Donnerstag, 21. Januar 2016

Still talking about language

When we met the surgeon who will be caring for me at the Unispital next month, we got the obligatory question about our last name. Yes it's Dutch and yes Ivo is Swiss. There we were, talking about my surgical history and then the two of them started asking about accents. The doctor assumed that I was Dutch, and I told him that I was American. Then a bit more chat about the risks of the surgery and what to expect of healing and then Ivo had to ask him about his dialect. He was born and raised in Zürich but both his parents are German and so he understands the difficulty of speaking in dialect, etc, etc.
This year is my 10th living in Switzerland and the fact that I am an American speaking Swiss German no longer elicits the surprise it once did. Instead, when people ask how long I've been here, the response to my answer is a nod of acknowledging that that makes sense. So it was nice of this new surgeon to act as if my language acquisition was anything but ordinary.
We made it through the appointment, the heavy chat and the light accent talk and then we said goodbye to him and his assistant, who'd been silent the whole time but bid us adieu with the strongest French accent in the world and had Ivo and I chuckling on the way out of an emotionally exhausting consultation.

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