How to Speak Ugandan

13 02 2010

I love the cadence of the locals’ speech, and since I cannot replicate it verbally I thought I would do it phonetically.  I have to admit that this idea is not my own – one of the former interns named their laptop “Kompyuutah.”

Spelling isn’t really an issue in Uganda either (my kinda country!) and changes depending on the emphasis within the word.  For example, a major nearby street is called Gaba Road, but with the accent on the first syllable it can either be spelled Ggaba or Gaaba.

So here’s some soothing sounds from Uganda:

“‘Zungu! ‘Uungu!” – Short for “Muzungu! Muzungu!”, which means “White person! White person!”  somehow it sounds a lot cuter (and actually is much more affectionate) in Uganda.

Aallo! – “Hello!”  I believe I am now saying this, too.

Faadah Gahd – “Father God”, usually heard in morning prayer by the local staff.

Waahk - “work”

Chaahych - “church”

Laahnch ees raaidy! – “Lunch is ready!”, said by the lady who cooks for the office.  Might be my favorite three words of the day.

Dis-ah one o, dat-ah one – “this one or that one”, usually used instead of “him/her/you”.

Aah you peeking meh? – “Are you picking me?” as in, “Are you picking up anything I’m saying?”, or “Do you understand me?”

Yuu aah mahy siize. – “You are my size”, usually heard in the market spoken by a Ugandan man in to a Muzungu woman.  Sometime followed with Taek meh to Amaarika.

I’m sure there’s more to come and the list will be much longer soon.  Thanks for staying posted…think I have another blog on the way before the weekend is over!

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6 responses

13 02 2010
Elaine Suau

Megan… Happy Valentines day , good to hear from you.
Wondering what kind of food are you getting?

Love Papa Elio

28 02 2010
Nancy Sullivan

Hey Megan: The following message is being sent from Grandma K via me!
Happy Birthday Megan. I miss you and hope that you are having a wonderful experience. Be careful and I love you. XOXOXO
(I was told that I had to put the XO’s)

28 02 2010
Nancy Sullivan

Happy Birthday to you! Hope you have a very special Ugandan celebration! Love you, The Sullivan Clan & Johnnie Purple

15 03 2010
Christine Griffith

Hi Megan! Happy belated birthday. I have been keeping up with your adventures through your Mother; she gave me your blog site and so I’m now reading your entries. (Notice I used a “semicolon”?) They do have a purpose :) Enjoy and we can’t wait to see you when you return! Oh, Mom seems to be holding herself together :) – much love to you from us all xoxo

24 03 2010
Carol Myers

I’m Ila’s neice. She sent this to me because she thought that I would be interested. I am. Mimi nina mwalimu ya hisable, I taught math in Uganda for 3 years from ’69 through ’72. Was there while Obote was President, and when Idi Amin took over. I’ve got a picture of me and Idi at the Ntebbe swimming pool. He used to go there on Sundays just like several of the Peace Corp volunteers. I remember Wednesday afternoons, sitting in the Uganda Bookstore balcony, eating samosas and drinking chai and kahawa (coffee). I remember Thursday evenings during football season, coming in town to see the last week’s games that the embassey had flown in. In fact we were evacuated while there was a border war with Tanzania. I tought at Ndejje Senior Secondary School, which is 5 miles up a hill from Bombo. Fondly remember Saturday trips to the market to get the weeks supply of fruit and veggies. Remember learning how to make ketchup , mustard, mayo, etc. from scratch because none of that was available when we first got there. Having afternoon football practice with the students.
Love to hear more from you. I’ve got to get to class now. Have a review session with my students before their 3rd calc class.

26 04 2010
Cheryl Maki

Oh to be young again! It is wonderful to read your blog and dream dreams of what life has to offer. I love your heart to serve the Lord in this way and will continue to check your blog for updates. Please share any prayer request with us so we can support you with prayer. Thank you for sharing. Blessings, Cheryl Maki

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