Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures



Updates on stuff I’ve written and your comments.

In the day after being Freshly Pressed, there were over 1200 clicks on my blog. Which is nuts. If you commented or “liked,” I’ll be checking your blog out eventually but there’s a lot to get through. #FreshlyPressedPeoplesProblems

Responding to all the comments on the post about spying, I started to wonder if American men have defensive tactics that they employ whenever they leave the house. Anyone care to comment?

More proof that the pop vs. soda debate is the defining schism in the US: Tweets reflect the rift.

After reading about my drinking problem, my mother suggested I may have potomanía, an ailment described as “excessive and uncontrollable drinking of water.” I’m adding it to the list of things that are wrong with me which I will blame on her.

I learned why Japanese master chef Jiro pointed to his nose. Turns out the Japanese for “I” and “nose” are similar so people touch their noses when they talk about themselves.

I was right about children not needing to identify with fictional characters and Harvard academic Maria Tatar proves it. According to something AS Byatt cites (which I can’t find), Tatar

has observed wisely that children do not usually ‘identify [with fictional children]’ – they stand a little apart inside the fictional world and intensely observe the people and the action.

I only listen to one podcast from Spain, “180 Grados” (which plays really good music). They didn’t broadcast between Dec 21 and Jan 7. This reminded me that many of the businesses in the country, including state-run radio, close down between those dates for the winter holidays. In the US, having two weeks off for Christmas is called “being in college.” It’s no wonder Spain’s in the shitter.

According to the most recent “Freakonomics” podcast, I may owe Winston Churchill money which is concerning.

Speaking of prolific famous English guys, if you want to listen to Alastair Cooke’s “Letters From America” (which I recommend) but don’t want to deal with iTunes, you can download them directly from BBC4.

Don't be such a pillow case

Don’t be such a pillowcase.

A while back I asked bilingual readers if they could do things simultaneously in two languages. I think I asked the wrong question since everyone said they can, proving nothing. I guess the question should be posed to monolingual people, so I’m going to try again.

What I want to know is if you can do two things at once in whatever language you speak (presumably English if you’re reading this). For example, can you read while listening to the radio? Please answer ONLY if you speak ONE language:



Lunchtime (multilingualism) poll

“You’re beautiful.”

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you are a person who is multilingual and/or interested in language learning/acquisition. If this is you, please read on because I need your help understanding something. If you got here because you also think that the tattoo in The Grey wasn’t clearly explained, move along.

Assuming you identify yourself as multilingual (I don’t care how fluent you are), my question is this: Can you do things in two different languages at the same time?

To be painfully, explicitly clear, I would like to know if you can, for example, read a newspaper in one language while listening to the radio in another language. I am NOT asking if after engaging in these activities you are able to accurately report back what you have heard or read. And to restate, that was an example. Maybe you listen to the radio in one language while driving and talking in a different language. I don’t know. You tell me.

So, here’s a little poll thing to measure your responses. Once I’ve collected some completely non-scientific data from you guys and done some more research, I’ll post about my conclusions down the line. And please tell me about your experiences in contemporaneous consumption of communication. I’m very interested.

Please vote ONLY if you ARE multilingual (two or more languages).