Word for the Travel Wise (02/22/06)

Something about ‘Bun Bang Fai’ has a cheery echoing ring to it that makes me want to sing the three words over and over while spinning on a merry-go-round or something like the lyrics you’d find in a soca song. Please don’t ask me why I think this and in any case Bun Bang Fai is the name of a rather famous festival which takes place in southeast Asia in the month of May. Also known as the ‘Rocket Festival’ it is a pre-Buddist event celebrating friendship, unity and the firing of loud rockets in hopes to bring rain to the land. Observed in Thailand as well as Laos you can read more about the festival and watch a video by clicking here. To help prepare you in your future travels I have a word for you.

Today’s word is a Lao word used in Laos:

nyang – what

The Lao language is closely related to the Isan language used in the northeast region of Thailand and the alphabet resembles the Thai writing system, but has some differences. Wikitravel has an excellent online Lao phrasebook and probably one of the best free web sources you’ll find. Lao Connection also has some of the basics listed in addition to links to language products, fonts, CD’s, and software. Laos Language and Culture Learning Resources out of Northern Illinois University is an extensive guide on folklore, history, arts, literature and of course the lingo!