Tea Tea Tea, how do you say it?
It all depends on where you live. The first people in the West to spread tea commercially, marketing to masses were the Dutch, through the Chinese province, Fujian. It was pronounced tay, and sometime in the early 18th century the English changed the pronunciation to what we in America know today as tea.
Many countries use the word chai for tea, where we say chai as a specific spiced tea drink. Other common ways to ask for a cuppa in different cultures include cha and te.
As universal as tea is, the word to order a cup is not. Not that I’ve found myself in Belarus, yet, but if I did, I would be sure to ask for ‘harbatu’.
I’ve gone to Lithuania, an incredible vacation spot, and asked for tea without any problems. However, it would have been nice to communicate through their language and request my favorite beverage, ‘arbata’.
Poland, one of my favorite places to visit for food, friendliness, and beauty, uses the word ‘herbata’ for tea.
The Zulu say itiye. I’m not familiar with the language, but it sounds so exotic…
Before traveling, be sure to look up your destination’s word for tea. People always appreciate foreigners who make an effort to communicate in their native tongue. My mispronunciations often get a chuckle, but the feelings of warmth shared in that passing moment are timeless.
Where do you live? How do you say tea?
Life's toiling, the water's boiling, drink more tea!