Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Languages of New York

poster in bar window (of course)
WQXR, the classical radio station, is my alarm of choice, and this morning it awoke me with Latin music (classical, but I still wondered if someone had messed with the dial - is it still called a dial?  Tuner, perhaps?).  Then I realized today is Cinqo de Mayo, and this music selection probably woke up a fair number of confused folks this morning. 

It made me think about languages, which I'm doing all the time now since I've been studying French over the last year, and even more so in anticipation of a few months of intensive French study in France.  I always have some fun when I hear different languages here.  Of course, it's quite common, and as the weather gets warmer, more and more of them are heard, with the arrival of more and more visitors to NYC.  This morning at my latte stop, I can chalk up two more languages to add to the day that had just barely begun for me - Hebrew spoken by two beautiful young blond women who looked Swedish (so much for stereotypes), and Swedish or Dutch (I'm ashamed to say I couldn't tell for sure, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't German) spoken by three young blond women who also looked Swedish.  Guess it's blond day at Joe.

But, back to Cinqo de Mayo.  Here in New York, it's mostly celebrated at bars and restaurants, but the holiday's roots are Mexico versus France in 1862, when Mexico defeated a French army twice its size in Puebla.

Oh well, even though my eyes face France these days, I love hearing all languages in my hometown and being reminded of travels past and future, wherever I am around town.

Happy Cinqo de Mayo!

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