English… Truly InTerNaTiONal.

I’m just home after a dinner engagement with a lovely malaysian old couple. The party consisted of me, mom, dad and the couple who let me just call ‘uncle’ and ‘uncle’s wife’. English was our medium of conversation. I personally found certain parts of our conversation hilarious.

An excerpt from the conversation

Dad     : Would you like to have some coffee?

Uncle : We already had in the evening.

Dad     : Yes. Yes. You get very good coffee here.

Uncle : I only have coffee once a day.

Dad     : So, let me order one for you.

Uncle : Yes.Yes. I already had coffee today.

Dad     : OK. So, I’ll order one for me, mom and you.

Uncle :  (Just stares not understanding what happened)

Me       : (silent giggle) Dad, I think uncle says he does not want .

This is just one of the many such events tonight.All of us were good English speakers. But the only problem I saw was, we were excellent ‘native’ English Speakers. They spoke Malaysian English and we spoke Indian English.Its funny how culture and language differs from place to place.

Talking about culture,another embarrassing incident comes to my mind. The moment we were seated , uncle and uncle’s wife both raised their glasses(which had water) as a toast to us(at least , that’s what I think they were doing). All three of us smiled at them . They kept their glasses raised. By now, the three of us were staring wondering what they are doing.(Sheesh. I feel so embarrassed now). It took me a second to realize that the were raising their glass as a toast to us. Before I could come to my senses and lift my glass, uncle and his wife realized that the toast is just not happening and lowered their glass. (How could I have been so stupid?). As south Indians, the concept of raising your glass as a toast is unheard of. (All the English channel viewing failed me this time 😦 .)

Isn’t it amazing how much you can think about one small incident.?

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone.

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5 thoughts on “English… Truly InTerNaTiONal.

  1. This is hysterical. I ran into the same sort of trouble all the time when I was in Ghana (an English-speaking country). Especially when the same word has grown to mean something entirely different from what it does in the US.

    • Yea.. Know what you mean., In India, we have so many languages and it gets pretty confusing that way.

      Visited your blog. Learnt that you love travelling… Maybe you should visit India. 🙂 I’m sure it will prove to be a fascinating visit.

      Thanks for dropping by connor. (Thats your name right? ‘Cities of the mind’ ? )

  2. That is my name, and India is definitely on my list. I had a dream about visiting it just last night, oddly enough. And I’ll be dropping by again, no doubt.

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