Saturday, January 08, 2011

Living In Malaysia: Speaking In Tongues

There are half a dozen common languages spoken in Malaysia, including Malay, Cantonese, Iban, Hokkien, Tamil, and Mandarin. 

English is a popular common language too, and I think the most common second language.  Thing is, there are various versions of English, some of which are pretty hard to understand if you're not from here. 

Like the other day I told Ah Soo, our mechanic that I wasn't happy with the flower on my tyre. He recommended I replace it, and then told me his wife said she had seen me give him the hand the day before but he'd missed it.

Translated this means I was worried about the treads on my tyre, and Ah Soo was apologising that he hadn't noticed me wave at him the day before.

We may sound funny but we're communicating, and that's all that matters, right?

15 comments:

BeadedTail said...

We figured out what you meant by "give him the hand" but we didn't know what a flower on a tire was!

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

My brother that has lived in both Chinas fur the past ten years or so speaks Mandarin well -

In fact, some of his manners of speaking or writing in English appear to go thru a translation to Manadarin and then back to English -

I recall one time when he was sick, he wrote 'he had ailment' -

Trust me, my brother would not have used the word ailment in the past!

Blackie007 said...

Ahh...your mechanic translated directly from Chinese, it's always quite amusing the sentences that come out when that happens. You can even start a book on it! ;)

Katnip Lounge said...

How FUN! I love how English is used all over the world. It's so fun...did I say that already?

MoMo said...

Good thing you didn't 'give him the finger' :)))))

My SS worked in Hong Kong for 5 years and fancied herself fluent in Chinese but the locals always picked her out.

Wyatt's Corner said...

Yeah I know how language goes...you should see how many times my hoomins misinterpret what I am saying

Cat-in-Sydney said...

...and not forgetting the various dialects of meowspeak... purrr....meow!

meowmeowmans said...

That's such an interesting and fun story! Glad the communication managed to work itself out in the end! :)

Thank you for stopping by yesterday, and reading and commenting about Sancha. We have some exciting news (hint: it's about Sancha), if you want to come check out the post.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

The Cat From Hell said...

That is cool! Mommy used to work where they had to translate everything into French. Things can get pretty funny When yous goes from one to the other and back again!
Nellie

Jan's Funny Farm said...

You're right. If you're communicating, that's what matters!

Dora said...

I'm so used to speaking singlish or rather a mixed language - english + mandarin + other dialects - together...
;p

Happy New Year!

Hannah and Lucy said...

We would never have known the tyre tread one !!
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Brian said...

Sometimes communicating is easier than we expect, we just need to try!

pointe.csl said...

It's very normal even for us M'sians, at times we need to stop and try to figure out how best we can put the message across without being misunderstood, and at the same time we have to make an effort to understand what the other person is saying without misinterpreting the message being said.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

That's pretty dangerous, Ellen! Your tyre got no flower and your brake no eat! How ah to drive, like dat?