Sunday, July 24, 2005

Life in Japan: Conversation with a Japanese Friend

Phone rings.

Nalini: Moshi, moshi. [Phone greeting in Japanese]

Friend: Hi, I have a question about some words I don’t understand.

Nalini: Shoot.

Friend: What do ‘la’ and ‘de’ mean?

Nalini: [Insert puzzled silence] Um, I don’t think those words exist in English.

Friend: Oh, it’s not English, it’s French.

Nalini: [Pondering why she’s suddenly been credited with fluency in the French language] Well…I only studied about a semester of French when I was thirteen.

Friend: Oh, really? You don’t speak French? [Extreme surprise]

Nalini: Er, no.

Friend: Oh.

Note: This friend has known me for two years, during which time I have never spoken French in her presence, nor have I ever hinted that I might be hiding such skills for some nefarious reason of my own. And yet...


Anonymous said...

Don't know what they mean in French, but I do in Spanish? ;) That's weird she didn't know you didn't speak French. :)

Emma Sinclair said...

As soon as I read it, tt sounded like someone said "la de da" and she's trying to decipher it.

Nalini Singh said...

That's exactly what I thought, Emily, but no, she was adamant it was French. I think this will go down as one of the many surreal moments I've had here :)