Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In everyday life, trying to communicate in two languages can bring awkward situations, Perez Firmat says. And the speaking habits that result can be very revealing.
"I can only curse in Spanish," he says. "I had a difficult relationship with my dad, and there may have been some cursing involved, on both parts."
"On the other hand, I have a hard time saying 'I love you' in Spanish," he says. "When I say te quiero, te amo — it sounds stilted, sounds like the kind of speech you hear in Mexican soap operas."
"But for me it's very natural to say, 'I love you,'" in English, Perez Firmat says. "My wife is American; English is a conjugal tongue, it's a filial tongue. Every time I talk to my son or my daughter, we end the discussion by saying, 'I love you.'"