Gert’s head is about to explode!
We are in Denmark, staying with his family members who have varying degrees of English. Some have none.
Not really helped by the fact that me, Kate & Jono know about 10 words total of Danish and almost all of them are the names of food. We are absolutely no help in the Danish department!
After a week or so here this is how the scene played out when Gert’s daughter recently had a birthday get together. The assembled party is us, Gert’s daughters Mia and Sarah, Mia’s husband Dennis, Mia’s mum and stepdad and her grandparents.
Gert and whoever he is speaking to yabber away in Danish. We don’t mind. We expect them to speak Danish and Gert to just translate if there’s anything we should know about. It’s all good.
We sit at the table and everyone is laughing and talking. Occasionally the English speakers will translate for us. Whenever we talk it is of course in English and we have to remember to talk slower than normal. Then Gert turns to Jono and tells him a story.
Except he talks to Jono in Danish.
Jono looks blankly at him.
Then Mia reminds Gert to talk English to Jono!
Bahahahahaha….we all laugh!! The look on Jono’s face was priceless!
A few minutes later Gert is telling me something in English. Then he continues his story to the end of the table in English.
Except he is talking to the non-English speakers!
They look blankly at him.
And the whole dance starts again!
Gert has spent 14 years training himself to talk and think in English. He very rarely speaks Danish except if he skypes with someone in Denmark.
His efforts have obviously paid off because he’s having trouble switching back and forth and now seems to naturally speak English instead of Danish.
Don’t you think that’s interesting?
I do and it got me thinking about all the languages he knows. He speaks and understands Swedish and Norwegian, some German and he understands Dutch. Then there are roughly 10 or so different Danish dialects!! And he can communicate in all of them, give or take a few words!
Plus he’s had to learn Australian slang which can seem like a whole language on its own!
It’s no wonder the poor man’s head is going to explode!
I only speak English and I have some very basic German from school!
Can you speak multiple languages? Have you ever had trouble switching between languages, depending on who you are talking to? Did you ever speak to your own child in a foreign language and they looked at you wierd? Do tell!
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