Morning Sun
  • OKIE IN EXILE: The squirrel is eating the peaches

  • I am trying to learn Spanish on Rosetta Stone.  I am enjoying it tremendously.  I have a tendency to get a little intense when I am learning something and having a computer to interact with is better than worrying a teacher to death.

    • email print
  • I am trying to learn Spanish on Rosetta Stone. I am enjoying it tremendously. I have a tendency to get a little intense when I am learning something and having a computer to interact with is better than worrying a teacher to death.
    As you learn a language, you slowly pick up words. They don’t come to you all at once. You will learn how to say phrases in a particular context. As so many people learn a new language because they plan to travel in a foreign country much of the vocabulary is tailored to the needs of travelers. Travelers need to be able to get from point A to point B. They want to do shopping. They want to seek out entertainment. They’ll be needing a toilet from time to time.
    As a consequence, language resources of any type will teach you how to say certain things. You learn the language necessary to ride a bus. You learn how to buy things. You learn to talk about going to the library.
    After a while, I get into a playful mood and try to become creative by saying things that I’ve not been taught directly to say.
    Quiero a comprar al autobus. (I want to buy the bus.)
    Cuánto cuesta la mujer rubia? (How much does the blond woman cost?) Ella es muy cara.
    El perro está comiendo la panaderiá . (The dog is eating the bakery.)
    For me, this is part of the learning experience, but it also got me to thinking--and this is something that has been observed by many others--there are things that we just don’t say. Douglas Adam’s, the author of the famous Hitchhiker’s Guide series, once observed that no one ever said “as beautiful as an airport.” The grammar is right; the words are correct; it simply isn’t said in a natural context.
    But, those of us who’ve lived long enough, will find ourselves saying things we’d never guessed would’ve come out of our mouths.
    We have a couple of trees of what my Grandma Winters called Indian Peaches. This might not be politically correct. If it’s not, I want my Indian friends to e-mail me and let me know. In any case, these trees are grown from seeds that came from my Grandma Winters who has been gone nigh on to fifteen years. They are smaller than a store-bought peach. And they are not yellow-meated. The peel has a red tinge to it which permeates the meat of the peach. Their flavor is out of this world.
    In the last few years, the town has been hit with a squirrel population explosion. It beats all I ever saw. I don’t know whether it’s because there are fewer feral house cats, whether people are doing a better job keeping their dogs in, or whether there are fewer Okies in town, but there hasn’t been sufficient predation on the squirrels to keep the numbers down. As a result there are squirrels everywhere.
    Page 2 of 2 - The natural question to ask is what are they doing for food with their number so high. There are only so many combination bird-cat feeders for them to steal from.
    Well, part of the answer is peaches. The squirrels are eating my peaches. This is a sentence I never thought I would’ve heard spoken in nature, but I heard in coming out of my own daughter’s mouth.
    For all I know, they do this all the time. It’s a smart thing to do in hot, dry weather because you can get water at the same time you eat. It’s very nice as a matter of fact. The other night after a rain, I ate a peach from the tree and it was just like drinking a glass of cool, peach-flavored water.
    So I guess what I am saying is that playing around with language to explore the possibilities isn’t such a bad idea. You never know what you will have to say.
    La ardilla come los melocotones.
    Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University. He blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

      Events Calendar