Your family is very nice, especially for Americans.
-compliment from our international guest
My sister brought home a couple of international students for Christmas, one from China and the other from Columbia. This was the Chinese student’s first Christmas (once she fell in love with “The Spirit of Christmas,” we regretted not buying her a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament!), and so we shared a lot of new vocabulary words with her.
- Mince meat
- Snowplow (after almost getting run over on our midnight sledding expedition)
- Macy’s Day Parade (thank you, Miracle on 34th St.)
- And every tenth word in “The Night Before Christmas”: ’twas, stirring, stockings, St. Nicholas, kerchief, lawn, clatter, sash, shutter…
My new words in Spanish consisted of a lot of curse words and galleguismos. Now that I’m working in a bilingual church comprised mostly of Latin American immigrants, I’ve had to drop both of those categories from my vocabulary. Instead, I’m learning a rich Spanglish vocabulary, like “el parking.”
I compare all of this to my three semesters of Greek, when we had to learn every word used in the New Testament 50x or more (we had Greek quizzes on all words used 12x or more, but I can’t say that I learned those as thoroughly!). The vocabulary we use says something about our priorities and values.
If you had a non-English-speaking guest in your house, what words would be the most important for you to communicate your beliefs and experiences?
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