If we are frightened, we say “huch” or “oh”, if we hurt ourselves, we say “aua” or “ouch”, when someone sneezes, the other person says “health”. Clear. Of course.
But how is that actually in other countries and cultures? Does they say “huch” or “oh”, as well? What does another person say here when you sneeze? That is what we wanted to find at one of our project afternoons.
We got together, talked and thought together. And found that in other countries, there are also quite different exclamations.
In Syria, they say, for example, “Ai” or “Ach” when somebody hurts hisselve. “Acha” is the exclamation, when somebody, after a great thirst, finally get something to drink. “Ouf”, if you have no patience and is annoyed. If someone sneezes, the other one replies “Saha”, “Jala” means “Here we go” and “Tamam”, the name of our project means “ok, all good”.
As with the last project day, in which we treated phrases, we wanted to know also this time from the citizens of Landsberg if they are able to translate these “international” exclamations or if they spontaneously have an idea to this. Again we went to the city of Landsberg, equipped with our recorders, in order to catch this idea.
What came out of it was, in part, very funny. Clearly, most spontaneous associations can, of course, be traced back to the sound of the word. Most of them thought spontaneously to the Viennese Sachertorte when they hearth the exclamation “Saha”, pronounced “Sacha”, and thus called “Saha” from the belly as a dish or food. But also associations like “Soccer” and thus a football match or the “Sahara” or “Saha” as a swear word were called. In “Wala,” the Syrian phrase for “real, really?” most people thought of the French “Voilà” or the English “water”, and they gave “Here please” or “water” as translations. “Tamam”, also the name of our project, was most often associated with “Mama” – and many thought at a mother, aunt or a person you love.
It was, in any case, an interview which was a great pleasure for those who had been involved in it. And most of them wanted to know the resolution. Of course, we did not make it so easy for the people – first they had to pronounce the foreign word, so long until our refugees gave the OK that it was pronounced correctly. In most cases, however, they were mercifully in their judgement…