RDP Sunday: Effort


No reports on walking with MS today and wheelies in the chair, that does not need effort, just hope.

No, I was reading a blog that someone wrote about the usage of words to express yourself. I write daily 3-4 pieces, sometimes more photos than writing, but I have a problem. Of course I know what I want to write, but over the last 50 years of living in a country that does not speak english, my brain has become more than bi-lingual. Ok, of course I can still speak english, my mother tongue, although to be honest my mother tongue was cockney, the dialect spoken in East London, and they say you are a true cockney if born within the sound of Bow Bells. Although I lived all my England life within the sound of the bells, I was actually born in Hertfordshire, Hitchin, because it was after the war and there was no room in the London hospitals for mum, so she had to go to Hitchin.

But to continue, I moved to Switzerland, a country where they have four official languages, one being German where I live, but again a dialect of Swiss German (Schwyzertütsch). I speak this strange dialect all day and so my brain has now become also bilingual and it is all about finding the right word to use. Language moves on, advances, and new words are included. All these new words that appeared after I settled in my Swiss German frame of mind (1969), were unknown to me in English. Just a simple example “tights”. I grew up with stockings and then the tights appeared, and so I would buy “Strumpfhosen”. How was I to know that the english word was tights.

And so I sit at my desk with the computer and begin to write and then I have my first problem. Of course I know what to write in German, now what was the english word for it. My next step is LEO an online dictionary which I open in another tab on the computer, because I cannot remember the english expression.  Yesterday I had the word “annullieren” in German which I wanted to use in English, so I was off to the online english-german solution and found it was “delete”. Of course, how could I forget it, but “annullieren” was what my brain said.

This happens continuously, my brain is a two track mind in two languages, or is it three or four. German is what the Germans speak and so we have to know the language in Switzerland as our normal daily Swiss German dialect is not always understood by the Germans. And then I have my original cockney, although of course I also speak the Queen’s english, perhaps not so queeny.

Mr. Swiss speaks perfect english, and I speak perfect Swiss German. Our kids speak Swiss German but understand english and No. 2 son needs his English for his work, often attending english speaking conferences, although his French is just as good, so he has become sort of trilingual.

I must say I feel more comfortable with choosing a (Swiss)-German word, because I am speaking and using them daily and there are even words which I have not yet been able to translate. “Stufenlos” would be stepless, but it is applied to those switches on electronic gadgets that do not do off and and on, but gradually climb and descend – get me? Perhaps.

Anyhow it needs effort for me to write in an english that is english, at least I hope it is english. Even Mr. Swiss corrects my English now and again.

Swiss Bread
RDP Sunday: Effort

17 thoughts on “RDP Sunday: Effort

  1. When I lived in Israel, I knew many people with the same problem. The GOOD news is that despite the issue with languages, your blog is probably saving your English from disappearing entirely. I know people for whom it basically DID disappear. In israel. Eventually, they couldn’t remember enough to complete a sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s strange, isn’t it, how quickly our native language becomes – well – strange. I only lived in France six years, and have been back in the UK for four. But even now, it’s the French word ‘reseau’ which comes to mind when I want to say there’s no – er – network ( I had to stop and think) available for my mobile phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I speak Swiss German all day sine almost 50 Years and that
      language is first and foremost on my tongue. Certain words are more comfortable than the English ones. My English friend told me on a visit.that I often say ja.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. From an American english point of view, your grammar and syntax, etc are perfectly acceptable. You also have good construction of paragraphs and sentences. So I don’t think you have anything to worry about. The English culture of Britian … that may be a different story. I am not too checked out on that. So you will have to be the expert. SLP

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose I must have learned something at school. I just notice that my basic vocabulary of english words has suffered speaking a second language for so many years and I have to check in the dictionary to find the english equivalent. I think my British culture as now become a little Swissified, but I love cows no matter where they come from, although I must say the Swiss cows do have such lovely big brown eyes 🙂


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