global village breaks language barriers
Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
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Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
Egypt Today, egypt today

Global Village breaks language barriers

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Egypt Today, egypt today Global Village breaks language barriers

Matthew Bassuener at the UK pavilion in Global Village
DUBAI - Arab Today

If you are an Indian and visiting the Global Village, don’t be surprised if a Far-Eastern salesgirl at the Thailand pavilion welcomes you to her stall in Hindi or Tamil, or Malayalam for that matter. Or if you are a Russian checking out the honey varieties at the Yemen pavilion, don’t be taken aback if the Arab salesman starts a conversation in your mother tongue.

With thousands of visitors of various nationalities thronging the fair daily, it’s no wonder that the sales force manning the stalls can converse in multiple languages. In short, there is no language barrier here.

“There cannot be a better platform than the Global Village to pick up a new language. When you speak to a person in their native language, it breaks the barriers and brings a smile to their faces. They take an instant liking for you and open up to you, and talk about their country and culture,” says Zeynel Abidin Satilmis, a Turkish chef at a kiosk in front of the Morocco pavilion.

“Yesterday I asked a Russian visitor at my stall to teach me a few words. She said every time I meet a Russian girl I must say ‘ya lyublyu tebya’. I asked her what it meant and she said ‘I love you’,” he quipped. “But jokes apart, I like learning new languages,” he added. “To greet someone you say ‘prevet kak dela?’ meaning ‘how are you?. ‘I am fine’ is ‘ya v poryadke’. I can also speak a bit of Urdu. ‘Ao bhai’ (come brother), ‘kidhar se hain’ (where are you from?),” he says.

Mohammad Abdul Wahad Alomri, 26, a Yemeni honey seller, also shows off his Russian skills. “‘Dabra ootra (good morning), ‘kharashyo’ (I am fine), ‘pa-ka’ (good-bye), ‘rada tebya videt’ (nice to see you – for a girl), ‘rad tebya videt’ (nice to see you – for a male),” he rattles off.

Linguists all

“Many Russians visit the village and I make it a point to learn a new word or two every time I have a new customer. And thanks to the Indian and Pakistani visitors, my Hindi and Urdu have improved greatly.” To prove his point he blurts out: “‘Kaisa hain?’, (how are you), ‘kidhar jayega?’ (where are you going?), ‘kab ayega?’ (when will you come?).”

American Matthew Bassuener, 32, at the UK pavilion, has picked up Arabic thanks to his customers. “I sell whacky whistles and crochet mermaid blankets. A mermaid blanket is called Hooriyat Al Bahr Bithania in Arabic and it is priced miya khamsa wa talateen (Dh135). I can say numbers up to a thousand in Arabic.”

Adham Khan, 22, from Afghanistan, says he too has picked up Arabic as it important in his line of work. His Syrian manager Talal Alkhechi has been encouraging him to pick up a few words as it helps him connect with the customers.

“Taybe taybe aoudd balilal balouki,” (come and pick up the chickpeas) calls out Khan in a sing song manner at his food stall in Syria pavilion. “Knowing Arabic is essential at the Global Village as it helps in the business. I have also learnt a lot of Hindi and Urdu,” said Khan.

At the Thailand pavilion, a Filipina fruit seller, Mildred Evangelista de Ramos, can name the fruits in three Indian languages – Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam. “This is pacha manga (raw mango in Tamil and Malayalam), imli (tamarind in Hindi), thenga (coconut in Tamil and Malayalam), pacha perika (guava in Tamil),” she points out.

“My boss is from Kerala and he knows many Indian languages. Owing to the large number of Indians visiting the stall, he decided to teach me the fruit names in different languages,” she said.

But Mildred has been teaching Tagalog, in return, to her boss. “I can say ‘malapit na ako’ (I am almost there), ‘lapit po kayo, ‘bili po kayo’ (come and buy). Kinse is 15 and Trenta is 30,” said Koyassan K., Mildred’s boss.

For Turkish Serdar Akçati and Kazakh Yeva Avramchuk, the Global Village has help them improve their English, enabling them to converse with western expats

source : gulfnews


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