Polylingual

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

This encounter was in the 1990s, when I was at university studying environmental sciences and two languages, Spanish and Russian.

I walked up to the counter at the Taco Bell near my university, Portland State. A Mexican worker greeted me. So I ordered my tacos in Spanish.

When the food was ready, it was a Russian guy who slid the tray over to me. I said, “spacibo.” Russian for thank you.

There was a guy on my side of the counter, sitting on the floor replacing a bulb in the indirect lighting under the lip of the counter. He looked up at me in wonder, and said, “How many languages do you speak?”

I answered, “Just English.”

I’ve found that humility is the best course when trying to talk to people from other cultures, speaking languages that are different from my native English and German.

… Fred

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Living in rural Panamá — non-extractive, non-capitalistic. Expat USA. Scientist, writer, researcher, teacher. STEM mentor +languages. Gargoylplex@protonmail.com

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Fred Ermlich

Fred Ermlich

Living in rural Panamá — non-extractive, non-capitalistic. Expat USA. Scientist, writer, researcher, teacher. STEM mentor +languages. Gargoylplex@protonmail.com

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