Thursday, September 8, 2011

Learning English


"What is the english word for my skin color?" Vahide asked me the other day.

"Hmmm...."  I reply,  "Maybe olive?" but I think it's  darker than olive, "I don't know." I finally admit

This week I have been learning a lot of Turkish. The words swirl around my head trying to attatch themselves to objects in my memory. But that's not the extent of my language learning. I have also been rediscovering English.

Sometimes, after Vahide teaches me a word in Turkish, she'll want to know what it is in English. Such was the case yesterday when she was teaching me parts of the body. "What is this in English?" she asks, pointing to her middle

I'm not sure what to call it, there seem to be all sorts of words describing that region of the body, none of which I've ever been totally comfortable using.

Like most small children, I called it "my tummy" when I was young. As I got older, I got into the habit of calling it "my stomagh" feeling rather smart and grown up doing so. That is, until my mother pointed out that "stomagh" should actually only be used for the organ that digests food. Since then, I have alternated between calling it my abdomen (If I'm feeling smart), my stomagh (for when I really don't care), and occasionally my tummy (Okay, I'll admit, I still say this if I' trying to be cute). Of course we can't ignore "belly" although I could never get used to saying this.

I suppose I could have tried explaining this whole tummy/ stomagh/ abdomen/ belly thing, but instead I tell her that it's called the stomagh or abdomen. Why must English be so confusing?

And then there is the issue of American vs. Brittish English. Vahide learned Brittish English in school, and I speak American.  I can only be greatful that I read enough Brittish books to know what "trainers", "trousers", and "the chemist" are . Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out this whole "way" thing.  Vahide asked me if that is how you say road in English. I've never even heard that word used for road, not even in Harry Potter. Does anyone feel like enlightening me?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know. They use British English here in Malaysia as well, and it has been interesting, to say the least. Never heard of 'way' though, as in regards to roads.................