Monday, 20 August 2012

Village idiot No.2 (France)

I asked the daughter at the farm house in what way the village idiot is considered one (see blog entry The village idiot) and in what way does his speech not make sense.  She said he’d say things like, “Fire, forest,” and the listener will have to provide the link.  I immediately said, “Then I’m your village idiot No.2, because that’s the kind of communication I’m capable of in French!”

(France 2012)

Linguistic prodigy (France / Singapore)

I asked a visitor to the farm house, “Cafe, monsieur?” and he said, in French, “Ah, you can speak French!”  Rather like the Chinese saying to anyone who can say 你好 (nǐ hǎo/”you good”/hello), “Your Chinese is really good!”

This puts me in mind of an instance in Singapore in the sixties when the British had a military presence there.  An English woman and her 3-year-old daughter were on a local bus, which was a rare occasion, and the little girl was very chatty, as is the wont of her age group.  A Singaporean passenger sitting behind her said to her friend, “Wow!  So young and already she speaks such fluent English!”

(France/Singapore, 2012/1960s)