Training to Speak

Chuleenan Svetvilas

1991, 10:00 minutes, colour, English & Thai


Training to Speak is an interesting experiment in cross-culturalism and an amusing adventure into a world where languages speak out on their own. Svetvilas, born and raised in Upstate, New York, sits down with her parents to discuss their lives in Buffalo as immigrants in an environment where only English is spoken. She also probes them about the language they chose to speak at home. Hilarious ruptures in language occur when the videomaker, off camera, asks questions in Thai (her second language) and obliges her folks to answer only in English (their second language). While surprise, frustration and humour results when her parents forget to anser in English or the daughter makes a mistake in Thai, the warm relationship between everyone involved is quite evident.

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