Sometimes it is important to learn niche vocabulary in Lao, such as planets and space vocabulary or vocabulary for the airport. However, sometimes it's better to be a generalist, and that's why today we're bringing you common daily vocabulary in Lao.
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|Seafood||a han tha le||ອາຫານທະເລ|
|Dignity||kiad ti nyod||ກຽດຕິຍົດ|
|Justice||khuaam nyudti thoa||ຄວາມຍຸດຕິທໍາ|
|Temperature||un ha phum||ອຸນຫະພູມ|
|Computer||khom phiv toe||ຄອມພິວເຕີ|
And 1 really useful phrase!
Where is the bathroom? — Hong nam yu sai
The answer to this question depends on where exactly you live. City life in the capital Vientiane is fast becoming what it's like in other Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, which are themselves copying the western way of doing things.
The major difference is how hard people work. It is very common to work 6 days a week. When I went to Laos, I was personally stunned by how hard people in the banks and schools worked. The hours also tend to be longer in the daytime, with over 8-hour days.
However, most Lao people would class working hard in an office to be a very good way to make a living. That's nothing compared to the 1000s of street sellers. They patrol the streets from dawn to dusk and then well into the late night. You see them every day, and particularly in the tourist areas, I don't think they ever take a day off.
Life in the countryside centers around the family farm. Both men and women work the fields, with the males doing the more labor-intensive work and women less so. A common job that a man might do is plowing and threshing, while a woman is more likely to plant the seedlings. Wet rice is cultivated in April and harvested in October.
Another notable time of year for the rice farmers is what has become known colloquially as the 'burning season.'
More specifically, the burning season refers to a type of farming practice known as slash-and-burn farming. Like clockwork, you will notice the skies in Laos grow smokier and smokier every January. This is because the land needs to be cleared for the upcoming planting, and the easiest way to do this is through fire.
For periods in March and April, Northern Laos has the worst air quality in the world (measured on the PM 2.5 scale).
Note: It would be unfair just to blame Laos and Thailand's terrible air quality on just the farmers' burning. The smoke-belching tuk-tuks on motorbikes also contribute to it. The problem can be particularly problematic in mountainous areas, where valleys can trap patches of smog.
For those of you who aren't farmers, it is highly inadvisable to stay away from these areas, especially if you have lung issues. The air is so bad it could literally kill you. If you have no choice but to stay, always wear an n95 mask outdoors and have a good quality air purifier indoors.
People's daily lives in the countryside in Laos don't just revolve around farming. There are also many other activities. Some tasks include fetching water, hunting, game, gathering spices, weaving, and numerous other crafts.
If you're desperate to go to a foreign country, you can't go wrong with Laos. Lao culture is one of the most amazing to get to know, and the language is one of the most rewarding to learn.
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