Sunday, August 29, 2010

Toasting Machines

Toast and toasters have come up a surprising number of times in the past week. I think this makes for a good cultural/language discussion.

This photo shows the typical Argentine toasting grill contraption. As far as I know, American-style toasters do not exist here. Jenny and I were discussing this and had the following exchange:
Jenny: "At home we have toasting machines"
Rease: "You call them toasting machines in Ireland?!"
Jenny: ", toasters! Oh my God my English is getting terrible! I'm going to end up like your granny and be in language limbo and not be good at Spanish or English!"

Of course it was a funny mistake, but she really does note something serious, that any language-- even your native one-- can be lost if you don't use it enough. She refers to my Grandma because my Grandmother moved to the US 50 years ago and never learned to read or properly speak English and now cannot read or properly speak Japanese either.

Funny toast situation #2: I was making toast (on a grill thing, of course) for Ana and Jose. I had asked Ana how many tostadas she wanted and she said 2. I put two on her plate and she said "Quiero más tostada!" I told her I would make more and she said "más tostada!". I had to ask "más tostada or más tostadas?" Yes, this seems like it is basically the same thing. However, "más tostada" means "more toasted" while "más tostadas" means "more toast". Silly spanish.

And, to bring the toast situation full circle, today Gracia was trying to speak in English at the table and told Juan "go make more toast, put more bread on the...toaster? Rease do you say toaster? That sounds strange."

Who knew toast could be such a learning experience.