Friday, May 30, 2008

In Hunan, my name is "You La"


This probably doesn’t interest many of you, but I find it quite interesting. Yesterday I talked to a boy from the Hunan province. He couldn’t pronounce the letter ‘N’ very well. Instead he said ‘L’. The funny thins was that he didn’t realise it, or hear the difference? He thought that when I said ‘niu nai’ (=milk -牛奶) and he said ‘liu lai’ it sounded the same?!

The funniest bit was with my name. My Chinese name is ‘You Na’ (友娜). When he said it, I became ‘You La’. And while I went on and said: ‘not La, NA… You Na Na Na….’ He repeated it: ‘You La La La!’

(Note: ‘la la’ = Chinese slang for lesbian. Anyone wanna know more go to the night club ‘La la land’ in Shanghai).

Except for this little thing I must say that this Hunan boy’s pronunciation was very easy to understand. Much easier than the ‘Suzhou hua’ (= the local dialect in Suzhou) that I am trying to get my head around (Suzhou locals don’t use the ‘sh’ sound but simply the ‘s’… So it’s very hard not to mix up ‘shi’ (ten -十) with ‘si’ (four -四) because when they say ten it sounds like ‘si’ (four) ). And the way he described Hunan to me it sounded so nice that it made me wanna pay a visit. Also, my favourite Chinese restaurant in Shanghai is a Hunan restaurant, so the food over there must be delish: spicy and hot!

6 comments:

尼克 said...

Yes, Hunanese food is the best food in China, and there are many wonderful things to see in HuNan Province. If you go, I highly recommend Feng Huang Shen (Phoenix Town), the home of the Miao Minority. You will also want to visit YueLu Mountain on the edge of the capital city of ChangSha.

Kristin said...

Have you ever seen A Christmas Story? (It plays 24/7 during the Christmas season in the states) It has this great seen of the family in a Chinese restuarant where the Chinese owners are trying to sing "Deck The Halls" to the family but instead of singing Fa la la la la they sing Fa ra ra ra ra. It is great!!!!

Ps I love your blog!!!!

Kristin said...

Have you ever seen A Christmas Story? (It plays 24/7 during the Christmas season in the states) It has this great seen of the family in a Chinese restuarant where the Chinese owners are trying to sing "Deck The Halls" to the family but instead of singing Fa la la la la they sing Fa ra ra ra ra. It is great!!!!

Ps I love your blog!!!!

Jonna Wibelius said...

Kristin -haven't seen the movie, but now it's on my to-do-list.. :)

尼克 -I am so keen on going to Hunan... I just have to find a travelling partner, do some planning and then maybe it can happen (probably best to go around fall time, right? From what I read it's a kind of humid province?). Sounds like sucha beautiful place, and the thought of the Hunanese food makes my stomach grumble.. :)

Jonna Wibelius said...

Forgot to say, Kristin -I enjoy your blog too! :) Looking at your photos makes me miss nature/clean air!

尼克 said...

It is very humid, I think November is a perfect time to go, at the very end of autumn.