29 April 2008

Weird English and Weird Memories

I reread that weird email I posted about earlier, and it didn't make ANY sense. At all. How ridiculous. But it's still hilarious. It's even better that I commented that it sounded relatively legitimate, with a few exceptions.

I found a lot more exceptions.

On that note, I really like the movie Everything Is Illuminated. For one reason, it depicts rather accurately the incredibly strange kind of English that some people who don't ever have exposure to the way the language is actually spoken speak. (Particularly in Russia and Ukraine, although I imagine that it's the same elsewhere.)

The guy in it speaks understandably and doesn't make grammatical mistakes, but when it comes to his vocabulary, you just wonder, "Where in the freakin' crap that come from?"

It comes from the exposure they do get, which is this: English teachers at school (most of whom would not be able to communicate with a native English speaker--but I only say that based on my own experience), textbooks, dirty rap songs, and American B-movies that no one in the States has ever heard of.

One time I did try (I don't remember why now) to communicate with the English teacher at Sparta, the school we taught at in Moscow, and he did not understand me at all. Which is kind of ironic, considering his position.

And a lot of times, I was queried about the lyrics from those rap songs. And honestly, although I recognized the words, I often had no idea what they actually meant. When I did understand the lyrics, I wished that I hadn't. And I certainly didn't want to corrupt my students (further) by educating them in that regard.

What is it about little (or maybe just immature?) boys and wanting to learn bad words? I never had any desire to recognize those words in Russian, and let's keep it that way. I don't have any need to know. Never did, either, except when that guy almost hit me with his car when I was crossing the street and called me the equivalent of...well...yeah, I'd prefer not to know that word. Not then either. Ignorance is bliss, right? ("No thank you, Jimmy, I really don't want you to tell me the worst word there is in Russian. Knowing that word does not make you either cool or able to speak Russian. No, I really don't want to know. No. No. No. Ok, fine, tell me anyway.")

In that movie, my favorite part is when Alex (main dude) goes: "Okay, she's deranged. But very, very playful." Because every time I hear that, I think of Nastya. Her favorite phrases seemed to involve the words "very very." And sometimes, when I wash my hands with the Softsoap brand Shea Butter hand soap, it takes me back to somewhere in Russia.

I don't know what it is about that smell that is Russia for me.

But the more and more that I use it and smell it, the more and more it becomes nothing instead of something. The memories are slipping through my fingers, and all of my remembrances are becoming an entirely different thing themselves.

These days, drinking karkade and speaking/hearing Russian and listening to certain music and smelling cigarettes and wearing house slippers and riding the bus or other forms of public transportation and seeing garbage in the street and frigid temperatures and white snow in the winter . . . these days, these things are not Russia. They are my life. And really, there is nothing memorable about that, because it is

repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated

over
over
over
over

AND

again
again
again
again
again.

2 comments:

Elizabeth & Dan said...

I love that movie! "I'm a premium dancer..." Hahaha. Good times.

bryclops said...

"All the girls want to be carnal with me because I'm such a premium dancer."

"Grandfather has just informed me this is not possible."

"My father is a premium puncher."

I adore that movie.

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