Wednesday, February 10, 2010


During orientation we were given a session on “namlish” or Namibian English. The words are technically English but are used in very bizarre, amusing, or confusing ways (sometimes all three). So I figured I’d share some of the most common:
“borrow me a pen” – used to mean lend me a pen, I have taught my 6th graders that they won’t get anything from me unless they say lend or “can I please borrow”
“I am coming”—actually means “I will be right back”. Horribly confusing since someone will say “I am coming” as they leave the room.
“now”—means in at least 5 minutes, maybe just sometime, might not ever happen…
“now now” – in 5 minutes
“now now now” – right now.
“learn me how to tie my shoes” – just a bizarre confusion of when to use learn and when to use teach.
appel – actually just a pronunciation thing, this is how they say apple (look closely for the difference…)
“Must I give it to you?” – means “would you like this?” but it always makes me feel like I’m forcing something out of them…

And my favorite:
“what what” –used to mean etcetera or so on or stuff. As in “I’m going to the store to buy some milk and what what”

There are plenty more, mostly just a lot fewer pleases and thank yous than I’m used to, but that might just have to be my next project with them!

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