Sunday, November 16, 2008

1, 2, 3

1, 2, 3

Today over at that's my answer, Laura Jayne asked how many languages can you count up to 3 in? And it got me to thinking - I think I can do it in 12 different languages ... lets see.
Well there's ...
Welsh - un, dau, tri
English - one, two, three
French - un, deux, trois
Spanish - uno, dos, tres
German - eins, zwei, drei
Latin - unus, duo, tres
Those are the ones I've learnt at one time or another in school ... 3 years of Latin and that along with amo, amas, amat is pretty much all I remember. I haven't really felt the need to use it to be honest - I know strange that - except that maybe doing Latin grammar helped me with my cases for German grammar. I struggled with German grammar too by the way - nominative, dative, accusative - whatever!!
Then there are the 1, 2, 3s that I've picked up on my travels through life ... there's ...
Italian - uno, due, tre. I want to go to Italy so badly. Simon's not interested - I know I should divorce him and take the cute one from il Divo. You're right - that's the right choice to make. Mind you, he's Swiss not Italian but what the hell!
Japanese - ichi, ni, san.* A friend of my mother's used to have Japanese language students who boarded with her - Mishiko taught me how to make tempura, how to count to 5, common greetings and how to say "my name is Jo."
Arabic - wahid, ithnan, thalatha. One of my favourite books is The Eight by Katherine Neville, one of the characters in The Eight is Wahid. He explains that his name means "numero uno" and I decided that if Wahid meant number 1 I wanted to know what the other numbers were ... and the rest as they say is history.
Punjabi - ekk, do, tenn. I work at a school where 23 languages (including BSL) are spoken as a first language. 40% of our children are Sikhs, whose families are originally from the Punjab area of northern India. Especially working in the nursery children have spent their time being looked after by grandparents - who speak Punjabi to them not English - so I have a smattering of phrases in Punjabi that I can pull out at the drop of a hat. Good morning Grandma - Sasiriakal Bibi-ji. Yes, Mummy is coming - Han ji, Mummy adja. The numbers to 5 and of course my personal favourites "sit down and cross your legs" & "go and wash your hands!"
Slovak - raz, dva, tri. You know those lads we had to exclude last week? One of them argued with me, why should he learn English when I wasn't trying to learn any Slovak - he had a point. I wasn't making any effort ... I know I didn't need to because we're in a school in England but if it gets him to make an effort in English then *holds up hands* I can say "dobre rano Roman!" and get a smile out of him at the start of the day.
Greek - ena, dio, tria (sp?). I've been on holiday to the Greek Islands a couple of/maybe even 4 times and I always make sure that when I go anywhere on holiday I can say hello, please, thank you, 1/2/3 and "can I have a beer and a ham sandwich please"?**
So for that reason I can also say 1, 2, 3 in ...
Setswana - ngwe, bedi, raro ... added to the end of a word. Usually people in Botswana just say the numbers in English - trust me it's bloody complicated - instead but I tried!!
Zulu - kunye, kubili, kuthathu. How the kids in a classroom in Durban laughed at me when I tried this vocabulary out. They laughed and then they clapped me because I tried and then they laughed again. My other great words in Zulu are shongololo (giant milipede), umbila (sweetcorn) and uquinye-quonyo*** (see-saw).
So, how many is that? 6 from my school years. And another 8 along the way. Not 12, but 14 ways of saying "one, two, three." What about you - can you teach me anymore?
* I always remember this by saying "itchy knee son?" in a south London accent ... I'm so mature.
** Years ago it had to include 20 Marlboro lights please.
*** The q is said like a click, as if the see-saw is going down hit the floor (on the click) and going back up.


Leilani said...

e, er, san - mandarin
satu, dua, tiga - malay
adjin, dva, tria -russian
ein, zwei, drei - german
una, due, tre- italian
yat, yi, sam -(not Sam but Sa - am)cantonese

you already know french and spanish....english :-)....

Laura Jayne said...

Alas you far out stripe my meager four... English, Spanish, French and German. And I only know those from having one year of Spanish, French and German in high school, and alas counting to ten in each language is about all that has stuck.

Dan said...

Hi just popped in from Lisa's.


Tahi (Tah he)
Rua (Roo Ah)
Toru (Tour ooh)
Fa (far)

Hit Lisa up for the Nuian translations.

If Lisa hasn't already told you, my first born has been teaching 5-6 year olds this year and has been given another 12 months at the same school. It is a low decile school, in fact I think we have most of their rellies at work.

Take care

Fizzy said...

Smart arse!
I can speak two languages, english and yorkshire!