I am unilingual. Despite being exposed to many languages over the years (even at a young age), I can only utter a few words in a handful of tongues outside of English. My hat tips to those with bilingual abilities and full admiration to poly-linguists with command over more than two dictionaries. My wife is one such amazing person – she can speak four completely different languages (Spanish, English, Japanese, and Danish)! It is so impressive as to actually have been an amusing problem. You see, we were in her country of birth, let’s call it Spain, and decided to go to the movies. At the time, Yes Man, was playing and was the best choice where we went. Of course, it was in Spanish with English subtitles. I had no problems with this until the scene in the movie where Korean is spoken. You see, the subtitles change from English to Spanish for the native viewers. I could read the Spanish but not understand it. Wanting to know the dialogue, I leaned over and asked my wife what was said. “I don’t speak Korean, I know Japanese” was her deadpan response. It took a while to realise that she could translate the subtitles for me.
I was reminded of this episode when Yes Man aired on our local station one night. It brought back a giggle and I asked my wife if I could share it with the world. She agreed and jokingly added that her English faux pas and peculiar parlance was often a source of my [our] amusement. Her enthusiasm for the story to be shared was tempered by a verbalized thought that she may become the “punch joke”.