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.


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!