Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why can't you understand me?

I've been living in Teluk Kumbar, Penang, Malaysia for almost a year now and up until yesterday I had no idea why no one could understand me when I said "Teluk Kumbar".

When you get on a bus in Penang, there is a person that collects your fair while the bus in motion. They don't have a nice computerized system like Singapore which probably used RFID tags. In Singapore you pass your card past a reader when you get on and off the bus. It beeps to let you know that it read it.

But in Malaysia, you get on the bus and sit down and someone collects your money while the bus is moving. The woman in front of me was also going to Teluk Kumbar so when she spoke it, I heard her say "Telukumbar" very fast. She merged the two names into one which makes sense.

We do it in English all the time.

did ya eat yet?
did you eat yet?

If we say something enough times we begin to say it faster and faster and we begin to drop letters and merge words.

But as a visitor I was saying "Teluk Kumbar" slowly with a nice big ole pause between the two names. I was saying it correctly but nobody understands correctly.

If a word ends in "K" and the next words starts in "K" then obviously you're going to merge those two words when you speak it fast ... "Teluk Kumbar" becomes "Teloo Kumbar". You basically drop the K from Teluk and say "Teloo" followed by "Koombar". The "u" is pronounced "oo" is in gooey not "u" as in "just" which.

If you pronounce the "u" like "just" you'll really throw them off! They only way they're gonna know what you're saying is if you say "Telookoombar" really fast. You almost have to slur and run it all together like you're trying to say as one syllable.


Post a Comment

<< Home