Thursday, January 27, 2011


A heck of a lot of people in India speak at least some english.  When I have to communicate with people that don't speak much english, it's usually to buy something or get somewhere.  Pointing works pretty well. 

The biggest challenge I face is being careful about how I say yes or no.  Yes and no are fine, but myriad synonyms like sure, please, uh-huh, enough, plenty, more, nods and head shakes are my automatic responses. 

Head shakes and nods are no good.  The Indian head wobble is used instead of both.  As far as I can tell the wobble mostly serves as acknowledgment (yes, no, I heard you, I'm thinking).  The intensity of the wobble is meaningful too, but it never specifically means yes or no out of context.

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