September 21st, 2008


What did you say?

I was at the convenience store (7-11) the other day and was purchasing some beverages. There were 2 little kids ahead of me as well as an older lady. The little kids were counting out their money on the counter and the older woman getting some coffee. So while those transactions were being completed, they rang up my purchases.

Often they only offer you a plastic bag if you have many things. So I took this opportunity to speak Chinese. I asked the man at the counter if I could have a bag.

He looked blankly at me and said "I did not understand you."

Before I could even say anything, both boys in front of me, the older woman waiting for her coffee and the man's coworker all said at the same time, "He asked for a bag!" Needless to say I found this rather funny.

What this means is that in a random sampling 4 out of 5 Taiwanese can understand what I say.

In other news...
I think living in Taiwan will forever stunt my English language ability. I say this in half jest, but half seriousness. Mostly I think it will effect my saying "Burger King". The Chinese translation here is "Hanbao Wang" which literally means "Hamburger King". I find myself referring to it as such in English. There is a new one being built near school and I told a friend (an American) the other day: "They are building a new Hamburger King near school." He replied, "What?" Only because I didn't say "Burger King." This is not the first time I have not used the proper name in English, nor will it be the last I am afraid.