Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learning the Language

After almost 2 months in South Africa, Sam and I are still trying to master the language...not Afrikaans or Xhosa, but rather English! Actually, when I think about it, it's not a whole lot different from the challenge that faced us when we moved from California to Texas. It's not really a problem of learning new vocabulary, but rather of learning a new way to use familiar words.

Way back then, we learned to substitute "y'all" for "you guys" and "soda" for "coke". Today, we're learning to say "pleasure" rather than "you're welcome" and that "To Let" means "For Rent". Most words and phrases can be understood in context if given enough time to process not only the spoken language .....

{Please excuse the interruption as MWEB disconnected my internet at this point yesterday because I'd used my allotted time, and sadly the rest of this blog is floating somewhere out in cyberspace! Bummer :( Oh well, it's not like I don't remember the gist of what I was writing so let me just pick up where I left off before I was so rudely interrupted :) }

.... Most words and phrases can be understood in context if given enough time to process not only the spoken language, but also the body language. Unfortunately, that's the problem. There's usually not adequate time or else I'm just plain slow, but I find myself having to ask someone to repeat several times before the light bulb comes on and the meaning clicks.

For example, try translating this recent phrase a new friend used in conversation with me-

"One hundred percent! I'll give you a tinkle just now. "

I don't know what you think this means, but for me, my initial thoughts just didn't make sense. Actually, it means, "Absolutely! I'll give you a call soon." Just for fun, now that you know a bit of South African, you might want to try that phrase out and see what kind of response you get :)

As much as I'd like to continue chatting, I confess that I'm on a new internet diet...trying to limit my consumption so that I can make it through the next month with out having to purchase yet another booster and so... "I must whiz off now now (2 nows)!" (translation: I must leave right now) Love y'all and thanks for checking in. Cheers!

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