Saturday, April 11, 2009

Alternate paths to fluency

Alas, I only really know two languages, English and (in my non-native way) French. But, if the topic interests me, I can understand bits of other languages, too. For example, in Dutch (Flemish), I understand conversations about food almost in their entirety. All other conversations in the language are in Danish for all I know. But once kaas, fritjes, and rijstpap enter the picture, it's as though I took a class or something, it all makes so much sense!

Same goes for Hebrew, except less with food than with fashion. While I understand maybe 30% of what people are saying, reading remains a challenge... except when it's about what people are wearing on the streets of Tel Aviv. This I apparently find very important. "ניקול ריצ'י הישראלית", in reference to this striking image, looked at first glance like a whole bunch of letters, especially because the first two items are not common Hebrew words, but on further consideration involves a blog commenter insinuating that the younger woman in the photo is an Israeli version of Nicole Richie. Because, you see, nonsense online stops being nonsense online once a foreign language - preferably with a different script - is involved.

(Once my Hebrew improves, I will get past the part of this post where it's explained where a certain Ronit was photographed, and where the important question of where she got that amazing space-age shirt is addressed. I'm sure this was what Ben Yehuda had in mind.)

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