Thursday, February 17, 2011

On to Peking!

You've heard it before, that Fiorella is language mad. Her usual line is that she knows enough in about ten different languages to get her in trouble anywhere she goes. One of those ten is Mandarin, in which she used to know just two phrases: shyeh-shyeh, meaning "thank you" (which always knocked the Chinese necktie vendor in the mall for a loop) and nee-hao-mah, which means "how are you?" The trick is to get the intonation right. Shyeh-shyeh goes from a higher pitch to a lower, and nee-hao-mah starts high, goes low, and ends up in between.

And now Fio knows three more phrases. Yesterday her new dentist, who speaks Chinese, taught her how to say she was fine by answering nee-hao-mah with hen hao (higher pitch to lower), to bid farewell with dzahi chen (higher to lower), and give a polite "you're welcome" with boo-koot-chee (low-high-low).

Fiorella spent all last evening muttering her new phrases, which probably drove Husband language mad himself. Fio will have to ask Dr. Ma how to say "I'm sorry."

No comments: