Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Language Quirks

Remember that time I went some kind of time without blogging. Life changes while living on a crazy continent will do that to you sometimes. However, I'm back-and I am excited to announce something...

This month I ended language class! For the past 11 months I have been in class, learning an African dialect, Monday through Friday. Needless to say, A LOT of information has been packed into this head of mine. As strange as a different language can be sometimes, there are so many things I love about this language. Here are a few things I still laugh about..

I'll start simple. The way to say "yes" here is saying, "waaw." This is pronounced "wow." If you're really agreeing with someone, you say, "waaw, waaw." Try it out..it's fun.

Degguma Toubab.
Toubab is the name for white people here. Most of the white people seen here are French tourists. So these people are smart, and they put 2 and 2 together. They see a white person-think they are from France-start speaking French to them. There's only a small flaw in their system. Not every white person is French-Enter Americans. So, when they start speaking French to me, I have to say "Degguma France." which means"I don't understand French." OR, my favorite, you can say, "Degguma Toubab," which literally translates, "I don't understand white people." I mean, I guess the longer I live among the people here, the more true that becomes. However, sometimes I like to think I can still think in full English sentences.

Here is just a normal set of greetings, literally translated for your enjoyment.
Question: "How are you?"
Answer: "I am here."
Q: "How is your family there?"
A: "They are there?"
Q: "How is the morning?"
A: "The morning is here only."
Q: "How is your body?"
A: "Peace Only."
Then you are allowed to start normal conversation. I always feel like I'm getting quizzed when I greet someone. My passing rate is increasing, though, the longer I live here.

Yalla bind assaman ak seuf.
 I was listening to someone tell the story of Creation, and they said this line. Literally translated, it means, "God wrote the sky and the sand." Maybe it's my love for literature and reading, but I find it so neat to think of Creation this way. God wrote the sand and the sky into existence. Isn't that beautiful to think?

"Mbooki" is the word for hyena. I don't care how many times I say this word, it will still be funny to me. You pronounce it "mmm-boo-kie." Also, last night I heard some advice from an older woman on what to do if you ever see one of these. Say "God" a lot as a way of praying, and run, run, run!

This has been such a fun language to learn, and I still get amazed every day when I understand the people around me. I am looking forward to using this language to share Truth to people who have never heard, and to hear their stories. Thank you so very much to those of you who have been lifting up my times of language!

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