A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about deciding whether or not to learn the dialect when your family doesn’t speak Mandarin Chinese.
Well, I chose to learn my husband’s local dialect, and now I can proudly say I’m proficient in many of the common conversational phrases. It’s amazing to finally connect with my husband’s family and friends in the local dialect.
But more than that, learning your partner’s obscure language or dialect can also be a LOT of fun, as I’ve discovered.
Here are 3 reasons why:
#1: Being able to talk privately when you travel with your partner
My husband’s entire home county has a population of only 400,000 people. Most folks there are also homebodies, preferring to stay close to family.
So when we travel outside the county, the chances of actually running into someone from there – especially if we go abroad – are practically nil.
That makes speaking my husband’s local dialect our go-to language to express anything we’d rather keep private. You know, like the fact that I find my husband’s butt very sexy… 😉
#2: Making the family laugh, because they never expected to hear you say THAT in their language
There’s nothing quite like watching my mother-in-law giggle when she hears me say “I’m going to wash clothes” or “I can’t eat this” in the local dialect.
Yes, plain, everyday phrases like that suddenly become hilarious whenever I speak them in front of family (even my husband). And it’s all because it’s so odd to see me – a white American woman – using the local dialect.
(I have to admit, sometimes even I have to laugh when I speak in it. Never in a million years did I imagine myself learning this language, one that had once seemed impossible and completely unintelligible to me!)
#3: Finally being able to follow conversations around the family dinner table
One of the reasons I used to dread visiting my husband’s family was the fact that I got really, really bored sitting around the table at dinner. After all, everyone would fall into the local dialect – the preferred language – and I couldn’t understand a single word.
Not so anymore.
Nowadays, I understand more than 60 percent of the conversations in local dialect – and whatever I don’t understand, I can usually figure out by the context. (I still can’t believe how much I’ve learned!)
Although, this can sometimes qualify as “not so fun after all” when the conversations happen to involve something intensely personal (like, say, how the family is wondering aloud when you’re finally going to have kids – which happens more than you might think!).
Ah well. Better to hear it firsthand than filtered through someone else, right?
What do you think?