Tag Archives: language

Belated: (Women-related) Sunday Reads

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Three thoughts on Ngugi wa Thiong’os public lecture

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Source

His talk was titled “Decolonising the Mind, Securing the Base”.

  1. We exchanged our accents for European accents and in exchange for access to African resources.
  2. If you know all the languages of the world except your mother tongue, you are enslaved. If you speak your mother tongue in addition to other languages, you are empowered.
  3. Names and language is the imperialist’s last battle for the war that begun with the sword.

His talk was disrupted, I think wrongfully but here are a couple of other views you could check out.

Words we Need

All these words are from Urban Dictionary. Yuje disclaimer is that there are some very sexualised and irreligious terms there so tread with care!

The noise someone makes when they want to let you know they are in a bathroom stall
A text message containing information (usually unflattering or damaging) about a third party which is sent to the individual it concerns rather than the person for whom the communication is intended.
When a person in casual conversation drops extremely depressing information in an order to derail the conversation to a more depressing state.
When you send or receive a text that is so long that you need to scroll down.
An insincere apology or expression of regret, often blaming the aggrieved party for being offended or bringing up an irrelevant topic to distract.
A female who conforms to her surroundings and claims she is unique. She often drinks Starbucks, wears Ugg boots in August, and posts selfies on social networking sites every. single. day. Also uses hashtags that don’t have anything to do with the picture itself.
Short form for “usual”.
When your phone or tablet indicates that you are connected to a wireless network, however you are still unable to load webpages or use any internet services with your device
Morning (AM) bowel movement (BM). The first poop of the day, almost always taken immediately upon awakening in the morning.
1. Purposely stinking up the toilet before your roommate or significant other needs to use the bathroom.
2. Walking into the bathroom after forgetting you took a stinky dump just minutes earlier.
I think craptrap, nonpology and lie-fi are my best and will definitely get added into my daily vocabulary.

Book Review: The Book of Memory

Image result for the book of memory

The story that you have asked me to tell you does not begin with the pitiful ugliness of Lloyd’s death. It begins on a long-ago day in August when the sun seared my blistered face and I was nine years old and my father and mother sold me to a strange man.

Memory, the narrator of Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, after being sentenced for murder. As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?

Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between past and present, the 2009 Guardian First Book Award–winning writer Petina Gappah weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate, and the treachery of memory.

The book reminded me of the book, We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo particularly when she talks of the Harare township where Memory grew up. The characterisation of township life was totally believable and reminded me of my experience growing up. The book also does a good job of personifying the life behind bars and the dynamics of womanhood and female friendships.

Overall, Gappah is a lovely story teller, she builds it up slowly and steadily then lets it slow down later. I loved the pace. It totally sucked me in and I read it over a day or two. Then at the end I just hugged the book and smiled. The story continually switches between a flashback to the past and present time. Despite this, it was still easy to follow the broader tale.

Common themes raised in the book include: language, memory, family (siblings, mother-daughter, husband-wife), religion, colonialism(or race as a subset). Various questions I had though while reading the book include:

  • In light of the decolonised free education in our lifetime protests currently happening in South African universities, is the best education White/ Western and in a foreign (ex-colonialist) language? To what extent has this changed? Would you/ I feel comfortable to take our kid to a native school ala Spilt Milk? I am not sure. In terms of decolonising language, the best book I have read on this topic so far is Decolonising the Mind by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.
  • The book also touches on Africa’s complicated history with the White Man. Was Lloyd African? Why because he spoke the language and understood the culture / had allowed himself to be immersed in it fully? If we contrast Lloyd and Alexandra the sister, who is more African?
  • Colonialism and the White Mans’ burden also comes across when we look at the motives of Lloyd in adopting Memory.
  • That duality of existence that I find so intriguing about South Africans and now Zimbabwe. That deep belief in ancestry and mainstream religion or a more modern life. I grew up raised in a predominantly Bible-focused culture and so this duality is totally alien to me.
  • Do we trust our memories? Is it ever as we think or are there things we remember that as we have gotten older we have to come realise are not as they were. As the last child in my home, I have some clear memories of myself as a child but to be honest, I know that a lot of them are mainly based on what I have been told and not necessarily what I particularly remember. What are your earliest memories?

In closing, I am not sure why they did not translate the Shona bits which made me wonder who the real audience is here. It was quite frustrating for me a non-Shona speaker.

Songs of Praise

 

 

Blessed Weekend and Enjoy!

Sunday Reads

6 words that will demystify debt crises | TED

  1. Discipline, nature or nurture?
  2. In case you love Longreads and want to catch up on some of the year’s best readings.
  3. As if I did not already want to go to Turkey,this beautiful post here for you!!
  4. Oh dear me, I can comfortably say I will never be an insta-mom!!
  5. On the prevalence of C-sections in the US. Interesting to note that it varies with Mothers ethnicity, age, day of the week and that something like having more on cal obstetricians would keep it within the WHOs 10% target.
  6. The low rewards to thinking short-term!
  7. On using simple household items to tell the story of global inequality!
  8. For all the word ninjas out there – the 58 most mistaken words in the English dictionary.
  9. Maths and Colouring Books if ever you wanted to combine the two!

Enjoy!!

 

25. Sunday reads (Video overload)

  1. Linguistically this is why Mama and Baba (Mother and Father in Kiswahili) is almost universal?
  2. On the returns to tertiary education in South Africa. Also this.
  3.  Some people really have a great calling on their lives!!
  4. Beautiful pictures of African kids and their creative hairstyles.
  5. My Pastor was on to something when he spoke about how the child’s environment in the womb is very important! (Video)
  6. Funny how some product adverts go so left that at the end you have to think back to what they could have been advertising. This video is a case in point.
  7. What a gem this video is, dismissive of North Korea but normal against Queen Elizabeth’s birthday and other Royal celebrations.
  8. Would you know how to pronounce this town’s name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio-gogogoch? Watch how to here.
  9. Some people are really leading interesting lives and following some lovely passions they personally have, watch.
  10. This is what contact lenses looked like 67 years ago!! Jeez!!
  11. Quick and easy couscous salad

A friend is getting married today, shout outs and best wishes.

9. And what is my heritage?

UG independence day

Happy Birthday Uganda!! 53 today and counting 🙂

South Africa has a Public Holiday on the 24th of September – Heritage Day. There is a bit of a history of this day. There is also ill-feeling around the fact that this has now been White-washed to National Braai Day which cheapens the day. Be that as it may, I would like to commemorate my own Heritage Day and share part of what makes me, me.

  1. I am not a refugee. I remember being in lower primary at school and hearing people call me one and I had honestly never heard that phrase and when I dutifully went home and asked my parents what it meant, I saw the disgust in their face and honestly thought it was a swear word. My parents moved to Kenya as part of the East Africa Community and they got jobs in Nairobi. Yes I am a foreigner, but a legal one and really a labour migrant.
  2. The same thing applies to my status in South Africa. I am proudly foreign but also extremely legal and here by choice. Weirdly, I had my own status prior to marrying a local boy. Yes I am aware that marriages of convenience do happen but by the time we got to settling down, they had tightened up all of those loopholes. And they continue to do so even to date. Don’t even remind the number of height of hoops we had to jump through to get married.
  3. Growing up in a very Ugandan home but in a foreign country, was never confusing. Not in the least. Without much explanation, it was always known what happened at home and what was non-negotiable and the level of influence that we could pick up outside and bring home and you just knew what fit where.
  4. Some non-negotiable Ugandan aspects? We always knelt to greet my parents and other visitors, we proudly bore only our Ugandan names- my mom was particularly clear about us using our first names that identified us as coming from my fathers community and not our middle ones that are from her community. Our foods always had groundnuts, we had groundnut sauce, sweet potatoesamukeke (dried and steamed sweet potatoes),  matooke (plantain)atap (millet),  firinda (beans), obutusi (traditional mushrooms),  smoked and dried beef and fish. Just brought tears to my eyes and loads of salivating as I remember some of these meals.
  5. We also learnt Kiswahili and Sheng’ that was spoken by our contemporaries. We adopted chapati (flat bread), ugali (steamed maize flour) and sukuma wiki (kales). We wrote local exams and went to local schools living and mingling with predominantly Kenyans. My accent? How many times have I been in Uganda and had people walk up to me and refuse to accept that I am Ugandan because of my accent. I think it is now a confusing thing because the most I get is, “Are you from East Africa?”
  6. As I have gotten older, I have learnt not to question too much what makes me me. I have certain core beliefs that I hold dear to me and surprisingly, a lot of them are inspired by my Christian faith as I view that as my first and biggest cultural lens. Thereafter, in light of what makes the most sense to me as an African child. Some cultural practices differ from community to community and indeed nation to nation but for the most part, they are summarised by respect for all, care and regard for all and your enviroment and in some cases, there are gender expectations that you must adhere to.
  7. In planning the wedding, it did get confusing but even then it played out how I order my worldview – get all the requirements for the Church wedding out of the way and then get the traditional/ civil stuff finalised. The traditional stuff was a mix of both my mom and dad’s practices and you would expect it to be similar but it wasn’t and as long as I was told where to stand and what to do,I did and it got done.
  8. As I am getting older/ maybe in the last four to five years, I have seen an increased interest in my traditional dress (ssuka) and I delight in wearing it to special occasions. As a married woman, there is also additional jewelry that I get to wear it with which makes it even more special. An interesting finding for me was also the fact that I asked my dad whether my grandma took my granddad’s surname and he told me two things: (i) in our culture, before the  wazungu (White man) came, we didn’t typically take on surnames because it was taboo to name someone after yourself unless the baby was born when you were going to die or were at war and were expected/feared dead  and (ii) names in our culture are indicators of a clan and since a man would never marry a sister (a fellow clanmate) it was never expected that you would take on the new (clan) surname. On that note, I figured why take it on then?
  9. Something I do ask is what is Kenyan culture. What of that background contributes to me. A friend asked me recently, when you say you are going home, where do you mean? Unequivocally, Kenya. I KNOW the people, the context of stories, the language, the setting, so many firsts and memories singly and with others.  It’s a whole part of my life and a part I love with such intensity, it is both exciting and scary. But is all mine to pick and play with.
  10. So happy heritage day and here’s to all the things that make me,me. Cheers!!

PS: If you are from Uganda (the Motherland), please let me know if my spelling of the food is fine – prior to now, I have never had to spell them out.

Grrrrrr!!! for Management Consulting speak

Show me someone that often uses these words and I will show you a pompous management consultant.

  • Big Dig
  • Deep Dive
  • Low hanging fruit
  • Quick wins
  • Big picture thinking
  • Leverage
  • Value Add

Urrrrgh but sadly when used, the effect is to appear intelligent and to immediately gain the attention of all the attendants in the meeting.

Updated to read: Please also check out this Reddit link with similar babbage.

Words we need v3

Following up from Version 1 and 2 here, I think it’s time for us to have another opportunity to laugh and enjoy ourselves. As always, visiting the site will cause you to either laugh or be put off by some of the other irreverent words they have daily.

n: someone who thinks about being an entrepreneur or starting a business but never gets started.
The art of ruining people’s selfies by appear behind them right when they tap on the capture button.
The complete opposite of a sugardaddy, one who tries, but is broke and fronting.
The period of time it takes between the fart and the recognition of the fart, from another person.
A group selfie; a picture one takes with themselves and many others in the photo. One takes an usie to be silly with friends and have fun taking random pictures of themselves.
to video chat someone and not say a word. you mostly just stare at the screen and type things to the other person who is engaged in a video chat with you.
Keep it on the down low. Keep it secret.
A household that is run by a pet. Specifically a dog. What the dog wants, it gets, and when it wants it. Typically the owners do not see the scenario at all and comment on their “wonderful pet”. Outsiders and friends though can see the caos and true pecking order.
Long winded, boring, nauseating, uninteresting description of an event or the story of someone’s life.
When a manager says “we” and means “you”
Much like in the game of chess, a bathroom stalemate is when two people are in a public restroom and neither wants to be the first to go, so both sit silently in their respective stalls as they wait for the other to leave, or for some loud noise to disguise their business.
Enjoy!!! Particularly liking the bathroom stalemate because just yesterday my sister told me about going into the loo at the same time as this girl that DROPPED IT enough for the whole loo of six stalls to stink up and have two people run away to wait for it to clear. After that situation, you can either let it become a bathroom stalemate or just run outta there!!

Words we need v2

Following from this post, I figured it was time to skim through Urban Dictionary again and come up with words that we actively use and need in formal language.

textretary

A person’s sidekick who texts for the driver

Nocializing 

The act of being out in a social public setting (i.e. Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Coffee shop) and only spending time on your mobile device; not the people with or around you.

greeting orbit 

When you’re with someone and run into an acquaintance of his/hers. They exchange greetings, which leads to a conversation, and you stand there smiling like a dummy wondering if you’ll ever be introduced.

Bropocalypse 

A large gathering of bros on a mission to do one thing, to get bombed, tanked, or wasted usually ending in some people doing something stupid.

Comment-Message 

When someone types what should have been a message or email in a comment on a public board (example: facebook).

Poster’s Remorse 

The feeling of regret after posting a particular item on Facebook, such as a status update, photo or video.

Smilezoned 

When you approach a member of the opposite sex to ask them out and they respond with a pitying smile

vurp 

a burp laced with a little vomit, usually occurs when you’ve had one too many and it has become difficult to distinguish between the two aka vomiting in your mouth.

bacon tetris 

The act of arranging bacon strips on a frying pan in the most efficient way possible given the dimensions of your pan. The goal is to maximize the number of bacon strips on the heating surface without leaving any part of any strip uncooked.

Porn Mode

A mode available in modern web browsers that doesn’t store any session information.

Send and run

The act of delivering bad or unpleasant news via email at the very last point in the day, so as to purposely avoid being there when the response is received. Usually deployed just after 5pm or before going away on holiday.

Emotionap

Being too emotional, that eventually as a result, you fall asleep

prexhausted

Preemptively exhausted. When you are exhausted just by thinking about something.

Words we need

I love that language is dynamic and reacts to some of the modern changes and stuff and we now have words from all over the place in the formal dictionary. Safari, anyone? But less formally, we have words like amazeballs that do slip in. I subscribe to Urban Dictionary and get a new word each day; below are some words that I would definitely recommend for general use:

Red Pen Police

People who preoccupy themselves with correcting the spelling and grammar of others – normally out of some self-esteem issue or desire to prove some value from their otherwise useless thirty-grand education.

Walk blocker

A person that suddenly stops when they are walking right in front of another.

Sneeze Freeze

The frozen and contorted, usually mildly retarded looking, facial expression one makes for a few seconds before they let out a sneeze or when experiencing a “Sneezus Interruptus”.

friending spree

Randomly adding anyone you come across on a social network, including complete strangers

Anxiarrhea

The result of anxiety causing you to have crazy amounts of diarrhoea.

kardash

A measurement of time totaling 72 days. Became popular after Kim Kardashian’s highly-publicized marriage, which ended after 72 days. Listed as one of the up-and-coming words of 2012.

totes

(abbreviation) stands for totally.

Moon landing

A moon landing is when two people’s naked butts bump as they bend over.

fomo

“fear of missing out”. The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great

fauxpology

When a person makes it sound like they are apologizing when, in fact, they are just shifting the blame or using twisted logic to argue their way out of responsibility for their actions.

And my best:

food baby

when you eat so much, that your stomach looks pregnant

Some of their stuff is rather crude and sometimes irreligious so just be careful if you do venture there.