Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A People of the Heart: Lao Idioms

In many cultural presentations by the Lao Assistance Center in Minnesota, one interesting element that was discussed was the idea that Lao culture has many shades of meaning based on the heart:

-to understand is to enter the heart -khao jai 
-to be glad is to feel good at heart -di jai
-to be angry is to feel bad in the heart -jai hai 
-to be sorry is to have lost the heart -sia jai
-to have empathy is to see the heart-hen jai 
-to feel upset is to be unhappy at heart -ouk jai
-to be sensitive (touchy) is to have a small heart -jai noy 
-to be stingy is to have a narrow heart -jai khap khaep
-to be startled is to drop the heart -tok jai 
-to be absent minded is to have a floating heart -jai loy
-to hesitate is to have many hearts -lai jai 
-to be worried is to have a sick heart -bo sabai jai
-to be content is to have a serene heart -sabai jai 
-to be without worries is to feel cool in the heart -jai yen
-to be generous is to have a large heart -jai kuang 
-to have a heavy heart -thouk jai
-to be happy -souk jai 
-to be easily persuaded is to have an easy heart -jai ngai
-to be decisive -jai det 
-to be charitable is to have a festive heart -jai boun
-to be generous is to be big hearted -jai nyai 
-to be impatient is to have a hot heart -jai hon
-to be patient is to have a persevering heart -jai ot thon 
-to be honest is to have a pure heart -jai bolisud
-to be brave is to have a daring heart -jai ka 
-to be timid is to have a cautious heart -jai boh ka
-to control one's emotions is to have a strong heart -jai kaeng 
-to die is to have your heart torn apart -jai khart
-to be bitter to the point of revenge is to have a black heart -jai dam

And there are certainly many more, but it's interesting to consider.

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