Thursday, March 23, 2006

And now, a little break from the obvious

I noticed something about my language research this week. I used the title as a clever distraction from worship service numero um (no, we don't speak spanish). I catch more and more phrases people say as expressions; that is, they cannot be translated literally. One of the first that I learned was "I have a sore elbow," which means that I am jealous ^_^. The reason I keep trying to learn more expressions isn't to fit in better when I talk to others. It is and will always be obvious that I am a gringo and didn't learn Portuguese at home. But the real purpose of expressions is to say things more subtly than saying them outright. If you say that you do not want to come to dinner, it seems much harsher than, "Well, we'll see if we can make it." Lots of times I want to say things without saying them directly, especially in a culture that avoids saying "no." Lastly, the newest giria (expression) I learned is,"That's a good idea." The meaning, which might have saved me some embarassment earlier, is that although the idea is good, I don't agree. Thanks for playing!


jen o said...

gosh.. that's complicated!

dave said...

part of a normal Ugandan greeting, when translated literally, is to ask "Is the lake calm where you are?"