Friday, July 15, 2011

House Stuff and Some People are Funny about Languages

Today my friend brought over all kinds of staging items to help me sell the house. Next time there is a showing, the dinring room table will be set with table cloth, and four place settings, beautiful china and wine glasses. She also lent me some pictures for the walls, since I had taken down all the family pictures and the kids art and the Chiquita banana stickers which used to be on the wall.

After a wonderful time at the farmer's market we came home to a realtor's email 'Can we do a showing tomorrow and Saturday?' Well, that was easy, that was an 'is the sky blue' type of question. Apart from the fact that the 'formal living room which used to be the television room which used to be the computer room' has been mostly stripped from its furniture and only consisted of a futon, a television, and a router on the floor. Oops. Not very appealing it was.


The universe gave me a whole evening to fix that though, so the first thing I did was call my friend 'Remember that you told me I could borrow those wing chairs? Would you mind if I came over tonight to get one? Will it even fit in my car?' and yes, I could borrow them and naturally it would fit in my car because my car is awesome.

They loaded the chairs for me (TWO of them actually fit!). At home we set up the room into a 'Wow, this is not a bad living room at all!' type of configuration and I feel all good about tomorrow's showing, even if there still are 5,000 other things that do not look perfect yet.


On another subject, today in the thrift store (did I mention my mother does not approve of long thrift store visits, as in longer than three minutes on a good day) I got into a conversation with an American lady about languages. She stated that everyone in the world should learn the same language, either as a first or a second language, and that that universal language should be English.

I pointed out that more people in the world speak Chinese, so wouldn't it make more sense to use Chinese as an universal language? She absolutely disagreed with that notion. No, all the Chinese speakers could just learn English... I didn't think it was worth my time and energy to try to convince this person that English is not the solution to all the world's problems.

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Wendy said...

You know, because the United States is at the center of the universe and everything revolves around us, it only makes sense that everyone should learn English. In fact, it should be downright illegal to even THINK in a different language!


Mongoose said...

Most people who speak English as a first language are lazy and undisciplined and you can't teach them anything. Most of them can't even speak English properly, or comply with basic driving rules. Whereas most people who speak Chinese as a first language can do as they're told, and therefore they can be taught. English will be the universal language, and Chinese will be the language of the ruling elite.

That being said I'm not sure there really are more speakers of Chinese than of English. All the Chinese do not speak the same "Chinese" and many can't understand each other's languages. On the other hand, most of India speaks English to some extent, and there are almost as many people there as in China. Large parts of Africa also speak English, and many Europeans learn English as a second or third (or fifth, in my case) language.

NannyOgg said...

Yeah Wendy, I was amazed too how UScentric she was, but I guess it is not totally uncommon around here.

Mongoose, yeah, English speakers seem to get 'lazy' language wise because it is understood in so many places, so why bother speaking anything else.

I have to admit that I was not sure about Chinese, but I was pretty sure that English wasn't the most spoken language and I wanted to see how she reacted to have another language as 'the world language.'

I will have to look into language frequency some time soon, but for now my on line time is very limited between house selling and family visiting so that will have to wait. I am curious though.


Mongoose said...

Here, I googled it. According to this page:

1. Mandarin, so you were right - 1,151 million people
2. Spanish
3. English
4. Hindi / Urdu
5. Arabic
6. Bengali
7. Portuguese
8. Russian
9. Japanese

Different sources have them in a different order, though. I vote we make Arabic the universal language, it's supposedly incredibly easy. Plus it will really tick off the Anglo-centric world. :)

NannyOgg said...

Ah thanks. My answer to her was a distant memory of something I had read before. The only thing I knew for sure is that English wasn't the first language.

Sure, I like Arabic, it is a nice flowing script and I don't think they have any of the tonal issues that Chinese has.