Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tuning into mother tongue

I met another Sabahan today. Can't seem to run away from them. I bump into Sabahans everywhere I go.

The way I encountered this Sabahan was interesting albeit a little freaky (for me at least).

It happened after church as I was helping to count the offering money with two other fellow counters. One of the counters was a young mother whom I've seen around church but didn't really know her very well.

As usual we made the usual small talk as we arranged notes and coins and tallied up figures. The other two counters knew each other pretty well as they attended the same cell group... so they fell into some side conversations along the way...

I wasn't really paying attention to their conversation as they sometimes fell into speaking Chinese or dialect... but all of a sudden my ears perked up because I heard something that sounded so familiar...

Heh meeeeh??? Mau ngeeeeeh!!!

HAKKA!!!

And not just any Hakka... Sabah Hakka!!!

Or so I thought. I immediately asked her where she was originally from... Sabah. KK? Yes, KK, how did you know?

Indeed how did I know.

Somehow despite my uselessness at speaking my supposed mother tongue, my ears were in tuned enough to be able to pick up the subtleties of the specific kind of Hakka that is spoken in Sabah/KK. Because the other counter was also a Hakka, but somehow even I could tell that his KL Hakka sounds different.

Freaky or what?

1 comment:

  1. so proud of you...even though my attempt to get you to learn your mother tongue failed...this is good..better than none :)

    ReplyDelete

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