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SIT’s Tower of Babel


Languages that I frequently encounter in Oman:
English (duh)
Arabic (really duh)
Swahili (from almost all of the homestay family and relatives)
German (from Sultan, his wife, Galla, and the random Germans that are everywhere)
Spanish (from Sabrina and Kristie, from Mexico and Columbia respectively)
Dutch (from Andrew and Jenna both of whom studied there)
Hindi, Urdu, Punjab (walk into any store in Ruwi, seriously)
Jabbali (while in Salalah)
Croatian (Galla’s preferred language of choice for swearing)
A perfect example of the polyglot nature of this trip: My Arabic teacher, Sultan, studied in Germany for quite a bit (where he met his wife, who’s from Yemen), so he knows German, which is almost better than his English. When he doesn’t know a word in English, he almost always knows it in German. So, he tells it to Andrew. Since Dutch and German are fairly close, Andrew tries to see if the German word is close enough to the Dutch word, and then he translates the Dutch word to English. In our attempt to find the right word, we literally go from Arabic to German to Dutch to English. This doesn’t even begin to explain the way in which our homestay families are able to carry on three different conversations at once, one in English, one in Arabic, and one in Swahili. Considering that I’m happy when I can get the taxi driver to go where I want, this is all somewhat mind-boggling to me.

Posted by mc327503 10:58 Archived in Oman

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