“Sorry, foreigners are hairy sometimes.” And, like that, I’ve learned the Thai word for hairy: Puy. If, as a language learner, I take each daily chat with each person I encounter as a chance to learn one new word, the lessons add up fast.
I’ve lived in Thailand for two years and my Thai is decent. I’ve dabbled in Burmese in honor of a couple trips to Myanmar. My Vietnamese goes as far as “can I take your picture?” and “take it easy.” But despite having close relationships with a number of Karen, I don’t speak a word of their languages.
I’ve never touched an indigenous language. At the beginning of this year, I realized I need to. Sgaw Karen it is.