Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Immigrant Speak
June 5, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Mistakes, School


“Yesterday, I was to Ashdod.”

We were in class, discussing Israel’s ports.  Dina asked the class to name them, and somone said Ashdod.  Ooh!  I had just been there yesterday, and now that we’ve learned how to use the past tense for the third of seven different categories of verbs, I think I can actually say “was” now.

I scrunched up my brain good, put my hand up, got called on and said (transliterized, b/c I’m not sure of the Hebrew spelling, and it will take me too long to find everything on the keyboard):

“Etmol, hiyiti l’Ashdod.”  Score!  We have also been learning how say possession in Hebrew, which is usually done with the preposition “leh” (meaning “to”; it ends up translating like, “To her, three pencils” = “She has three pencils.”)

Except, I had been working so hard to get the past tense of “to be” right (and I did 🙂 ), that I didn’t even think about saying “in” right (“beh” in Hebrew), so I ended up saying “to” instead.

In summary, I said “Yesterday I was to Ashdod,” when I tried to say, “Yesterday I was in Ashdod.”  The whole reason I did a post about it is because it was a moment where I got what an immigrant I really am.  Like, if I were in a deli in New York, and a Mexican person said “I was to Philadelphia yesterday,” I wouldn’t be smug about it, but I might smile at him endearingly and think Cute.  Immigrant.  “I was to Philadelphia yesterday.”  Then, I’d correct him, “I was IN Philadelphia yesterday.”  You know…how immigrants can be trying so hard to speak correctly, but just make the littlest obvious mistakes that so give them away.

That’s me now.


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