[Cz-L] Bucovina and language

From: Lucca Ginsburg <lucca99_at_netvision.net.il>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 07:46:43 EST
To: czernowitz czernowitz <Czernowitz-L_at_cornell.edu>
Reply-To: lucca99_at_netvision.net.il

Many years ago my late husband and I visited Heidelberg. We
anticipated the romance of this old university town, known to us from
books, music and poetry. What we found was a place invaded by
countless tourists from all over the world. Disappointed we settled
down in a Cafe for coffee and cake.
At a table next to us sat a grey-haired and bearded elderly man,
smoking his pipe. After a while he addressed us in German
-"Sorry to bother you, but I hear you speak German! I am a professor
of philology, now retired. I pride myself in being able to place
accents and now I am trying to figure out where you come from!"
-"We were born in Rumania!" said my husband. The professor looked at
us incomprehendingly:
-"But you talk German!"
-"Yes, because the part of Rumania where we were born used to belong
to Austria, and German in our mother-tongue!"
-"Do they still speak German there?"
-"No, the Bucovina, our homeland, was occupied by the Russian Army
and right now it belongs to Ukraina!"
-"Shouldn't you be speaking Rumanian, Russian or Ukrainean then?"

A young woman, an American tourist, spotted "TIME" magazine on our
table and approached us:
-"Please could I have your magazine for a moment? I haven't seen a
printed English word for the last two weeks, I just look at it and
return it to you!"
-"You may have it, I said to her, keep it, we are through with it!"

The old professor spoke again:
-"Your English is perfect, where did you get that?"
I smiled at him and explained:
-"We have lived in many different places since World War II!"
-"Will you go back to Rumania,Russia/Ukraina now?"
-"No. We live in Israel for many years and Israel is our home now!"

The professor smoked his pipe silently. Somehow he could not fathom
our relationship to homelands and language ...

The coffee we had ordered was acceptable. The cakes had looked much
better than they had tasted.
We got up and left the Cafe.
Received on 2004-02-16 09:01:23

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