Native Tongue

Dear J-

There was a brief moment of shining clarity this afternoon — the kids & I were in Irvine with their cousin and aunt at a playground and of the three groups that passed through while we were there only one spoke English. The other languages were Korean and Mandarin. My sister-in-law asks me what language I think in — for me it’s English but I understand Mandarin pretty well — and I think it’s amazing that in my lifetime we’ve reached the point where it’s not always English everywhere all the time.

The paranoid among us will worry about what other people are saying, but let’s face it: they’d worry whether or not they understood the words that are spoken. Based on my unscientific understanding of two-thirds of those encounters I’d say we really have nothing to worry about, it’s just whatever tool comes first as the most expressive wrench in the box. I don’t know whether to be elated or dismayed that English comes up for me, but I am excited to know that one size doesn’t fit all.


P.S. Er, take that, Rush!


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