Good Morning Everyone, writing this from Huahin in Thailand, the AC has awoken me and cannot get back to sleep. Its 04.14. I am over here on a quick, much needed fishing break trying to catch an Arapaima, which is the worlds biggest freshwater fish, grows to over 400lb in the Amazon, a little smaller here, but cheaper to pursue.In my case, I wonder if I will ever be fluent, truly fluent, any language. Vietnamese is my mother tongue. However, I have lived in the Sates for 20 years, am an American citizen, was educated in the States for both undergraduate and graduate studies, have been holding professional jobs in the States, so my English is "fluent". (I still make mistakes from time to time by leaving out that "s" in the plural form or sticking it where it is not needed though). I can switch back and forth between Vietnamese and English with ease (have done lots of translation for my parents). But when I read something in Vietnamese, I don't know what some of the words mean. I think I am losing Vietnamse as I don't have a chance to use it as much. And I will still make mistakes with English (now explain to me while you folks don't use the same rules for things, why is it "panties" but it is "bra"? This throws my analytical self off for a loop). Now that we are planning to move to Spain, I am learning Spanish. So at the end of the road, I will forget most of my Vietnamese, lose some English (as we live in Spain), and forever be learning Spanish. But I think I would rather be "semi-fluent" in multiple languages than fluent in just one and have never had a chance to see the world. That is just me, I guess.
I looked at this thread about being fluent in a language , not of ones birth. Last night I went out to a restaurant for a meal in this town, which is three hours south of Bangkok, a big coastal town and resort. I got there by taxi, any restaurant , not fussy. For the first time for as long as I can remember, I was completely at a loss to communicate with anyone, the Thai language is completely impenetrable, with a written alphabet that is the same. None if the natives speak any European languages whatsover, even though their core customer base is Europeans with plenty of funds. All the restaurants display their menus in photo form, like in Benidorm for the thick tourists, I personally avoid such places, but here, have no choice. The meal that I had was good, Red Thai curry sea food, very hot, but delicious. Not one of the staff spoke any northern European language. Not their fault, always our fault for not learning enough to get by, but you try ordering anything from Thai phrasebook on holiday.
No doubt there are Thai people that can converse in English or French, but I have yet to meet one. No doubt there will be people that donate to this forum that are better qualified in "foreign tongues", that will immediately shoot me down for my comments, but how do you learn, " enough Thai "to get by", the same is probably true of Russian and other alphabets of rarely used languages never used by us " Brits".
As a footnote. If you really want to study sad old English gits , then you should walk around this place and visit the restos. I have never seen such a collection of sad , lonely old men , all from northern Europe, walking around and sitting in restos., with girls that look like their daughters. They sit at the tables eating, neither speaks to each other, because they cannot, the girls look totally disinterested and the men look distinctly ill at ease and uncomfortable, as if the wife is about to come into the room and surprise them. All very sad and tawdry.
As for me, well, I am continually checking out the womens Adams Apples, seeing if any of the females have hair sprouting out of the back of their fingers and pushing the wardrobe against my door at night, got to keep her in somehow !!!!
If anyone does want a Thai bride, the more I bring back as a job lot, the cheaper they will be.
Regards. Far Flung Fletch