FQ TOPIC: Foreign

a) This blog thanks FridayQ for giving it an excuse for rambling on.
b) It must be Saturday morning.

FQ1: What's your native language? Do you speak any foreign languages? If so, how did you come to learn them?

My native language is New Zild. It's a mangled form of English that relies on the smoothing-out and flattening of vowel sounds so words are barely distinguishable from each other. And it embarrasses me that I speak this way - and I'm getting better at it as I get older.

I have been considering taking speech lessons to soften my thickening accent - yes, it annoys me *that* much. I cringe everytime I answer the phone and say "mushellw spaking" and when I'm transcribing from a tape and i have to listen to my own voice inbetween the lovely English tones of the person I've recorded. Thick, it's thick and I don't like it, no I don't.

But then, I've never liked my voice ever since I can remember. My mother used to say "Michelle, your voice goes right through me" and I would be teased at school for having a funny sounding voice when I spoke, and a wobbly kind of voice when I sang, and a far-too-deep voice for a girl. The fact I never stopped talking probably didn't help much either.

Only once in my childhood memory do I remember hearing something postitive about my voice and that was from a Radio personality named Jean Abbley. She was the mother of one of my Aunts. I must've been about 13 years old - she took my face in both her hands and looked into my eyes and said "You have the most perfect voice for radio."

I only speak New Zild. We were taught Maori in school, though I never paid much attention. I tried to learn Japanese for a while but never did get very far. I didn't even bother learning Italian for my trip and managed to spend 2 weeks in Italy without uttering a single Italian word or greeting. Go me!

FQ2: What's your native country? Have you visited any foreign countries? If so, which ones?

I was born and continue to live in New Zealand. I haven't traveled much - mostly because it doesn't occur to me to do so. I did travel to Europe a few years ago to visit a few friends I'd met through the Internet.

One of the very best parts of that trip was meeting JJ and I'd fly all the way back just to do that again.

As I mentioned, I've been to Italy and would love to go back, but at the moment there is a plan forming in my brain go to France though I'm not entirely sure where that thought is coming from or leading to but I'll start saving for that any minute now (and it has nothing to do with that stupid book The Da Vinci Code!) - Probably end up back in Roma *s*

I've also been to Rarotonga, and Fiji, Japan, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.

FQ3: Are there any foreign foods, books, movies, or other items that you are particularly fond of? Name some of your favorites.

I like all sorts of food.. I went through a phase in the 80s where I adored French cuisine. Italian food is wonderful, as is Japanese. Hey.. I just realised - I had great Chinese food in Venice, and fabulous Italian food in Japan - that's funny.

I think the best food (and floral arrangements funnily enough) is here in New Zealand. The fusion of cultural palettes and fresh produce makes Kiwi Cuisine my favourite. It seems the chefs here take the best from the world and make it their own and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend some of our fine restaurants to visitors.

Of course.. there's another part of kiwi cuisine - the comfort of a pie, custard squares, egg sandwiches and cups of tea but I think you really need to have grown up here to appreciate it.

I haven't read foreign books due to not being able to read other languages - and I don't tend to see foreign films so much (ie: films not in english) but of those I have seen, I particularly liked Run Lola Run (German) and of course, Amelie (French) - how could you not like that movie. Motor Cycle Diaries (Argentina - still showing here at the Rialto) was really good too. I enjoy the movies that have been coming from China and distributed through our main stream theatres: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers and Hero. I'm looking forward to Ong Bak (from Thailand, I think) this week sometime I hope.

FQ NATIVE: If you had to trade your nationality for that of any foreign country, which would you choose and why?

This is a hard question to answer. Running through the Nationalities: American, Canadian, British, Irish, Scottish, Scandenavian, South American, German, French, Italian. God forbid: Australian.

A friend was telling me about Somalia recently. Saying how status there is determined by the ability to use the language (Arabic, specifically, I believe). Your level of education is visible through the type or level of the (Arabic) language you use. Poets are held in high esteem, for instance, due to their ability to manipulate language to a high degree. Whereas some cultures in other countries hold people to a Class system and the amount of information/education they are exposed to is based on their caste or birth, Somali seems to value knowledge regardless of clan or birth status.

I know that Somalia has a shitload of problems that makes it a less than obvious answer to this question, but even though it's simplistic, this one point of valuing education and communication so highly really appeals to me.