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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Possibly a new record

The little girl I overheard in the Albertsons on 37th just a few minutes ago might well be the youngest child I have ever heard say "Oh, my God."

I suspect she first learned to speak this spring.

The mother didn't react. Something tells me she has said that exact thing a few trillion times herself. 

Tribes Fight To Keep Language Alive

The unmistakable melody of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” filled the packed room at the Pavilion at Northern Quest Resort and Casino. A trio of women took the stage, executing the iconic dance moves as the lead singer, sequined hat, one glove and all, belted out the song. The tune was familiar but the words were not. That’s because the song was performed in Salish at the Salish Karaoke Contest on March 6 during the Celebrating Salish Conference/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (Jesse Tinsley SR photo: Lawrence McDonald, a Colville and Nez Perce Indian, chats with Kaienna Noel, 3, while dancing in the Celebrating Salish Conference powwow)

Question: Was a foreign language spoken in your childhood home? Which one? Did you understand it?

Travel: An American Grandmother in Paris

    Walking down a street in Paris, I had to step aside to let the woman pushing an infant in a pram pass on the narrow sidewalk.
    My first glance was for the baby, small, bundled in blankets against the cold, damp, winter weather. Then I looked up at the woman. She was about my age, dressed for a stroll, yet still effortlessly elegant in that Parisian way. As we waited at the corner for the light to change, our eyes met and we returned one another’s smile. Our eyes met again.
    I smiled down at the baby, tapped my chest and said “Grand-maman.”
    “Oui,” she replied, nodding back at me and smiling. “Grand-maman.”
    I don’t speak French and I have no idea if she speaks English. But some things are universal.

    In the year since my first grandchild was born, as I’ve traveled I’ve become aware of a new kind of landscape. Grandmothers. I see them in parks, on busy sidewalks, on busses and trains. Sometimes they are with sons or daughters, an extra pair of hands or simply along for the ride. Often, like the woman in Paris, they are alone. Taking care of children while mother and father work. Exactly what I do when I am not away from home.

    My phone is loaded with images of beautiful destinations. On it is a visual record of the places I’ve been for work and for the pure pleasure of traveling. I also have photos of my children and the whole family together. But the images I go to so often, when I’m on a plane or in a quiet hotel room in some beautiful city thousands of miles from home, are those of a little girl smiling up at the camera or sleeping in my arms. My grandchild.
    My favorite is a copy of the first photo made of us together. She is only hours old and I have just walked into the hospital room my son-in-law has just gently given her to me. I am wrapped around her, cradling her, focused only on the tiny person in my arms.
    Now, each time I look at that photograph, I see myself, in the instant the photo was taken, falling hopelessly in love.

    The light changed and the woman, leaving me with one more smile, crossed the street and walked briskly away, turning down another street.

    There was a time, when my children were still small, in my arms, on my hip or walking beside me, that I exchanged glances and smiles and unspoken empathy with other mothers. Women who, like me, were navigating sleepless nights, nursing, tantrums and all the countless little milestones of mothering. Now, I am in a new club. I look into the eyes of women all over the world and acknowledge the deep happiness of being the Grand-maman.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer based in Spokane, Washington whose essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

When you hear “wanker” in Spokane

You can be pretty sure that…

A) The speaker doesn't really know what that means. B) The speaker watches British movies and TV. C) The speaker wants you to think he or she is worldly. D) The speaker is asserting that the person described can fairly be labeled as one overly fond of masturbation. E) Other. 

How to interpret what a crow is saying


"Caw caw caw" can mean several things, including "Hey, human, please stop saying 'carmel apple.' It's 'caramel,' for Pete's sake." 

Foreign Languages

I made this video for my Japanese class to help students learn Japanese easier, although I’m not sure if I was successful in making it “easier”. Nevertheless, making this video made me wonder about what other language programs students were involved in and what was the most “popular” language to take nowadays. Most of my friends took Spanish as their elective but I’m not sure if this is the trend for every high school.

What foreign languages are you taking? Are there any languages you want to learn that aren’t available at your school?