Almost every multilingual person I encounter exhibits the same trait that is the reverse of my own personal experience: They learn to speak a language more or less fluently but have great difficulty imitating the sounds of the new language and instead choose from the repertoire of sounds of their native tongue. This is of course why people speak with accents, and I am fascinated by it. This week, my painter Pablo, who is Ecuadorean, was describing another client of his, and even with repeated utterances, I could not ascertain whether this client was huge or Jewish. (It turned out to be the latter.)
I overheard Dan, a Romanian-born member of the faculty of the school where I work, talking about the Korea fair taking place downstairs, and images came to my mind of exotic music and costumes (not to mention cute guys), and I momentarily wondered how I would excuse myself from my desk to attend. I was disappointed to figure out it was actually a career fair.