Monday, January 18, 2010

Me llamo...

Over the Christmas holidays we headed up to Edinburgh to be with the family. While waiting on the bus for our trip from the plane to the baggage claim I caught part of a conversation between a man and a Scottish-Spanish family comprised of a Scottish mom, Spanish dad, and their two early-teen kids. We had quite the wait and the mom had time to tell the chatty man everything about their familial situation and what they were doing living in Madrid and why they were visiting Scotland and how the kids spoke both languages and which language they spoke at home and a million other things the guy wanted to know. Finally the man turned to the kids and asked,

“So, do you have Spanish names?”

The kids looked at each other and then at their mum and just shrugged their shoulders in the universal gesture of “I dunno.”

Mum answered for them, “Well, this one’s Daryl, so that’s not really Spanish. And my daughter is Andrea, which could be either language.”

I think this little interchange was pretty representative of their situation as a whole. For an outsider it’s seems pretty interesting – bilingual families, kids fluent in both languages from birth, etc. But for the kids it’s just what they’ve always known. Those are their names. And while Andrea certainly could be either Spanish of English, there is no doubt that Daryl comes from the English side of his progenitors. I would have thought that the boy would at least have realized that his name was not common in Spain but clearly it’s not something he’d ever really considered. For him, whether he says, “My name is Daryl” or “Me llamo Daryl,” the important part is who he is and not the language.

1 comment:

JustMe said...

Middle school aged kids? That explains it :)
I really enjoyed this post.
What a world. You've got to love it.