There are a few conversations that occurred this week that I would like to share.
The Day Limon Called When I Was Feeling Sick and Trying to Take a Nap:
Limon: When you're writing the French verb tinter in IPA, does it end with an open E or a closed E?
Cicada: [Completely confused: I have never heard the word tinter* and I don't know what he means, "open E or closed E"] Give it to me in a sentence, please.
Limon: "Les cloches tinter légeres et franches, dans le ciel clément."
Cicada: [Completely confused: The sentence he just read made absolutely no sense. I had assumed that he was talking about a conjugated form of tinter, and asking whether it was supposed to end in an e-accent-aigu, or e-sans-accent, but neither of those options were working in the sentence he was giving me.] Okay, so... you want to know... if it... if it what?
Limon: If it ends in an open E or a closed E.
Cicada: [Wondering where he even got those terms from] Okay... so... like with an accent? Uh, could you spell the word for me?
Cicada: [Finally understanding] Ohhhhhhhhh. Tintaient! Ahhh, you're talking about phonetic transcription!
Limon: [In a sarcastic tone of voice] Yes, that's what IPA** means. [Remember, he mentioned it in passing about five seconds after he woke me up.]
Cicada: Right. Uh. Give me a break, will you? I woke up from my nap to help you out. I don't know what a closed E or an open E is, but the one you use for the word in this context will be the backwards three.
Limon: Okay. So the backwards three. Good. Now what about feuille?
Cicada: [Relieved that I actually recognized the word this time] That one, well, I'm pretty sure I know it, but let me look it up to be sure. [Take a couple seconds to look it up in my dictionary.] Yeah, okay, that one is spelled F - O and E squished together - J. Feuille.
Limon: So, F, then the O and the E squished together, then the J?
[Now is when we have a long pause. As in a pause of about a minute and a half or even two full minutes. Have you ever tried one of these on the phone? They're really long. And often a little awkward. So I start thinking about what he's thinking. I assume that he's reviewing his assignment to see where else he needs help. I wait. I wait. I wonder if I should repaint my toe nails. I think about what I'm going to be eating later in the day. I'm wondering if I'm going to make it to the gym. I'm wondering why Limon's still not saying anything...]
Cicada: Uh... so is this conversation over now, or are you still wanting my help?
Limon: Oh! I thought that I was waiting for you! I thought you were looking something up in the dictionary!
Cicada: No. I looked up feuille. F - O and E squished together - J. That's all.
After our moment of understanding, we quickly wrapped up the conversation and I tried fruitlessly to nap again.
*In fact, the verb tinter is so obscure that all I had to do to find the rest of the quote (to quote it correctly for my blog) was google "les cloches tintaient." All hits reference the text of Debussy's song that Limon was working on.
**IPA is the phonetic alphabet. Phonetic transcription means writing the sounds of a word out phonetically.
Gunter's Attempt to Confirm Our Saturday Night Date . . . With My Mother:
I think I referenced recently the fact that I was about to go on my semiannual date with my German friend. It's a tradition we seemed to have established about five years ago. We have about the same amount of interest in each other; that is to say, neither of us is interested at all. We don't socialize at all beyond these dates. And even then, twice a year, neither of us ever has enough to say to keep conversation going for the whole evening. Gunter's interests are cars, music, dancing, and computers. And dieting. My interests are interior design, the English language, fashion, and magazines. And dieting. So you can guess what our most interesting conversation of the evening centered on. And yet, it still was not interesting enough to be featured in this post. And so, I give you Gunter's attempt to confirm our Saturday night date... with my mother.
Mom, answering the phone: Hello?
Gunter: Guten aubend. Zees eez Guuunta.
[My parents know who Gunter is. Of course they do. He's the only man who takes me on dates on a regular basis, and he's also the last person I went on a date with.]
Mom: Oh! Hello, Gunter!
Gunter: I vass calling for Cicada...
Mom: Ah, I see. This is Cicada's mother. You've called her home in Maryland.
Gunter: Yeah riiiight.
Mom: [Laughing] No, really, you've got the wrong number. This is Cicada's home in Maryland. You need to call her on her cell phone.
Gunter: [Thinking, still obviously not sure whether it's a joke or for real... decides to side with caution.] You sound a lot like your daughta.
Mom: Yes, I do. We sound so much alike that even my husband mistakes us on the phone.
Mom gave Gunter my cell phone number (he obviously had misplaced it in the last six months).
She then went to wake my dad up from his nap to tell him the story so that she could laugh about it with someone. She then waited about the time she thought was appropriate for Gunter to be able to call me and confirm the date, and then called me to tell me about it. She got me just as I was hanging up the phone with him.
Gunter: Hello. I called your mooza [my attempt at writing "mother" in his accent]
Cicada: Hahahaha! Because you looked my number up on the Internet?
Gunter: Yah. I didn't beleeeeve her. I sought it vass you... joking.
Cicada: Hahahahahaha! What did you say??
Gunter: I said, "Guten Abend. Zees eez Guuunta." She said, "Guuunta? Who is Guuunta?" I said, "I vass calling about toniiight." She said, "Zees eez not Cicada. Zees eez Cicada's mooza." I didn't beleeeve her. I sought you ver playing a joke, yah. You and your mooza sound very much alike.
Cicada: Yes, it's true. We sound so much alike that even my dad mistakes us on the phone.*
*What other ways are we alike?
We concluded by putting together the details for the evening. As soon as I hung up the phone, it rang. It was my mother.
When My Mom Called to Laugh with Me:
Cicada, dropping my voice ten octaves: Guten aubend.
So there you have it. A few choice conversations from my week.