Thursday, March 6, 2008

Me Talk Funny

Just now as I was bargaining with a tuk driver I realized my worst fear -- I'm starting to talk funny.

One of my goals as a foreigner here is to not fall into the trap of changing my speech patterns to dumb down my language for people here. Most people have a very high level of English, but I have noticed that quite a few foreigners still talk to Sri Lankans like they are two years old. I told myself when I got here that I was not going to do that.

Yet, tonight I spoke to three different tuk drivers and my conversations went something like this...

Me: "Boralesgamuwa?"

Tuk driver: Head bobble.

Me: "How much?"

Tuk driver: "500."

Me: "400."

Tuk driver: "Boralesgamuwa far."

Me: "I pay 350 here. 400 good price."

Tuk driver: "Dark now miss."

Me: "Rain when I come. 400 good price."

Anyway, you get the picture. Oh, and I put a few head bobbles in there too -- I'm getting quite good at it.

I can hear this happening at work too, though not quite to that extent. I'm definitely choosing easier words and such and that isn't really helping anyone.

Maybe five days in Indonesia working on this proposal for the Global Fund will help. I imagine the others on the delegation will have excellent English and this should push me to speak normally. Anyway, that is my desire.

For those of you who worry (Meghan, write this down): I'll be gone from Sunday, March 9th until the next Sunday. I'm in Indonesia for five days and then I head directly to Islander Center for a tourism workshop. So you won't hear from me. Apparently, even though the hotel we are staying at in Jakarta is very nice, it charges for internet (and I'm cheap). Islander has internet, but not wireless and I doubt I'll take the time to find a network cord in which to plug my computer.

1 comment:

Meghan said...

enjoy Indonesia (and being unconnected!) can't wait to hear about it when you get back.

ps. i wouldn't worry so much if i didn't listen to the news. i can't help it!