How do you say the English word “camping” in German? Answer: camping.
How do you say the German word “Diesel” in English? Answer: diesel.
Since we’ve been managing the RV park we’ve noticed an uptick in what we call “word sharing.” It’s kind of like file sharing, but on a more personal, real life level, and we think sharing the great outdoors has a lot to do with it.
Think about it for a minute. When you travel to a foreign country and stay in a hotel, you generally speak only to hotel staff. You walk up to the front desk, hand over your credit card, get a key in return, and meander off to your room where you close the door and go to bed.
In an RV park, things are a little different. You’ve been there, you know how it goes. There you are at o’dark thirty, trying to back in to your site without waking your neighbors, searching for your hookups with a flashlight, patiently explaining to the kids that they have to wait just one more minute before they can go to the bathroom, keeping your cool, of course, throughout.
When you have just one nerve left, you realize you left your water hose at the last campground, and you think you will just lose it. But then someone steps out of the RV next to yours to offer help. Even though you don’t share a language, with hand gestures and halting words, your neighbor offers to lend you theirs. With luck and pluck you both manage to wrangle the situation into shape, and make a new friend in the meantime.
And that, my friend, is how language changes and grows and evolves: through shared experience. We work together and learn from one another, each sprinkling a few words from our language into the language of others, creating common language and common ground.
And we think it’s one of the best reasons for going camping!