Do you ever overhear people talking in another language and wonder what they were saying?
When I was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago I was looking around at all the happy Dutch people, eavesdropping on all their conversations I couldn't understand and I was thinking exactly that. What are they talking about?
But in fact I know exactly what they were talking about. The exact same things we do: “Drat, I forgot to buy milk,” “What are you doing Thursday?” and “This new boss is driving me crazy.” Or whatever.
The point is, it’s probably much more mundane than we think it will be. And it’s not at all exotic or foreign, because nobody is once you get to know them close up. They’re not sitting across from me on the tram thinking, “As a Dutch person, I would love to go home and eat… well, maybe pancakes. Because that’s what we Dutch people enjoy.”
Dutch people, mostly, don’t think or talk about being Dutch because being Dutch is for the most part invisible to them. That doesn’t mean they’re not proud, just that on a daily basis, in ordinary conversations, it factors in very little. They think and talk about mundane things because they’re just people. Just like us.
There are two kinds of people I meet when I say I'm learning Amharic. The first kind Read more »
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