Anyone who knows me, who knows me well, that is, knows about my fascination with language. Mostly self taught, I am reasonably familiar with five of the major Romance Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French, Provençal, and Catalan.
My first serious jaunt into learning a new language was in highschool, when my family chose to host their first exchange student. Aida was from Kyrgyzstan, and although Kyrgyz, a Turkic language, is the official language, she spoke Russian as do many Kyrgyzstanis. I was fascinated by the language and try learning it, first starting with the alphabet; however, my access to an instructor was short-lived. Sadly, Aida, being a Russian speaking asian muslim was not welcomed by open arms by our fellow high school students and soon found herself mocked and bullied. She quickly grew tired and decided once again to change host family. This left us open to receive a new student.
In January 1997, Tatiane, our second and final exchange student, arrived in the United States from Brazil. Timid and uncertain at first, Tatiane soon became part of our family whom we love as one of our own.
Portuguese is the official tongue of the Brazilian people and it is in this language I first encountered the word stuck in my head this morning – ‘matriculate’. Like the SAT and ACT in the United States, the Vestibular is Brazil’s college entrance examination. It was in a discussion about college entrance examinations that the word in Portuguese matrícular was first introduced to my lexicon.
In North America we prefer the word ‘enroll’ over ‘matriculate’; however, while these words are similar in meaning they carry with them slightly different connotations: enroll, to place one’s name on registry, list, or roll; matriculate, in addition to enrollment has a nuanced meaning of membership in an organization – specifically a university or college.
It was from that conversation and from many like it that my love of linguistics was enkindled.
Thank you Tatiane for inspiring my love of the Romance Languages – Portuguese in particular.
Obrigado Tatiane para inspirar o meu amor das línguas românicas, especialmente Português. Por isso eu sou eternamente grato.
Crazy He Calls Me – Billie Holiday
In addition to the word ‘matriculate’ rolling through my head this morning, this Billie Holiday song provided a pleasant background. Nathan has been playing Fallout 3 in anticipation of the release of Fallout 4 this November; this song features prominently in the soundtrack. Enjoy!
Holiday, Billie, and Dorothy Lamour. “Crazy He Calls Me.” YouTube. N.p., 4 Feb. 2010. Web. 11 July 2015.
Wikipedia contributors. “Kyrgyzstan.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Jul. 2015. Web. 11 Jul. 2015.