Friday, May 2, 2008

Amanda's Indonesian

My Indonesian has been improving quite a bit lately and I think I'm even starting to develop a bit of an accent. Vocabulary is on the rise but my grammar is still pretty awful. Something new that I've has picked up recently is speaking in the third person. I'm not sure if this is even refered to as 'third person' speak. Its just the substitution of names instead of 'I' and 'You'. I have some examples further down.

For some reason, people make that substitution a lot over here. Its a safe habit to adopt because I am never sure of which 'you' word to use. There are a few words that mean 'you' and are used for different people depending on the relationship with the other person (I think).

At the gym today, I was chatting with one of the staff there. Here name is Nia and she was asking me if she could come visit me at home some time. The conversation ended with her saying something like "OK. Nia will come over to Amanda's house on her day off". We were both right there and there was only the two of us in the room. I ended up texting her my number with the message "Here is Amanda's number for Nia."

Anyway, I find it a little strange to say things like "Amanda will be going for a walk with Aaron now." But, I'm starting to get the hang of it.

On a side note, it may feel strange speaking this way now but I wonder if this is how we all start out talking. Aaron often speaks in the third person. Aaron walk. Aaron play now. Aaron change pants. Etc etc etc.....


Bilbo said...

My Russian instructor once told me that while my grammar was atrocious, my pronunciation was the best she'd ever heard from an American. Her comment was, "You speak a perfect accent without a trace of Russian!"

The use of the third person in Indonesian is interesting. I've often remarked a related thing in German: use of the definite article with a person's name, such as calling on the phone and asking, "Ist die Agnes zu sprechen?" (more or less, "Is the Agnes to be spoken with?"). Each language has some bizarre grammatical things that make it "interesting."

egan said...

I've read many baby books that suggest parents use "dad" and "mom" when talking about themselves since it's an easier association than saying "me" or "I".

For example: "dad's got a bottle for you" instead of "I have your bottle". Egan has become really bad about this and I'm not even speaking Indonesian.

Congrats on picking up the language so well. Learning new languages isn't easy.