Sunday, August 30, 2009

I beg your pardon?!

When one travels to another country one seems to use this question phrase a lot, especially if there’s a big language difference.

Malawi is one of those countries. One of the main languages here is Chichewa, also known as Chinyanja. It belongs to the Bantu family of languages that are spoken in this part of Africa. In this family, the consonants “R” and “L” are interchangeable. When I came to Malawi I became Ilina and my husband, Mark, is known as Maliki. From this we get jewels like “I want to cut glass” and “Let us play God.”

One of the funniest examples I have ever heard came from a missionary in Zambia. One day he and some other visitors from the States decided to visit a local Church. At the end of the worship the preacher got up and told them how happy the people were to have these guests. He said “And to show you our warm Zambian welcome let us crap (clap) three times!”

1 comment:

  1. This is hilarious. And reminds me of the regional language/sound differences within the same language that I learned about in Spanish class: the word for "skirt" in Argentina is the word for "chicken coop" everywhere else in the Spanish-speaking world!