I was talking with one of my fellow expats the other day about the coming of spring. I was going on and on about how the ‘open weather’ was doing so much to lift my spirits. She laughed and said “that is a really wooden translation from the Uyghur, but I know what you mean.” The sad thing is I didn’t even realize that wasn’t a proper English expression. I have gotten so use to hearing it in Uyghur, or hearing Uyghur English speakers express it in those terms, that I just figured I was speaking my native tongue properly. I even noticed that I phrased it that way in my previous post, which got me to reading over a few recent posts to see if there were other examples of my declining English ability.
It is bad enough that I still speak the national language like a three year old, or that I speak Uyghur like a six year old, but if my English also escapes me I will be left making a fool of myself in three languages. The longer I am here the more I do question my own English… I am forever asking “is that really how we say it? Is there a better way to translate that? What is the dynamic equivalent?”