Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bosnian lessons


I kept seeing this word in Bosnian subtitles and hearing it in CIN staff meetings so I jotted it down in the notebook I keep of words to look up and learn.

Only I couldn't find it in my Serbo-Croat dictionary. I couldn't find it in the big master dictionaries the interpreters use in the newsroom.

So I asked some of the reporters, spelling it carefully. They didn't know what I was talking about. Then Alison, our American intern, said aloud, "What's the word again> OV KORS?"

Of course.

Many English words get turned into Bosnian through spelling while the pronunciation stays the same. Hej for hey and Majk for Mike and dzem for jam for example.

I have no gift for languages but this one keeps reminding me daily how dumb I am. I took a taksi (another example) to the Posta yesterday happily using my little pidgeon English to direct the cabbie. Then as he was dropping me off he explained in perfect English that he apologized for that he had an uncle who used to live in Florida, had been in the US twice and had a daughter who spoke five languages. Just shoot me.

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