Thursday, September 22, 2005

Three cheers for the international media

Tonight I went to the store unaccompanied, which isn't so unusual in itself, except that our normal check-out lady decided she would ask me a couple of questions. Sure, I understand some Greek, but I am so accustomed to being with someone who speaks Greek to verify what someone is saying/asking, when I am questioned alone my brain melts down and I am certain that smoke pours forth from every orifice in my head.

So the nice lady asks me if I am staying in Greece. I stare at her blankly and wait for my defunct brain to begin the bootup process. She repeats herself. I say yes (wow, progress!). I tell her, in my best Frankenstein-meets-the-undead voice, Ameriki. She figures out that I am trying to say I am from America. She asks me where from in America. I tell her Tennessee, Nashville. Now it is her turn to give me a blank stare. So I tell her, based on what immediate knowledge Greeks might have of U.S. geography, near Louisiana. She understood and nodded her head and said "Ah, Louisiana!".

I forgot, though, the best way to help Greeks understand Tennessee. The home of Jack Daniels. Works every time.


EllasDevil said...

I'm actually quite curious. How long have been in Greece and how are you finding the Greek language? Does it seem easy or difficult to learn?

What methods do you use to learn the language?

BallAndDust said...

Reminds me of year ago, when my American aunt (married to my mother's younger brother) would tell people that she was from Seattle, she'd get the response, "O, to Sonics" (this was when the Sonics were in the NBA finals with the Bulls).


Anonymous said...

The “Jack Daniels” trick works every time with greeks? That’s a surprise… In Portugal most of the people would probably stare at you and think “am I supposed to know who that guy is?”. We stick to the scotch ;)

May I suggest a post about greek music, Melusina? What’s your opinion on that? I guess most of the foreigners still think that greek music is Zorba and variations of Zorba (that’s not your case, I’m sure). And, beeing a portugueses, I know how irritating that can be...
I recently discovered a nice greek band called Raining Pleasure, and I’m a big fan of Savina Yannatou.


melusina said...

EllasDevil, I have been in Greece 3 years. Before I came to Greece a friend of mine and I bought the same Greek books (he was coming to Greece too for awhile, he is a philosophy/ancient Greek professor) and endeavoured to study together once a week. He picked up on it
quickly (well, he DOES know ancient Greek, I know they are different, but still) and I just lumbered. I suck at learning languages, I hate grammar (even English grammar, which is simple comparatively) and I am way too shy to speak languages out loud. As far as things I have done to learn the language, well, I watch American T.V. shows with Greek subtitles. =p I've picked up a lot of vocabulary, some things I can read, but when it comes to understanding what people are saying, I can't. Since my husband speaks fluent English (better than most Americans) we don't bother to even try speaking Greek. But my in-laws are not happy with it (although they blame my husband) and so we are going to work together to strengthen my Greek language skills. We'll see.

Haha BallandDust, see, that is the only way to communicate places in America, aside from say, New York or LA. Which I don't blame anyone, knowing American geography is really not necessary if you don't live there (and lots of people who live there don't know either). It probably would have been better for me to just say Notia because they can at least identify with that better.

Antonio, yes, people here know Jack. =) They get plenty of commercials for it too. Just as long as people in Europe don't ever have a chance to equate Tennessee with Senator Bill Frist (who may be running for president in 2008). Ugh.

As far as music goes, well I am embarrassed to say I don't listen to much Greek music. Most radio stations(and the Greek video channel) tend to play the crap Greek music (ie. trying to be rappers/hiphop, or really cheesy Celine Dion type music). I actually enjoy some of the Italian music (on an Italian video channel) better, although there is a song or two that filters through now and then that is Greek that I enjoy, but I never know names.