Language is a hard thing to attain. Being here in Cambodia, trying to communicate with tuk tuk and moto drivers is not easy and reminds me about friends in HK who try to learn Cantonese. The most common word I say to the drivers are “Tuol Kork”, which is the area I live in.

I might have an accent when I say it, but I really don’t think I sound much different then the way they say it. I guess that’s the way foreigners think when they learn to speak Cantonese. We hear the difference in the way they say it, but in their minds, they are saying it exactly the way we are saying it.

I think the most frustrating thing is that once they see that I am a foreigner, they don’t even try to understand me. Some eventually figure out what I am trying to say, but others just brush me off and before I even finish talking, they start talking and I assume they are trying to ask me “where?”, etc etc.

Published by Joanne Lam

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