How to Fake a Language:

How to fake a language:

Okay, I don’t pretend to be a linguist. College Spanish 1 was one of most studied/worst grades that I’ve ever received. That being said, I’ve been told that I’m an excellent language –faker, and I’m about to reveal some secrets to my most loyal readers.
It really helps faking when you’re living in another country, but no matter what the case, you’ll undoubtedly feel like an idiot a lot of the time. Here’s how to cover your booty so you don’t look like an idiot all of the time.

1. Learn the most common words. Learn yes, no, thank you, please, left, right, etc. ..There’s no way around it. If you want to fake it, you’ve got to learn enough to successfully bluff.
2. Learn one phrase really well, and use it a lot. For me, ordering coffee was the most useful phrase I learned, since I’m a bit of an addict. There’s no greater boost to my language self esteem than walking up to a coffee shop and busing out with, “Ching gay-wo ebay café late, jhhh.” I say it fast, I say it commandingly, and I act like I know exactly what I’m doing. In English, “Please can I have a cup of latte, hot?” Then when they ask me the hard questions that I don’t understand, I just answer yes, yes yes. (“Dwe, Dwe, dwe”), or a little (“de-in, de-in”) assuming that they’re asking about milk or sugar. Sometimes I say, “A little” when they ask me if I want it to go.
3. Read body language and context clues. They say 90% of communication is body language. I highly disagree with this, but I do agree that the body does give off a lot of clues about what is happening. I don’t know how many times I’ve “caught” students saying bad words or getting into trouble simply by reading their obviously guilty body language. Along with body language is “speaking” using charades-it does wonders.
4. Learn “key” abstract words. The words, “This” or “That” in Chinese are “Jigga” and “Nigga”. People use them all the time in reference to just about anything. They’re the best words because you can just point to an object you’re talking about and say “Jigga”, and like magic, people will know what you’re talking about!
5. Talk to kids. If you really want to learn or fake a language, speaking with children is your key to success. Kids have no hidden agenda, they’re patient, they think it’s hilarious when you try to speak their native tongue, and they are constant encouragers. They like games and make learning fun. Go find a kid today!
6. Learn how to say, “I know what you’re saying”, or “I know” or in Chinese, “Wo je dow….” Funny story about this one. Some of my students were chattering amongst themselves when all of a sudden, there went an uproar of laughter and all of them quickly turned to look at me to see if I knew what they were saying. Of course I had no idea. But I threw out the “Wo je dow” and they all said, “Ooooooohhhh!!” and they got in big trouble because of course they were saying bad things.
Faking a language can make you survive for a day or two, or 7 months like us, but I think that most people who spend an extended amount of time in a country deeply regret not learning the language better after they leave. I can agree with this, and encourage all of you to immerse yourself in a language and not just survive on faking it alone. (does that discount everything else I said in this blog?)


kessia reyne said...

Excellent tips, teacher! I know what you're saying! Yes! Thank you!

TaraB said...

Rika! When you come back I want to hear you say these things... I'm really excited about it.

dennis said...

great job on not just surving but giving good tips =) wo je dow you will get very good at 中文 very quickly, keep up the good work!

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