An Exercise in Trilingualism

Niagara1A few weekends ago we were graced by a visit from Papa Sprout’s best man, Z, and his girlfriend, V, from Europe.

It was a great opportunity for T-Sprout to practice her Slovak, as V doesn’t speak Hungarian.  After they played together for a while, V verified to me that T-Sprout does in fact know her colors,  numbers, animals, etc in Slovak.

After leaving the kids in capable hands for the weekend, the four of us drove to Niagara Falls and then to New Jersey together.

Languages Spoken by Those Involved (only 2 actual trilinguals):
Papa Sprout: Hungarian, Slovak, English
Mama Sprout: Hungarian, English
Z: Hungarian, Slovak, English
V: Slovak, English

Now you might think that we conversed in English the whole time, as it is the only language all 4 of us speaks.  No, because while English may be my best language, it is not for any of them.

Mostly we switched back and forth between Slovak and Hungarian.  Sometimes I was the odd one out when they spoke Slovak; sometimes V was the odd one out when we spoke Hungarian.

It reminded me of the time when I was in Mexico and went on a weekend trip with 8 Mexican students.  Of course I didn’t expect them to speak English all the time (even though they all could).  I settled in for a weekend of Spanish blather all around me, with someone occasionally turning to me and explaining things.  It turned out to be one of the best weekends ever.  And cheapest.  They got all kinds of crazy discounts on tourist activities and souvenirs just because they spoke the language.  Not to mention the fact that they talked the hotel guy into letting all 9 of us into a room meant for 3.  Good times.

My point here is that it’s about compromise.  You don’t  have to know what everyone is saying in order to have fun.

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One Response to “An Exercise in Trilingualism”

  1. G sprout September 5, 2013 at 8:49 am #


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