November 20, 2007

What's the name of your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather? (in serbian: kako se zove tvoj sukurdol?)

It's really easy and normal to speak with local people. They like to know everything about the visitors (how you like our country? our food?...) what brought you there (we have something interesting for your research?!) and if you're married, have children, keep contact to your family and relatives (yes, yes and yes) and so on question after question. After telling about yourself, you can start to ask them some questions. And here comes the big difference of the way to look at life: while Serbians wanna know mostly about family, I catch myself in asking some tipical Western Style questions: what do you do for a living? (farmer, nothing, this and that), have you travelled? (travelling where? it's enough travelling if i have to go to the closer cities to buy what I can't get in the village) and I quickly recognize that my questions are rather weird for this people who don't really feel like having big carreers and seeing the entire world. So I'm adapting and start to ask things like: In what kind of house/building are you living (ok, that's for me) and with whom are you living (this is more for them). The answer to the housing-question vary from farm, country cottage or stan (apartment) but what's peculiar are answers to the constellation of the family. So one might live with majka, otac, zena, sin, snaja and unuci. A celebration of kinship terminology!!! Look at here how many terms whose equivalents can not be found in any foreign language! (See also how limited english can be if you wanna speak about your ancestors...)
He doesn't want to visit Zambia but lives with his close family (about 10 people) and is now happy to go home and eat a delicious lunch prepared by his wife, or his tasta or his tetka, while he's bringing home lunch for the animals.

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