(or: SharQ's contribution to the Scary E2 quest)
A true story illustrating how.. eh.. interesting it can be to learn
a new language.
About 14 years ago, a 6 year old boy was dropped off at the day-care centre
in Norway by his mother. Prior to this, he had been in private day-care,
and he had picked up a few words of Norwegian. This day, however, the boy
was on his own.
Staying to himself much of the day, the boy doesn't interact much with the
other kids. He plays around a bit by himself, and seems to be quite happy
with that. The caretakers on the day-care center, however, weren't quite
happy with this, and essentially told the boy's mother that he was an unsocial
The mother, being a full-fledged natural worrier, has a long chat
with the boy, urging him to participate a bit more.
The next day, the boy gathers his bravery, and tries to interact. He walks
up to a kid who sits on a tricycle, looking bored, without using it.
- What I wanted to say: Hello! You look bored, and I was wondering
if I could please have the tricycle, as you don't seem to be using it
- What I said: Can I have? Yes and no?
- Explanation: I didn't know how to say all that I wanted to say. Even
though I was quite aware that what I said was probaby at best rude (or at least impossible to understand) I couldn't remember how to say the word "or"
in Norwegian. The reason for wanting to include "yes or no" at all,
was that I was afraid that he might start talking to me, and that I wouldn't
understand anything he would say to me
- Result: The boy talks to me in Norwegian for a good two or three
minutes, laughs, and races off on the tricycle, leaving me behind, petrified,
crying and miserable.
Okay - maybe this situation wouldn't scare you much - but I promise you.. This was
the most scary moment of my life.