Interview of the Week: Ping Bu Loke

1. What was the first word you learned in a foreign language and how did you pick it up?
“Teacher.” I don’t speak English at home and the first time I spoke it was when I first went to playschool at 3. At the playschool, there was no daddy, nor mummy, only “teacher”.

2. What is your favorite word of all times and why?
Egal. It means “whatever” in German, but you only need to use 2 syllables to express it.

3. Which word do you always have trouble spelling?
Baden Württemberg. I never know whether it’s “Württemburg” or “Württemberg”.

4. What was the funniest situation with a linguistic misunderstanding you ever encountered?
I was teaching my Vietnamese friend how to say “I love you” in Mandarin, so that he could say it to a girl. He kept on getting it wrong, and I got really frustrated; I corrected him in a loud voice. He repeated it “I love you” loudly after me, trying to match the correct sound of it in Mandarin, and this went on for several times. Trouble is, he was also a guy and I don’t know why we were doing this in a public place – inside Burger King. And no one can tell that he is not Chinese-speaking because Vietnamese can look like Chinese, even to other Chinese. It should have been totally embarrassing, but we found it hilarious.

5. Which language would you like to invent and why?
Spanglish. It’s so cool to be the first in the world to say “I speak English with my colleagues pero hablo español with my familia…”

About the author:
Loke, Ping Bu (, I love mixing up languages.
Zum Beispiel, escribo aqui English, German and Spanish zusammen in una frase y creo que, it is possible to verstehen me totalmente if you hablar all 3 Sprache, die ich benutze here.

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