Thursday, October 18, 2007

When Learning a New Language, Be Careful Who...or What...You Trust

This really might not be funny to anyone who doesn't speak Portuguese or has not had a cross-cultural language experience, but I laughed for a good 10 minutes tonight when this happened. One of my favorite readers, Jaelson, came to our session tonight with a lot of questions from our last lesson (the lesson in Luke 7 about the sinful woman who washed Jesus' feet). He is a pleasure to work with because he is so eager to practice his English and such a joyful person. And he giggles a lot, which is never a bad thing!

So tonight he arrived with a furrowed brow and said "Cris, I have a question. I've been looking up some of these words from the last lesson in my dictionary, and I just don't understand." "Okay..." I thought, as I prepared myself to explain another extremely simple concept that is too simple to explain...my hardest task every day. "You told me that the word 'sin' is 'pecado,' right?" "Yes..." "And that the word 'sinner' is 'pecador,' right?" "Yes..." (a continued furrowed brow...) "Okay...but when I looked it up in my dictionary, it said that a sinner was a pescador." (Fisherman).

At this point I started laughing...and laughing...and laughing, realizing that whoever had typed this dictionary had made a gross error, adding an 's' where it really didn't need to be, completely changing the meaning of the story for my poor friend. (Also a bit ironic to use the word 'fisherman,' don't you think?) So here is how Jaelson read the story, with his new definitions in hand:

"When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a fisherman." -Luke 7:37-39

In unrelated news, I had a dream last night that as I was riding the elevator to my apartment the bottom fell out at floor 6 and I fell down 6 stories of an elevator shaft. This has proven very, very unfortunate for me today, as I live on the 8th floor and riding the elevator is necessary multiple times each day. You better believe I'm watching the digital numbers pass as I ride along, holding my breath between floors 5 and 7. My subconscious is out of control sometimes...

Have a good weekend!


3 comments:

Patrick said...

Just pictures of the place. I was just wondering if there were any similarities to my old home in China in look or craftsmanship.

ann said...

Heh heh heh... :) As pathetic as it is to self reference in a blog comment, you might think this story is funny: http://sojochick.blogspot.com/2006/10/bat-woman.html

daniela said...

oh i love you!