Mother Tongue

So, it would appear that the Mexicans call Hamburg, Hamburgo. My father always made fun of other languages, especially Spanish. I think mainly because my mother was fluent and my father’s language skills were limited to two different dialects of English. ‘Just add an O to the end of the word’, he’d say, ‘and there you have it, Spanish!’ So, we’d spend time round the dinner table, family fun time, adding o’s to the end of words, like Chipio, forko and occasionally ‘To the caro!’. My grandparents owed a villa in the south of Spain for most of my childhood. We’d head over 2-4 times a year, so I should really have had more Spanish under my belt, but it was a bit of a British enclave and things like learning Spanish just got left by the road side. I often ponder what these people would say if the Spaniards were to establish enclaves around Eastbourne. But why would they when they have that weather? Of course, this is a very blinkered view of languages and as much as this informed my formative years it’s not a view I’ve ever held. Personally, I’m terrible at languages. I can get by in German and Dutch only when forced too, I can make a bishop blush in Italian and as for the other European based languages go I can say please and thank you in most, but I need to be reminded. Languages mean so much to so many of us. We are all so proud of the languages we speak. We want everyone else to speak our mother tongue but that’s never going to happen. A language we all do speak though is that of music. Many different dialects of music but music none the less. And here I am approaching 26,000ft somewhere over Nottingham, heading to Mexico to deliver some 80s poptasic hits. Second from top on the festival bill! The power of music.