Shrek speaks Spanish, you know. We had yet to go to the movies on our trip, and Hannah’s teenage movie yearning took us to see Shrek in 3D the other day. In Spanish, of course. The girls have watched a smattering of TV in various languages we’ve passed through, usually dubbed over familiar ones where they already know the characters and how they relate to each other.
Because we like out of the way places, we’ve drifted in and out of areas where the general population spoke more or less English, and where we ourselves spoke more or less of their languages. We’ve learned to ask for breads and meats in the grocery through effective pointing, and to recognize mustard, canned sardines, and olive oil in several languages. A smile and shrug will sometimes aid communication more than a larger vocabulary.
It is difficult to keep up as we drift from one language to the next. When we left France in spring, I was feeling fairly proficient . We moved on to Italian, then Croatian, which were almost completely unknown to us, picking up bits and pieces along the way. My German helped in Croatia, it seemed more common there than English, not to mention our crazy German tante landlord spoke no English. So driving back through Italy into France, I had a couple of days of mental shift, trying to find the words in French I that had disappeared behind the other languages.
Reaching Andorra, we found our French and Spanish marginalized, because they speak Catalan. Although it may be related to both, we find we can’t understand it at all, another beginning. Most people here do speak Spanish, and most of the out of country license plates are from Spain. Unfortunately, my Spanish is rusting in the corner somewhere, unused since our last trip to Mexico a year and a half ago.
So, our latest adventure in language was Shrek dubbed over into Spanish. It is an interesting experience watching a full movie when most of the words you understand are prepositions. While we certainly followed the story, we did miss the double entenres that make Dreamworks pictures so entertaining. But, the sense of adventure that went along with this usually very ordinary experience was enough to keep us laughing.