Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Your Amusing Cultural Misunderstanding of the Day

My wife was not born in America. She did not arrive on our sunny shores until she was 11. However she did complete High School here. This means that she speaks English without an accent, save for the slight taint of New Yorkese in words such as daughter, and a twinge of Southern she picked up from me.

That lack of an accent can fool you. Stuff that we learned in elementary school, stuff that wasn't repeated in middle or high school, often passes her by. Between worlds, she is, never totally at home in either one.

So, the other day she got ahold of one of those Scholastic magazines they use to teach elementary school kids about stuff - usually there's one for every holiday. St. Paddy's day was no exception. Now, despite the Prussian surname, my background is heavily Scotts (Clan Munro) - Irish (Brady). So the wife calls me the other day and says:

- "wow, the Shamrock is a plant"

- "uh, yes, dear, how did you make it though school in NY not knowing that?" o.O

- "we had Italians and blacks, no Irish"

- "but you went to school in New York City"

- "the Italians weren't big on St. Patrick"

- "but surely, someone hung one up in the hall, sometime as a decoration"

- "if they did, they didn't bother to tell me its name"

- o.O "so, what did you think it was, then?"

- "a rock. possibly, a fake one. 'sham' and 'rock', see? but I thought it was an Irish rock"

- "no, dear, that's the Blarney Stone"

This is from the woman who thought for the longest time that the idiom for "the whole thing" was "the whole kitten and poodle". Well, you have both popular pets, don't you? Made sense to her.



mattw said...

That makes sense, a fake rock, if you break down the word.

This is completely dissimilar, but one time we were out in Rockford for one of my wife's skating events and we passed the Swedish hotel and the Swedish hospital and a Swedish restaurant. She remarked on it, and I said something along the lines of "There are a lot of Swedish settlers here. Don't you know that Rockford is Swedish for 'settlement?'" And she was totally convinced, until I started laughing.

Nathan said...

That's excellent.

Jim Wright said...

despite the Prussian surname

You told your wife "The Scientist" is Prussian? No wonder she's having problems.

Kittens and Poodles. Ha!