Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Favorite Things: Languages

It always amazes me how many languages I hear on a daily basis. If you walk around our city you will hear at least three languages (French, Italian and Swiss German). It is always fun to go to our local park and count how many different languages are being spoken... sometimes we can county up to ten different languages (all of the above as well as Portuguese, (high) German, English and sometimes we even hear a nordic language or eastern european language as well). 

I would bet that the Swiss people are the most multi-lingual people in the world. After all, Switzerland has four national languages and just about every Swiss person speaks 2 to 3 of them.

Of course, for an English only speaking person, Switzerland has been a difficult place to live. Even though I am now semi conversational in my French, living here makes every little thing 100x more difficult. For instance, we had to sell our cars and find a renter for our apartment. I had people calling me in three different languages asking questions. As if moving isn't hard enough, try moving in another country where all the forms and paperwork are in German! Our bank sent us a checklist of what we need to do to clean our apartment before we leave. Of course it was in German, so I tried translating it and this is what I got:

Instructions for move out:

1. Water taps: Sealing, Neoperl, valves, shafts, grips
2. Expiration: clean and unclog
3. Rings: the treatment, without cracks not gewolbt
4. Gas Stove: Clean burning torches and rust fungi or replace
5. Griddle / grill grate: replace untainted, otherwise
6. Extractor: Clean or replace filter pads in principle
7. Dishwasher: service by driving, salt and rinse aid auffullen, replace defective parts
8. Flower troughs / Balcony / Patio: Remove flowers from our ownTrogen the earth, sitting space jaten, balkonbrustung and balconyfloor clean and mossing

Thankfully I have a Swiss German friend who was able to help me out. But these language problems are a part of my daily life. But as frustrating as they can be, I still like living in such a diverse place. I like the fact that Jack can say sorry in three languages and that I can talk to (or yell at) Jack and most people don't understand me. And I love laughing at all the funny german words: 

No comments:

Post a Comment