Chomsky Revisited

I should be studying for tomorrow’s big test, but I am not. My sheafs of grammar and exercises would be cold to the touch, if I actually unhuddled myself from my frozen ball and touched them. It is warm to be hunched in front of the computer, the screen emitting a soft, comforting glow and soothing playlists emanating from the Mac Baby’s speakers. Note: my songs tonight are aggressively in English, not in Japanese; yet another way in which I ignore my study. The 4-kyuu is considered something of a waste of time by many, “passable by a [Japanese-reading] chimp”; it would be pretty embarrassing to fail. Suddenly afraid, I revert to the avoidance tactics of my college years.

My senior year of high school, our English teacher gave us a Noam Chomsky essay to read, the name of which I have forgotten. I barely remember anything about it other than that Mr. Chomsky suggested that if a child grows up in a bilingual environment, he might become confused. One of my fellow classmates (whose name I have also forgotten) took it upon himself to chortle: “Imagine if a kid grew up in a tri-lingual environment! Man, how messed up would they be??” The rest of the class burst into laughter. I, who actually did grow up in a tri-lingual environment, did not laugh. Instead, I made the incident the focus of my college entrance essay for Boston University. I was accepted but did not go.

There are four languages muddling around in my head these days, and now, more than ever, words blend together: tomare = stop, in Japanese, but tomar = drink, in Spanish (I first memorized “tomare” by remembering the phrase: “Stop drinking!”). Gambare = go for it! in Japanese; gambero = shrimp in Italian. Demo and pero = “but” in Japanese, Spanish and Italian (different consonants, same vowels). Ga and ma = other rhyming ways of saying “but” in Japanese and Italian. Speaking to my uncle on the phone, I say “hai!” when I should say “si!” And so on. Eccetera. Nado.

An au-mail from Sean, just now. He suggests studying and I have agreed, although I don’t want to study – I want, instead, to find the perfect Erasure song for my myspace profile. Today, at school, our principal decided to leave the radio on the 80s station. This made me very happy. Alas, myspace only has Erasure’s current hits which, of course, I want nothing to do with. Nada. Nasshi.

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