Sunday, 20 January 2008

Of Languages and Signs...

Well, Happy News! I've just learned that Blogger (the site I use to post these blogs) is now available in three more languages! ... Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian! If I or any of my readers understood these it would be even better news, but alas, I don't even have much motivation to learn any of them. So it's really not the happy news that Blogger makes it out to be, for me at least. But for those that can't find things written in their native tongue, having to read signs, menus, and labels can be a challenge. During our time in India, I felt rather lost when people spoke in Telegu or Hindi. Neither of those is anywhere near anything I've ever heard before. And the lettering looked nothing like the Latin/Roman type letters I'm all to used to seeing... For instance these bible verses written in the rafters at a church we visited:
Having capable translators around us a majority of the time, and the fact that most people in India have a pretty good grasp of English was most definitely a plus. Beyond that, pictures are very, very important things (along with the english translations.) For instance:
Though I must admit, the airport signs were easy enough to read, as they catered to the english speaking population.

Once we got to Australia, the signs became decidedly easier to read...

If a little scary to contemplate:

And of course the reminders to all tourists from certain northern countries that think they can drive where and how they want:

By the time we had spent almost 7 months in Australia and New Zealand combined... we were back in our comfort zone (language wise, that is). After our first month in Australia, Laurie stopped coming home from work complaining about a headache from trying to figure out what they were saying through the thick Australian accent. (That's what we got for going outback, the true, thick, Australian accent, plus a good helping of the Aborigine accent, which is even harder to decipher) We were both doing well, and after Australia, New Zealanders's accents weren't hard to understand. Well, the Kiwi accent wasn't hard to understand, but all the people from random countries we met while travelling on the bus tour there definitely made for more of a challenge accent-wise. I started to get quite good at mimicking the Irish girls by the end of that trip. (well, I don't know how good I was at it, to be honest... but I do know it was fun! And they didn't mind)

Our first three countries in Europe were a bit of a shock, after all this. As I mentioned before, the menus in Spain almost made me cry (of course, jet lag after more than 24 hours of travel might have played a factor into that frustrated feeling). We got by with English... but after having such an easy time in Oz and Kiwi land, it was difficult. France was much simpler for me, once I got my brain to switch gears. But Germany... there was a challenge for both of us.

And so... never has English sounded so sweet to the ears as landing in Ireland! The grin on Laurie's face was something to behold! Even the accent there wasn't a worry, because when it came right down to it, at least it was a language we knew. Plus, we both LOVE the irish accent. Give us a month there, and I think that's the accent we would have come home with. hehehe. And while they did have some signs in Gaelic...

for the most part they were English!
And of course, we always listened to the signs... that's why it was so important to take pictures of them along the way! :D Let your imaginations go wild! I'd write more, but Ireland deserves a post all to itself.

No comments: