20 February 2009

The Talstras Speak Cambodian

[warning: the post is not for the faint of heart, perhaps only true amandaniel fans will be interested in watching our rudimentary khmei small talk skills!]

daniel & i have been studying khmei, the cambodian language, for the past three months. here are videos of us conversing in khmei with our teacher, socheat, on the rooftop of the MCC office.

(i've included a translation of our conversation below)

Daniel speaks Khmei

Socheat: Hello, Daniel.

Daniel: Hello.

S: Daniel, are you happy & well?

D: Yes, I am happy & well. And you?

S: Yes, I am happy & well. Are you busy today?

D: Yes, I am busy today, as usual.

S: What will you do today?

D: Today I will study the Khmei language, work on the computer, and work at the university.

S: This morning, what time did you wake up?

D: This morning I woke up at 7 or 7:30.

S: This morning, what did you eat?

D: I ate a banana, bread, and water.

S: Where?

D: At my house.

S: Good, very good. After we study, where will you go?

D: I will stay here, at the MCC office, downstairs.

S: Good, very good.

Amanda speaks Khmei

Daniel: Ok, 1,2,3.

Socheat: 1,2,3. Hello, Amanda.

Amanda: Hello, Socheat.

S: Amanda, are you happy & well?

A: Yes, I am happy & well. And you?

S: Yes, I am happy & well. Amanda, are you busy today?

A: Today I am not busy.

S: Where did you go last night?

[Loud noises from the house next door]

A: Last night we went to our friend’s house. Their names are David & Holly and we ate together. It is close to your house, Socheat.

S: What did you eat?

A: We ate rice & vegetables & pizza (Italian food), & chocolate cake.

S: Last night what time did you go to sleep?

A: Last night I went to sleep at 11:00.

S: What time did you wake up this morning?

A: This morning I woke up at 7:30. And you?

S: I woke up at 5am. I wake up at 5am everyday.


mujalifah said...

That's impressive.

Veronica . . . said...

you. two. are. awesome.

Corners of My Life said...

I can't imagine how hard you have been working! It must make life easier to be able to talk to local venders. moto taxis and friends.

Liza said...

That's great! Have you dreamt in Khmei yet? I wish I had a reason to learn another language other than wanting to learn one.

Ruth said...

Thats great!! I miss you guys!!

Zack said...

Impressive language assimilation? Or impressively devised hoax? Sure, many will take these videos at face value, but there's just too many holes in the story for me to accept it. For instance, if you freeze the first movie at :42 and zoom in, you'll see what appears to be digital fringing around the table, as if the table itself is there, but everything behind it has be digitally inserted via a green screen. And in the second video, when Amanda asks Daniel if they should stop rolling, audio analysis of the tape shows a .0006 decimal difference between the female voice speaking Khmei, and Amanda's English voice, as if Amanda wasn't speaking Khmei at all but is simply lipsynching to prerecorded dialogue. IT JUST DOESN'T ADD UP. But who could benefit from this ruse? Surely not the MCC, right? It's taken for granted that MCC stands for Mennonite Central Committee, but nobody's ever questioned that neither Daniel or Amanda are Mennonite (have you ever seen them making quality furniture in in black, old-timey clothes? I HAVEN'T). So who are Daniel and Amanda really working for? What does MCC really stand for? The answer is obvious. "MAKE CASH for CHENEY." The plot... thickens!

Also, I tried calling you guys last week, but no one picked up. LA-AME.

benjamin said...

amanda has the voice of a buzz saw

Daniel of a flock of sparrows

Rachel Cook said...

Oh my gosh! It cracks me up and takes me back to days of sitting across from Socheat, answering the same questions every lesson. Wonderful post.

Mark Janice Bergen said...

Way to go! Sounds like things are moving along quite quickly with your language studies.

Shelley said...

Your Khmei skills have absolutely trumped my Mandarin!! And that was like a month ago!!!