Monday, December 19, 2011

The Trouble with Tongues

So Ariella has started doing my butcher orders.

Let me be clear - despite my lack of proficiency with the language of our forefathers, I can manage our weekly order. Mainly because there are no numbers above "400."

Ariella enjoys reciting the order along with me (she's memorized it, since I order the same exact thing every week), and one day, she asked if she could place the order. So I let her. The butcher laughed (nicely) when she got on the phone, so I quickly took the phone and told him, "This is my daughter, and I approve this order."

She did a great job.

And the best part - when she asked for "שריר," she didn't have to repeat herself! See, those double-reish words get me every time. And I have to try to rrrrroll them, because I noticed that they understand me better if I do, even though I think I sound like a cross between an aged cat choking up a hairball and Inigo Montoya.

Somehow, that's still better than just saying it with two American "r's." Even so, it usually needs a second take. "Shrrrreeerrrrr," I say, more adamantly, because everyone knows adamant=clarity.

But this whole being out-ordered by my 8-year-old just underscores the different worlds we live in. Us old folks will always be immigrants, no matter how much shoko b'sakit we drink. (Case in point: Transliterating Hebrew words, which I just did, is something Ariella thinks is the height of hilarity. "Oh so you're writing the Hebrew words in English letters! Hahahahahaha!") We could bathe in the stuff (the shoko, keep up), but we'll still be immigrants. But our children, even the two who are technically immigrants, already belong here in ways we never will.

Our children will experience things--army, obviously, sticks out in my mind--that we never did, and we won't be able to offer sage advice or wisdom. (Although I imagine, "Change your underwear with some regularity" and "Be nice to the secretary" holds true in many situations.)

But you know, it's a sacrifice for the next generation. Ariella and her children will all be able to roll their reishes together in perfect unison. They'll probably do it every night at dinner. She will be much more useful in guiding them through their post-high school experiences, though naturally, she won't be able to share with them details of her service in the top-secret intelligence unit.

However, she may have considerably less to blog about.

On that note, I would like to wish all my Loyal Readers a verr[cough, cough, sputter]rrrrry happy Chanukah, and to paraphrase my favorite vengeance-filled, fencing Spaniard, "Prepare to fry."



Fezzik would be proud.

Kalany said...

You could still beat Ariella in a batttle of wits. I think. At least until she turns 9.

toby said...

You are my favorite new blog - this is so funny!
Here's my favorite trick - get your adorable 8 year old to record the message on your voice mail - everyone who hears it will melt, and you get to avoid the rrrrreshes.
Happy Chanuka!

Gila Rose said...

Kally - thank goodness she's not sicilian.

Toby - thanks! She's been on our answering machine (in Hebrew and English) pretty much since we got here! Very useful, esp since our last name is "RRRRose"

f/e said...

you have fried my brain with this post. so many questions
1 if you bathe in shoko can you buy the 2 litre bottle instead of the sakit?
2 what does one do with shrir?
3 why are numbers above 400 more difficult then numbers less then 400?
4 do you know that bc of you i will now be muttering under my breath all day my name is faithemuna they killed our forefathers prepare to fry?

Gila Rose said...

1. No! You must rip the corner off each and every bag. Then the little pieces of plastic float with you.
2. Cholent meat. We embrace our Eastern European heritage.
3. Numbers above 1,000 are tricky. Didn't you read my last post??
4. I was hoping you would!

Katie said...

For some reason double-resh words always sound like at least one resh is a throaty English L (probably because that's the only way to get an American tongue even close to the unnatural resh-roll position without feeling like a complete idiot). When I started pronouncing it that way, suddenly everyone understood me, even though I still feel like an idiot.

Arica said...

I was also wondering about the shrir and I am still not sure what it is but perhaps I will have one of my children order it for me once to try.
I am also wondering why if you order it each week you still need to repeat yourself? At what point can you call the butcher and say "I'll have the usual"?

Risa said...

I "heart" the references to The Princess Bride. Happy Chanukah!

SaraK said...

You think Rrrrrose is hard to say? Try Krrrrrugerrrrr. If I say it the American way, Israelis ask "mah?" 16 times. I learned very quickly how to say my own last name with the rolled reish's as best as I can.

Gila Rose said...

SaraK - good point, especially because the "er" at the end is more like "air" for an Israeli. Maybe you should just change it to Ziv.


Gils, maybe just go back to Leibtag.

Isobel said...

Well, I looked up שריר and according to Google you're feeding your family

I'll pass on dinner, thanks :P

My personal pronunciation challenge is שרוג. The first time I attempted it I stripped my vocal cords and the very nice girl in the mercolet nearly wet herself laughing. When she eventually managed to control herself she said "Oh, you mean srrrrrrruuuuuuug". Pfft.

Yosefa said...

LOL. I live on Rothschild ans have a terrible time ordering/"inviting" a cab.

f/e said...

anyone seen gila? maybe shes in a corner somewhere trying to figure out why in her previous posts she was ok with 3 digit numbers in hebrew and now all of a sudden she is also finding difficulty with numbers btwn 400 and 1000? gila we can help you! (and we lOyal readers deserve a new post)

Gila Rose said...

thanks for checking in f/e - working on a new one now...