Sunday, August 10, 2008

An Incomplete Understanding of English

These lovely women are from a little northern town in Thailand. Mom in the middle, her daughter on the left and a cousin on the right. My introduction was very interesting.

Krue P. (mom) teaches with us,” said our mutual friend. “This is her daughter,” pause to look for a word, “she is a bastard!” After I expressed my delight to meet them, I thought that a lesson was in order. “But you must not say bastard,” I explained, “bastard is a naughty word in English.” I told them that although the word is descriptive, it is no longer used in polite conversation. “You should just say, ‘Krue P. is a single mother.’”

But maybe it is polite here, in the manner of "this is my sister, she is an old maid!" or, "you are fat!" Those are certainly polite. Everything is a little different here, after all.

No comments: