Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shénme yìsi?

People talk to me as though I understood them. I almost never respond in English. Today, however, I was the only person besides the new dàjiě in the school. I was in the middle of interviewing somebody, and suddenly men came down into the basement and started yelling. I followed them up when I finished the interview. One of them spoke very fast at me. "{I don't understand,}" I told him. "{You're talking too fast.}" Which wasn't the problem, of course. I often say, "{Could you say that again?}" as though a repetition will suddenly make me fluent. This dude today, though—he just kept speaking faster and faster. Finally I busted out the English to discourage him: "Man, you keep talking to me like I know. I don't understand anything you're saying." He turned on all the faucets in the entire school. I called out for a translation.

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