Hats Off To Language
Day 089 – October 19, 2011
My grasp of the Spanish language continues to barely elude my eager grasp.
Oh heck, who am I kidding. Despite being in Peru for almost three months and taking Spanish lessons, I am no closer to grasping a command of the language than I am to grasping the Nobel Prize for Economics (Official Name: The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. I hope you’ve learned something new here).
The setting for today’s story for linguistic laughter is our children’s School where my assignment was to purchase a swimming cap for my two younger children who would soon be participating in the School’s Aquatics class.
All was going according to plan until the moment came when I was in the clothing store at the School facing the clerk and opening my mouth to speak. I had neglected to do my homework (i.e., go on-line and use Google Translate or look at my foolscap dictionary) and realized that I did not know the word for “swimming cap”.
Thankfully, I am graced with the lighting-quick, rapier-sharp mental ability (friends and family…stop laughing!) to think on my feet. Armed with this ability and a rudimentary knowledge of the local language, I was able to confidently place my request for a somberero de nadar.
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it. Somberero = hat and nadar = “to swim”.
As the snickers and chortles diminished from the pair of clerks, I was handed two swimming caps from the shelves.
Or, as they called them…gorro de nataction.
And I learned something new there.
When I told my family this amusing adventure around the dinner table, my middle child’s imagination ran wild as he pictured a swimmer competing in a stereotypical Mexican somberero. As he is artistically inclined, here is his visual representation of that scene…
I’m biased, but the kid has talent.