the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Lesson 3 : Family and Goodbye

After learning Lessons 1 and 2, you are now able to politely greet, ask about general well-being, say where you are from and give your name in Akha. Now, with a few more phrases we will share how to ask about family and to say goodbye.

Learning Akha : How many children do you have?

To the Akha in Thailand, this is like asking about the weather. Invariably the question of children comes up in a conversation - especially if you are traveling as a couple. If you have initiated the conversation and have made it through the greetings this is the question you should ask next.

The question: "How many children do you have?"

The response:
"I have no children yet"

Learning Akha : Goodbye!

There is no actual phrase for "Goodbye" in Akha, but there is a phrase used when you are about to leave. To understand this you have to remember that the Akha are a mountain people. When you leave you need to know where you are going geographically. You will then say "I am going back down now" or "I am going back up now" based on the direction you are going (up or down the mountain). It can be confusing, so remember that since the Akha live on mountains, the odds are good that you will be going "down" when you leave.

The statement:
"I am returning down now"

The statement:
"I am returning up now"

Learning Akha : Go slowly!

To reply to the statement "I am returning (up / down) now" the Akha say "Go slowly back (up or down)". This is another peek into the culture and personality of the Akha people. Take your time, don't hurry. The mountain may be slippery, don't fall down. Keep your eye out for food along the way. Enjoy the world around you. All of this is summed up in the phrase "Go slowly"

The response:
"Go slowly back down"

The response:
"Go slowly back up"

That's good advice for language, too. Go slowly. Use opportunities to get to know the people you are talking with. When you spend time with the Akha mountain people you won't regret the time you took.

Happy learning!


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