Monday, October 17, 2005
It must be stream of consciousness Monday
I discovered a blog that I love. It is called Snarkernacle. This guy follows all the LDS based blogs, some are really more of a web magazine, and pokes a bit of fun at them. It is all the things that I usually think, but don't say. He has comments on the contributors, the topics and some generally funny comments about other stuff. It is usually not personal or mean--but sometimes it is. He is like the John Stewart of LDS blogs. If you are going to put it out there, prepared to have it commented on. He doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. In fact, I think he even contributes to at least one of the sites. Plus, I love the word snark, I use it all the time with my kids.
Anyway, that is not the point, I had never even heard of most of the blogs and I had a great time reading them. I have to say that many of them seemed a bit holy and pretentious (one major exception is Various Stages of Mormonism--because you get all sides of one topic. I enjoy hearing what all sides have to say about it and It doesn't usually turn into a contest to see who knows the most or can pull the most obscure reference from the scriptures). I fully recognize that I am not the greatest authority on all things holy. All I know is that if I were any of my non member friends and ran across these, I would think that Mormons were a bunch of stuffy religious zealots that had really relaxed rules about how much time we were allowed to spend on the computer at work. Many of the people seem to be the kinds of people that drove me just a little bit crazy in school, the people that I liked but would cause a lot of eye rolling and would give me really great fodder for the stories I would tell my non member friends. To be fair, I actually ended up knowing at least one person at each site, between Stanford, Princeton, BYU and my mission. The people I know aren't all stuffy and pretentious. Mainly they are very smart, kind and capable people who DON'T drive me crazy so maybe the blogs just don't read true for me.
Wow, that wasn't the point either. This is where I was going.......One of the threads that I read was all about how this guy came home from his mission and kept wanting to use words in Spanish for English things (come on, we ALL knew this guy...the one who would pretend to not remember the word in English....I frequently forget words in English but it is because between the Diet Coke and my children I am running on fewer brain cells, not because I spoke another language for so long). His point was that there are some words that just cover it better in Spanish. Ironically, when I was at The BY (as Grandma Thora always called it) it was only the Spanish speakers that I ever heard do this. I never heard someone lamenting that a Finnish word or Russian phrase would cover so clearly what they were trying to say. There were at least 30 people in the comments that agreed and all contributed words that THEY liked better in Spanish. Again, just Spanish, not Japanese, Thai, French, etc. Maybe it is because there are far more Spanish speaking RM's then anyother language. Maybe Spanish really DOES work better for English then English. Who knows? All I know is that it if it doesn't work for Madonna, it isn't going to fly with anyone else. It is annoying.
I served in the very short lived British Sign Language British Isles Mission (we basically opened and closed it). I was already fluent in American Sign Languge. Signed languages are spatial, so they are very succinct. Instead of saying "go down the road, turn left, take a quick right and then up the stairs", you can communicate the same thing in ASL or BSL w/a few gestures.
There are many things in a visual language that you can communicate much easier then spoken language. There is usually no verbal equal to many of the phrases and idioms in ASL/BSL. It's been 10 years and there are still times when I am saying something and thinking "I know ONE sign that would cover what I am trying to say". At times, talking can be very tedious (and I should know because I talk, A LOT!!) It IS a real language with grammar rules and all the other things that spoken language have, you just use your face, your hands and space instead of vocal chords. It also isn't just subbing a sign for an English word. If you were to transliterate ASL or BSL into English, you would sound like Yoda. I just want to say for the record that even though there were MANY times I thought to myself, "I wish I could just sign this essay test" I never ACTUALLY tried to.
There was lots of cool slang in England, but most people know it: loo, chuffed, dodgy, git, nappy, tube, etc. It got interesting when we would have to try to translate the slang into the BSL slang equivalent. It was maddening. I lived in Bow, a section of London that still uses Cockney rhyming slang. I still remember it when I hear some words. People in this very small section of London use it all the time. For example--apples and pears is Cockney for stairs, trouble and strife is wife, dog and bone is phone, ruba dub dub is pub. Here is a phrase in Cockney...."I need to go up the apples and pears and use the dog and bone to ring my trouble and strife and tell her to meet me at the rub a dub dub". To make it even more complicated, they will often drop the last part of the rhyme--or the part that actually rhymes with the word that they are subbing it for. This is the same phrase used by someone who is speaking real Cockney--I'm going up the apples to get on the dog to ring the trouble and have her come 'round the rub.
Translate THAT!!!! I shudder to think about what the poor Deaf people actually got when they depended on me to translate for them. The Relief Society President in my ward in East London used various phrases all the time. No one really uses all of them all the time, but it was enough to be confusing. I also want to state here that I NEVER walked around the BYU campus using Cockney slang and "pretending" to forget the real words. Do you get where I am going with this?
I served in Scotland for several months too. That one was hard. They used lots of Gaelic slang up there but the slang was easy compared to the accent. I love the accent more then anything in the world, but some of the people are very hard to understand. If they would all just talk like Ewan McGregor or Sean Connery, we would have be fine. Sheesh. There was a Scottish elder in the London Mission I swore I would marry just to listen to him speak for the rest of my life. Of course there was also a Scottish elder in the London mission that accepted a bet for 5 quid to eat a bonnet pepper (one of the hottest peppers in the world). He did it and was sick for days. He also took 10 quid to drink the water in the old nasty plant pot that had been in the missionary flat forever. Again, sick for days. He would eat anything disgusting for money. Ahhhh, missionaries.
This post really has no point or even very good flow. I was just taking a walk down memory lane. I don't really think about my mission any more. It was fun to think about it for awhile. I am far enough removed from it to not really remember or care about the bad stuff and can just laugh about the good stuff. Also, that is where I met my husband. It was really nice to not have to talk or think about birth mothers, law suits, crazy people, cancer or favorite grandma's that have passed away. I needed that this week.