Have you encounter language barrier before in your own country? Here's mine today

Today I visited a restaurant, but I encountered language barrier when trying to order a soup noodles in my own “territory” (country).

I spoke first with Chinese Cantonese, but the Burmese answered with half Chinese Cantonese and half English. I wanted to say more but I didn’t know the ingredient in English. Then I spoke to him in Malay (“I am having here”) but I wasn’t sure if he understood.

When I left the restaurant, I waved my hand and said “Thank you”. He replied with “Jetsu” or something which I had been taught before it means “Thank you” in Burmese language.

There was one Mat Salleh (a white man) sitting at the restaurant also enjoying his beer.


Yeah the main teacher at the Zen center I go to is from Japan, very often the student teacher needs to step in and clarify what someone means so the head teacher can understand.


In my country we have 11 official languages. English, Afrikaans. Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Sotho…to name but a few. In the major cities you are ok with English since most people take that as a second language in school…but it remains a challenge to communicate in English in some of the rural areas.

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Well I live in a metropolitan city which is very linguistically diverse, so I often encounter Cantonese speakers (i.e. poor Chinese immigrants) who don’t speak English. I don’t mind it though because I think language is beautiful. I also encounter a lot of Spanish speakers but I speak basic Spanish so I don’t really have a problem communicating there. But my Spanish isn’t good so sometimes I do.

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I function in both of my country’s official languages, English and French. When I have problems, it’s usually with a newcomer to the country speaking a different language or an immigrant that hasn’t assimilated and learned English (a real problem in some communities).

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