Thursday, November 17, 2016

African Lingo

I thought it might be fun to document some of the "African Lingo" that we come across on a daily basis.

One of the first things that the Ugandan people say as they greet us at their home is "You are most welcome."  They are always so sincere and I ALWAYS feel 'most welcome'.

Instead of setting an appointment we "set a program"

When we ask a person their name they always give us their family name first.  i.e....Waila Frances, or Wandera Benard.  I have learned to listen to the last part of their introduction to catch their first name.  I can remember the first name but the last.....I usually have to have them spell it for me:)

The Ugandans' roll their R's like the British and the Mexicans.  So Lira is pronounced Lida.  Mary is Mady.  Rolex ( a favorite food of the elders) is pronounced ddrolex.

On other words the r is completely lost....again like the British.  One of our friends Pius, the SS President came up to me one afternoon at the church and I casually asked what he was doing.  He announced that he was going to see the clock.  I said, "the clock?"  He said, "yes, the clock."  I gave a look of puzzlement when he pointed to the clerk's office.  I then said, "Oh you are going to see the CLERK?'  He then smiled and then said, "yes, I am going to see the CLERK."  (Imitating me:)
     Another example of this is when we were talking with the clerk.  We were asking what he was studying in school.  He replied, "Nawsin."  Neither Elder Phelps or I understood what 'Nawsin' was so we just let it slide.  (Sometimes as we listen further we can fill in the gaps.)  Then he talked of working in a hospital......then the light bulb came on.  Okaaaay.  He means NURSING
This one has been one of the most challenging things to learn but we are getting it......Rick has been calling Thursday....Thusday totally dropping the R.  When in Rome......

When asking where a person lives we ask, '"Where do you stay?"

When a person is moving from one house to another they are 'traveling.'

Lots of times in church, instead of asking for something it is demanded.  For instance, " Sister Phelps will give the prayer." We have tried to correct this pattern with teaching the leaders to be polite and 'asking' for members to do something.  This is definitely a work in progress.....and it's gonna take some time!

When something is good the Ugandans use the adjective Supa (or Super).  A common phrase here is supa nice!!

One saying that I love is when a question is asked and the response is positive, the answer is.....ok, please or yes, please.  It just seems so polite to me.  i.e..... Is it ok if we come visit next 'Thusday'?  "OK, please"

Something that is very peculiar is when teaching a lesson and asking a question the Ugandans say the word "what" at the end of their sentence.  For example:  "We go to the store and then we what? we buy food."  "We are baptized and then we receive the gift of the Holy What?  the Holy Ghost".

When explaining something they also like to use the word "what" in another way.  "We go to the store and we buy rice and beans and what? what?" Meaning yada, yada, yada.  This way of speaking makes me smile.

When we are in Busia (next to the Kenyan border) the branch president does something that others do not do.  When we are out visiting we generally ask the person who they would like to give the prayer.  President Ojiambo always says, "Who would you love very much to say the prayer?"  He says this every time!  It is so sweet to me:)

Another thing that is done here, and we have noticed it more so in Busia but it makes us chuckle EVERY time.  We will walk up to someone that President Ojambo knows fairly well and after greeting them one will say "aayyy."  Then the other person will say, "aayy".  Then the first person will repeat and say, "aayy" and then the next person will say, "aayy".  They totally communicate without speaking.  I think it's just a filler when they don't know what to say and they don't want an awkward silence.
     Just yesterday we were in Pallisa (the farm village outside of Mbale) visiting the orphanage again.  We introduced ourselves to a man who came up to where we were standing.  The director of the orphanage talked to him for a minute and then when there was nothing left to say he grunted with a "hmm"  and the fellow returned with a "hmm".  This went on seven times!  Seven!!  Hmmming back and forth!  I looked at Rick and gave him a smile because this practice is "supa" funny to us!!

When we have the window down and we are passing  people in the car we greet them with "Jambo" That means both hello and goodbye.

When someone invites us into their home they say cariboo, cariboo.  (Pronounced cadiboo) That means "come on in."

Cari Cari (Cadi) is the short version and it actually means several things.  Thank you, See you, Goodbye..... this one is used a lot!

This is the end of our African Lingo lesson!

Cari, Cari!!  :-)

PS  I have to tell one quick experience that happened last night.  It was dusk and we were heading home from Busia for the night.  It had been an especially long day.  (Wednesdays always are)  Elder Phelps was driving when a police officer pulled him over.  We assumed it was to check our license and registration because that had been happening the past few days around here.  She pulled us over and requested to see Rick's license.  (She looked very stern) At that point another man in uniform walked over.

She then told us that he had been speeding (going 70 in a 50) and told us that we would have to park our car and go to the bank in Busia, Tororo, or Malaba to pay the ticket and then come back to get the car.  Well, we were at least 15 kilometers from any of these places and it was 6:15 pm.  The banks were all closed.  (I'm not sure she cared about that)  I was trying to clarify what she was asking.  You want us to PARK the car and THEN go to the bank??  She got a little perturbed at my question and said, "just follow this man and he will take you."  We both were still NOT getting it.  "He is going to take us to the bank?"  She shook her head.  (I'm thinking Oh no! This is really NOT a good situation!  How are we going to fare in the middle of nowhere in the dark without our vehicle and NO bank within miles of the place?  Did I mention that we had a fourteen year old girl with us.  We had taken her to Busia to get permission from her parents for her to be baptized.)

Just then the man in uniform that was with her said to the officer, "They are with the Church of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ.  Caution them only.  She thought for a minute and then said, "You need to drive slower." and the waved us on.

Oh. My. Goodness.  What a tender mercy for us!  The Lord sure does bless His missionaries!

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful African lingo lesson! I could definitely use Aayy or Hmmm sometimes. It feels like there are always those times when you see someone and want to talk to them but don't have anything to say.
    What a tender mercy that you were warned!