You've come a long way, babe.

My Eldest, Daria, is in NYC on business.
The other day, she tells us in an email, a guy at McDonald's asked her where in England she was from… He said no American says "Sorry" (rather than "Excuse me" and "take away" (rather than "to go").
"Shows we brung you up proper-like", replied my British husband proudly.
Good thing she gave herself away, as it were, at a McDonald's and not on a Nazi-infested train in 1944. Remember the scene in The Great Escape?

Truth is, my daughter's linguistic upbringing was a real mishmash. Our home was a way-station for English speakers of all kinds and accents: Lisa from New Jersey, Susie from Manhattan, Lynne from Coventry, Marion from Los Angeles, John from South Africa. Not to mention parents and grandparents with a wide assortment of backgrounds and accents. Daria has a good ear. Just plunk her for a week or two in a certain location, and she picks up the accent, with a vocabulary to go with it. Reminds me of the time she was about 12, on her way back from a short stay in London, when she asked a perplexed El Al flight attendant "where's the loo".

Happily, this babe has come a long way. (Without resorting to Virginia Slims…)

And speaking of cigarettes.

In the March 2010 issue of The Marker's health and life-style magazine with the unimaginative "Hebrew" name Active, on page 23, there's a full-page anti-smoking ad sponsored by the education (?) department of the Health Ministry. The photo shows a close-up of a good-looking, trendily stubble-faced young man, saying something like: "She looked great…[yadda yadda]… but when I leaned over to kiss her, I realized she stank like an ashtray. Ugh. Smoking really puts me off."

Interesting. I don't know what the percentage of women smokers is compared to men, and I'd like to think that the Ministry has a similar ad depicting a woman recoiling from the ashtray breath of a male smoker.

In ads from the 1930s, the situation, as you may well imagine, was altogether different. You have no idea how different. See below: the man blows smoke into the face of a goo-goo eyed beauty with heavily-mascara'ed lashes, who's staring up at her man entranced, and the caption reads: "Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere".

I wonder how far this attitude would get you with a woman these days :-)

Of conferences and other joyful events

Another conference is on the agenda: The City of Rishon LeZion holds an annual conference on the Hebrew Language. Don't know how long this has been going on. I've lived in Rishon for the past 21 years and have only been aware of it for the past two years. But this year, I'm really going to attend. The names of presenters and lecturers are familiar and promising: Dr. Zvia Walden, Avirama Golan, Avshalom Kor, Ruvik Rosenthal, and many more.

Hope to enjoy it and report back to you. That is, if I get in.

Most of the sessions are free. I thought I had plenty of time to call and reserve a seat. Was I ever surprised when I called this morning, a whole week before the event opens, only to be told point-blank that no seats are available. I had no idea there was such a demand in my city for linguistic chatter and banter. How lovely! Mind you, there are always some no-shows, so I do expect I'll be able to get in, at least to some of the sessions.

One specific session, by Dr. Zvia Walden (with whom I worked for a while back in the eighties) I have a solid booking for. To my surprise, I was actually contacted by the Culture department and offered a seat. Probably because I'm on their listing, being a regular at the city's jazz concerts (the fabulous Lenoid Ptashka series).

A P.S. to my ITA conference lecture and handout:

For weeks after the event, I kept getting requests for my Helpful Glossary and promptly emailed the document to all requesters. Very gratifying, this.

Some people ask me how come I don't mind giving out my carefully-compiled glossary.

- Well, first of all, I'm only giving out a fraction of my personal glossary. Only about 10% of it, if that much. I have plenty more "trade secrets" up my sleeve, or tucked away on my computer.
- Second, my motivation is selfish: I get so irritated by poor translations or silly mistakes in colleagues' work. I'd be much happier if they found my solutions helpful and applied them.
- Third – what have I got to lose? I believe my colleagues stand on their own merit. My glossary is but one helpful tool; I don't see anyone using it in order to steal my customers… And if anyone does, well then, I sure won't give them the next installment of my glossary :-)