Chapter 20
What Language Was That Again

You talkin' to *me*?

We're on the bus coming back from downtown tonight. There is a young Chinese couple standing next to us speaking in a language that sounds like Chinese; one assumes it's Mandarin. Another passenger approaches, a tall young man, grad student type, and he and the man of the couple recognize each other. They greet each other in English and then switch to fluent German. This goes on for several minutes. The German man leaves. The young Chinese couple resume conversation, but this time in flawless, unaccented English. The man explains to the woman, "That's the guy who. . . ."

Confusing to us poor monoglots.