A Mysterious Phrase

I’ve been on a hunt for the last week or so to discover the meaning of a mysterious phrase. It’s something my host mother says often: “të myt e dala.” (Sounds something like “tuh-meet-uh-dala.”)

My host brother speaks some English, so I asked him what it means. He said he he didn’t know. He said it might be a phrase borrowed from Turkish.

Side note: Not only are there two different major dialects of Shqip (Albanian), there are also words borrowed from other languages, like Turkish and Serbian, and then also different regional words and phrases. It’s a wonder people in Kosovo can understand each other. (And good luck if you’re a foreigner.)

I decided to ask my pre-service training (PST) language teacher about this mysterious phrase. I even had my host brother type out the text message for me, so I could be sure it was spelled correctly. (My host family was laughing as we did. I think they were amused by my determination to figure it out). Well, my PST language teacher said he didn’t know what it means. He lives in a different region of Kosovo and had never heard “të myt e dala.”

The next day at school, I asked one of my counterparts what it means. She started to laugh. She told me “të myt” means “to kill,”but then hastily added, “It’s a joke.” Then she told me she didn’t know how to further explain it in English.

“Does it mean, ‘I’m going to kill you?'” I asked.

Nope, that’s wasn’t it.

By that point, I was super curious to know what “të myt e dala” means. How can people use it and yet not be able to explain it?

A few days later, I asked my Shqip tutor what it means. Then she started to laugh. She reiterated that “të myt” means “to kill,” but in a joking way. She also didn’t know how to explain the rest, but promised she would find an answer.

“You’re the fourth Albanian I’ve asked!” I told her.

I saw her again the following day, and I FINALLY got my answer! (She’d gone home the previous night and asked her parents.)

“Të myt e dala,” means … “May the cholera kill you.”

Happy Monday! 🙂

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