'Purush' versus 'Aadmi'

“Aapke ghar mein kitne purush rehte hain?”
“Kitne aadmi rehte hain?”
She glared at us.
Did we make a mistake? Yes, we did. In Rajasthan, the word aadmi denotes “husbands”, not men. For our respondent, the question translated to “How many husbands do you have?” No wonder she was offended.
We wanted to know the number of male members living in the households. Finally, after apologies, some subtle probing we got the number.
Lesson learned: There are more linguistic variations than what we might be aware of. So be wary while translating!


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