I’m a linguistic ninja (and a Spanish chav)

I’ma just put this out there now: every Greek person I meet here loves me. All I need to do is drop the ol’ “γεια σου, από πού είσαι;” (“hello, where are you from?”) to see their dark eyes widen and get an astounded, “but how do you speak Greek?!”

Chinese people get very confused when I reel off a bit of authentic-sounding mandarin. The French, naturally, think I’m one of them. HOWEVER, in Spanish I have been branded a choni – the Spanish equivalent of a female chav. It all started when I would deliberately speak Spanish to my GBF in a loud, nasal, obnoxious voice to annoy him. I didn’t realise I had inadvertently developed the ability to imitate with exact precision the voice of a choni. Now I can’t speak Spanish any other way, it just comes out like that. Some Spaniards at my residence have even christened me with a choni nickname, La Vane. The full version is La Vane de Moratalaz, Moratalaz apparently being a chavvy neighbourhood in Madrid, and therefore my spiritual home. My GBF gets this particular look on his face every time I put on my La Vane voice: a look like he wants to kick me in the head. I’m multi-talented, you know.

This is another joy of being back at university: the linguistic diversity. As can be expected, we’re all mixed up here, a big bunch of languages and nationalities. Even the locals here in Edinburgh have (what is to me at least) an exotic accent. I have also – OK, I feel quite guilty admitting this, because I don’t generally like lying, but as an experiment I did manage to convince a few Indian people that I also am from India. I just say I’m from Sikkim, a part of India that borders Tibet, then drop a bit of Hindi for good measure, and they happily believe me. Look it up if you don’t believe me, I could totally pass for Sikkimese. Don’t worry, I own up immediately – although I did manage to fool the same guy twice, somehow.

It’s all just good international fun! I love the people here. I’ve been impressed with the calibre of Edinburgh University students so far – both in terms of their obvious academic ability, and in their general human quality. Not one of the world’s top universities for nothing, Edi! We are all also united in our love for the city of Edinburgh. Today I took a stroll by the Water of Leith, a beautifully picturesque river in the city, and dinner was a hot pot party hosted by some Japanese buds. What can I say? The Scottish student dream is real.


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