Picture the scene, you've just moved to Laos, and your new colleague has invited you to their wedding. You turn up for the big day, a traditional Lao ceremony, and as you're approaching the bride and groom, you suddenly realize you don't know how to say congratulations in Lao. Don't worry. We got you covered. The phrase you need is 'somsoeny' ຊົມເຊີຍ
This blog article is just a taster of the kind of lessons you can expect on the Ling app.
I don't know how extensively you've researched learning Lao, but even a cursory glance at the Google search results shows that there's basically nothing on offer. At this stage, the best you could possibly do is buy an old textbook and hope against the odds that you can find a Lao teacher on Preply.
At least that was the case until Ling arrived. Ling is a language learning app in the same mold as Duolingo but for lesser spoken languages. Headquartered in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Ling is close to the border with Lao and has a number of Lao employees working for the company. That means that Ling lessons are the real deal- there are no awkward translations or useless phrases.
If you haven't already, come over to the website, follow the instructions, and give Ling a try for free.
|Well done||heddai di||ເຮັດໄດ້ດີ|
|Good job||viak di||ວຽກດີ|
|Good for you||di soa lab chao||ດີສໍາລັບເຈົ້າ|
|That is great||nanaemn nyinghainy||ນັ້ນແມ່ນຍິ່ງໃຫຍ່|
|That is good||nanaemn di||ນັ້ນແມ່ນດີ|
|That is clever||nanaemn salad||ນັ້ນແມ່ນສະຫລາດ|
|I am impressed||khony pathabchai||ຂ້ອຍປະທັບໃຈ|
Harking back to our earlier point, the time you're most likely to wish someone congratulations is at a wedding.
It is no exaggeration to say that Lao weddings have changed considerably in recent years- particularly since the nineties when Laos opened itself to the international market and more people began moving to cities.
Now, in 2022, there is a curious mix of traditional and contemporary wedding styles. I spoke to a Lao friend, and he said that he had the traditional part in the morning and the contemporary part in the evening, which is much closer to what we would recognize in the west.
Before any festivities begin, deciding when the actual ceremony takes place is important. The key to this is the lunar calendar. For this, senior monks must be consulted and determine which days have favorable omens. The main stipulation that monks lay down is that the wedding can not occur during Buddhist Lent, which takes place in July and October.
There are also considerations to be made the night before the wedding. At this point, a ceremony known as 'oun dong' takes place where the marital bed is made.
The next part, called the Groom Parade, involves a procession to the bride's house. The groom is joined by his groomsmen as well as a full band! Again once at the house, the groom (or rather his family) must pay for the privilege to see his bride and pass through the gold and silver gates.
Next, members of the family have to formalize the 'bride price' process. In modern times it is a largely symbolic offer of gold; however, at one point in history, it was the actual cost of how much it would cost the household to lose a source of income.
For a start, the ceremony usually takes place at the bride's family home, and the first thing done is the Baci ceremony, wherein strings are tied around the wrist, a Buddhist belief that symbolizes good luck.
The end of the Baci ceremony is where things start to get really interesting because the bride and the groom are then led to the bedroom. The same women who 'made the bed' will lead them there. Historically the bride and groom would stay there for the night, but now there is probably a party to attend in the city!
A Lao wedding is a joyful affair filled with dancing. A wedding is traditionally opened up with lum vong dancing, a kind of dance where you dance with a partner and make bird-like movements with your hands.
There will be a vast abundance of good food as well as alcohol.
There you have it. Congratulations In Lao. Is today the day when you learn a new language? The mutual benefits for you and your interlocutors are massive!
But let's talk about the nuts and bolts of Ling. What exactly does a Ling course look like? Well, if you've used the likes of Duolingo and Rosetta Stone, you should have a fair idea.
We update this blog every week, so there is no shortage of material
Speak Lao now and find new meaning in your life!
See you soon.