Sunday, May 2, 2010

Emacua Lesson

Day 21

Mozambique’s official tongue is Portuguese – the language of school, official business, and colonial history. But around Ribaue, everyone’s first language is Emacua.

This lesson is brought to you courtesy of Banesh, one of Scotty’s students. He accompanies Scotty, Greg, Jacinto, and I on our walk to the agrarian school.

i•ha•li – how are you?

sa•lam•a – good

va•ca•ni va•ca•ni – been better [literally, “little by little”]

ka•hi i•ha•li – and you?

ku•shu•ku•ru – thank you

ku•shu•ku•re•la – thank you very much

mun•ro•wa va•yee – where are you going?

kin ro•wa o•tu•mah e•yol•ya – I am going to buy food

in see•na nan•yo ta•ni – what is your name?

mu•kun•ya – white person [this is what people shout at Scotty and I]

no•ri•pe – black African [this is what Scotty shouts back]

ki•no ve•ka… – I am asking for…

nhu o•ve•ka van•che•ne – you ask too much

mu•no ki wo•kayou’re a liar

em•pa•ka me•la – see you tomorrow

em•pa•ka i•wor•a i•kee•na – see you another time

em•pa•ka mo•ro•tu – see you after tomorrow

I start saying ihali to everyone. Most people seem thoroughly delighted at the thought of a makunha speaking emacua. The kids who were afraid of me now giggle.

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