Friday, August 7, 2009

Language Gaffes

Yesterday when I was studying Taiwanese I made two language mistakes that are rather indicative as to how difficult this language is to an (aging) western learner (Actually, I’m sure I made many more but these were the two that stuck out).

First, I read a prayer which should have been addressed to choân-lêng ê Pē (Almighty Father). Instead, however, I added a nasular tone to the second word,   * thus addressing my prayer to “Almighty Illness” or “Almighty Sickness”!

Later I made a similar mistake as I was reading a story about a superlative thief who deftly climbed over a chhiû*-á (wall or fence) when I thought I was saying he had climbed a chhiū-á (tree).

I doubt I’ll ever get beyond these nuances, but at least I’m having fun with the language and can share some simple stories and conversation with Taiwanese friends and acquaintances.

2 comments:

Amrita said...

That 's funny. Language learning is hard work. i would make the same gaffes

Taiwan Prattler said...

We'll see what errors the new week brings!