Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tonal Errors

In a language such as Taiwanese, tones are critical (even more so than Mandarin Chinese).  Today I across three phrases in which one change in tone with the same exact romanized spelling for the entire sentence results in laughable differences:

Example 1:

Intended sentence: He saw a bad person.

Change in one tone: He is a bad person!

Example 2:

Abraham has many descendents.

Abraham has lots of rain shoes.

Example 3:

Jesus instructs people (as in on the Sermon on the Mount).

Jesus bites people to death.

I am two days shy of finishing my one month of intensive full time Taiwanese language study. I hope in the future as I pick up more vocabulary I can be careful with tones!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Getting past the Red-Tape

In the country where I live, it's not uncommon to sometimes get different answers for identical questions depending on where you live and who you talk to at different branch offices (ie. tax office, department of motor vehicles, etc). Sometimes this non-standard application can get quite expensive! However, things worked out extremely well the other day when I went down to the local branch of the telephone company where I will soon be living. In an hour's time I was able to transfer a telephone line to my new house, apply for high speed Internet (much cheaper here than in the US!), and get a new cell phone number, all without the hassles which I and my coworkers have frequently encountered in bigger cities. Hallelujah! No long-term contracts, having to go with a second Internet service other than the telephone company's, having a national co-sign to get a cell phone, or going with a service where I waste lots of extra time and money frequently buying cards to add more time! May God enable me to remember how smoothly things went this time when in the coming weeks I'm sure to run into a few moving-related hassles of one kind or another....