The Zawadi of Language

I love words! New words. Old words. And foreign words…

Yep, I love words.


Languages are harder for me. After three years of studying French all I can still do is order coffee…(Garcon, apportez-moi du café.)…and announce my name…(Je m’appelle Elan.) Just in case the waiter needs to know my name. Which, if I’m at a Starbucks in France may come in handy.

My Spanish education came from watching Steve Martin in Three Amigos a lot of years ago… of which I remember, amigo.

And from Son#1. While preparing for a mission trip, he schooled me in the art of ordering food. (Treinta-seis hamburguesas y una cerveza, por favor.) Never once did I need to order 36 hamburgers and one beer. However I did use the phrase… Jose Guadalupe, ven aqui pronto, por favor many times.

We had obtained green cards for the kids and took them to experience Sea World for a day. Jose (a part of my group) was fascinated by the turtle pond and disappeared often.) But that was then and this is now.


In my random quest for knowledge, I was recently reading that Swahili is the Bantu language of the Swahili people. Can’t get more random than that and before you get the wrong idea… I am only superficially deep. Up until now all my Swahili knowledge came from the movie Lion King. (I’m starting to see a movie pattern developing.) 

I learn words best by blending languages. That way I don’t have to learn another cultures grammar. (…again, superficial.) Here are my sentences incorporating Swahili…

My mazai filled our nyumba with many kaka(‘s) and only one dada.

Linda is a kinyozi. Her mtoto make fun of how I say maziwa.

There were thirty-seven words on the list I was studying, and I use the word study VERY loosely. I will remember two or three words for a while. One word may stay with me forever. You might figure out which when you read the translation…

My mazai (parents) filled our nyumba (home) with kaka (brothers) and only one dada (sister). Linda is a kinyozi (barber). Her mtoto (child) makes fun of how I say maziwa (milk). But best of all is…

the zawadi (gift) of language.

Until next time…




3 thoughts on “The Zawadi of Language

I'd love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s