Wednesday, August 5, 2015

If You Moved to England, What Would You Speak?

"England" by George Hodan
So many of our languages are named after the names of the original countries and founders, but we equate our language to only be what we speak in our country. Why doesn't each country have its own language? That'd be confusing. Colonization led to European languages being spoken worldwide. Thus we have confusion about this--let alone what children try to figure out.

My friend Michelle C. moved to Mexico and many other places with her husband and children, so her children wonder what language will be spoken next. After their move to Mexico, her son would always ask her whether "the humans spoke Virginia or Mexican." Later, she had this conversation with her daughter:

J: Mom, where will we live when G turns two?
Me: I don't even know. Where would you like to live?
J: Ummm.
Me: China? Madagascar? Brazil?
D: Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! 
Me: Argentina? Zambia? Germany? England?
J: England! Then we can learn how to speak England!
Me: Wait, what? What do you think we are speaking right now?
J: We speak English. 
Me: They speak English in England, too.
J: What does their English sound like? Bonjour?
Me, laughing: No, sweetie, that's French, which is spoken in France.
J: Oh. Well, do I know how to speak their English?
Me: Yes. Their English is very similar to our American English.
J: What is the difference?
Me: Well, their words sound different. (Then I tried and failed miserably at some sort of generic British accent.)
J: That sounds like our English.
D: Brazil! Brazil! Brazil!

I'm still laughing about it this morning. "Let's move to England, so we can learn how to speak England!"

After reading this on Facebook, I asked my preteen son what language England speaks. He didn't know it was English either. And it only gets more confusing when you consider that there is more than one language spoken in many countries. Darn that Tower of Babel.

Try an experiment. Ask someone what a country speaks and report back in the comments.