While it seems to be a theme that I am never at home on Wednesdays to post the word of the week, technology is an amazing thing. So, this week’s word comes from my phone in the city of Sihanoukville, Cambodia:
Part of speech: noun
My word this week comes from Hebrew due to the newest phenomenon as my mind tries to learn Khmer. Toward the end of orientation my mind had realized that English was clearly not the language I should be speaking here, so it went to my default of Spanish. After these past few weeks of experiencing a mix of English, Spanish, and Khmer in my head, I suppose my brain got tired and decided a new approach was necessary. This week my mind has found any sound remotely close to a Hebrew word I know and automatically translated it as if it were not Khmer.
One specific incident occurred when I was eating dinner this Monday night. A restaurant just up the beach kept repeatedly playing happy birthday in English. About 10 minutes later, they began to play it multiple times in Khmer. Obviously the tune is farmiliar, so I decided to listen for words I recognized. Much to my excitement, I heard the word (or what sounded like the word) yōm. In my head I said, “Yōm means day! Happy birthDAY!” Quite pleased with myself I continued eating dinner. Not until later when I was attempting to say today (literally “this day” in Khmer) do I realize what I had done. I know day is “t’nai” in Khmer, but my mind was trying too hard to translate.
As I continue my time in Cambodia, my hope is that in a few more weeks Khmer becomes the default and I only mix up languages in my head 10% of the time. But, until that yōm, I guess I will keep practicing!