Thursday, December 01, 2005
I have a new project: I am going to learn to speak Swahili.
Believe it or not, after much study I am already fluent in English. I impressed my coworkers today when they learned that I am also literate in the language of my origin. In addition, I am also fluent in Piglatin and LF's. As a trilingual American I think I have a national duty to persue my talent for languages for the sake of diplomacy.
One of my coworkers is from Kenya. She is fluent in English, Swahili, and the tribal language that was spoken in her home. During our lunch I am learning Swahili from her.
You might think that I'm kidding. But you would be wrong. So wrong, in fact, that I will now share my multilingual education with you. This is how we count to ten: Swahili, English, Piglatin, LF's.
moja (one, unwa, wolfun)
mbili (two, owta, twolfu)
tatu (three, eethra, threelfee)
nne (four, ourfa, oralfor)
tano (five, ivetha, fialfive)
sita (six, ixsa, silfix)
saba (seven, evensa, selfeven)
nane (eight, eighta, eilfeight)
tisa (nine, inena, nielfine)
kumi (ten, enta, telfen)
Other important Swahilian phrases:
jambo (hello, hi)
habari gani (how are you)
mzuri (I'm fine!) (Incidently, this is pronounced like the state Missouri.)
tuonane (see you later)
nimechoka (I'm tired.)
Do you remember the radio commercials for the teach-yourself-Spanish-at-home audiobooks? They used to play them on the radio all the time. I ask people if they remember these commercials, and they think I'm crazy mostly, but I know they existed. The big punchline at the end was, 'if you can spell socks, you can speak Spanish!" Apparently "S-O-C K-S" translates to 'it is what it is' or something like that. People who speak Spanish never get it when I say "S O-C K-S"! And it might be just like that when I learn Swahili, although the odds of running into someone who speaks Swahili will be way lower than someone who speaks Spanish. But it could happen. They might say jambo.
And I might answer habari gani.
And all you have to remember if something like that happens to you, is the state of Missouri. But don't say Branson by mistake; it'll make you look ignorant.
If you would like to learn more about Swahili, go here.