, since I'm sure we're all striving for academic excellence (wink wink), I'm sure it can't hurt to address a few of the mistakes which are creeping into my own conversation and frankly, oscillate between annoying the heck out of me and being absolutely hilarious.

1. "Clumsy" and "incompetent" do not have the same meaning. At least not in English. Clumsy is what I am when I walk into your room and trip on your suitcase. Incompetent is what the bus driver is when he arrives two hours late for our Project Week excursion. In his case, I think both labels might apply, but when you call him clumsy I can't stop picturing him fumbling around on the street Three Stooges style.

2. No matter how many times you ask me, I will not "borrow" you my calculator. I will, however, lend you anything you ask for! Just make sure it doesn't fall into the black hole that seems to be sucking up our possessions from somewhere within the house.

3. "To learn" and "to teach" have opposite meanings in English. If they were the same thing, then either we or our teachers would be out of a job.

4. When the proverbial lightbulb over your head switches on, you have an "idea" not an "I.D."

5. Seb, jack and jacket are not the same when you're taking them off. (Now that one was hilarious!)

6. While we all agree that it would have been funny if the school had actually come up with a "shape of the day," what Jordanka really meant was "schedule."

And finally (but not very excitingly):

7. "In" and "on" are not quite the same. Just think of a few instances in which you might use these words and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

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