Lost & Found in Translation Chapter 2

Updated 2013-09-04 07:19

Chapter 2

The country I was born, bread, raised and educated use Urdu as a mother tongue, but English as an official second language and being a child, you are obliged to learn Arabic for religious reasons and then, every household have huge satellite dishes planted over the roofs, which gave us exposure to multiple spoken languages in neighboring countries mainly to Hindi and Arabic.

May be not many people knows (except the natives) that my mother tongue Urdu was emerged as a communicative tool between the troops and their commands during the quests of Alexander the great, The Mughals, Tatars, Ottomans, Arabs and many others, centuries ago, so basically it's a combination of Persian, Arabic, Turkish, English, Latin, Sanskrit, Hindi, Spanish and many other major languages and accents, soldiers of different back grounds use this combination to communicate with each other within the army so it was called 'Urdu' , 'The language of Army'.

So as a native speaker of Urdu, sometimes it's much easier for us to pick and learn a new language quickly, while following it closely, specially the tones. As Thai language is based on Pali and Sanskrit, it was not long when I started to pick the similarities and meanings of spoken language while travelling in and around Thailand, but as all other languages have their secrets, Thai is no exception, for example in English we drink water/juice and we eat food/fruits, but in Thai we only "KIN", all these things as we kin food and we kin water. The other thing is that Thai is a very tonal language, it is consist of many different tones for a single spoken word, so if one is using a wrong tone, then it could be a disaster, here is one example :

"Laew" this could mean ; Turn, Hurry up, Done, Selfish, And then?, depending what tone you are using for this word, you could be telling your taxi driver to speed up instead of turning to the desired street. Similarly "Sanam Maa" could mean "Dogs Running Ground", instead of "Horse Racing Club" and " Waythee Moey" which means "Thai Boxing Stadium", could sound like " Pubic Hair Stadium", with wrong pronunciation.

And I swear to God, I found myself in number of these situations when I was totally alliterated in Thai language, after encountering so many such foolish mistakes, finally, with the help of locals (who were always laughing but happy and helpful to correct me), I started to pick some words and then words became sentences, during each visit to Thailand, until finally I decided to move and live here permanently, and decided to learn the language properly.

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