So the other day I had the chance to help a former Spanish student of mine with a grammar question which was really nice, and also helped me to actually feel useful that day. Because it’s not often that you hear someone yell, “I need to know the difference between direct and indirect objects, STAT!” Or, “OMG, come quick-there’s a conjugation emergency!”
(And personally, I think the world is a lesser place for it.)
But on that day I finally had the chance to ride up on my Pony of Exceptional Grammar Knowledge and save the day.
I mean, it sounds really cool and all to be able to say that I am fluent in Spanish, but we Spanish speakers aren’t ever called on to help with the really interesting projects, or the really spectacular rescue missions.
That’s probably a good thing too, now that I think about it. Because our ability to help, say, someone clinging to the side of a cliff, trying desperately not to fall to their death would most likely look like this:
“OK, so, you need to be able to say, ‘Help-I am falling off a cliff!’ Well first, you need to learn how to conjugate the verb ‘to be’. AIIIIIIEEEEEE!” (And then that would be where the rescue team pushed us off the cliff, because frankly, we kind of deserved it.)
But, I digress.
So as a Spanish speaker, mostly I am just asked stuff like, “Hey-say something in Spanish”, or, “What does that mean in English?”
(Unless, of course, you happen upon a group of graduate students who work for approximately 2 hours a day, leaving the remaining 22 hours to argue with each other over which is the superior branch of study regarding the Spanish language: literature (!), or linguistics (yeah, right). Seriously-you do NOT want to get in the middle of that situation, because, HO, BABY, DO THE CLAWS COME OUT! GRR!)
However, there was one time when I actually felt the power of being bilingual. It happened a few years ago when I was called to jury duty (FOR THE FOURTH TIME IN FOUR YEARS, NOT THAT I AM BITTER OR ANYTHING.)