Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I almost forgot: during the vacation I drove somewhere between 1900 and 2000 kilometers. Some time over the course of that drive, Birgit's dad made a decision.

He offered, this morning, the "du" form to me. He must have been impressed with my driving (or dining choices). But seriously: I met the man in 1995. That is a long courtship for a pronoun shift! He started out using "du" on me at our first meeting since he's by far my senior (and the father of my lady friend). For a while I thought my chance to be informal was just around the corner, and for the past few years I've come to suspect he'd not thought too much about it. Over the past week I slipped in an informal here and there, but always in the plural and always in rather complex sentences (so that he could pass it off as a grammatical error, rather than arrogance). I also carefully chose the ambiguous "one" construction whenever possible, as in "one could have either chicken or beef tacos". I, of course, come from a linguistic culture which long ago abandoned such courtesies as the formal/informal divide. Still, it is a BIG deal to him and I regret that this morning, when he said I could use "du", I was too ill to give the moment the drama it deserved. I'll have to figure out some way to clarify my gratitude.


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