Language is funny.
My Puyuma (Pinuyumayan) male friends address me as Ali, the proper way adult males address each other. But in Tayal, ‘ali means bamboo shoot, and at first it was confusing: why are they calling me bamboo shoot?
We were talking with Malivan, Puyuma tribe, about tradition and cultural transmission. He made a particularly good point, so Chao said, “Balay.”
He was a bit taken aback, and asked, “What did you say?”
She explained, “Balay is Tayal for truly, verily, well spoken.”
He smiled and said, “I thought you said Ngalay, Puyuma for spit, or nonsense.”